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Strength and conditioning training is a broad term that describes the process of attempting to increase physical fitness through a regimented program. It can include a variety of features which may vary widely depending on the program. These features may include weight lifting, drills to increase cardiovascular fitness, and injury prevention. The training tends to be used most often for athletes and improving athletic performance, but it can also be customized for non-athletes to promote general fitness.
One of the key components that most strength and conditioning training routines have in common is weight training. Lifting weights may not only help a person become physically stronger, able to move heavier objects, and overpower opponents, it may also help strengthen bones and prevent injuries. Weight lifting routines may be especially helpful in preventing body injuries for athletes who play sports that require hard or sudden landing, such as sprinting, or physical contact, such as basketball or American football. Having a higher percentage of muscle mass may also help burn fat and result in a leaner body that can move faster and outrun opponents.
Strength and conditioning training may also focus on cardiovascular exercise. The exact goal may be different, depending on the sport or goal a person has in mind. For example, some athletes may work with trainers to extend their cardiovascular endurance so they can perform consistently for a long period of time. Other athletes may want to train to be able to perform cardiovascular activity in quicker, more powerful spurts. Trainers will generally alter the type of jogging or running routine depending on if the goal is endurance or swiftness and agility and will instruct athletes on the proper running form and breathing techniques to help acclimate their bodies to the specific cardiovascular goal.
Another possible aspect of strength and conditioning training is proper recovery. Recovery refers to the process the body takes to relax and heal itself after strenuous physical activity. If athletes attempt to partake in a vigorous strength and cardiovascular routine without allowing time for proper recovery, they can risk injuries, such as painful joints and muscles. A balanced strength and conditioning routine will generally space out weight lifting and cardiovascular workouts to allow time for the body to recover.
Some strength and conditioning training may conclude with specific nutritional advice. A trainer may recommend a diet high in whole grain carbohydrates and lean proteins to provide both quick energy spurts and longer lasting energy. If a specific weight goal is indicated, such as losing body fat or gaining muscle mass, a trainer can make nutritional recommendations based on that goal.