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What is strength training and why did I become a Strength and Conditioning Specialist?

When people hear the words ‘Strength training’ does this seem unattainable, mysterious, or even, at the best of times down right scary. After all, what do a bunch of bulky barbell lifting meatheads know? Well, let me tell you a secret, everyone practices strength training on a daily basis. If you stopped reading after this point, well I don’t blame you. But if you are still here, shall we continue? Strength training forms a daily function in our everyday interactions with our physical environment. It could be something as simple as walking up the stair, picking up a gallon of water from the floor or sitting and standing up from a chair. The list goes on and on.

Let me share my story, and spoilers it did change my life! When I was a child, I used to be very skinny and because of that I often got bullied by my peers. However, getting bullied was not the reason I started training. I simply trained because I enjoyed it. And train was what I did. After gaining some physical changes due to training, weirdly enough these bullies started to respect me.

As an observant child, I quickly learnt that my physical changes wasn’t the only reasons I stopped getting bullied. it was more than that. Mentally without trying too hard, I became more confident and disciplined in my life, I was reborn and I liked this new me. The lessons I learnt from lifting would give me the courage to try new things no matter what the outcome may be. This is one of the thing I want all of people I care about to experience.

Okay sad story done. Let’s get into the nitty gritty. Strength training, also known as resistance training, is a training type designed to make you stronger by manipulating the number of sets and repetitions. Although, at times, no specific equipment is required to perform strength training. This is due to the existence of gravity, after all, don’t you think there’s a reason all the mass in the world isn’t flying endlessly into empty space? But you know what Mr. Apple Tree aka Sir Isaac Newton didn’t yet discover when the apple fell on his head? Free weights! For that we need to thank our ancient greeks. This combination of free weight and gravity creates magic. Free weights are functional in nature, it allows us to move through all three planes of motion, so you move throughout space like you would in your normal life. Let’s get real for a second, free weights also makes us so much stronger, never in my career have I seen someone say ‘I want to be weaker’. And in a nutshell this is what strength training really is. If you want to make long term progress there are two main factors that will determine your success.

Firstly, you really do need to be having the right program. A good program will ensure that there is a proper plan every time you walk into the gym, which tells you how heavy and how much you should do. No randomness here just progress. Often I hear that “more is always better”. This is not true when it comes to strength. What’s more important is to perform just the right intensity, volumes and frequency that will foster your development and growth overtime.

The second factor and the most overlooked aspect of strength training is form and technique. To be efficient and successful, you must have a good understanding of each movement and execute it correctly. By doing these, it will enable you to target and use the right muscles, thus making sure that you are not unnecessary overusing certain muscles, tendons, or joints. Hey, strength training is for life remember? As such, having a good form or to what some of my fellow peers refer to as ‘technique’ will lower the risk of getting injured, which is one of the main factors that inhibit long-term growth.

After a year of being a personal trainer, I realise that my passion lies in wanting to improve people’s lives through strength training. Without any hesitation, I enrolled myself in a CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) course and started studying for it rigorously. In addition to my personal passion for strength training, the lack of specialists and knowledge in this field in Thailand is another factor that motivates me to take this course. Ultimately, I hope to use both the scientific foundations and practice/applied portions that I learnt from this course as well as my own experience to help better the fitness and sport industry in Thailand. Might sound ambitious I know, but let’s change the world one lift at a time. Because why not?



Sirapob Puangin is a decorated Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He also holds qualifications from the IWF NSCA and NASM and is currently a graduate student of Sports Science at Chulalongkorn University. He serves as the weightlifting and head coach at Iron Hive Gym. And has competed in numerous Weightlifting and Powerlifting competitions.

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