Strength And Conditioning

strength and conditioning
strength and conditioning

Strength And Conditioning Success

Every year, a new wave of students enters the weight room for the first time participating in some level of Strength and Conditioning. Some students arrive excited and eager to work hard. Other students come nervous and scared about what the weight room has to offer. And of course, the few students who think they know it all.

These are the 5 tips that I use to make sure my students are set up for success in class and beyond.

1. Make the Weight Room Welcoming

It is important to remember that many of these students have never been in a weight room before. To expect students to jump headfirst into weight training is like expecting a new swimmer to dive headfirst into the deep end.
The weight room can be intimidating!
Make it welcoming by starting each day with something fun.Most students are coming from sitting at a desk all day, so this helps them kick start their time to Strength & Conditioning.

Examples of Instant Activities:

  • Rock, Paper, Scissors
  • Red Light – Green Light
  • Tag
  • Cone Reaction

2. Teach Movements Over Muscles

Many students walk into the weight room looking for a chest workout, an arm workout, and just want to bench press.

Kids looking for that is not ideal. A good goal is to make sure that students develop a vocabulary of strength and conditioning language they can take with them far past their high school glory days.
Make it a point to emphasize movements over muscles when it comes to what we are working on.
To help build the vocabulary, break it down for the students in some broader categories. 

Movement Categories:

  • Squat
  • Hinge
  • Asymmetrical Squat
  • Horizontal Push
  • Horizontal Pull
  • Vertical Push
  • Vertical Pull
  • Force Production
  • Force Absorption
  • Torso
As we introduce and teach new exercises, we can circle back to our movement categories.
This helps the students map out in their minds the larger world of strength and conditioning with movements, exercises and muscles.

3. Provide Constant Feedback—For Everyone, From Everyone

As we start to develop the foundation movements and exercises, students must receive feedback.
It is important to provide constant feedback and repetitive cues. The consistency helps them become great partners for their team or workout buddies.
Students are expected to give each other feedback on their lifts and movements.
As coaches we need to deliberately make this peer-to-peer instruction a part of the class.
Here is an example of a 4 person group rotation. There is no wasted time, each student has a job, then they rotate.
  • Main Exercise, Student 
  • strength and conditioningSpotting, Student 2
  • Watching and Giving Feedback, Student 3
  • Accessory Exercise, Student 4
Intentionally creating a place for students to give each other feedback requires they also start to build their vocabulary and build a better understanding for what they are doing.

4. Meet Students Where They Are

For some students it will just click. Other students will continue to struggle to figure out the basics. And no, I’m not talking about improvements in strength here – I’m talking about understanding what they are doing.
Meet each group where they are in their development and training. Because of the established setup, I can provide different modifications, progressions and guided feedback based on how students are doing.
A great example is the different challenges teaching the hinge will present, and how I can modify and alter movements.
As we progress in the hinge and add some lightweight dumbbells or barbells, students will struggle to maintain a neutral lumbar spine.
To help struggling students, I will incorporate the Landmine RDL. It helps to “groove” the hinge pattern for those who might be struggling to do so with more traditional exercises.
Regardless of the variations, the entire class is still focusing on the hinge.

5. Remember This Is Just the Beginning

For young freshman or beginners who are introduced to strength and conditioning, this is just the beginning.

By helping students feel both comfortable and confident in the weight room, we have the opportunity to empower them far beyond high school sports.

Remember you might not cover each and every thing you wanted.
Hopefully you left students wanting more. Whether they come back for more with you or seek out different exercise opportunities, your coaching will set them up for whatever will happen next.

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