Strength And Conditioning Coach Vs Personal Trainer

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Posted On December 12, 2020

Strength and Conditioning Coaches focus on quality of movement. This typically translates to performance, usually of elite athletes in a competitive environment; however this can also mean improving the quality of movement of everyday tasks for older adults. In the past Strength & Conditioning was exclusively for athletes, however as a greater number of people become aware of the advantages of this kind of fitness training, more everyday people are becoming involved. Methods include plyometrics, speed and agility, mobility, core stability, endurance and weight training and so much more depending on the individual or teams’ needs!

Strength and conditioning coaches also create regimens and supplementary training designed to prevent injury – usually by strengthening and / or stretching body parts prone to injury. This increases the value of their services tremendously, as injuries can cause massive setbacks and the need for expensive surgeries.

By hiring a strength and conditioning coach you give yourself over to a professional capable of transforming your physical capabilities through strict scientifically proven methodology.
Strength and conditioning coaches work with all manner of athletes, and the methodologies they implement will almost certainly differ, based on the specifics of the athlete’s level and sport.

Improving Strength and Speed with a Strength & Conditioning Coach 

It is essential to train correctly. Training should be specific for different goals, as different types of training create different biochemical change, some of which may be ineffective or even counterproductive to an athlete’s goals. For example, endurance training for a sprinter would be counterproductive as the elicited changes would likely increase cardiovascular fitness – a non-factor for sprinting, but not affect the body’s ability to generate power. In fact, the biochemical changes would likely result in type I muscle fibre associated changes, and would likely reduce type II muscle fibre associated factors (the type needed to generate maximum power and speed). Athletes don’t realise how much of their training is actually harmful before consulting a strength and conditioning professional.

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Injury Prevention with a Strength & Conditioning Coach

There are 2 types of injuries, both preventable by a strength and conditioning coach. The first type is associated with a single event, where years of poor training, neglect and previous injuries can significantly increase the chances of suffering a broken bone, torn tendon or other significant injury that can put an athlete out of training for weeks if not months. This type of injury can be prevented by a strength and weakness assessment and subsequent exercise prescriptions. By making sure the body is balanced in terms in terms of strength and flexibility, and that training meets the demands of competition, a strength and conditioning coach can save you a trip to the hospital and a lengthy recovery thereafter.

The second type of injury is a more insidious one that is caused by years of poor technique and sub-optimal training. For instance bad knees are often caused by repetitive impacts through the knees by way of poor running technique and running on hard surfaces such as concrete. In strength training this can occur when movements are loaded in a biomechanically sub-optimal way in terms of depth of range, angle and positioning. By having a professional assess your training, your chance of tears, broken bones and early onset conditions such as arthritis and tendonitis can be significantly reduced.

Strength & Conditioning Coach Vs Personal Trainer – which to hire?

Both strength and conditioning coaches and personal trainers can help you achieve great things. Strength and conditioning coaches need to study longer, but a personal trainer with a degree can have an equal amount of knowledge. 

Your focus when choosing a coach or trainer should depend more on their real world experience rather than their theoretical knowledge. An experienced trainer with a intuitive understanding of movement can serve you better in most instances than a coach who has read every textbook there is on sport science. 


Written by Vic

Melbourne-based Personal Trainer, Calisthenics Athlete and the Founder of Street Workout St Kilda. Super passionate about bodyweight training and the art of movement.
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