What is Strength & Conditioning?


What is Strength & Conditioning?

At Pinnacle we’ve been personal training in Southampton and the surrounding areas for a number of years now and all to often we come across a few common issues and questions but the one that crops up quite frequently is that pertaining to strength & conditioning, what actually is it? From a non-technical point of view, it simply means get yourself down the gym if you are serious about improving the physical attributes that can limit performance in your respective sport.


To often do we see tennis players, golfers, runners (the list is endless) either complaining about an injury or are taped to death with strapping in order to support the dominant limbs for their sport. I once sat down with a tennis player at the local club after playing a 3 set match and asked him if he was ok? He replied “I’m ok”, whilst grasping his left shoulder. It turned out that he had a reoccurring problem which he had for some years! I asked if he had ever done something about the issue? “Yes” he replied, “I’ve been to the physiotherapist on many occasions but It never really gets better”. I asked “did you do the exercises he prescribed”? The short answer was sort of, no wonder! This is not uncommon, the vast majority can’t be bothered, it’s too much like hard work attaching a band and doing your rehabilitation that has been given to you and cost approximately £40-50 per hour, what a waste! I hate to guess but I’d say that the majority of tennis players at my club don’t go within 10 metres of a gym!


I’ve recently started running because of a challenge that I’ve got coming up and it’s interesting that when I lined up to start the Silverstone half marathon and the Eastleigh 10k that there was a a lot of negativity, it seam that most runners always complain about injuries and niggles, how about replying with “yes I’ve been training hard and I’m up for this”! Back when I was a competitive runner years ago this type of negativity was the norm, I think it all comes back to what I mentioned in the last paragraph, after a bit of Q & A it’s the severe lack of gym training that’s the issue.


Now having said all this, you do have to be careful what gym training you do, attending a brainless circuits class or the local Zumba session will not suffice. The benefits of a structured, performance orientated strength & conditioning program is far superior. However, there are some group classes that will attend to an individual’s needs but that doesn’t mean you should feel pressured to keep up everyone else, with a complete disregard to form or technique. A classic example would be the common group sessions in which you will be directed to perform back to back continuous movements, often involving heavy loads that when performed incorrectly can have an adverse effect and sometimes cause injury. This would be the exact opposite of performing exercise to complement your sport. The first and most important aspect of any athlete’s training program should be injury resistance, not increase the chance of injury!


If you play a sport in any form you should support it by going to the gym and conducting a strength & conditioning program with a qualified coach, even if it is only one session per week. A specific protocol for pre-training (warm up/preparation) and post-training (cool down) should also be performed with further consideration to your nutrition and hydration strategies.


In summary, the classic saying runs true ‘failing to prepare is preparing to fail’, so you should consider all options and if you’ve trained hard the results can be profoundly astonishing.