The National Strength and Conditioning Association’s (NSCA)BASICS OF STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING MANUALDr. William A. Sands Jacob J. Wurth Dr. Jennifer K. Hewit

Table of ContentsChapter 1 Introduction7Lifting a Bar from the Floor29What is Expertise?8Spotting29Increase Safety Awareness8Types of Exercises that Require Spotting29Develop Your Abilities to Supervise Strength Training andConditioning Activities8Spotting Overhead Exercises29Spotting Over-the-Face Exercises29An Overview of Strength Training and Conditioning8Spotting Considerations for Power Exercises29Principles of Training9Number of Spotters29Overview of Energy Systems10Communication Between Athlete and Spotter29Conclusion10Amount and Timing of Spotting Assistance30Chapter 2 Program Design13Spotting Techniques30Barbell Bench Press - Spotting Technique30How Do We Organize Training?14Dumbell Incline Bench Press - Spotting Technique31Training Design Terminology14Barbell Standing Behind the Neck Shoulder Press Spotting Technique31Barbell Back Squat - Spotting Techniquewith One Spotter32Barbell Back Squat - Spotting Techniquewith Three Spotters33Chapter 4 Exercise Technique35Explosive Lifting Day Outline36Strength Lifting Day Outline36Explosive Lifting Day Exercise Technique361. Clean Progression36Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands(SAID Principle)14Annual Plan14Macrocycle14Mesocycle14Microcycle14Training Lesson14Program14Basics of Program Design Decisions14Training Load Prescriptions15Rules for Exercise Selection and Prescription15Warm-Up and Stretching15Components of a Warm-Up16Stretching During Warm-Up17Conclusion17Sample Strength and Conditioning 12-Week Program191a. Barbell Rack Clean361b. Barbell Hang Clean371c. Barbell Power Clean382. Barbell High Pull2a. High Pull from the Hang3. Shoulder Progression3a. Dumbbell Shoulder Raises40404141Chapter 3 Technique Fundamentalsand Spotting27Technique Fundamentals28Shoulder Press42Handgrips283c. Barbell Push Press42Grip Width283d. Barbell Push Jerk43Stable Body and Limb Positioning284. Pulling Choice44Range of Motion and Speed284a. Pull-Ups44Breathing Considerations294b. Standing Low Row443b. Barbell Standing Behind the NeckBasics of Strength and Conditioning1

4c. Lat Pulldown45Anthropometric Factors644d. Bent-Over Row45Agility Training Drills and Programming6446Warm-up Drills66461. High-Knees - 10 yards down and back66462. Heel-Ups – 10 yards down and back666a. Hand Planks463. Forward Lunge with Elbow to Instep – 10 yards666b. Elbow Planks (front and sides)474. Side Lunge with Squat – 4 each side66Strength Lifting Day Exercise Description481. Leg Progression485. High Knee Foreleg Extension – 10 yards down slow,10 yards back quick67Speed Drills681. Build-Ups – 40 yards682. Form Starts683. Position Starts684. Flying 10s695. Power Skips (for height)696. Power Skips (for distance)697. Flying 20s708. Harness Routine709. Flying 30s7010. Bag Jumps7111. Hollow Sprints71Agility Drills711. Rope or Ladder Routine715. Biceps Choice5a. EZ-Bar Curl6. Abdominals Choice1a. Barbell Back Squat481b. Barbell Front Squat501c. Barbell Clean Deadlift512. Barbell Romanian Deadlift523. Single-Leg Choice523a. Forward Step Lunge523b. Walking Lunge524. Pushing Progression534a. Barbell Bench Press534b. Barbell Incline Bench Press544c. Dumbbell Bench Press544d. Dumbbell Incline Bench Press555. Triceps Choice555a. Triceps Pushdown556. Abdominals Choice566a. Heel Touches56Conclusion56Chapter 5 Speed and Agility Training59Introducing Plyometrics60Plyometrics60The Stretch-Shortening Cycle60Deceleration and Jump Training for Novice Athletes61Speed and Agility61Linear Speed61Agility62Interval Training62Components of Agility62Perceptual Decision-Making Factors62Technical Factors62Physical Factors6421a. Every Hole711b. Every Other Hole721c. Lateral Step722. Bag Routine722a. Change of Direction722b. Shuffle722c. Forward and Backpedal733. Line Jump Routine733a. Single Bunny Hop733b. Double Bunny Hop733c. Scissors743d. Ali Shuffle744. Pro-Agility745. Nebraska Agility746. Three-Cone Drill757. Four-Corner Drill758. Sprint Ladder76Basics of Strength and Conditioning

