• Alison Annison

Strength and Conditioning - The Art and Science of Getting Guid

Updated: Mar 27

It’s all about performance you see.

Getting some exercise for your general health is great and all, but if you want to get good at something, you need to do more than just practice it. S&C is a physical performance training strategy, specifically targeting the qualities you need for your particular sport or activity, or even your profession. Though most definitions make a thing about athletic competition, the principals can be applied to anyone, with any goal, for any reason.

What it isn’t is technical training, it doesn’t work on the skills you need to do your sport, but what it does do is break down the movements and characteristics of your sport and gets you strong/fast/powerful/flexible/etc through specifically prescribed exercises within a carefully planned training programme. This strength/speed/power/flexibility/etc then (hopefully) carries over to your sport or activity.

It is sometimes touted as effective injury prevention, but the science is sketchy there, mostly because it’s difficult to objectively measure whether or not something in the future would happen with or without an intervention.

But since you can’t go wrong getting strong, when done right, S&C probably can help to prevent injury in some situations, and it almost certainly improves resilience if your sport involves a risk of impact.

Are you a training snob?

Difference between a personal trainer and an S&C coach? Usually it’s the level of education. An S&C coach often, but not always, has at least a bachelor’s degree. That’s not to say that some PT’s don’t, and this can muddy the waters in accurately defining them.

If you have an S&C coach, you’ll probably find yourself doing some kind of Olympic lifting sooner or later, regardless of your sport, whereas many PT’s don’t have training in that kind of lifting. Both assess your sport, fitness, and goals and write training plans to get you there. Do you need an S&C coach or a PT? Depends what you want to achieve, you might not need either, just a good gym.

What makes a gym good? From an S&C perspective - the equipment, and the attitude. You won’t find rows and rows of treadmills and static bikes, though they are often used for warming up, testing, and intervals and so forth. A good gym for strength training has barbells, and lots of them. And they have chalk. And they’re not all about flexing in a mirror, they’re about training and progression. If you want to build strength and/or power, the best way to do that is using a barbell with progressively more load on it. How to do that is another article.

Thanks for reading as always.


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