Strength and conditioning, what is it and what are its benefits? This is where I feel like I have the strongest opinion. Having trained as a strength and conditioning coach and also  having been given the opportunity to work with athletes who are at the top of their own individual sports, I have gained some valuable experience in the world of S and C.  I have seen the benefits day in day out since.

Strength and Conditioning and strength and conditioning coaches are broad terms. When people hear it I feel like all they think of is squats, weights, pain and squats! It is much more exciting than this! I prefer the term Performance Enhancement and performance specialists (PS). This describes the industry and their minions a little better. There is a big crossover between PS and physio’s when it comes to Sports performance.

Being strong and more resilient against injury does not mean that you need to curl 60kg in each arm, squat 200kg and have upper traps like Mt. Taranaki. Being strong means that you are efficient at generating and transferring energy in multiple directions no matter what size or shape you are. And the more efficient you are, the less risk of injury there is.

To achieve this, you need to introduce yourself to resistance training. In a study done in 2013 on over 26,000 participants it showed that a programme of strength training reduced sports injuries to less than 1/3 and overuse injuries could be almost halved. Amazing figures. Convinced yet?!

But what the heck do I even do in the gym? First answer, do not use isolated exercises like bicep curl machines or leg extensions unless you are competing for Mr / Mrs. Universe.

Second answer, do multi joint unilateral movements which challenge strength and stability. Examples are lunges, step ups, single leg Romanian deadlifts. If unsure ask a gym instructor, their job is to show you.

If you get good at one movement, change to a different one. In the words of the great Arnold Schwarzenegger “you need to constantly shock the system”. Constantly challenges the system, because if you don’t, it will get lazy and it will let you down.

I’ll finish by answering a question I got asked by a patient of mine who was concerned about getting ‘big’ by going to the gym. The only way you are going to get big is by eating more. As long as your energy expelled is the same as your energy intake you will not get ‘Juiced’. Your body’s appearance may change, you may look muscular but you will stay at the same weight. You will however get stronger, more coordinated, more stable and you will reduce your risk of injury.

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