Strength and Conditioning

Expand your knowledge of physical performance by gaining a deep understanding of strength and conditioning processes that’ll make you stand out in an industry with an ever-increasing profile.

Course detail

Start Date

September

Duration

4 years (full-time)

Award Title

BSc (Hons)

UCAS Code

C600

Strength and Conditioning

COURSE IN CLEARING. FIND YOUR PLACE.  

Why study Abertay's BSc (Hons) in Strength and Conditioning?

This is Scotland’s only undergraduate degree to be formally recognised by the USA's National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA) – the industry’s largest governing body worldwide.

Please note: This is one of the specialist routes within the sports portfolio at Abertay. You’ll make your choice of specialist route at the end of stage two of the BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise programme.

Strength and Conditioning (S&C) is an integral component for sport organisations across a wide range of amateur and professional sports, although the role of the S&C practitioner extends beyond the traditional provision of strength training – it’s not simply confined to sport organisations.

The deep understanding of the sciences behind training and performance required to be a successful S&C specialist are equally applicable to work with young people, the elderly and those either suffering from, or at risk of, developing a number of disease states.

You’ll have access to our Human Performance Laboratory, with running, rowing, fitness testing and weights machines. You’ll also have opportunities to meet the numerous professional sportsmen and sportswomen who draw on the expertise of our lecturing staff within this facility.

Abertay is widely regarded as THE place to come for high quality teaching. But don't take our word for it:

  • Sunday Times UK University of the Year 2020 for Teaching Quality.
  • Guardian University Guide 2020 Top 10 in the UK for Student Satisfaction with TeachingCourse and Feedback.
  • National Student Survey 2020 Top 10 UK Universities for Student Satisfaction.

Online Open Days 2021

An Online Open Day is a great way to help you decide what and where you want to study.

Join us virtually on Wed 29 Sep or Sat 30 Oct to chat to lecturers and students, see the facilities for the course(s) you're interested in, and get a flavour of our city-centre campus.

BOOK YOUR PLACE

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Your Journey Starts Here

This fascinating programme draws on the core disciplines of physiology, psychology and biomechanics, teaching you how to apply the theoretical knowledge gained to practical settings across a plethora of real world situations.

Gym environment - female using running machine

About Your Modules

All modules shown are indicative and reflect course content for the current academic year. Modules are reviewed annually and may be subject to change. If you receive an offer to study with us we will send you a Programme document  that sets out exactly which modules you can expect to take as part of your Abertay University degree programme. Please see Terms and Conditions for more information.

Modules

Year 3 Core Modules

You must study and pass all five core modules

Brief description

Theoretical and practical knowledge of the fundamentals of strength and conditioning. Learn some of the major underpinning physiological and biomechanical components of human performance, and scientifically justified periodised methods for training to achieve specific goals. 

Indicative content:

  • Introduction to Strength and Conditioning/Functional Screening: Introduction to key terminology/concepts of Strength and Conditioning and a fundamental understanding of basic functional athlete screening.
  • Introduction to Human Movement: An introduction to human anatomy and the mechanics of human force production (e.g., planes of movement, lever systems).
  • Introduction to Compound lifting: Introduction to the major compound exercises (e.g., Back/Front Squat, Dead−Lift, Bent−Over Row, Bench Press and an introduction to Weightlifting derivatives) with Key technical elements and coaching points associated with each lift.
  • Neuromuscular physiology: Neuromuscular physiology and fibre types.
  • Plyometric training: An introduction to the fundamental principles underpinning Plyometric Training (Stretch−Shortening −Cycle) and an understanding of the key technical coaching points.
  • Sports nutrition: Principles of periodised sports nutrition for S&C training programmes.

Brief description

The concepts of coaching and learning and their application to physical activity environments. Move beyond a reductionist view of coaching simply as a systematic procedure and consider and discuss the influence of the social aspects of coaching such as leadership, relationships, and social environments.

Indicative content:

  • Coaching and learning: The definition and purpose of coaching and learning and what it has to do with teaching and education.
  • The role of the coach: The role of the coach, their purpose and what they try to achieve. Consider the level of participation, demands placed on coaches by external bodies, and coaches own philosophies towards the instruction of athletes.
  • The coaching process: The key characteristics of coaching. Consider a variety of leadership and relationship models and how they fit into the idea of coaching as a systematic process.
  • Skill development: The principles that underpin the creation on an efficient learning environment. Consider modern theories of skill acquisition and how they relate to effective teaching.
  • Participant groups: Different categorisations of participants and how this impacts on the planning and delivery of the coaching process.

