STRENGTH & CONDITIONING EDUCATION STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING COURSES FOR ALL LEVELS Thu, 30 Jul 2020 10:58:59 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 STRENGTH & CONDITIONING EDUCATION 32 32 Strength Training For Children & Young Adults Wed, 29 Jul 2020 15:25:26 +0000 Read More


Should children do strength training? A controversial and highly debated topic. Here we look at strength training for children, Strength Coach Nick Grantham’s view and explore some of the common questions when it comes to training our younger population. If you are looking to skip straight to our youth S&C courses head to this page on our YSCA.

As adults, it is now becoming increasingly accepted that the effort you put in the weights room, will directly impact your performance in sport. We also widely acknowledge the health benefits of strength training and the ability it has to transform your physical appearance…

What age can children start strength training?

Elite athletes such as Christiano Ronaldo were training from age 7, British Powerlifting accepts competitors from age 14 in their youth divisions and then there are incredible cases such as that of Damiyah Smith, who at just 12 years old had broken 27 world records as the youngest sponsored athlete in the world.

Are these children exceptions to the rule, or should resistance training be implemented in our youth and adolescents?

What is resistance training?

According to the book of Sport Medicine resistance training is ‘a programme of exercise, which uses one or more types of training system. Methods include: bodyweight exercises, resistance work such as free weights and traditional Olympic lifts’. Research discussed in the National Strength & Conditioning Association Journal suggests that resistance training, if taught with correct technique can improve a child’s (here we discuss age 11 +)  balance, proprioception strength and power(2). 

Why is resistance training in children so controversial?

The popular assumption is that training in children aged 11 – 16 could be potentially harmful to young performers, whilst they are still growing. One of the earliest papers came from Eastern Europe back in the early 1960s. A study investigating the trainability of lower back muscles following a course of isometric resistance training failed to demonstrate any significant improvements in strength. Further studies looking at leg and arm strength also failed to find any substantial strength gains(3). This research however, used minimal training loads, it lacked progressive overload and was only over a very short time period.

Training programmes incorporating progressive overloading of the muscles have provided evidence that strength gains in young athletes are possible (even pre-puberty). In 1986 a group of boys aged between nine and 10 embarked on a period of resistance training. At the end of the training period significant increases in elbow and knee flexion and extension were recorded(4).

Can children make strength gains pre-puberty?

Whilst there is evidence to support increases in strength in children age 11-16, a common question which arises is how can children pre-puberty produce the hormones needed to build muscle and improve strength. Hypertrophy is hugely influenced by testosterone. Early studies showed that the strength training was not increasing muscle size or performance ie (strength) and therefore the conclusions were drawn that there was very little benefit. However, as studies continued we started to see improvements in strength, despite the lack of muscle hypertrophy. 

Children are not to be treated as mini-adults, their neurological systems differ and theorists suggest this is why we see strength gains without testosterone(5). Evidence suggests that strength increases in line with the development of the nervous system, which is of primary importance in the exertion and development of muscular strength. Research has indicated that there are three likely determinants of strength gains: improved motor skill coordination; increased motor unit activation; and undetermined neurological adaptations(6).

Early theories were based largely on indirect supposition and so direct assessment of these neurological adaptations was explored. Using ground-breaking techniques, researchers investigated the changes in motor unit activation following a period of resistance training in pre-adolescent boys(7). Results indicated that after the first 10 weeks of training, motor unit activation of the elbow flexors increase by 9% and motor unit activation of the knee extensors increased by 12%. Slower increases in motor unit activation were recorded during the second 10 weeks. The results confirm that the neurological system has is largely involved in athletic performance metrics.

Subsequent research confirmed that strength gains in young performers could be attributed in part to increased neuromuscular activation. Both motor unit activation and motor coordination increase still further when multi-joint complex lifting activities are used rather than isolated movements. Specificity is important for improved motor coordination: researchers have demonstrated that more significant improvements in strength occur in the specific exercises performed during training than with non-specific exercises such as isometric elbow flexion and knee extension(1).

How does strength & conditioning improve performance in sport in youth athletes?

Evidence suggests that S&C training can support improvements in performance by helping develop strength in young athletes. Many sports such as netball, rugby, football, all require strength & power to allow the performance of multi-joint movements.

There are a variety of tests coaches can run to measure improvements in strength and power and typically we see the stronger the athlete, the higher they can jump, faster they can run and the harder they can kick a ball.

Will strength training in youth athletes lead to an increase in injuries?

In 1987 the US Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that resistance training was a harmful activity for children. The report highlighted the disturbingly large number of injuries associated with resistance-type exercises; 8,543 injuries were incurred by 0-14-year-olds and ranged in severity from sprains and strains to fractures. Approximately 40% of the injuries occurred during unsupervised sessions in the home. A subsequent study investigating sport-related injuries in school children taking part in 22 sports found that resistance training produced just seven injuries from a total 637, placing it 17th on the injurious list(8). The message is clear: if young athletes play around with weights at home or during unsupervised sessions they could well end up injuring themselves. However, if you closely supervise your young athletes during resistance training sessions, ensuring they follow a structured training programme, they should be at no greater risk of injury than when they are taking part in their chosen sport.

