Strength and Conditioning, and Strength and Conditioning Coaches, are terms thrown around a lot in the sporting and fitness industry. But what exactly is Strength and Conditioning? And who exactly are the best Strength and Conditioning coaches?
S&C is the prescription and management of specific exercises to improve fitness and strength, tailored to an individual’s goals and needs. S&C also improves performance of exercises through the coaching of proper posture and movement mechanics. Exercises are prescribed to promote strength and power, not only to improve performance but to reduce the chance of injury (or re-injury)!
The “Strength” in S&C, is the use of resistance training to develop a greater capacity to move more force. The “Conditioning” in S&C is the specific component of fitness (aerobic or anaerobic) we want to improve for a sport.
For example, rugby league requires fast accelerations, change in direction, and also the aerobic capacity to last an 80-minute game. Players also need to have enough musculature to protect themselves from contact collisions. Strength training can be used to increase muscle size, increase speed, and strength, which overall can reduce the risks of injury. Conditioning in the form of running involves maximum running speed, acceleration, deceleration and change of direction. Aerobic components may be added to enhance recovery from consistent sets of running and continuous tackling.
A good strength and conditioning coach will also help you manage training loads and volumes to promote adaptation and again, reduce chance of injury. It’s not only about what exercises you do, but also how to coordinate this program around your team training commitments and not overloading your body at the same time!
If you want to get strong (Strength), you need to train muscles to produce more force. If you want to get fit (Conditioned), you need to train muscles to become more efficient and get more oxygen to the body. A good Strength and Conditioning Coach will know what performance outcomes an athlete needs, and how to develop a Strength and Conditioning program to get you there – injury-free!
Written by Jack Waddell, Strength and Conditioning Coach