We are reader supported and may earn a small commission on some (but not all) links within our content to products we think will genuinely help our readers at no extra cost to you.
Getting certified in strength and conditioning is a great way for Personal Trainers, Physical Therapists, and other fitness professionals, to expand their knowledge and progress their careers.
Strength and conditioning coaching is all about optimizing performance, whether that’s for ambitious grassroots athletes or elite Olympians.
The learnings and knowledge gained from such a certification program can really separate fitness professionals… especially those looking to train at a high level.
One of the most popular strength and conditioning certifications is from ISSA.
But what’s the program like? What type of lessons are taught? And who is it best suited to?
This ISSA Strength and Conditioning review covers it all, and ultimately helps you decide if this is the certification for you or not.
In a hurry? ISSA is currently offering this certificate for just $39/month. Click below to learn more.👇
Did You Know…
Personal Trainers can earn as much as $4k more per year, when they take an additional specialization course like the Strength and Conditioning Coach certification (providing a significant ROI).
ISSA Strength and Conditioning Certification – Overview
What is the ISSA Strength and Conditioning Certificate?
ISSA (International Sports Sciences Association) is one of the leading suppliers of fitness certification programs. Their strength and conditioning coach certification is a relatively new certification, designed to give fitness professionals an accredited program focused on the optimization of athletic performance.
If you’re unfamiliar with ISSA, check out our ISSA review, which outlines what their flagship CPT certification is like.
It’s a broad certification that covers everything from biomechanics to nutrition.
- 586-page textbook
- Online exercise lab
- Online student forum
- Practice exam
- Free NCCPT accredited exam
- Unlimited educational support
- Free website (if you want one)
Want to Preview the Content?
If you scroll to the bottom of the ISSA Strength and Conditioning Coaching page, you can preview the first chapter by submitting your name, email and phone number.
What You’ll Learn
We’ve outlined the program modules and lessons below. As you can see, it’s a beast of a program, including 23 separate modules. Although this is a beginner-friendly certification, it really does provide a fantastic range of teachings.
INTRODUCTION TO STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING
- Health Benefits
- Goals of This Course
THE NERVOUS SYSTEM
- Functions of the Nervous System
- Components of the Nervous System
- Interactions of the CNS and the PNS
- Lower Motor Neurons and Motor Units
- Motor Commands
- Anatomical References—A Quick Glance
- Muscle Attachments
- Skeletal Muscle Structure and Function
- Muscle Actions
- The Roles of Muscle
- Muscle Fiber Types and Functional Characteristics
- Muscle Size Changes
- Muscle Growth Triggers
- Skeletal Muscle Groups
- Muscle Charts
SKELETAL SYSTEM AND JOINT ACTIONS
- Skeletal Function
- Skeletal Structure
- Bone Functions
- Bone Structure
- Cartilage Structure and Function
- Ligament Structure and Function
- Joint Capsule
CARDIO RESPIRATORY AND SUPPORT SYSTEMS
- The Respiratory System
- The Endocrine System
- The Digestive System
- Energy for Life
- Converting ATP into Energy
- The Energy Systems
- The Whole Picture
- Study of Biomechanics
- Wheel Axles and Pulleys
- Laws of Motion
- Mechanical Loading
- Anatomical Reference Terms
- Anatomical Planes of Movement
- Joint Actions
- Importance of Assessments
- Health Assessments
- Fitness Assessments
- Cardiorespiratory Assessments
- Assessment Selection
- Maximal Strength
- Explosive Strength
- Reactive Strength
- Strength Endurance
- Speed and Agility
PRINCIPLES OF PROGRAM DESIGN
- Components of Fitness and Program Design
- An Individualized Approach
- Principles of Training Program Design
- Training Variables
- Flexibility and Stretching
- Muscle and Connective Tissues
- Factors for Implementing Stretching to Enhance Flexibility
- Applying Flexibility Techniques
- Stretching Exercises
- Phases of Plyometric Exercises
- Plyometrics for Performance Enhancement
- Progression of Plyometric Exercises
- Upper-Body Plyometric Exercises
- Lower-Body Plyometric Exercises
- Anatomy and Function of the Core
- Core Exercises in the Frontal Plane
- Core Exercises in the Sagittal Plane
- Core Exercises in the Transverse Plane
- Multiplanar Core Exercises
- Lower-Body Anatomy
- Lower-Body Movement
- Lower-Body Exercises
- Upper-Body Anatomy
- Upper-Body Movement
- Upper-Body Exercises
POWER AND OLYMPIC-STYLE WEIGHT LIFTING
- Overview of the Core Olympic Lifts and Power Training
- Principles of Sports Science
- Preparing for Power Exercises
- Power Exercises
PART A: RESISTANCE TRAINING SYSTEMS
- Fundamentals of Training Programming
- Training Parameters
- Training Microcycles: Weekly
- Strength and Conditioning Guidelines
- Loading Variations
PART B: APPLYING PERIODIZATION
- Preparation Phase Programming (Preseason)
- Competition Phase Programming (In Season)
- Glycolytic and Antiglycolytic Training
- Components of Endurance
- Types of Endurance Training
- Training for Aerobic Power
- Cardio Programming for the Preparation Phase
- Cardio Programming for the Competition Phase
- Cardio Programming for Cyclic Athletes
RECOVERY AND INJURY PREVENTION
- Training and Recovery
- Recovery Methods
- Recovery Adaptation Modalities
- Prevention and Care of Athletic Injuries
- Scope of Practice
- High-Performance Diet
- Caloric Intake and Athlete Goals
- Common Supplementation
- Supplements for Athletic Purposes
- Nutritional Supplements
- Supplements to Increase Absolute Strength
- Supplements to Increase Speed and Reaction Response
- Supplements to Increase Endurance
- Supplements to Accelerate Recovery Time
- Supplements for Weight Loss/Fat Loss
- Banned Substances
- Performance and Sport Psychology Overview
- Myths of Performance Psychology Training
- Psychological Skills Training (PST)
- Psychological Strategies and Applications
- Practical Considerations and Suggestions
- Roles of a Strength and Conditioning Coach
- Scope of Practice
- Preparing for a Job Interview
- Build a Network
What We Like About ISSA Strength and Conditioning Certification
Training High Performance Athletes
If you’re a CPT or general fitness coach, gaining a certification in strength and conditioning is probably going to be a requirement if you want to work with high performance athletes.
