The stability of different methods of assessing maximal strength in the deadlift: Implications for the use of velocity-based assessment and programming strategies

Author Identifier

Stuart Guppy

Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - ECU Access Only


Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Medical and Health Sciences

First Supervisor

G. Gregory Haff

Second Supervisor

Kristina Kendall

Third Supervisor

Jason Lake


Traditionally, the training loads implemented during resistance training have been prescribed as a percentage of the athlete’s known maximum strength. Recently however, some researchers have suggested that due to variations in the athlete’s strength levels and overall readiness to train on a day-to-day basis, these traditional methods are no longer fit for purpose. As such, autoregulatory programming strategies have been suggested as an alternative as they account for changes in the athlete’s training status and may provide a more optimised training stimulus. An increasingly popular series of autoregulatory programming strategies used by strength and conditioning professionals to modulate both training load and training volume are those that fall under the umbrella term of “Velocity-Based Training”, which are based on an objective measure of the barbell velocity during each repetition of resistance exercise the athlete performs. As such, this thesis was designed to investigate the changes in deadlift strength that occur on a dayto- day basis over a five day microcycle, along with the viability of one method of constructing a load-velocity profile and the accuracy of a novel velocity measurement device.

The primary finding of this thesis is that maximum strength during the deadlift is relatively stable between days when assessed repeatedly as either a 3RM or a 6RM (Study One and Study Four). Moreover, low to moderate volume repetition maximum strength testing does not appear to negatively impact vertical jump performance or preparedness when assessed repeatedly over the typical duration of a training microcycle. Barbell velocity however did vary between sessions in response to the maximum strength testing protocols and did not align with any changes in actual performance outcomes. In Study Three, the agreement between the velocity at 1RM and the velocity during the last repetition of a low-volume set of deadlifts were compared to determine if they could be used interchangeably when constructing a load-velocity profile. Furthermore, a novel laser-optic device designed to monitor barbell velocity during resistance exercise did not agree with a criterion measure of 3D motion capture or a common portable linear position transducer and therefore should not be used interchangeably with either device (Study Three). Finally, the velocity during 1RM did not agree with the velocity during the last repetition of the 3RM test and should not be used interchangeably when constructing a load-velocity profile for the purpose of estimating lower-body maximum strength.

Taken collectively, lower-body maximum strength does not appear to substantially vary from day to day and as such traditional methods of prescribing training loads are likely still viable. Moreover, repeated maximum strength testing is not sufficiently fatiguing to impact countermovement jump performance or rating of perceived exertion but does detrimentally impact barbell velocity during subsequent sessions. This would suggest that the use of barbell velocity to accurately monitor changes in preparedness is a less viable strategy than originally thought as these changes do not align with a meaningful change in performance or physical qualities. Moreover, based on the results of this thesis, velocity measurement devices likely should not be used interchangeably during the deadlift.



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