BACKGROUND: In recent years, velocity-based training (VBT) has increased in popularity due to its ability to objectively autoregulate an athlete’s training and measure overall daily performance. Additionally, it has been well established that measures of body composition can influence athletic performance. Thus, we sought to investigate the relationship between body composition and common barbell velocity metrics.METHODS: Thirty-nine resistance trained college aged males (n=20) and females (n=19) completed three total visits. On the first visit, participants’ body composition was assessed via Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DXA) followed by the establishment of a single repetition maximum (1RM) for the barbell back squat. On the subsequent two visits, participants completed a workout consisting of 4 sets at 80% of the previously established 1RM. The first 3 sets were taken to a subjective 1 repetition in reserve, with the final set performed to volitional failure. A linear transducer was attached to the barbell to assess average and peak average concentric velocity (ACV). The velocity drop off was determined by calculating percent change [(Set 4-Set 1)/(Set 1)] for average and peak ACV. Pearson correlation coefficients were then assessed between measures of body composition and barbell velocity metrics. Significance was accepted at p≤ .05.RESULTS: Average ACV drop off was significantly correlated with total grams of body fat (r=.329, p=.041), along with trunk percent (r=.328, p=.042) and absolute fat (r=.391, p=.014). No significant correlations were seen for peak ACV drop off, but trends were noted for percent (r=.277, p=.088) and absolute (r=.298, p=.065) trunk fat. All lean mass metrics were significantly correlated (rs>.346, ps<.05) with average ACV in Sets 1, 3, and 4. Similar findings were noted for peak ACV except for fat free mass index no longer being significantly correlated (p=.491). CONCLUSIONS: Significant correlations were seen for measures of fat mass and average ACV drop off. Indicating, athletes that displayed greater levels of trunk absolute and relative fat had a greater decrease in average ACV from set 1 to set 4. This relationship did not hold true when examining peak ACV. Also, these data suggest that the amount of lean mass may significantly relate to individual set peak and average ACV. Thus, practitioners should account for body composition if utilizing VBT to guide training.

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