What is Strength & Conditioning for Endurance Athletes?

In recent years, terms like "functional training" or "performance training" have gained some traction in the mainstream fitness world, you've probably heard of them. If you want to cut through the noise and find out how Strength & Conditioning can make you a better endurance athlete, read on.

The History and the Concept of Strength & Conditioning

You might have seen elite athletes training with their very own "Performance Coach". Those people usually know their athletes inside out and train with them to eliminate any weaknesses in terms of stability or mobility in their sport. The same can come true for you, to make you a more well-rounded athlete and less prone to injury.

To explain the concept of Strength & Conditioning, imagine this situation: You take one step forward. An everyday movement, you've done this a thousand times. No problem at all.
Now do that on a soft mat or on a fallen tree. Can you feel yourself shaking just thinking about it? Can you do the movement easier with your left than with your right? Can you feel one side better than the other? Those are the questions that I as your Performance Trainer will ask for every exercise – this way I can help you ingrain stable movement patterns and an optimum technique in your sport.

Strength & Conditioning is a highly individual business and my training plans are tailor-made for each client. The training plan will consider your everyday life, your athletic background and many other factors.

The whole Concept of Strength & Conditioning is based on three pillars:

  • Your body needs to have the necessary mobility for a movement. This is the easy part which we'll achieve with specific relaxation and stretching exercises.
  • Then you also need the strength to stay stable for the whole range of motion for the movement. At the beginning you might shake a little, fall over or feel like an absolute beginner, but that's okay! We have all started somewhere. That's why you'll progress from simple to complex exercises over the course of a Strength & Conditioning Program.
  • After you've strengthened your muscles and your passive structures, we'll go back to your core sport and work on a big challenge: to use the newfound potential in your movement. I'm talking about precise control over your movement with focused repetitions and technique drills. This is where the main philosophy of my training comes to play: Intentional movement gives control, control gives speed.

Strength & Conditioning will strengthen your whole body and the many small muscles that can just rest and relax if you were training with weight machines in a gym. Another plus is your improved proprioception. With every movement you'll be better able to feel what your body is doing right now and correct it on the spot. This way you can stay strong and proud on the last stretch of your race and look good for the finish photo.

So what are the benefits of Strength & Conditioning?

There's loads! I'm a big fan of Strength & Conditioning (obviously), I use it in my own Triathlon Training Plan, so here's my Top 5 Benefits of Strength & Conditioning:

Power and control for your to apply in your everyday life and in every sport
Diversified training with challenging, interesting exercises
A much improved perception of your muscle activities and movement
Simultaneous Core Training with basically every exercise
Prevent injury and improve your posture

Strength & Conditioning means Personal Training

To improve your performance, that is your capabilities in your sport, you need what is best for you in your specific situation. The options include isolated control and strengthening exercises for single muscles to correct imbalances between the right and left side of your body as well as complex exercises incorporating a whole chain of muscles (e.g. for a freestyle arm stroke). This is where my experience with posture and movement correction comes into  play. After training with me, you'll feel better and look better, that's a promise!

Stefan Helwig

run faster | swim better

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