Another area of concern is the potential damage resistance training can cause to the immature skeleton: increased physical activity in children is often associated with musculoskeletal damage(9). The skeletal system is in its formative stages during pre-adolescence and does not fully mature until early adulthood(10). It is commonly thought that the use of resistance training could contribute to damage of cartilage, bones, joint surfaces and tendons. It has even been suggested that damage to growth cartilage can result in stunted growth. Other structures, such as the spine, have also been highlighted as an area of potential injury. Although these issues are a serious cause for concern, some experts feel that the case may be somewhat overstated. Research has shown that sport-related musculoskeletal damage occurs very rarely. The majority of cases have been linked with maximal overhead lifts of the sort associated with powerlifting, and no evidence has been found of skeletal damage in relation to resistance training (1).

Tips for training young athletes from Youth S&C Coach Nick Grantham:

The young performer:

  • should complete a medical examination by a doctor before starting the training programme;
  • should be mature enough to accept instruction;
  • should want to participate in the programme;
  • must possess the basic motor skills of their primary sport;
  • must maintain correct form during lifting;
  • must avoid competition during training.

 For his or her part, the coach should:

  • ensure the young performer is closely supervised during training sessions;
  • ensure the training offers variety;
  • pay particular attention to the strengthening of the back and abdominal muscles;
  • ensure that in the event of any pain, training is discontinued;
  • ensure that the resistance training programme forms part of a comprehensive programme designed to increase motor skills and fitness levels;
  • ensure that all exercises are carried out through a full range of motion;
  • Prohibit any attempts at maximal lifts.

 Strength training for kids guidelines

If resistance training for children is a new area to you, here are some of the basic guidelines you should think of when putting together a training programme for kids by Nick Grantham:

  1. Begin and end each session with 5-10 minutes of warm-up and stretching.
  2. Balance the workout by altering pairs of muscle groups, ie perform a ‘pull’ exercise after each ‘push’ exercise. (Examples of pull exercises are barbell or dumbbell bent-over row, cable lat pulldown, seated row; push exercises may include barbell, dumbbell or machine bench press, squats and shoulder press.)
  3. Exercise the larger muscle groups (pectoralis major – chest; latissimus dorsi – back; quadriceps) first, and the smaller muscle groups (biceps and triceps – arms; deltoids – shoulder; gastrocnemius/soleus – calves) at the end.
  4. Perform 1-3 sets of 6-15 repetitions. Younger children may use fewer sets and more repetitions.
  5. Allow 48 hours of recovery after each strength training for kids session.
  6. Work on the schedule 2-3 times per week while maintaining other sporting activities.
  7. Younger children can spend 20-30 minutes per session while older children can increase the duration of each session.

 If you would like to learn more about S&C coaching and Youth athletes check out our range of courses in strength & conditioning for youth.

  1. Sports Medicine 15, 389-407, 1993

  2. National Strength and Conditioning Association Journal 13, 39-46, 1991
  3. Medicine and Sport, 11, 152-158, 1978

  4. Physician and Sportsmedicine, 14, 134-139; 142-143, 1986

  5. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 26, 510-514, 1993

  6. Wilmore JH & Costill DL, Physiology of Sport and Exercise, Human Kinetics, 1994

  7. Strength Training Effects In Prepubescent Boys, 22, 605-61

  8. American Journal of Sports Medicine 8, 318-323, 1980

  9. Child Health, Nutrition and Physical Activity, Cheung & Richmond. Human Kinetics, 1995

  10. Exercise Physiology Energy, Nutrition and Human Performance (3rd Ed), McArdle WD, Katch, FI, Katch VL, Lea & Febiger, 1991

Level 4 Strength & Conditioning Course

If you’re looking for the most in-depth, comprehensive blend of online learning and classroom tuition from experienced Strength & Conditioning Coaches, our Strength & Conditioning Level 4 Coach course is for you. This is our most popular and flagship training course which leads to a highly regarded and industry recognised certification. The course is perfect for Personal Trainers and those with a good level of sport/sport science knowledge. Our team of tutors will support you every step of the way. You will graduate with all the tools, knowledge, understanding and talent to build an amazing business and career.

Strength & Conditioning Fundamentals Course

Prefer to start with the very basics before venturing into the full level 4 Strength & Conditioning course? Master the strength & conditioning fundamentals with our online programme which will enable you to learn the basics in your own time, easy to fit around your life and other commitments, whilst beginning your journey into strength & conditioning. This course often leads onto more formal specialisms in personal training and strength training.  


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How to Return to Coaching After Covid 19: Covid Comeback Plan Wed, 22 Jul 2020 11:35:27 +0000 Read More


The Covid 19 pandemic has affected lives around the world in unprecedented ways. Health and Fitness changed to an online only phenomenon overnight & in this fast paced environment, as coaches we need to be able to adapt quickly.

Are you concerned about your return to coaching? Needing inspiration to jump back in with your athletes? 

This guide by SCE CEO Brendan Chaplin ‘The Covid Comeback Plan’ discusses ideas to inspire you to get back out there, putting yourself in a strong position for both now and the future!

Get Your Free Covid Comeback E book Below

Definitive Deadlift Guide


Level 4 Strength & Conditioning Course

If you’re looking for the most in-depth, comprehensive blend of online learning and classroom tuition from experienced Strength & Conditioning Coaches, our Strength & Conditioning Level 4 Coach course is for you. This is our most popular and flagship training course which leads to a highly regarded and industry recognised certification. The course is perfect for Personal Trainers and those with a good level of sport/sport science knowledge. Our team of tutors will support you every step of the way. You will graduate with all the tools, knowledge, understanding and talent to build an amazing business and career.

