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 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.