Background: This study aimed to determine the reliability of the velocity achieved during the last repetition of sets to failure (Vlast) and the association of Vlast with the velocity of the 1-repetition maximum (V1RM) during the paused and touch-and-go bench press (BP) exercises performed in a Smith machine.
Methods: A total of 96 healthy men participated in this study that consisted of two testing sessions. A single BP variant (paused BP or touch-and-go BP) was evaluated on each session in a randomized order. Each session consisted of an incremental loading test until reaching the 1RM, followed by two sets of repetitions to failure against a load ranging from 75% to 90% of 1RM.
Results: The reliability of Vlast was unacceptable for both BP variants (CV > 18.3%, ICC < 0.60). The correlations between V1RM and Vlast were small for the paused BP (r = 0.18) and moderate for the touch-and-go BP (r = 0.37).
Conclusions: Although these results suggest that Vlast could be a better indicator of the minimal velocity threshold than V1RM, the low reliability of Vlast and the similar values of Vlast for both BP variants suggest that a standard V1RM should be used to estimate the 1RM from the individualized load-velocity relationship.