Strength & Conditioning Fundamentals Course

Prefer to start with the very basics before venturing into the full level 4 Strength & Conditioning course? Master the strength & conditioning fundamentals with our online programme which will enable you to learn the basics in your own time, easy to fit around your life and other commitments, whilst beginning your journey into strength & conditioning. This course often leads onto more formal specialisms in personal training and strength training.  


How To Become a Strength and Conditioning Coach Wed, 15 Jul 2020 08:36:12 +0000 Read More


Want to know how to become a Strength and Conditioning Coach? Good news, you’ve come to the right place!

Strength and Conditioning Coaches are growing in popularity because the training method has become more widely recognised as being beneficial to everyone. It’s no longer seen as just for super-elite sportsmen and women.

It only takes a look around your local gym to see the industry growth in action with more & more facilities introducing performance equipment like Olympic weight lifting platforms, bumper plates and plyo boxes. With functional training rising in popularity the need for Strength & Conditioning Coaches is set to continue to grow. Strength & Conditioning is more than just lifting weights, it encompasses the entire development of the human body and focuses on what is needed to improve general movement, health, and physical performance. This includes plyometrics, speed and agility, mobility, core stability and endurance with weight training.

It’s an exciting time to become a Strength and Conditioning Coach and with the right training & education, you can deliver huge rewards to clients young and old, conditioned & de-conditioned.

In this article, we want to help you uncover how to become the best Strength & Conditioning Coach you can be with a solid education and knowledge that can transform the lives of those you work with.

Let’s start as all good articles do, at the very beginning. But if you can’t wait and need answers fast, click the links below to answer your question.

This article covers:


What is Strength & Conditioning Coach?

Put into its simplest form a Strength & Conditioning Coach is a fitness professional who will use their knowledge of strength & conditioning principles to assess, programme and coach their clients to move better with reduced risk of injury. A Strength & Conditioning Coach wants to see you perform more effectively in any given activity, whether that’s a 100-metre sprint or simply being able to get up out of your chair.

Exercises are prescribed by an S & C Coach to improve performance using a combination of strength training and aerobic conditioning, to help injury prevention, teach proper movement mechanics and accelerate performance.

Strength and Conditioning training can be used to:

  •         Avoid injury and improve movement efficiency
  •         Improve all-round body strength 
  •         Improve running & movement techniques
  •         Increase power
  •         Support mental wellbeing and increase confidence and self-esteem 

What is the difference between a Strength & Conditioning Coach and a Personal Trainer?

Whilst both roles work to improve your fitness, a Personal Trainer will focus on a broader range of client. Goals can be anything from fat loss to muscle gain, running a 5k to increasing overall health and wellbeing. A Strength & Conditioning Coach is more specialised and instead of focusing on body composition, they will look to improve your performance in any given activity.

It is often said the difference between a PT and a Strength & Conditioning Coach is that Personal Trainers work with the general public, whilst S & C Coaches work with athletes. Many Strength & Conditioning Coaches do indeed work with athletes, but the title is not exclusive to them. We all use Strength & Conditioning and could benefit from improved movement and reduced injury.

Programming is very different for a Strength & Conditioning Coach because where most PT’s would be working towards a goal more focused on physical appearance (in general) a Strength & Conditioning Coach needs to design a programme to optimise movement performance. Programming is based heavily in science & evidence-based practice, focused on functionality. 

There are lots of routes into the market to become a Fitness Professional, but when it comes to becoming a Strength & Conditioning Coach the market is far more specialised. 

Who can become a Strength and Conditioning Coach?

With the right work ethic and a good education provider, anyone can develop a career as a Strength & Conditioning Coach. We suggest doing your research on training providers, read their feedback and speak to their team. You need to be confident in your education provider as they will help shape your future as a coach. Look for a provider that will help with your continued development once you are qualified.

To give you an idea of who does become a Strength & Conditioning Coach, we surveyed Strength & Conditioning course graduates to discover their job roles at entry-level. 

As you can see, people from a wide variety of backgrounds are able to go on to become Strength & Conditioning Coaches.

*Data surveyed from Strength & Conditioning Education Students & Graduates.

What makes a good Strength & Conditioning Coach?

There are many personality traits that can help you to become a great Strength & Conditioning Coach and many of these you’re likely to already have if you work in the industry. There is no one size fits all, but the following traits will certainly help.

Good organisation skills. You’ll need good organisational skills to ensure you keep track of your client’s programming, sessions, progress and results. You’ll need to be able to work your diary to get the best for your clients. Good timekeeping and organisation will help you deliver results.

Being a good communicator equally is a fantastic skill to bring to your work as a Strength and Conditioning Coach. You’ll be working with a range of clients who should trust your knowledge and understand the tasks you set them.

Having the ability to motivate people is another great skill to utilise as a coach. Being a great motivator will ensure your clients are always encouraged to perform at their best in your sessions. Great Strength & Conditioning Coaches tend to be very perceptive, they have been trained to look for tweaks in movement patterns that can make huge differences to performance and good movement mechanics & help prevent injuries before they happen.

Another transferable skill is confidence, confidence in strength and conditioning comes with a good certification which will help you master the skills and also with experience. Having confidence in your own abilities as a coach will help your clients have confidence in you and themselves too. 

From a more practical perspective, we’ve found typically that great Strength & Conditioning Coaches have: 

  • In-depth science-based knowledge of exercise programming, anatomy and movement.
  • Ambition & a great work ethic.
  • Excellent attention to detail. 
  • A thirst for knowledge & willingness to continue to learn throughout their career.
  • Industry recognised certifications that will enable them to get fully insured.

