Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists (CSCS) are professionals who apply scientific knowledge to train athletes for the primary goal of improving athletic performance. They conduct sport-specific testing sessions, design and implement safe and effective strength training and conditioning programs, and provide guidance regarding nutrition and injury prevention.
The most respected certification in strength and conditioning is from the National Strength and Conditioning Association. It has a strong emphasis on reactive or power training for athletic performance compared to other certifications. These specialists help athletes reach their absolute potential. You need at least a four-year college degree before you can even take the test. Members have access to several journals focusing on the science behind conditioning as well as practical methods of doing so.
Strength and conditioning specialists have two primary goals. The first is to improve athletic performance, which usually means improving athletes’ speed, strength,and power (although specifics vary according to athlete and sport). They develop systematic training programs for both teams and individual athletes, often working in close association with coaches. This usually includes teaching proper lifting techniques, supervising and motivating athletes as they work out, and assessing their performance before and after the program. The nature of the conditioning program will vary depending on whether the sport is in season or not. During the off-season, conditioning programs can be quite rigorous. In season, conditioning programs tend to focus more on maintaining athletes’ conditioning than on improving it. Conditioning programs also vary by sport, and even by position within the sport.
The second primary goal is to reduce athletic injuries. To that end, certified strength and conditioning specialists often design regimens to strengthen body parts that are prone to injury in a particular sport. Thus, to prevent athletes from getting injured during training, conditioning coaches must know the correct exercise and lifting techniques and be able to teach them to athletes. They also monitor athletes’ general health, sometimes providing nutritional advice or referring athletes to a registered dietitian if they need more sophisticated nutritional counseling.
Why would you need to see a CSCS?
Certified strength and conditioning specialists are sought out to work with professional, college and high school athletes when they want to take their performance to the next level, want to reduce the incidence of injury, and/or need sport specific training. Many of them work directly for these organizations.
We have a CSCS on our staff by the name of Justin Brown. Justin is a doctor of physical therapy having received his doctoral degree in physical therapy from the University of Michigan-Flint. He is a certified athletic trainer and a certified strength and conditioning specialist. When it comes to sports performance and injury, he has an immense amount of knowledge and experience.
He practices out of Advanced Physical Therapy Center’s Clio clinic and works with local sports teams and individual athletes. He, most recently, received a certification from the Titleist Performance Institute for golf swing analysis. If you have an athlete or would like to schedule a free consultation with Justin, please contact him at JBrown@advpt.com or call him at our Clio clinic (810) 687-8700.