The Importance of Following a Performance Strength and Conditioning Programme

The Bosworth Clinic Team

Strength and Conditioning, three words that are so often bandied about by athletes and sportsmen alike but what does it actually mean and how can it be used to best impact performance?

Go big or go home?

Most people think of gym workouts as getting big or pumped or as a strict Cross Fit regime, and although elements of proper performance strength and conditioning can be found in each of these ideas, realistically, there is so much more to it than that. When you talk to almost every amateur athlete, they will certainly talk about using their sport for training. However, when asking top athletes, what differs is that they will also talk about a correct performance strength and conditioning package which ties into their training regime in order to improve their power to weight ratios, limit injury and improve movement patterns. [See this interesting blog – a Q&A with the Strength and Conditioning Coach: Paul Ledger]

Get smart or get out.

So how does a correct performance-based strength and conditioning programme differ from any old strength programme? Firstly, everyone moves differently. There are no right or wrong ways of moving, but there are more efficient ones and the limits of one person’s movement patterns may be easily within someone else’s. This does matter. Will your movements limit or enhance what your sport is asking of you? Will your movement pattern increase the chance of injury which will lead to a lack of consistency from training? [Are your small movements all in order?]

In our experience, when testing athletes of all different abilities, there are very few who are strong enough to consistently train effectively for their sport. This means that people are not being as efficient as they could (should) be in their training. For endurance sports, it is usually not the fastest person who wins but the person who slows down the least. That usually happens as people lose form. Losing form can generally be linked to both training specifically for the event and having the strength to hold good form. 

"You have to start with the athlete and understand the stresses of the sport"

Many strength and conditioning experiences start by working with people who are from a non-performance background, or do not fully understand the loading mechanism of your body and indeed the load coping mechanisms that are negative when looking at sport-specific performance.

Ollie training for the demands of downhill mountain running

However, the performance gains of a tailored, sport specific strength and conditioning programme when done correctly can be huge. At Tri Training Harder, we use a variety of Functional Movement Screening (FMS) tests watched closely by experts to identify the best path forward for the athlete which importantly can be used to supplement, and closely link in with, the athletes existing training  and nutrition programme. 

Everything must be in phase.

Without appropriate conversations, starting from initial testing through to race week, strength and conditioning will not be in phase with the training programme so is unlikely to have the full effect on the performance of the athlete. The two programmes must be mutually inclusive and not separate. The coach must direct the strength and conditioning programme and ensure that the training loads are sufficient to allow the conditioning adaptions needed in both programmes. But without having both talking to each other, it is very difficult to get the performance enhancements required and then all you end up doing is ‘exercising’!

So if you want to incorporate strength and conditioning into your training programme, seek expert advice and testing to ensure it is tailored to you and secondly, speak to your coach to align it with your existing training programme. This way you can achieve the greatest performance enhancements to your training and ultimately racing.

Do you want to a Performance Strength program?

Follow this link to see how we can integrate your strength and conditioning programme with your current coaching package and start seeing your improvements today. Avoiding poor quality advice is really hard to do in an era where the growth of the sports and leisure industry means that there are a lot of 'experts' about. If you are unsure, then speak to your coach today.