Do you need certifications to become a Strength & Conditioning Coach?

Certifications will help you take your passion and real-life experience to the next level. 

If you’re looking to become a Strength & Conditioning Coach after searching on google, you’re likely to believe that the only way forward is a very expensive bachelor’s degree & whilst for some roles this may be the case, it doesn’t mean you can’t become a coach without one – it’s certainly not a requirement of one of our courses!

We recommend finding a professional level certification which gives you the ability to practice as a coach and gain insurance.  A certification should also give you the knowledge to be competent and confident in your abilities as a coach. A good strength and conditioning course will give you support throughout. There should options for continued development following your certification that will allow you to grow into a successful coach.

How do I become a successful coach?

Success is different for everyone. What defines your success as a coach, may not define another’s. Following the steps below will help you on your way to success, whatever that may look like for you.

  1. Educate yourself to a higher level by learning from people who are experienced in the industry. A good teacher will make all the difference & help you develop towards success.
  2. Get a good certification that will allow you to get insurance, that will teach you how to get results based on scientific evidence, as well as support you, before, during and after the course itself with continuing education. 
  3. Network with people who are doing what you want to do. If you want your own gym go and meet gym owners. If you want to work in elite sport go and speak with high-performance sports coaches. Lap up any advice given to you & keep in touch, networking is great for when opportunities do arise down the line!
  4. Keep going. Accept from the outset that it will take time and you cannot become great overnight. With that in mind, prepare to put several years into your quest to get to the top. One thing that we need to accept as coaches is that the journey never ends. There’s nothing more exciting to a good coach than knowing there is always more to learn!

Do you need experience to become a Strength & Conditioning Coach?

Whilst you don’t need experience to get qualified – experience can make the difference between just being a coach and being a good coach. 

Gaining experience is important when you’re early on in your career. It will help you to develop into the best coach you can be. A great way to do this is to surround yourself with like-minded people. A good mentor with industry experience will be able to offer practical advice and share their wisdom with you. Shadowing a coach you admire is a great example of how you can do this. 

Experience will help you develop wisdom as a great Strength and Conditioning Coach. Simply applying your skills to real-life scenarios will improve your coaching and your confidence in training people. It will also highlight the areas of your knowledge that you need to improve on which then should guide your reading and continued education in Strength & Conditioning

Every client you coach will teach you not only about themselves, but also about how you teach as a coach. With every new client you sign up, you’ll bring something new to the table. You’ll develop a detailed knowledge of coaching from every opportunity you take to train clients. 

Where can I get experience as a Strength and Conditioning Coach?

The best place in the UK to look for internships and opportunities in strength and conditioning is the UK Sport Job site. There are always opportunities to take on this site. Strength & Conditioning Education also have an online portal (which is free to join) which has access to multiple partners in the industry who can help you find relevant job roles.

Ready to get started & get Strength & Conditioning Coach certified?

Here at Strength and Conditioning Education, we’ve helped thousands of people reach their potential with careers in Strength and Conditioning and you could be next.

We are the market leader when it comes to delivering Strength and Conditioning Education.  

Our vision is simple, we want to build better coaches and improve coaching practice. We have an enviable tutor team of world-renowned professionals in their field. Many of our tutors still work with elite sports professionals & national teams as well as run their own gyms or training facilities. Our support teams also come from the sport and gym sector, they know first hand the highs and lows of life in the health, fitness & sports industry so they can help you on your journey as a coach. 

We are on a mission to drive up the standards of Strength and Conditioning training and coaching. Working with a great global network of graduates and alumni we have already trained more than one thousand professionals just like you. 

Our courses are entirely evidence-based. You’ll be empowered with the knowledge to apply scientifically proven training methods to deliver what really matters – results. 

Level 4 Strength & Conditioning Course

If you’re looking for the most in-depth, comprehensive blend of online learning and classroom tuition from experienced Strength & Conditioning Coaches, our Strength & Conditioning Level 4 Coach course is for you. This is our most popular and flagship training course which leads to a highly regarded and industry recognised certification. The course is perfect for Personal Trainers and those with a good level of sport/sport science knowledge. Our team of tutors will support you every step of the way. You will graduate with all the tools, knowledge, understanding and talent to build an amazing business and career.

Strength & Conditioning Fundamentals Course

Prefer to start with the very basics before venturing into the full level 4 Strength & Conditioning course? Master the strength & conditioning fundamentals with our online programme which will enable you to learn the basics in your own time, easy to fit around your life and other commitments, whilst beginning your journey into strength & conditioning. This course often leads onto more formal specialisms in personal training and strength training.  


Learning in Lockdown: How to Keep Up Your S&C Education Wed, 24 Jun 2020 18:15:14 +0000 Read More

For many of us, it’s been months since we’ve been able to load up a bar, train with our athletes or even take part in sports. It’s a challenging time for all, particularly those in the fitness industry, but S & C training will return & we want to help you be the best coach you can be when it does.

This article shares a few ideas of how you can keep learning with us online & where to find resources 

For S &C Beginners:

New to S&C, why not spend some time uncovering what strength & conditioning really is and how it can be used to benefit you and your client. 

For those starting out we have a great article called: ‘What is Strength & Conditioning?’ an excellent resource and an obvious place to start, this article will help you discover if S&C is for you.

We also run an excellent online course for beginners which teaches all the basic principles of S&C called The Fundamentals. It’s great for beginners to master the foundations or even for experienced coaches to grab a few reminders and polish up their knowledge. The course helps you learn how to train to build strength, power, speed, movement and conditioning and be able to coach all the key strength exercises. Following the Fundamentals course, you’ll be ready to jump into our Level 4 Strength and Conditioning Award and excel in your career and business. 

