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Reflections on Strength and Conditioning Training

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By Dr. Tomi Wahlström |

I recently visited the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) headquarters in Colorado Springs with my colleagues from ProFTraining, Finland. ProFTraining is a Finnish health and fitness company that has trained close to 500 trainers in Finland to use their methods. They demonstrated their FasciaMethod (myofascial approach to dynamic chain mobility and movement control training) to the staff at NSCA. Training for the method is also available as a continuing education online course at United States Sports Academy. The Academy is also offering a Sports Strength and Conditioning Certification program, which is a preparatory program for strength coaches to take the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) exam by NSCA.

My visit to the NSCA headquarters followed my recent attendance at the NSCA Annual Conference in 2019. I was impressed by the professionalism and enthusiasm of the strength and conditioning community in this conference. These experiences inspired me to share my thoughts about the future of strength and conditioning training.

There seems to be increased interest in strength and conditioning training in the world right now. My anecdotal evidence based on the requests by the clients of the Academy suggests that training programs are in demand. However, it appears that a majority of the coaches internationally do not hold college degrees. Yet, these coaches are out there training and coaching, and in need of training to do so safely. Many head coaches are interested in learning more, and some teams simply cannot afford to hire special strength and conditioning coaches.

My wife, Dr. Katrina Wahlstrom, is in the process of writing series of courses for the Academy on strength and conditioning training before, during, and after pregnancy. It appears that this is an area that is receiving increased attention. She is also starting a mobile gym business as it seems that more people are interested in going to gyms to lift weights, but many gyms are crowded and individual training in a private setting is not always available. People want to be fit and healthy, and weight training is becoming increasingly recognized as a way to achieve it. Strength and conditioning coaches recognize that a combination of weight training and proper nutrition is important for regular working people and athletes alike.

When I was a boxer long time ago, my trainer discouraged me from weight training fearing that I would become muscle bound. Now, I realize that he was wrong. Weight training does not eliminate speed, endurance, or flexibility when done right. Obviously, cardio exercise is also important and should be paired with weight training. However, cardio training alone is not sufficient to maintain health and fitness. Athletic ability is not just about skill and talent, and proper strength and conditioning training is necessary to receive the best results. The recent Women’s World Cup soccer match between USA and Thailand that ended at 13-0 win by USA proves this point. The women of the US team simply outran the Thais due to their better strength and conditioning. The importance of weight training is also increasingly recognized by firemen, military, and SWAT teams. They carry heavy equipment that limit their mobility. Weight training helps them to perform better while carrying their loads. NSCA offers a separate certification for this called Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitator (TSAC-F).

The future of the strength and conditioning coaches seems bright as people are increasingly learning about the importance of weight training. I am inspired myself, and will end this brief reflection here to go to the gym. Happy lifting!

Dr. Tomi Wahlström is Vice President of Academic Affairs at the United States Sports Academy.

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