The inclusion of biomechanics and how to avoid/recover from injuries is going to be really important for these top performing individuals.
If you dream of a career in sport, ISSA Strength and Conditioning Coach certificate is a great introduction.
Modules that cover topics like sports psychology illustrate the more specific things you’ll learn that relate to optimizing performance. Your role as a Strength and Conditioning Coach goes beyond just improving someone’s 1 rep max on the bench press… and instead, needs to include a more holistic view of their performance, including their psychology and attitude.
Beginner Friendly Certification
Especially when you compare ISSA Strength and Conditioning Coach certification to other strength and conditioning certifications, the general view from most past students is that ISSA’s certification is better for beginners (and basically, easier to pass).
100% online makes it very easy to get started and learn in your own time.
Whether you’re at school, or working 9-5, you can make ISSA Strength and Conditioning Certification work around your schedule… which ultimately is going to help increase the chance of you passing the exam.
Not all strength and conditioning certifications are online, so if this is important, it’s something to bear in mind when looking at alternatives.
Whether you want to train elite athletes, or just work with local clients in the gym, being certified in strength and conditioning is going to help you stand out.
As it’s based on performance, it’s going to equip you with lots of the knowledge needed to improve someone’s fitness, whatever their level.
Another useful skill you’ll gain from ISSA Strength and Conditioning Certification is the ability to create and craft exercise programs.
This is an incredibly important skill to master if you want to work at the top level of fitness and can help you put your knowledge into practice by tailoring exercise programs to specific requirements and needs.
We’re big believers in the value of strength training… whatever your fitness level.
It’s a fundamental pillar to both athletic performance and healthy living, so getting to grips with the best techniques and recommendations for strength training is definitely a bonus.
ISSA’s course delves into the different approaches to strength training and how to apply this to different contexts, helping you or your clients reach their specific goals.
Things to Consider
We think ISSA Strength and Conditioning Coach Certification is a great place to start for strength and conditioning certification… but if you’re serious about training at elite level, it probably won’t be the last strength and conditioning certification you earn.
Something like the NSCA CSCS, which is a more intensive program, might be something you consider further down the line too. This is trickier than ISSA Strength and Conditioning Coach Certification, which is why we like ISSA as an entry level way to get started with strength and conditioning.
You may also want to get specific experience in certain sports if that’s where you want your career to go. For example, if you would love to be a strength and conditioning coach for a soccer team, implementing your knowledge within a soccer environment is worthwhile to boost your CV.
If you’re curious about other ISSA additional certifications and CEUs, we recently reviewed ISSA Yoga Certification, highlighting what this program is like. If you sign up to ISSA’s Master Bundle, you can select 4 additional specialisms, so including strength and conditioning, as well as 3 others, would be an option.
Who is ISSA Strength and Conditioning Certification Best Suited For?
Ultimately, we think ISSA strength and conditioning certification is best for personal trainers, Physical Therapists and other fitness professionals who want to work with top performing clients (whether that’s locally or professionally).
A lot of the teachings from ISSA Strength and Conditioning Coach Certification develop on fundamental pillars of personal training and fitness coaching, so if you’re a complete newbie, you may want to consider doing a standard certification first.
Nutritionists may also consider taking such a course too, to help improve their knowledge of biomechanics and exercise in relation to diet and nutrition for athletes.
You also need to be 18 and have a valid CPR/AED certification.
Who is it Not Suited For?
As most clients could benefit from your increased knowledge from ISSA Strength and Conditioning Coach Certification program, there aren’t many fitness professionals who wouldn’t benefit from it.
If you’re already qualified with a certification like NSCA CSCS, then you would probably already have all the knowledge required to lead strength and conditioning services effectively.
If you’re thinking about boosting your fitness career, becoming a specialist in strength and conditioning is hard to argue against. It will give you the knowledge and expertise to create effective programming for your clients.
There are of course many strength and conditioning certifications out there… for us, ISSA are the best for beginners and entry level, as it is 100% online and the general feedback is that it is easier to pass than some of the other S&C certifications.
You can currently save $926 on the certification by clicking below. 👇
MedBridge Promo Code – 40% Discount
Essential Personal Training Equipment Kit List