For Intermediate S & C:

For those with intermediate knowledge, (ie already working in the fitness industry with a good base knowledge of S&C) we have a huge supply of educational content. In fact, free content has been a big focus of ours during lockdown, giving our students and coaches a positive focus whilst continuing to share our expertise despite the distance. 

You can find a plethora of information shared here on our blog, but if you’re looking to find something more interactive, our live sessions and video recording are for you…

Each week our CEO Brendan Chaplin and other Elite Coaches have been hosting Facebook live sessions based on all the subjects you told us you want to learn about most; these include how to write programmes, how to build your business, how to develop a brand, top mistakes to avoid and more. It’s been amazing to have so many students join us live and we hope you will too. To join the live sessions simply follow this link and give our Facebook page a like, we update the calendar regularly. If you’ve missed out on a previous session you also have the freedom to watch all of our previous live sessions via the video section on our Facebook.

There are hours of content here to inform and inspire. If you watch a video and have a burning question, we’re also at hand on our Facebook messenger to answer any questions.

Ready for something more formal?

Our Level 4 award is our industry-leading course and has been designed to help you become one of the most knowledgeable strength and conditioning coaches in the industry. Our in-depth course is made up of group-based practical learning and flexible online modules that can be accessed from home or on the go. We believe that anybody can benefit from a great Strength and Conditioning Programme and our students along with their clients are excellent examples of this. During the pandemic we’ve bought this course fully online with further details and options available here:

For Advanced S & C :

For our Level 4 graduates and experienced S&C Coaches, we’ve also been developing new content. Our 5-day challenge develops your skills as a coach, challenging you to become better by addressing your strengths, weaknesses and goals. To catch up on the challenge you can view the daily content by joining the Facebook group here.

We have also developed a new programme based on feedback over the years called the Elite Coach Mentorship. This new programme has been developed to help coaches reach their full potential, to help them build confidence and be mentored through the process of becoming an elite coach. This 12-week intensive course will start on July 6th. For more details visit our ECM page.

These are just a few ideas of how you can keep up your education with us and we hope that we can be your go-to for all things S&C related.

If you have any further questions, you can get on touch with us via our Facebook page. 

What’s the difference between a Strength & Conditioning Coach and a Personal Trainer Wed, 29 Apr 2020 15:02:07 +0000 Read More

Ultimately, if you work in the fitness industry, your aim is to help your clients achieve their fitness goals, however, a Strength & Conditioning Coach and a Personal Trainer go about this in two different ways.

To train the general public in 1-1 sessions, most gyms require you to achieve a Level 3 diploma in Personal Training, this ensures you have all the basic skills to understand the anatomy of training and how to build basic programmes for clients. The PT market is growing rapidly and Level 3 courses can have quite a distinct variety of quality in the content and delivery of the qualification, so if this is a route you’re looking to go down, be sure to go with a company that has a good reputation within the industry, great reviews from students and is REPS accredited. A choice we recommend is Premier Global.

A Strength and Conditioning Coach is usually qualified as a level 3 PT and then chooses the specialist area of S&C to take them to Level 4, which is a step further in their education to advance their knowledge in this specific area. Of course, there are other methods into Strength & Conditioning, but this is the path we see most frequently at Strength & Conditioning Education. The Level 4 Strength & Conditioning course allows PT’s to have a greater knowledge of advanced training methods and equipment associated with strength & conditioning. Our Level 4 Strength & Conditioning course helps our students not only learn more but also gives them an edge in a very competitive market by being of a higher qualification status than a standard Level 3 Personal Trainer.

Key differences between Personal Trainers & Strength and Conditioning Coaches:

The Level of Knowledge 

Strength and Conditioning focuses particularly on movement quality, although this is an area of focus in personal training, S&C delves much deeper into the methodology. Students on our courses will often have never practised Olympic weightlifting, strength training, plyometrics, speed and agility, mobility, core stability and endurance to such an advanced level. These are advanced methods which are fundamental to becoming a Strength & Conditioning Coach. To learn more about what fundamentally defines strength and conditioning check out our article: What is strength and conditioning?

The Style of Practice 

Continuing on from the area of further in-depth knowledge discussed above, you’ll notice a difference in the programming of an S&C session, as there are different areas of focus. If you paid for a single PT session and spent 20 minutes warming up, you might not be too impressed, however, for S&C coaches conducting a full RAMP warm-up is critical to the session and make even take longer. The warm-up is not only used to prepare for action in S&C but also to improve performance. Coaches will program RAMP warm-ups with varying components for the activity ahead and these will be different during each session. Periodisation is also critical throughout an S&C program to achieve increased power, strength, mobility and performance.

The Ability to Comprehensively Assess Movement 

A PT will learn how to assess their client’s movement, but an S&C coach will take that assessment a step further. Strength & Conditioning Coaches understand how to identify poor movement qualities, relate poor movement quality to sports performance and injury risk – and how to adapt programming to suit the needs of individual athletes that demonstrate limited movement.        

The Training Setting

Where a PT can work out of most mainstream gyms or facilities an S&C Coach requires more specialist kit such as Olympic lifting platforms and plates. An S&C Coach will also often need to take their athlete to a relevant training ground for work on performance, speed or agility amongst other training methods. As coaches typically work with teams you’ll often find the club have their own training ground or hire grounds that are representative of the sport they are training for. For their non-athlete clients or 1-1 sessions, S&C Coaches will source facilities with designated strength & conditioning kit.

