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How To Start A Strength And Conditioning Program From Scratch

Written by: Kosta Telegadas, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Strength and conditioning is a massive component of overall fitness and athletic performance development for all athletics worldwide. A well-designed strength and conditioning program can help you improve your strength, power, endurance, mobility & overall conditioning levels, while also reducing your risk of injury. Building a successful strength and conditioning program requires careful planning and a comprehensive understanding of your goals, fitness level, and training history. In this essay, we'll discuss the 5 key steps involved in building a successful strength and conditioning program.

athletic people inside the gym doing some exercise

The Steps Are Listed Below:

  • Step 1: Define How To Gauge The S&C Program’s Success

  • Step 2: Perform A Needs Analysis On The Facility & Clients

  • Step 3: What Will Your Programming Look Like

  • Step 4: Implement and Track Your Program & KPIs

  • Step 5: Obtain Feedback & Adapt Your Program

Step 1: Define How To Gauge The S&C Program’s Success

The first step in building a successful strength and conditioning program is to determine what “Success” looks like. Are you looking to build muscle, improve your athlete’s power and explosiveness, increase endurance, or simply improve the athlete’s overall fitness level? The desirable adaptations and goals will dictate the specific exercises, sets, reps, frequency, and rest periods that you will want to incorporate into the strength and conditioning program. From personal experience, I recommend reverse engineering the program from the ground up. What do the best programs in the world look like? Once that is established, work backward within your uncontrollable & variables controllable to build a successful program that is realistic & achievable.

Step 2: Perform A Needs Analysis On The Facility & Clients

Once an organization has defined what a “Successful Program” should be, it's important to assess the current fitness level of the athletes & see what additions need to be made to the S&C facility. This will help you identify any weaknesses or imbalances that need to be addressed in your program or any additional exercise equipment needed for the weight room. Some common fitness assessments include a body composition analysis, a functional movement screen, strength tests, and various conditioning assessments.

Some common equipment items include barbells, multipurpose lifting racks, kettlebells, sleds, dumbbells, and medicine balls. & more. Based on the results of these assessments, you can determine which exercises, equipment, and training modalities will be most effective for you. Note: there is more than one way to “skin the cat” in this field, so do not feel tied down to certain training methodologies or certain types of exercise equipment.

Step 3: What Will Your Programming Look Like

Now that you have defined your goals and assessed your fitness level, it's time to plan your program. Your program should include a variety of exercises that target different muscle groups and movement patterns. It should also be periodized, meaning that it progresses over time to prevent plateaus and ensure continued progress. A typical strength and conditioning program may include a combination of power development, strength training, aerobic conditioning, anaerobic conditioning, mobility work, and recovery strategies.

When planning your program, it's important to consider the athlete’s schedule, availability of equipment, and any physical limitations, or injuries that the athletes may have. You should also factor in adequate rest and recovery time to prevent overtraining and injury. Note: Control the controllable variables where possible & have a “Plan B or Plan C” for the uncontrollable variables.

Step 4: Implement and Track Your Program & KPIs

Once you have planned the strength and conditioning program, it's time to implement it and begin tracking your progress. This will help you determine whether your program is effective in helping you achieve your goals. Some ways to track progress include tracking your workouts, taking measurements of body composition, and monitoring your strength and endurance gains. There are plenty of apps to assist you in this if printed sheets are not an option. Such options include Bridge Athletics, TeamBuildr, Train Heroic, etc. For KPIs: Try to stay with performance metrics such as your 1-rep max, your mile time, pro agility, 40-yard dash, max pull-ups, or your vertical jump height to assess your progress over time. Establish which training metrics are most important for the success of the program to present to higher admins. This will show demonstrable success & could help grant more funding for the future success of the program.

Step 5: Obtain Feedback & Adapt Your Program

Finally, it's important to remember that building a successful strength and conditioning program is an ongoing process. It will constantly need adjustments and feedback. As athletes progress and their performance metrics improve, you may need to adjust and adapt your program to continue making progress. This may involve increasing the frequency, intensity, or volume of your workouts, incorporating new exercises or training modalities, or modifying your rest and recovery strategies.


In summary, building a successful strength and conditioning program requires careful planning, assessment, and tracking. By defining success, performing a needs analysis, planning your programming, implementing and tracking progress/KPIs, and adjusting and adapting the program as needed, you can achieve your desired fitness outcomes and improve your overall health and athletic performance. As always please feel free to take my work and build off of it. feel free to reach out to me here or direct message me on Instagram @Coach_Telegadas if you want to talk programming as coaches!

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Kosta Telegadas, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Kosta Telegadas is a leader in the strength and conditioning for tactical athletes and martial artists all over the world. He found physical training as a necessity to grow up playing sports, help prevent injury & give back to the country that gave his family so much over the generations. Coach Telegadas has a Master's Degree from the University of Miami (FL) and over 7 years of coaching experience with both professional, college, high school & tactical athletes. He is currently the Head Coach/CEO of Telegadas Performance Training and dedicates his time to make physical training programs & remote coaching accessible to all. His mission: If you stay ready, you never have to get ready!



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