Introducing coach Nick, CrossFit Volentia’s strength and conditioning coach and founding partner.
Strength and Conditioning, in its simplest form is the practical application of sports science to enhance movement quality. With CrossFit being made up of many complex movements, we use the principles of strength and conditioning to ensure all Volentia members are ‘fit to train’.
We asked coach Nick how he became interested in strength and conditioning and how it applies to CrossFit;
‘I’ve played a variety of team sports through my life but as an adult it was mainly rugby. I started training in a gym when I was 13 or 14 with some mates (plenty of bicep curls) because I thought it would help me be a better athlete and have continued ever since really (less bicep curls now though!).
As time progressed I started to understand how I could help myself to be a better rugby player and I always enjoyed working with people that were looking to improve for their chosen sport. This led me to learn more about athletic development and Strength and Conditioning alongside my work as a personal trainer’.
‘What interested me about CrossFit was that the athletes had to be able to do anything and everything fitness wise and it looked like great fun.
Fast forward a few years, and CrossFit Volentia was opened, I began coaching and loved the team atmosphere that we were able to create. The results and benefits that we were able to achieve with each of our members was and still is awesome!
We’re now 6 years in and I still love coaching different people every day and helping them to move better, feel stronger and overcome whatever challenges stand in their way’.
‘Strength and conditioning inspires me because I see it as an opportunity to help athletes (everyone is an athlete) to be a better version of themselves. I really like the Kaizen approach of gradual improvements over time that build up to make a big change. I think we all want instant improvements (myself included) but if we can take a longer term approach then the results we achieve can be incredible and it hopefully means less likelihood of injuries’.
‘When I’m working with any athletes there are 3 general areas that I am trying to work on:
1. Improve the body’s ability to apply more force, apply the same amount of force faster or continue to apply force for a longer period.
2. Develop the body’s capacity to train harder or more often.
3. Develop movement quality and specific strength in areas of the body that come under the highest amount of stress.
I also like to make sure that our athletes get the right amount of recovery in between training.
Our 3 best recovery methods are Sleep, Nutrition and Hydration’.
We asked ‘what are some basic movements people can start with that will help with their CrossFit performance?’
Coach Nick says ‘In any sport be that CrossFit, rugby or netball the best athletes are generally those that can complete the basics incredibly well so I would always keep an element of those in any program.
An area that we are always trying to develop in our athletes is overhead strength and stability. For this reason I would always keep these 3 exercises in any CrossFit program:
1. Dumbell or Kettlebell rows that allow you to fully protract and retract the shoulder blades around the ribcage with control.
2. Controlled hanging to again challenge the control of the scapular on the ribcage. In a passive hang the scapular should be upwardly rotated, you should then have the ability to downwardly rotate with the aim of sliding the shoulder blades back and down “into your back pockets”.
3. Crawling exercises are a great way to link the shoulder joint into the rest of the trunk and the hips. Moving in all directions will challenge your shoulder stability but particularly heading backwards as you’ll have to push the floor away to create some momentum’.
Keep an eye out for some of coach Nick’s strength and conditioning video tutorials coming soon!
Nick is a personal trainer as well as a strength and conditioning coach. You can follow him @crossfit_volentia and @ns.performance.