Career Opportunities 

After becoming an S&C Coach there are more opportunities available with regards to the type of client trained. Whilst typically we think of PTs working with the general public, becoming an S&C Coach brings with it the potential to train athletes or even teams to higher performance, as well as the general public a PT is exposed to. An S&C coach has far more choice in the diversity of clients as well as specialist areas, for example, you might become a youth specialist. 

Earning Potential

People value coaches more. Why? Because you’re educated to a higher level. Just like a university lecturer makes more than a school teacher; the enhanced skills lead to an enhanced earning potential. What is also typical of coaches is that they can increase their pricing based on experience and proven results as the years go by.

According to  Indeed the average Strength and Conditioning Coach salary in the UK is £25,000 per annum, with the range between 18k – 35k, whereas the average PT the average wage is £19,417 a year according to Payscale. The fitness industry is full of potential and worth billions, so don’t let these figures hold you back.

Communication Skills 

Where an S&C coach works with a far more tailored approach, you’ll find your communication skills dramatically increase. You’ll need to be asking better questions of your clients to get more from them. The better the questions asked, the better the answers you get.

Brand & Profile 

As your skills are enhanced by upgrading from Level 3 to Level 4 you’ll find your profile is heightened too. The higher level of knowledge can lead to a higher demand of clients which will help build your business as a coach. How you now market your skills is critical. You need to be the voice of knowledge and you need to understand the benefits of your newly unlocked skills. We offer a fantastic partnership with Strength & Success who run a Business Blueprint Course, perfect for fine-tuning how you take your new skills and build a successful brand and business.

Check out our range of courses which can help you take the leap from PT to S&C Coach today!

We also have a range of courses which you can complete entirely remotely online here:

Level 4 Strength & Conditioning Course – online versions

Free Ebook: A Definitive Guide to Deadlifts by Brendan Chaplin Mon, 30 Mar 2020 15:10:42 +0000

Deadlifting is a Strength & Conditioning Fundamental. Often referred to as ‘the king’ of strength exercises, it is essential for developing maximal strength. In this guide Brendan explains the variations of the deadlift, who they suit and how to perform them. To get your copy simply fill out the form below and a copy will be sent to the details given.

Training For Speed With Jared Deacon Wed, 19 Feb 2020 13:45:34 +0000 Read More

In this article S & C Coach Jared discusses a common hurdle coaches face, should they train their athletes for speed or will it increase risk of injury?

Jared is a former international 400m athlete and has competed at every major senior international championship throughout a 10-year career. Currently, Jared is the Scottish Rugby Union Academy S&C Coach. He shares his thoughts below:

There are many interesting takes on what constitutes speed and the development of this ability. When looking at running based speed development for ‘on feet’ sports there are many reasons why the technical skills and physical capabilities of speed should be developed and regularly rehearsed.There can be some resistance to speed training, with two arguments being – it is potentially injurious and, players don’t reach those speeds on the court/pitch/field.

Let’s address each of these arguments in turn: Potentially Injurious – yes it is. However, so are many other training and competition practices which we are happy to continue to do. Like many of these other practices, if delivered in the right way, the athletes/players are prepared properly and with appropriate progressions then the chances of injury are reduced. The most effective way to prepare for something that might cause harm is to practice that thing under controlled conditions – if you get sore quads from squatting then guess what? Doing more regular squatting will get rid of that. This is the same with sprinting. Once a capacity has been developed and tolerance has built up, then risk of injury and/or soreness is then reduced. Irregular exposure or inappropriate technical and intensity progression to above 95% of maximum speed is where problems occur.

Additionally, not exposing players to regular dosages of high speed running within training may divert the chances of injury to the competitive arena when this skill/capacity/ability is called upon at a vital moment! Even those athletes doing all the Nordics or hinge based hamstring exercises they can will not achieve levels of muscular activation through the hamstrings that sprinting will achieve – the best hamstring strengthener and conditioner for running (and transferable to many other activities) is high speed running.

Game Speed – the second argument about the speeds required on the pitch can also be countered. The development of high speed running abilities is not a direct leap to say ‘we do this because this is what happens on the field’. It is a fundamental athletic ability. The ability to move quickly is transferable and underpins a wide range of athletic traits that athletes of many sports would find beneficial.

Those that run fast can normally jump high, lift things quickly, throw things far and have a greater potential to increase change of direction speed, even if it is initially the development of what is labelled ‘linear speed’, those transfers are there. Even if you are running quickly in a curved arc, your hips are pointed in the direction of travel and the fundamental shapes, intents and positions of high speed running are there. Improving the range of athletic abilities that high speed running impacts positively on creates a better athlete for the coach to use and improve in their sports specific training.

Additionally, those athletes with speed capabilities can also operate at a lower relative effort around the field of play. If I can run 9.5m/s and my competitor can move at 8.5m/s and the game is played at an average of 8m/s then it is going to feel easier for me to play that game than it is for my competitor. This gives me multiple advantages and places go to that my competitor cannot. If I increase my top speed then I can have an even bigger cushion or can choose to operate at faster speeds for the same relative costs! Don’t dismiss speed.

You can follow Jared @jaredmdeacon

6 signs you or your athletes are training too hard Tue, 04 Feb 2020 10:58:05 +0000 http://066050ad-67ae-4d53-8c23-15f47382abc6 Read More


How much training should I be doing? 

