How To Become a Strength and Conditioning Coach

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 Strength and Conditioning training method has become more widely recognised as being beneficial to everyone. It’s no longer seen as being just for super-elite sportspeople.

It only takes a quick look around your local gym to see the industry growth in action with more and 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 and Conditioning Coaches is set to continue to grow from strength to strength – pun intended. Strength and Conditioning is more than just lifting weights, it encompasses the entire development of the human body and focuses on what’s 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 and education, you can deliver huge rewards to clients young and old, conditioned and de-conditioned.

In this article, we’ll help you uncover how to become the best Strength and 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 a Strength and Conditioning Coach?

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

Exercises prescribed by a Strength and Conditioning Coach are there to improve performance using a combination of strength training and aerobic conditioning. These exercised are given 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’s the difference between a Strength and Conditioning Coach and a Personal Trainer?

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

It’s often said the difference between a Personal Trainer and a Strength and Conditioning Coach is that Personal Trainers work with the general public, whilst Strength and Conditioning Coaches work with athletes. Many Strength and Conditioning Coaches do indeed work with athletes, but the title is not exclusive to them. Everyone uses Strength and Conditioning and could benefit from improved movement and reduced injury.

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

There are lots of routes into the market to become a Fitness Professional, but when it comes to Strength and Conditioning 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 and Conditioning Coach. As with anything, we always suggest doing your research on training providers, read their feedback, check their accreditations, and speak to their team. You need to be confident in your education provider as they’ll 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 the type of people who become Strength and Conditioning Coaches, we surveyed Strength and Conditioning Education course graduates to discover their job roles at entry-level. 

Strength and Conditioning Coach

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

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

What makes a good Strength & Conditioning Coach?

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

  • 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.
  • Communication – 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.
  • Motivation – having the ability to motivate people is another great skill to utilise as a Strength and Conditioning Coach. Being a great motivator will ensure your clients are always encouraged to perform at their best in your sessions. Great Strength and Conditioning Coaches tend to be very perceptive. Their training has prepared them to look for tweaks in movement patterns that can make huge differences to performance and good movement mechanics and help prevent injuries before they happen.
  • Confidence – another transferable skill is confidence, confidence in strength and conditioning comes with good training 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 and Conditioning Coaches have: 

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

Do you need a certificate to become a Strength and 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 and 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 that gives you the ability to practice as a coach and gain insurance.  A Strength and Conditioning 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 provide you support throughout. There should be 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 and 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 and keep in touch, networking is great for when opportunities do arise down the line. A great place to start is our Elite Coach Network!
  4. Keep going. Accept from the outset that it’ll 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 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 and 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. Experience 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 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. We also have an online portal (which is free to join) that has access to multiple partners in the industry who can help you find relevant job roles.

Ready to get certified?

Here at Strength and Conditioning Education, we’ve helped thousands of people just like you 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 and national teams as well as run their own gyms or training facilities. Our support teams also come from the sport and fitness sector, they know firsthand the highs and lows of life in the health, fitness, and sports industry so they can help you on your journey as a coach. 

We’re 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 and Conditioning Course

If you’re looking for the most in-depth, comprehensive blend of online learning and classroom tuition from experienced Strength and Conditioning Coaches, our Strength and Conditioning Level 4 Coach course is perfect for you. Our most popular training course, this course will provide you with a highly regarded CIMSPA 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 needed to build an amazing business and career.

Strength and Conditioning Fundamentals Course

Prefer to start with the very basics before venturing into the full level 4 Strength and Conditioning course? Master the strength and 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 and conditioning. This course often leads onto more formal specialisms in personal training and strength training.  

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