Brief description

The principles of biomechanics and the concept of performance analysis within a sporting context. Using biomechanics to create evidence based intervention strategies to optimise performance.

Indicative content:

  • Performance analysis: Identify what performance analysis is, observe performance analysis against existing models, apply and assess the efficacy of the different types of performance analysis.
  • Notational analysis: Concepts of notational analysis and methods for team and individual performance. Apply notational analysis methods to a performance setting.
  • Biomechanical concepts associated with performance: Evaluate biomechanical concepts in relation to their application within a sporting/performance concept. Discuss biomechanical factors that contribute to performance or used to optimise performance.
  • Development of intermediate laboratory skills: Develop intermediate laboratory skills in collection of biomechanical data including, 3D assessment of movement, kinetics using force platforms (ground reaction forces and stability).
  • Data processing and analysis: How to effectively process and analyse biomechanical data generated using biomechanical laboratory equipment.

Brief description

Theory and knowledge of sports psychology and aspects of applied sports psychology in the sport and performance context.

Indicative content:

  • Sports psychology context and practice: Role(s) of the sports psychologists; contexts and different perspectives on the work of a sports psychologist.
  • Planning and developing interventions: The needs analysis process; empowerment; ownership and motivation; assessment of efficacy.
  • Psychological skills training: Theory and research of goal setting, relaxation, energisation, imagery, positive self-talk, pre-performance and performance routines. Performance enhancement contexts; injury prevention and rehabilitation contexts.

Brief description

Develop your ideas about research in sport, exercise, physical activity and health, to better understand and appreciate published research and design your own research project.

Module content:

  • The research process: The steps associated with planning and conducting a research process.
  • Formulating and refining research questions: How research ideas are questions are generated and refined.
  • Research methodologies: Various research methodologies (e.g., quantitative, qualitative and mixed−methods). Develop an appreciation of diverse approaches to research in sport, exercise, physical activity and health.
  • Ethical issues: The key ethical issues associated with research in sport, exercise, physical activity and health.
  • Practical skill development: Develop your practical research skills in your chosen discipline area.

Year 3 Option Modules

You must study and pass one option module of your choosing. (You must do a Work Placement module in either Year 3 or Year 4.)

Brief description

A work placement to give you structured and practical experience of your own particular area of the sports industry to enhance your employability. 

Module content:

  • Career pathways: Reflect on your prospective career path. Identify strengths and limitations that you can address to enhance your career progression.
  • Understanding the prospective work environment and organisation: Identify appropriate organisations and opportunities in line with your own continued professional development. Engage in organising an appropriate work placement. Be guided by staff, but lead the process, to develop your ability to find and apply for appropriate employment.
  • Work placement: Undertake the appropriate work placement aligned with your study programme and within a prospective work environment. 

Brief description

The core physiological concepts that underpin performance. Gain knowledge of biochemical, cardiovascular and neuromuscular bases for performance and training the body for endurance, team and strength. Use both physiological and biomechanical equipment to explore and collect physiological data in relation to enhancing sports performance outcomes.

Module content:

  • Biochemistry of performance: The core concepts of energy production during sport and exercise, the metabolic processes and the rate limiting steps for performance and the metabolic adaptations to training.
  • Cardiovascular system and performance: Cardiac output and blood flow regulation and cardiovascular adaptation to training.
  • Neuromuscular system and performance: The contractile mechanism, motor unit activation, neuromuscular fatigue and strength, power and speed performance.
  • Doping and performance: The role of doping in elite sport and the physiological adaptations to doping.
  • Training for performance: Different training modalities to improve endurance and anaerobic power and strength. How to plan energy specific programmes.

Brief description

The overall purpose of this module is to develop students’ understanding of the core physiological concepts that underpin performance. This will be achieved by explicitly addressing students’ knowledge of biochemical, cardiovascular and neuromuscular bases for performance and training the body for endurance, team and strength. Throughout this module, students will utilise both physiological and biomechanical equipment to allow them to explore and collect physiological data in relation to enhancing sports performance outcomes.