One of the questions coaches often get asked by athletes is: ‘Just how much should I be doing?’. The aim is always to get the balance right both for technical practice and training elements such as strength and conditioning.

How often you should work out is a very difficult one to answer as ultimately….it depends on the individual! Whilst we can’t advise on individual athletes capabilities to load on more work without assessing them, there are some generalisations on the things that determine training volume.

Factors that determine training volume

Here are some of the key factors that determine how often should you work out:

Your Sport: All coaches argue that their sport is highly technical in nature. There is no question that sports like tennis require a huge volume of repetition of specific techniques, plus drilling and matchplay is in addition. The same goes for mixed martial arts as it is such a varied and complex sport.

Just hitting forehand after forehand or armbar after armbar and whatever else you may do in your sport is not going to get you the results you desire and can lead to injury from overuse. Practice qulaity movement patterns with your clients that will help them achieve better movement & performance in their sport. Using movement patterns that compliment your athlete’s sport will ensure variety and help prevent overtraining. Keep an eye on their form at all times and remember “Quality over Quantity”.

Your Age: Clearly children and young adolescents cannot handle the same training volume as adults. Quality training sessions are the goal with youth strength & conditioning. Young adults can tolerate more hours of training and then as you get older you probably need to calm it down again!

S & C Coach Brendan explains: “In my experience, the age group of 19-27 give or take a year or so, can tolerate consistently intense periods of training whilst people above and below those ages should be spending more time on recovery and restoration type work such as stretching, massage. Most 20-year-old rugby players can recover very quickly from the training loads imposed on them whilst you definitely need to be more careful with the older players to prevent them from breaking down. I would say that as you get older a greater percentage of your overall training time needs to be spent on recovery methods whether this is foam rolling, stretching, active recovery…or just sitting on the sofa with the family!”

Your psychological make-up: Some people just like to be in the gym or practising as much as possible. This applies to a lot of combat athletes. The old mantra ‘Train Hard Fight Easy’ rings true in a lot of cases.

Other athletes like to be meticulous in their technical preparation and will spend hours perfecting specific movements. Jonny Wilkinson springs to mind for his marathon kicking sessions long after training has finished.

Then there are athletes who work extremely hard during the sessions and then like to go home and recover.

Other factors in your life: Some sports even at the highest levels are not full-time careers for many people. Juggling work with training is one of the hardest things both as a coach and an athlete. As a coach, you need to design your sessions to fit around peoples fatigue from work and performance levels, as an athlete you want to train hard but still perform in the workplace! What’s the answer? The answer is to be realistic in your training goals. You can still perform at the highest levels whilst working a full-time job. You need to think quality, not quantity. If you’re a boxer its no good spending hours sparring aimlessly with people who aren’t challenging you for example!

Other factors such as family commitments, travelling to training and activities of daily living can affect your training and should be planned for accordingly as much as possible.

How much training is too much?

The main danger of training too many hours is you risk experiencing overtraining syndrome.

Overtraining is essentially a scenario where you are too fatigued to continue with your training and the only way to get over it is to adjust your training substantially. However, it’s not as easy as this. Overtraining symptoms are not just tiredness which we all experience from time to time. Overtraining is a chronic condition that exposure to excessive volumes of training can lead to. The key to preventing this overtraining condition is being pro-active rather than reactive. Making sure you adjust your training when your fatigued and listening to your body rather than aimlessly pushing through sessions.

As a coach, you play a very important role in this process as athletes generally want to demonstrate that they can go through anything the coach asks of them. You need to regularly programme in periods of low load work in to your training programmes to allow for recovery. If you are in a sport where this is challenging then you need to educate the athletes around you to take control themselves by using the checklist below.

Overtraining syndrome symptoms

Below is a list of practical points to check for symptoms of overtraining.

1.Waking Heart Rate: Your baseline resting heart rate on waking first thing is a very handy measure to know. Any sudden increases or decreases which are maintained for a number of days should be considered carefully. 6 beats per minute is significant, 12 beats per minute is a huge amount.

2.Bodyweight: Your weight ideally taken first thing in the morning can go hand in hand with your heart rate reading. You’re looking for sudden changes day to day which are sustained over a period of time.

3.Sleep quality: Periods of disturbed sleep are signs of potential over-reaching symptoms. Have a look at your training regime if this is occurring.

4.Nutrition: Lack of appetite for no apparent reason.

5.Poor training quality: This could be a loss in strength for no apparent reason or an inability to concentrate in technical sessions. Also, a greater rate of perceived exertion in a session for no apparent reason can be a sign of over-reaching/overtraining. For example, you might be squatting 100kg week 1 and week 3 still 100kg but you feel more fatigued in the second session.

6.General Mood: Very simple measures such as how your feeling can go a long way when combined with the more quantitative measures shown above.

Obviously with all these, you need to be sensible. If you have had a late night partying and go to train the next day (which of course none of us would do), clearly your performance will not be as good and is not a sign of overtraining! When considering these points they will rarely happen in isolation, in fact you can quite regularly see 3 or more of these symptoms occurring.

Training Diaries…the answer to the problem?

The use of training diaries should be considered by all athletes as a way of measuring progress from a performance perspective and also recovery and restoration.

In truth this is the only way to answer the question of how much training is enough is by tracking and monitoring week in week out, so you can formulate a picture as to how the individual responds to their training and then make recommendations for improvements in the next phase or block of training which makes this little piece of kit a very valuable tool!

