College Strength and Conditioning Coaching

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Strength and conditioning coaching is a common physical fitness occupation. The primary goal of the career is to use clinical exercise prescription to improve people's health and physique through strength and aerobic conditioning training. Since this is a technical occupation, it necessitates the hiring of a trained individual who is eligible for physical fitness instruction. The salary margins for professional fitness trainers is $ 25 000 for the lower wage to $ 61,000 on the upper wage, giving an average of $ 40,000 per year. Career advancement opportunities are available throughout the education ladder.


Strength and conditioning coaching is a career that involves training a group or an individual on physical performance and fitness in general. The career is highly applied in in sports, philosophy of training and collegiate levels. In this study, coaching at the collegiate level is the area of focus. Both aerobic conditioning and training on strength are undertaken by professional fitness training personnel. The trainers also engage in counselling and endurance training for a better outcome of the persons. They are spread throughout training individuals, small groups to large groups of people such as soccer teams.

KEYWORDS: Strength and conditioning, Coach, Training, Physical fitness, Professional trainer, Career.

History of Strength and Conditioning Coaching

Despite a high speculation of the actual tie when physical fitness training began, reports and

Studies tend to point it to the last half of 1970’s when simple jazzercise and jogging. However, physical exercise itself is not limited in time and can be traced to exist from many centuries ago. Probably then, lack of machines for working out did not trigger the thought that they were performing physical fitness exercises (Colfer, 2004). Even then, there was some bit of training because, in some professions such as soccer, the technical group supervised the exercises. In some contexts, dating back to 10,000 BC, activities of human beings in the wilderness involved physical manipulation of objects such as stones. This was some kind of working out.

People practiced running for defence in case of any attacks and survival in the natural habitats. Much later, the culture of physical fitness developed as a response to stone tools making that required masculinity. During the infamous agrarian revolution, human beings adopted other physical activities during food growing. This was some kind of working out. The Roman Empire soldiers were also to practice to remain in good health for conquests. Principles of physical therapy were later in 1553 underlined by Cristobal Mendez in his book El Libro del Ejercicio Corporal y Sus Provechos. In this book, he showed the benefits of physical body exercise described from a medical point of view. Time passed with newer versions of explaining physical fitness importance and ways to do all the exercises for general health benefits.

From Osawa et al. (2014), there have been thousands of ways and programs developed to lead people in doing fitness activities. Television programs aimed at working out every morning before work has been put in place. These programs include ordinary dances for those who are at work and working out at a gymnasium for the rest who are not working. Data analysis has also been done to determine how much working out should be done. Starting from the 1970’s professional trainers of fitness came to being with a daily evolution in ways of attaining and maintaining body fitness. All these television programs, gymnasia, and institution-based physical education are forms of coaching.


General duties and responsibilities

Professional fitness training involves creating time for physical education in the mainstream school day program. The main general duties are; presiding over the physical education activities, servicing and maintaining the machines used during the working out process. They also must help their clients to attain their fitness goals through all necessary methodologies, states an article from on promoting and prescribing exercises for the elderly. They must consult with medical experts in the process of designing the fitness plan. The plan should be consistent with health and age levels of the students.

Specific duties and responsibilities

Fitness trainers develop the exercises program for prescription; to moderate the aerobic Conditioning, flexibility and resistance activities. This moderation is important in maintaining the normal metabolic processes and hormonal balance of the body. The trainer also instructs during the physical exercise activity and monitors the progress of each student (Nied & Franklin, 2002). He or she also determines the amount of time each exercise session takes, the period of rest before the next activity and the type of nutrition that should be taken for optimal outcome. They demonstrate the body movements during the training session, teaches on safety and usage of fitness equipment, ensure that the equipment is used in proper ways and report in case of any accidents.

Skills and abilities needed.

Aspirants of fitness training are required to possess powerful communication skills; inclusive of both verbal and written communication, be enthusiastic, energetic. They should have self-promotion abilities, confident in addressing large crowds and high attention to every fine detail. They should also possess high profile of initiative and most important be persons of integrity.

Career setting

Strength and conditioning coaching is founded under the umbrella of The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) which is an integrated department across other major sectors of the government such as Education, Health, and Public services. It lies within other careers such as the physical therapy and recreation workers (Haskell et al., 2012).

Typical hours

Job hours are every day as per the school programs and depending on the time allocated in the time table. This is the ordinary time that is required by the mainstream education program. However, extra time is acquired during the off time periods and other private free time durations.

Physical appearance and dress code

For optimal results, it is advisable for one to dress in flexible clothing, most preferably, sports clothing such as the athletes’ sports gear or the soccer uniform. This is required during the exercise time only and not during the normal class time.

Opportunities for career advancement

Malina (2010) points that generally, there are opportunities provided in the undergraduate and postgraduate levels of the academic levels. There are also opportunities to improve on personal experiences and enhancement of service delivery. Professionally, certification and attending workshops, conferences and symposia with a view to sealing the gap between the theory and practical activities.


Sex and age

There is no limitation to the sex of the trainer. Anyone willing to become a fitness trainer regardless of gender has the opportunity to do so. The age bracket of the trainers registered by NFPT in the United States range between 42 years to 60 years. However, above 60 years, there are persons who are still trainers.

Health and physical well-being

A would-be strength and conditioning coach should be in good health, with no exercise prohibition on a medical basis. They should have a well-formed body that can allow all body movements and stretching activities.


Being fitness trainer needs passion, integrity, ability to motivate trainees, well-organized and someone with inter and intra-personal skills. They should also be good in communication skills with varied tonal variations to suit different training contexts and groups.