Indicative content:

  • Biochemistry of performance: Students will explore the core concepts of energy production during sport and exercise, the metabolic processes and the rate limiting steps for performance and the metabolic adaptations to training.
  • Cardiovascular system and performance: Students will learn about cardiac output and blood flow regulation and cardiovascular adaptation to training.
  • Neuromuscular system and performance: Students will learn about the contractile mechanism, motor unit activation, neuromuscular fatigue and strength, power and speed performance.
  • Doping and performance: Students will develop an understanding of the role of doping in elite sport and the physiological adaptations to doping.
  • Training for performance: Students will explore different training modalities to improve endurance and anaerobic power and strength and how to plan energy specific programmes.

Brief description

Develop your ideas about research in sport, exercise, physical activity and health, to better understand and appreciate published research and design your own research project.

Module content:

  • The research process: The steps associated with planning and conducting a research process.
  • Formulating and refining research questions: How research ideas are questions are generated and refined.
  • Research methodologies: Various research methodologies (e.g., quantitative, qualitative and mixed−methods). Develop an appreciation of diverse approaches to research in sport, exercise, physical activity and health.
  • Ethical issues: The key ethical issues associated with research in sport, exercise, physical activity and health.
  • Practical skill development: Develop your practical research skills in your chosen discipline area.

Year 4 Core Modules

You must study and pass all three core modules.

Brief description

Undertake an independent research project in an area of sport, health or physical activity. 

Indicative content:

  • Research project topics: Select your research project topic with staff guidance. You are allocated a supervisory tutor within the Division.
  • Supervisory sessions: These cover the identification of a research question; necessary elements of research design; the approach needed to prepare for and complete the research project; a range of appropriate research methods; appropriate statistical analyses; the structure of the research report; the interpretation of the research results; possible or probable conclusions; and the writing of the report.

Brief description

Additional concepts, methods and techniques used in biomechanics. The interdisciplinary nature of sport biomechanics and injury prevention, for example the physiology of fatigue and its application to biomechanical measures.

Indicative content:

  • Clinical Biomechanics: Gait analysis – changes throughout the lifespan, effects of different footwear (including different cushioning systems and materials), effects of certain diseases and disabilities (including development of prostheses). Injury risk and prevention, including those through impacts, chronic and acute injuries and how these can be linked to health and safety issues.
  • Sport and Exercise Biomechanics: Injury risk, prevention and performance – use of biomechanical aids (including ankle bracing and taping) and their effects on injury incidence and performance. Integrative biomechanical assessment, which will focus on the utilisation and application of biomechanical laboratory skills developed in the third year module.

Brief description

This module builds on the module, Fundamentals of Strength and Conditioning, (SPS305). Explore more advanced training methods and theory, with an emphasis on developing long-term training programmes across a diverse range of sports. Units of assessments will be closely aligned with the UKSCA assessment framework.

Indicative content:

  • Olympic Lifting: A progression from the content covered in SPS305, practical competency and technical knowledge of the Clean and Jerk/ Snatch exercises and their variations.
  • Recovery exercise: The mechanisms involved in fatigue and recovery during and after exercise.
  • Assessment of Strength and Power: Issues in strength and power assessment, specific laboratory based and field based protocols, designing testing batteries.
  • Speed, Agility and Plyometric exercise: Follow on from material covered in SPS305, with emphasis on advanced programme design and interpretation of the scientific literature.
  • Performance analysis: Identifying main physiological and biomechanical requirements of various sports and designing appropriate conditioning interventions.
  • Practical applications: Methods of dealing with a range of practical scenarios in strength and conditioning.
  • Interpretation and dissemination of information: How to interpret scientific data and articles and be able to disseminate findings to a range of populations (e.g coaches, athletes).

Year 4 Option Modules

You must study and pass two option modules of your choosing, one from Group [A] and one from Group [B].  (If you didn’t take the Work Placement module in year 3, you must take the Career Placement module in Group A.)

Brief description

A work placement within a prospective work environment to expand your knowledge and understanding of your subject and its applications within a real-life setting. 

Module content:

  • Career pathways: Reflect on your prospective career path and evaluate your subject-based and transferable skills, identifying strengths and limitations to address to enhance your career progression.
  • Understanding the prospective work environment and organisation: Identify appropriate organisations and opportunities for enhancing you own continued professional development. Engage in organising an appropriate work placement. Be guided by staff but lead the process to find and apply for appropriate employment.
  • Work placement: Undergo an appropriate programme within a prospective work environment to enhance your ability to progress within your selected career pathway.

Brief description

Pursue a topic of interest, different from any other work either submitted or proposed relevant to your selected pathway. Manage your own learning and set agreed objectives.