Level 4 Strength and Conditioning Course

Learn more about the science of training on our level 4 course and take your understanding to a master coach level!

Fundamentally It’s The Fundamentals That Are Important Wed, 29 Jan 2020 13:50:42 +0000 Read More


In this article, Jared shares with us his thoughts on the fundamentals, the key movements which underpin all human movement & performance.

Jared is a former international 400m athlete and has competed at every major senior international championship throughout a 10-year career. Currently, Jared is the Scottish Rugby Union Academy S&C Coach.

Being the father of three children (11, 9 and 6) we are inundated with clubs and activities all week long. My wife competed internationally as a sprinter, as did I. We understand performance and what it entails to compete at that level. The conversations we have with other parents are really interesting. The concern and complaints about the 9-year-old who isn’t selected to play in the under 11s 7-a-side football instead of remaining in the 5-a-side where they get more game time and time on the ball. It’s a status in the eyes of the parent’s thing, rather than asking the question….are they having fun and trying hard? These are the two key factors – effort and enjoyment. Without these, there isn’t going to be a progression, a sense of fulfilment, and ignition of motivation.

Not every child is going to be amazing at football, but they have far more chance of success (however their parents and themselves wish to define that) with effort and enjoyment. As for me and my wife, this is our focus with our kids. The first question I ask after football or swimming or athletics or cubs or beavers or hockey is if they enjoyed it and then if they tried hard in their session or competition. That to us is all that matters. If there is any pressure from us, it is pressure to try and hard and see their effort in what they are doing.

At their young ages, what are they going to try and pursue a bit more seriously or possibly excel in? Who knows, but it is unlikely to be the thing we force them to do too much, too often and too intensely. There is plenty of time to succeed. What’s the hurry!?

The second aspect of thinking about this is where doing a variety of sports and activities fits in. I’m a big fan of the concept of ‘physical literacy’ or ‘physical competency’ as advocated by coaches like Kelvin Giles. The variety of skills and abilities learned through multiple sports and activities rather than an early specialization in one can pay huge advantages in children going on to become adults excelling at sport.

Here is my analogy: If we relate physical literacy to literacy of our English language. We have 26 letters in our alphabet and from those letters, we can make up over 1 million words! If we had fewer letters we could make up fewer words. Each sport provides a number of letters, but no one sport provides them all. Some provide more than others and some letters are more important than others in the development of key movement skills. What underpins all of the letters/movements? The fundamentals of human movement.

Most coaches involved in the physical preparation aspects of athletes will agree on a list of 10-12 ‘fundamental’ movements which underpin human movement. Each of these movements have progressions, regressions and a wide range of variations and this is before you think about adding any load to the movements!

What are these fundamentals?
Squat, lunge, hinge, push, pull, press, brace, rotate, run, jump, land, throw, carry. How are these fundamentals developed? We coach the core movement, create stable and consistent movement patterns, then add the variations, increase the capacity capabilities and progressively overload.

Bruce Lee said: “I fear not the man who has practised 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practised one kick 10,000 times. … If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.” In our world, I fear not the athlete who has practised 10,000 movements once, but I fear the athlete who has practised 1000 movements 10,000 times. … If you know the opposition and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.

You can follow Jared @jaredmdeacon

Life as a Strength & Conditioning Coach: Student Case Study Mon, 20 Jan 2020 17:08:45 +0000 Read More

Strength & Conditioning Education get students from all walks of life, all looking for exciting and successful careers in Strength & Conditioning. Today’s success story comes from business owner Rebecca Oladele. Read our interview with her below:

Rebecca, you’ve done amazing work since completing your level 4 with us; tell us where it all started:

My name is Rebecca Oladele, I’m 44 years old, married with 4 kids. I am the owner of Fitness business FIT2SPARKLE and I have been in the industry for over 10 years. My love for fitness started when I was 18 and I would work out in my living room to Billy Blanks Taebo and Claudia Schiffer’s full-body workouts. I graduated with a BSC in Pharmaceutical Science in 1999 and then after a light bulb moment in 2008, I decided to retrain and study to become an Advanced Personal trainer. 

When did you complete the Level 4 Strength & Conditioning Course? 

I completed my level 4 in strength and conditioning in August 2019

What happened after your Level 4 Course & how long did it take you to get set up?

The coach/tutor Mel Young who trained me for my level 4 contacted me after the practical part of the course whilst I was studying and preparing for the online exam and assessment day. She said she loved my attitude and could see my potential, she offered me an opportunity with Amazon24 Fitness as a Coach. Then the head of the Black Lion Swimming Team offered me the Strength and Conditioning Coach position for their competitive swimming team under Mel at Amazon24 Fitness to start in September 2019. All this happened before I had even passed the online exams and had done my assessment day so the pressure was on to pass as you can imagine. I passed in August and started as coach two weeks later. A few weeks after that I got offered an S&C coach role with the Champion aerobics gymnastics club. So I literally got started straight away.

What do you enjoy most about being a S&C Coach?

I love the variety. Each athlete is unique and requires a different plan which is lovely. I love working with my young swimmers and young gymnasts. I constantly study to tailor the sessions to the athlete’s needs so it keeps me on my toes. It’s both challenging and rewarding. I love that I can also incorporate S&C in my PT sessions too. 

How has the level 4 course helped develop your career?

I’m working with athletes now which is amazing.

 What is your greatest achievement in S & C?

Successfully completing and passing the course and getting to work with young athlete swimmers and gymnasts.

What’s next?

I would love to deliver S&C courses!

To follow Rebecca head to:

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