9. Shuffle Ladder7610. Backpedal Ladder77Landing Drills771. Drop Jump772. Vertical Jump783. Tuck Jump784. 180 Degree Jump785. Broad Jump with Vertical Jump796. Depth Jump807. Box Shuffle Step808. Double Box Shuffle Step809. Lateral Box Jump81Sample Program for Agility Drills - Weeks 5-1285Sample Program for Speed Drills - Weeks 7-1289Chapter 6 Safe Training93Waivers and Informed Consent94Pre-Participation Screening and mance Safety Team97Preventing Sudden Death97Special Considerations97Sickle Cell Trait97Sudden Cardiac Death98Concussion98Exertional Rhabdomyolysis98Hyperthermia99Copyright 2012 by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. All rights reserved.Basics of Strength and Conditioning3

Performance Pyramid4Basics of Strength and Conditioning

Letter From the FounderDear NSCA Member:The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) is excited to provide you with this Basics of Strength andConditioning Manual. This manual is intended to assist Associate Members, however, it is available to all NSCA Membersto help them learn the basic principles and movement fundamentals that should be included in every strength andconditioning program.The first three levels of the Performance Pyramid covered in the Basics of Strength and Conditioning Manual will help prepareyou to monitor or supervise strength and conditioning workouts. However, the NSCA highly recommends that any coach whowants to design or conduct an exercise program be CSCS certified.The top level of the Performance Pyramid is touched on briefly in the Basics of Strength and Conditioning Manual but to fullyprepare for CSCS certification a coach would need to study the Essentials of Strength and Conditioning Text. In addition,certified strength coaches with two or more years experience can apply to be part of the NSCA’s Registry of Strength andConditioning Coaches (RSCC). Registered strength and conditioning coaches with 10 or more years of experience areclassified by RSCC*D while RSCC*E indicates 20 or more years of experience and is the highest distinction a strength coachcan achieve in the industry.Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you asyou move along the NSCA’s Coaching Performance Path. Moreinformation can be found at you for your support of the National Strength andConditioning Association, and we wish you the best in yourcoaching endeavors.Respectfully,NSCA’s Coaching Performance PathBoyd Epley, MEd, CSCS,*D, RSCC*E, FNSCANSCA FounderBasics of Strength and Conditioning5

Performance Pyramid

CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTIONBasics of Strength and Conditioning7

