- On October 27, 2017
Force Velocity Profiling (FVP) is a novel approach to assess an athlete’s mechanical output during sprints using timing-gates (Samozino et al., 2016). This approach allows coaches to make more specific training recommendations for their athletes when compared with traditional timing-gate protocols, while remaining far more cost effective and practical than other methods such as multiple force plates and motion capture systems. Additionally, the FVP has been implemented to monitor return from hamstring injuries (Mendiguchia et al., 2014).
So, what is it all about? This series of three blog posts will outline how using FVP might give you the edge and how to implement the protocol using SMARTSPEED!
Traditional Sprint Profiling
Most coaches are familiar with measuring sprint performance i.e. modern timing gate systems can accurately measure multiple split times during a sprint protocol. However, while this can identify whether an athlete performed well compared to normative values or their personal best, the split times alone do not tell us much about how the athlete actually got there.
As a more concrete example, if two athletes achieve the same 40 m sprint times, it doesn’t mean that they got there in the same way. One athlete might start off slow but rapidly accelerate as the sprint goes on while the other could start off really quickly but plateau early on in the sprint.
Applying the same training program to both athletes to generically “improve sprint performance” is likely to elicit sub-optimal improvements.
This is where FVP comes in. It allows us to gain insight into the mechanical determinants of sprint performance (force, velocity, and power). This allows for a focused approach to training that is based on the areas that need improvement for each individual athlete.
What is FVP Sprint?
FVP utilises a biomechanical model published in recent research (Cross, Brughelli, Samozino, & Morin, 2017; Samozino et al., 2016). While we would normally require expensive 3D motion cameras and lots of force plates to measure an athlete’s continuous velocity, force and power, this new model allows us to just use split times, along with the athlete’s height, body mass and some basic environmental conditions.
By using a simple biomechanical model, we can use the split times to estimate the velocity of the athlete at any point during the sprint. From this, the continuous force and power output of the athlete can also be estimated. We then can determine key summary variables such as maximal force production, maximal velocity, maximal power and the relationships between those variables. This approach has been validated against force platforms (Samozino et al., 2016).
As highlighted above, this is far more useful information from a coaching perspective than simply knowing if the athlete was faster or slower than target values.
FVP Sprint Research
There are many great research papers covering the implementation of FVP. Briefly, Samozino et al. (2016) validated a FVP Sprint process by comparing estimations from sprint times against force platform data. These researchers also reported high reliability of the estimations across multiple trials. Other researchers have adopted the method to compare sprint characteristics of elite rugby league and rugby union athletes (Cross et al., 2015), or have utilised the protocol to investigate the mechanical properties of players returning from hamstring injuries (Mendiguchia et al., 2014). So, you can have confidence that the FVP Sprint process is robust and will be of great use when it comes to monitoring your athletes.
How do I run an FVP session?
For more information about how Fusion Sport will be implementing FVP, look out for our next blog post where we will discuss how to actually implement FVP using SMARTSPEED timing gates and how to interpret the results to gain new insight about athlete sprint performance.
Cross, M. R., Brughelli, M., Brown, S. R., Samozino, P., Gill, N. D., Cronin, J. B., & Morin, J. B. (2015). Mechanical Properties of Sprinting in Elite Rugby Union and Rugby League. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 10(6), 695-702. doi:10.1123/ijspp.2014-0151
Cross, M. R., Brughelli, M., Samozino, P., & Morin, J.-B. (2017). Methods of Power-Force-Velocity Profiling During Sprint Running: A Narrative Review. Sports Medicine, 47(7), 1255-1269. doi:10.1007/s40279-016-0653-3
Mendiguchia, J., Samozino, P., Martinez-Ruiz, E., Brughelli, M., Schmikli, S., Morin, J. B., & Mendez-Villanueva, A. (2014). Progression of mechanical properties during on-field sprint running after returning to sports from a hamstring muscle injury in soccer players. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 35(8), 690-695. doi:10.1055/s-0033-1363192
Samozino, P., Rabita, G., Dorel, S., Slawinski, J., Peyrot, N., Saez de Villarreal, E., & Morin, J. B. (2016). A simple method for measuring power, force, velocity properties, and mechanical effectiveness in sprint running. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 26(6), 648-658. doi:10.1111/sms.12490