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Active IQ Managing Director Jenny Patrickson highlights the rise in Strength and Conditioning as a PT specialism for this month’s issue of Gym Owner Monthly

It has often struck me as odd that it is assumed talented fitness professionals and personal trainers aspire to become gym or club managers. Some do, which is good. But what about those individuals who are fantastic trainers who wish to continuing working directly with members and clients, honing their training skills to continue their career as a hands-on PT really making a difference? Aspirations for these people are more likely to be specialist, coaching other trainers whilst keeping their own client base and excelling in their field – not sitting behind a manager’s desk.

The next area of specialism we are seeing is in Strength and Conditioning. Once the preserve of professional coaches and those training elite athletes, Strength and Conditioning is now becoming more mainstream as it has health benefits for old and young, elite and amateur and even its relevance in rehab is becoming apparent. To succeed in upskilling trainers to an advanced level, the industry needs a recognised qualification, and at Active IQ we’ve been working hard behind the scenes with British Military Fitness (BMF) to create the first ever Level 4 Strength & Conditioning certificate as a regulated qualification. The course will provide greater access to Strength and Conditioning theory as well as application for any fitness professionals who wish to develop their knowledge and skills to work with serious fitness enthusiasts and athletes alike. The new qualification is being taught by industry experts accredited by the UKSCA who hold a degree in Strength & Conditioning.

Skilled PTs could consider upskilling as another option to becoming a gym Owner/Manager

Boot camp-style training is still going from strength to strength. What some may have considered a ‘fashion’ that would phase out remains popular. Partly this is to do with the outdoor experience – those gyms near parks and outdoor spaces can maximise nature’s ‘outdoor studio’ to boost engagement and participation in sessions. But another big part of the boot camp appeal is the style of training – often focused on strength and conditioning. Statistics from BMF show that fitness enthusiasts are attending sessions at over 140 venues each week to be put through their paces. With demand this high, there is definitely an opportunity for fitpros to advance their Level 3 personal training knowledge and explore additional techniques and training approaches that may be beneficial to clients from all walks of life and not just athletes.

Strength and Conditioning coaching won’t ‘date’ or fall out of favour any time soon: the principles can be adapted to all members with the health benefits every bit as important – i.e. saleable! – as the performance benefits for aspiring athletes. As a Gym Owner, investing in your staff and supporting their development within the field of strength and conditioning coaching, gives them a real opportunity to differentiate themselves from the competition. It also gives your best trainers the chance to add specialist skills and qualifications to their name, enhancing their career and profile as the rise through the ranks.

The role of a strength and conditioning coach is to use exercise prescription specifically to improve performance and can also help individuals with injury prevention and the specific biomechanics for their chosen sport. So it’s much more than just lifting weights as it focuses on the holistic development of the client and their specific needs. Furthermore, strength and conditioning complements all manner of sports: so gyms with a Strength & Conditioning Coach can reach out to local athletes and clubs, extending the membership base and building the reputation for their club.

Strength and conditioning training has many benefits, which will ensure its popularity and longevity

Until now, there has been a gap in the training provision for PTs looking to step up to strength and conditioning coaching. This new qualification, developed in partnership with BMF, offers the complete package. It’s currently only available to BMF, but from September this year we will be rolling it out across the industry. I think gym owners should start to plan which of their PTs are ready for a ‘step up’ and would prefer to become a specialist coach rather than an office-bound manager.

If you are interested in our next level qualifications or advancing your skills as a Personal Trainer, please get in touch with us: enquiries@activeiq.co.uk