Strength training and conditioning are the foundations upon which performance rests. With training for strength and conditioning, you are aiming to make the individual as functionally fit as possible. This could be for an athlete that wants to improve performance or it could be for the non-athlete that just wants to reach their optimal level of fitness. Depending on the goals of the individual, they might have a different approach to strength and conditioning training, and this will help to determine the types of fitness equipment that they use and the types of exercises that will yield the best results.
Assess Your Goals
The general goals of strength training in combination with conditioning is to increase the ability of the individual to apply force and to build the endurance that will allow them to apply this force effectively for the longest possible duration of time. However, the balance of the training will differ depending on the specific activity that the individual is training for.
As an example on the conditioning side, training with a speed rope might be great for a boxer, but it is not going to build the kind of conditioning that a strongman competitor needs. Just as on the strength training side, both a boxer and a strongman competitor may both lift weights or workout with pieces of equipment like kettlebells and medicine balls, but their approach to these different pieces of fitness equipment and the ways in which they use them will be very different.
Knowing your goals for strength and conditioning will be important, because if you take the wrong approach, it could actually result in diminished performance.
Understanding the Basics
For the most part, effective strength training and conditioning is going to require the skills and knowledge of a professional trainer – and this is especially true if you are trying to increase your fitness for a specific athletic goal. It’s not just the variation in goals, but it also comes down to the differences between individuals. A trainer will understand how to target the right muscle groups to optimize performance, the type of conditioning exercises that will best suit the end goal, the correct balance of strength and conditioning for the intended purpose and they will be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the individual and craft a personalized training program based on all of these points.
Nevertheless, that does not mean that people cannot do their own strength and conditioning training. You will just have to do your best to assess all of the above points on your own and understand the basic principles of training for strength and conditioning.
The basic points are that you want to push yourself hard, employing the use of exercises that build strength and conditioning. Then you want to give your body time to rest and heal. As you push yourself and provide the body with adequate time to heal, your body will become stronger and your endurance levels will increase. As your strength and conditioning improve, you want to incrementally increase the demands on your body to ensure progression.
If you are looking to build your strength and conditioning on your own, then it could help to read some books or view some reference materials about building strength and conditioning for your specific goals. For just about every sport that there is, you can find training materials that are designed for the specific strength and conditioning goals of athletes in the given sport. They can recommend exercises, teach the individual the correct way to build their training program and recommend the types of fitness equipment that will work best for reaching these goals.