There is a need for long period commitment in training in a certain area of specialization. The ability to recognize mistakes and effectively correct them is strongly bound on experience in training. Therefore, before engaging in professional fitness coaching, it is necessary to take a few years of the assistant trainer. Alternatively, someone can attend conferences and workshops on training to learn from common mistakes. Ultimately, experience in physical fitness is necessary if one has to have proficiency in the training (Osawa et al., 2014).


Naturally, a professional fitness coach should have the ability to perform the body movements. It is, therefore, a requirement that someone should have the aptitude to coach fitness students. They should be ready and quickly to learn and innovate new methods of enhancing fitness activities.


Annual and hourly salaries

The wage for a professional Strength and Conditioning Coach is on average $ 40, 025 per annum. However, the lower end of the salary is $ 24, 901 while the upper end is $ 61,339 as net pays. These salaries are spread across the experience levels with those having up to 20% experience earning the lower end wage, those with up to 50% experience earning the average amount and those with up to 90% experience pocketing the upper-end wage. This means the average hourly wage is $ 5, the lower end being $ 3 and upper end being $ 7. It is, however, worth to note that academic certificates or acquiring further education do not add advantage to the salary level rather the experience. This implies that salaries are not affected by certificates.

Vacation and sick leave

Like any other employee, professional wellness trainers go on vacation during the holiday season at will. They also get a paid sick leave.

Other benefits

The trainers also befit from medical cover provided to all employees and college staff. The benefits range from medical related issues to vision, dental and 401k where 3% of each employee has received services.


Form the article, Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (2008) the academic and certification depends on the employers’ requirement. The minimum requirement is, however, a degree in physical fitness which forms the foundation of assessing someone’s competence and qualification level as a trainer. At the collegiate level, a graduate degree is needed and some experience. If a person has associates or bachelor’s degree, they should get an advanced certificate. The average needed training period is two years and after an equivalent time recertification should be done when someone has done more courses or written articles on fitness.

The certifications are done as follows. Associate’s certificate. This a two-year course whose content is limited to class work restricted to fitness studies. The other type of certification is a bachelor’s degree. This is taken for four years consisting of general education course work and deeper content in the bachelor’s course work. The content for bachelor’s certificate includes sports psychology, ethical and injury prevention lessons. Sports law is also taught. Both certifications require at least 35 hours of contact per semester (Nied & Franklin, 2002).

At university and college levels, one has to be a major in exercise science degree. These degrees include kinesiology, physical education with a mix of general knowledge in fields such as mathematics and exercise physiology. For the schools that specialization, one can specialize in athletics, sports in general and nutrition. For the case of minors required alongside the major, one can take half the credits taken in the major in another subject such as nutrition.


To assume the duties fitness coaching, no work experience is required prior to the job. However, the trainer must get certified. The starting point is a high school diploma or a university degree depending on the level of training of the job application. Candidates seat for a qualifying exam after which those qualifying are registered by National Commission for Certifying Agencies (Karsten et al., 2016). Customer-service skills are taught, communication and listening skills.

Advancement is done in management positions. In this case, one needs to get a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, P.E, and kinesiology. This means a personal trainer advances to a head trainer.


Personal care and service workers have more demand at this time with a projected growth of up to 22% by 2026. Fitness training and aerobic conditioning fall next with a projected 10% change by 2026 since more and more business and government are recognizing the health benefits of working out. In total, all occupations are projected to grow by 7% towards 2026. The demand on is mostly on physical wellness that involves working out in gymnasia.


Strength and conditioning are closely related to physical therapist assistants and aides job and physical therapy. These are professions that require doctoral or a professional degree in physical therapy. Physical fitness is also related to recreating work, which requires high school diploma or an equivalent of the same, or recreational therapy requiring a bachelor’s degree. All these professions deal with a medical approach to solving physical body problems.

Other careers that work with strength and conditioning coaching are the physical therapy and recreational therapy. All these involve physical body parts being worked on, the main difference being the level of education needed as explain above (


1. Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach, University of Memphis, posted on November

8th, 2017.

2. Minor league Strength and Conditioning Coach, Pittsburgh Pirates, Bradenton, FL 34205,

Posted November 7th, 2017.

3. Strength & Conditioning Assistant, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, Posted November

16th, 2017.

4. Head coach, Strength and Conditioning, University at Albany, Albany New York, posted

October 27th, 2017


Colfer, G. R. (2004). "Skill-related physical fitness essential for sports success". . Archived from the original on June 2011.

Haskell, W. L., Troiano, R. P.; Hammond, J. A.; Phillips, M. J.; Strader, L. C.; Marquez, D. X.; Grant, S. F.; Ramos, E. (2012). "Physical Activity and Physical Fitness". American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 42 (5): 486–92.

Karsten, B. Stevens, L., Colpus, M., Larumbe-Zabala, E., Naclerio, F. (2016). "The Effects of a Sport-Specific Maximal Strength and Conditioning Training on Critical Velocity, Anaerobic Running Distance, and 5-km Race Performance". International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. 11 (1): 80–85

Kraemer, WJ. (2011). Exercise Physiology: Integrating Theory and Application. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Malina, R (2010). Physical activity and health of youth. Constanta: Ovidius University Annals, Series Physical Education and Sport/Science, Movement and Health.

Nied, R. J.; Franklin, B (2002). "Promoting and prescribing exercise for the elderly". American family physician. 65 (3): 419–26.

Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (2008). Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

Osawa, Y; Azuma, K; Tabata, S; Katsukawa, F; Ishida, H; Oguma, Y; Kawai, T; Itoh, H; Okuda, S; Matsumoto, H (2014). "Effects of 16-week high-intensity interval training using upper and lower body ergometers on aerobic fitness and morphological changes in healthy men: A preliminary study”. Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine. 5: 257–65.

December 28, 2022

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