WATCH: Travis Mash's Barbell Life Podcast Episode 190 with Guest Dr. Bryan Mann

TAGS: vertical leap, Special exercises for football players, low genetic potential, Hormone stimulation, Travis Mash, Verkhoshansky, VBT, Bryan Mann, Olympic lifts, hypertrophy

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With nearly two hundred episodes, Travis Mash's Barbell Life podcast has welcomed many of the best minds in strength and conditioning. One of these recent appearances was by elitefts' own Dr. Bryan Mann. In this podcast, episode 190, Dr. Mann discusses a variety of topics, including the practical application of velocity based training, how he has challenged conventional wisdom in the strength industry, weight room carryover of exercises, and the difference between selective and indiscriminate hypertrophy.

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The episode begins by Dr. Mann giving a brief explanation of velocity based training (VBT) for those who may not yet be familiar with it. The core idea of VBT is to use bar speed to dictate appropriate load. Along with giving an explanation of what this means, Dr. Mann explains various "zones" of VBT and the origins of these ideas through multiple levels of research he has observed or been a part of. He also outlines the difference between general physical preparedness and specific physical preparedness as it varies by athlete and sport.

Dr. Mann then talks about individualizing training for athletes using VBT and went to prioritize some athlete needs over others. He goes into detail about how rare individualization is and how the availability of data influences this. His explanation is that the bell curve (a standard normal distribution) covers the natural athletic gifts of your athletes; most of them are well within that middle range, with very few being outliers on the low end or the high end. Individualization would only occur at the very top range, which is very few athletes and thus does not happen often. There are, however, other adjustments you must make within VBT, such as changing the speed standards for excessively tall athletes who are limited on squat stance width within a power rack.


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Giving a history of his background in VBT, Dr. Mann also walks through his development as a coach and how he refined his focus and system of belief over the years. This includes history of working with a number of coaches, including household strength and conditioning names such as Buddy Morris and Louie Simmons. Through the course of his professional development and educational career, Dr. Mann continuously built his understanding and approach to this topic. He details many of these epiphanies and realizations, including a particular study in which he measured the correlation between different measurements and vertical leap. He also explains the correlation between the squat and the vertical leap.

For the remainder of the podcast, Dr. Mann talks about the progression of building the vertical leap by athlete year, special exercises for football players, the presence of percentages in VBT, "earning" the right to use VBT, maximizing low genetic potential, hormone stimulation and hypertrophy, using VBT as an intent-teaching tool, and peak velocity for Olympic weightlifting movements.

By the minute:

  • (1:37) Introduction of Bryan Mann
  • (2:46) A beginner's explanation of velocity based training
  • (7:30) Individualized training for athletes and use of data
  • (12:02) How Dr. Bryan Mann developed his focus on VBT
  • (20:21) The correlation between squats and vertical leap
  • (27:55) Special exercises for football players from Verkhoshansky
  • (32:50) How to use percentages in unison with VBT
  • (40:38) Maximizing low genetic potential
  • (46:20) Hormone stimulation and hypertrophy
  • (49:00) Using VBT as an intent-teaching tool
  • (58:28) Peak velocity for Olympic lifts

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