The University of Iowa Strength & Conditioning

Force Velocity Curve

Force Velocity Curve

A lot of what a strength & conditioning coach does is trying to manipulate the force and velocity aspects of the student-athlete in order to better assist with the performance improvements of the student-athletes.

There is a relationship between force and velocity. As the force increases, velocity decreases and vice versa as shown in Figure 1. This is called the force-velocity curve.

    

FV curve.fw_.png

FIGURE 1.

In the sports we work with, there is a large focus on enhancing power. Power is a function of force and velocity. With most of our sports, they rely more on the velocity aspect of power as shown in Figure 2.

Force Velocity Curve Fig. 2

FIGURE 2.

In order to better understand the relation between certain activities and where they fall on the force-velocity curve, draw your attention to Figure 3.

Figure 3

FIGURE 3.

Within a training program, there may be a question of why one would increase force with slower velocity activities. Example activities may be heavier olympic lifts, squats and deadlifts. These exercises typically are utilized to improve primarily the LEFT side of the force-velocity curve.

But as you see in Figure 4, there still is improvements to the curve at the higher velocities, but obviously not as much.

Fig. 4

FIGURE 4.

When we construct training plans, one of the most limiting factor to our student-athletes is the amount of force they can put into the ground or onto an object.

This is why we may initially spend more time focusing on maximal force production, then we will focus more on other sections of the curve to maximize their performance.

Below is sample force-velocity curves to showcase the improvements when training focuses changes within the training program.

Fig. 5
  
Fig. 6

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