Welcome to the National Strength and Conditioning Association’sBasics of Strength and Conditioning Manual. The NSCA is theworldwide authority on strength and conditioning and this manualwas been developed to help you start your journey into the areaof strength training and conditioning with some of the foremostcoaches in the world. This manual is not meant to make you anexpert, but rather to increase your knowledge, skills, and abilitieswith three goals in mind: Increase safety awareness Develop your abilities to supervise strength training andconditioning activities Provide an overview of the basic information needed to beeffective as a strength and conditioning professionalWhat is Expertise?The time required to be an expert in any given area has beenestimated at 10,000 hr, or approximately 10 years, of directpractice (3). This manual is for those interested in strength trainingand conditioning but are still in the formative stages, in otherwords – you are not an expert. Moreover, it is unlikely you willever know everything there is to know about strength trainingand conditioning. A look at the number of variables involved instrength training and conditioning results in a list of about 50(e.g., sets, reps, weight, exercise selection, technique, time of day,temperature, training status, etc.). We calculated the numberof possible combinations of these variables and came up with anumber so large that no one could possibly study and know allthe combinations in a lifetime of effort. This means that strengthtraining and conditioning involves such a vast area of knowledgethat much of our job will be to reduce the number of things to knowto a manageable level by emphasizing those that are the mostimportant. The important things are the “big ideas” or “big things.”It is vitally important that you get the “big things” right. The threeobjectives above, we believe, are the big things required for a basicunderstanding of strength training and conditioning.Increase Safety AwarenessClearly, first we must commit to doing no harm as strength trainingand conditioning professionals. Like all athletic activities, injury is apossibility and we must prepare such that we reduce the likelihood ofinjury. We will cover safety, injury prevention, and risk managementin the final chapter to ensure you leave this manual with safetyforemost in your mind. Fortunately, injuries in strength training andconditioning are rare but constant vigilance and good judgment arealways required (6,7,8). Risk management is a tactic that is used toreduce the likelihood of injuries along with the likelihood of legalproblems that often accompany injuries. Increasing your knowledgeand awareness of the risks of injury through strength training andconditioning activities, and the risk of litigation or lawsuits dueto poor judgment, we hope will keep athletes healthy and happythrough competent strength training and conditioning decisions.We believe that the first step to safe performance is thorough andcompetent training of instructors and coaches.8Develop Your Abilities to Supervise StrengthTraining and Conditioning ActivitiesThis manual draws a line between those who can design,administer, program, and plan strength training and conditioningactivities, from those who can supervise and implement a programor plan. The knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to designa strength training and conditioning program require a higherlevel of knowledge than is covered in this manual. This manualwill prepare you with a small amount of scientific informationso that you can understand the basics of how strength trainingand conditioning affects the body, answer basic questions abouttraining, and increase your scientific knowledge about training.The primary objective of this manual is to prepare you to identifyflaws in exercise performance (e.g., posture and technique),fatigue, using too much resistance (or not enough), properuse of the appropriate metabolic energy system, and athletereadiness. As your knowledge and experience grow, you willacquire a “coach’s eye” which allows you to see flaws in exerciseperformance almost instinctively. You will also develop a sort of“sixth sense” regarding the status of your athletes such that youcan tell when they are fatigued or lack the safety-related exercisepreparation skills.An Overview of Strength Training andConditioningBasic principles permeate all of strength training and conditioning(refer to the pyramid diagram for an idea of how this manual willattempt to “divide and conquer” the important basic informationyou will need to effectively supervise and direct day-to-daytraining). For example, one of the pillars of strength training andconditioning is the idea of progression. Progression refers to theselection of exercises, loads or resistances, order of exercises, andreadiness of the athlete that are just right (not too hard, not tooeasy) for the status of the athlete and the demands of the activity.Another basic principle is that of specificity, the body tends toadapt very narrowly to the nature of the exercise performed.Finally, even supervision itself comes in different forms, and it isimportant to know the circumstances when a particular form ofsupervision is ideal. Continuing the idea of a broad overview, letus look at the basic principles of training and a few definitions(2,4,9).Training – Training is the process of preparing an athletephysically, technically, tactically, psychologically, and theoreticallyrapidly for the highest levels of performance (4). Training involvesmore than simple growth and maturation and, of course, thehighest levels of performance will be relative to the current statusand genetic gifts of the athlete.Volume – Volume is the amount of work performed. Sets andrepetitions of an exercise combine to make volume (1). If you area runner, volume is the distance you covered. If you are strengthtraining, volume is the product of sets x repetitions of an exercise.Basics of Strength and Conditioning

Intensity – Intensity is the difficulty of the work. Intensity is theamount of weight or resistance used in a particular exercise (1).If you are a runner, intensity is running speed. If you are strengthtraining, intensity is the resistance or weight lifted.Volume-Load – Volume-load is the combination of volume andintensity. Volume-load is usually calculated as sets x repetitions xweight, or resistance used (1).Frequency – Frequency is simply the number of training sessionsexpressed per day, per week, per month, and so forth (1).Principles of Training1. Principle of IndividualityEvery individual is unique and will respond differently to the sametraining stimulus. Some of these differences can be influenced bymany characteristics; biological age, training age, gender, bodysize and shape, past injuries and many more.For example, a college athlete makes a copy of his exact trainingprogram and gives it to his little brother who is a freshman inhigh school. The younger brother does not miss a workout, and atthe end of the program, he is disappointed in the results. Thoughmany variables could play a role in the results, the primary factoris mo