Module content:

  • General: Content will depend on individual learning outcomes agreed.

Brief description

One of the most important aspects of sport is the people involved, whether they are taking part, coaching, administering, volunteering or involved in some other capacity. The Sport Duty of Care Review raised questions about whether the wellbeing and welfare of people are being put at the centre of what sport does and delivers. 

Module content:

  • Safeguarding: What more could be done to strengthen sport’s position in relation to the protection of young people and adults at all levels of sport.
  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: Specific aspects of duty of care with relevance to equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • Injuries: How the likelihood of injury can be lessened and whether improvements can be made to how sporting injuries are treated in the short and long term.
  • Career transitions: The support people receive as they transition through the sport system, including entering and leaving top-level sport.
  • Mental health: Issues relating to the prevention, identification and management of mental health issues in sportspeople.
  • Education: How sportspeople can be supported to help them balance education with their sporting activities.
  • Representation of the participant’s voice: How the views of sportspeople are considered in decisions affecting them in sport.

Brief description

The professionalism and development of coaching and learning using an evidence-based approach contextualised to real world examples. The issues of professionalism in education and teaching and the different approaches to the development of those responsible for expertise in athletes and other learners.

Module content:

  • The coach as a professional: The expanded roles of a professional coach. The definition of professionalism and the concepts involved in the recognition of coaching as a profession.
  • Coach education: Research−led knowledge and scientific literature and the links it has to the advice and guidance given to those leading coaching and learning. The dissemination of knowledge and the appropriateness of how it is presented.
  • National Governing Bodies: The role NGBs play in supporting coaching and learning. The increasing professionalism of the coaching process, coach education, and scientific support.
  • Volunteer culture: The volunteer culture in sports coaching within the UK and the tensions this can create with the need for legislation, licensing, and education.

Brief description

Build on the foundational theoretical knowledge of sport and exercise psychology and address advanced and contemporary topics for a more in−depth and current perspective of theory and research in the field.

Module content:

  • Motivation and emotion: e.g. self−determination, stress appraisals and coping, burnout, mind-sets.
  • Cognitive sport psychology: e.g. attentional processes, reinvestment theory.
  • Sport, exercise psychology and health: e.g. exercise dependence and addiction; psychology and injury; PA, sedentary behaviours and psychosocial health.
  • Social sport and exercise psychology: e.g. the physical self, communication, coach−athlete relationship.

Brief description

The core physiological concepts that underpin exercise performance. The external environment and gender and their impacts on performance and training the body for endurance, team and strength.

Module content:

  • Fatigue: The concept of fatigue and how it regulates performance via central and peripheral regulators.
  • Exercise in different temperatures: Systems adaptation − how the different physiological systems adapt to different temperatures.
  • Exercise with different levels of oxygen availability: Systems adaptation − how the different physiological systems adapt to hypoxia and hyperbaria.
  • Overtraining or under-recovery: The role of recovery in ensuring optimal performance.
  • Gender responses: The physiological responses and training adaptations in males and females.

How the Course Works

Learning and Assessment 

You’ll learn through a mixture of lectures, practical laboratory classes, seminars/tutorials and independent study. The practical lab classes offer the chance to learn relevant scientific techniques first hand, and provide an opportunity to engage in research by designing experiments and collecting and analysing data.

The assessment strategy is aimed at developing a variety of skills that are valued by employers. The majority of assessment is by innovative coursework-related submissions, such as lab reports, essays, oral and poster presentations, portfolios, reflective logs, practical tests.

Exams form only a small percentage (approximately 15%) of the overall assessment.

Entry Requirements

Please note: All new entrants are required to undertake a criminal records check (PVG) at the point of entry to the programme.

Please visit our Entry from College pages for suitable College courses. You should look for those courses suitable for entry onto our BSc (Hons) Sport & Exercise.

Republic of Ireland applicants, click on the UK tabs and scroll down to find your Entry Requirements.

See information about studying and applying to Abertay for International students.

Years 1 or 2 Entry to year 1 or 2 of this programme is through the BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise programme, which will allow you to progress to this programme at the end of Year 2.

Qualification Grade Requirements Essential Subjects
Advanced entry is available to applicants with a suitable HND. Please refer to the articulation routes to BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise on our Entry from College pages. - -

Non-country specific qualifications

International Baccalaureate

29 points including S5 or H4 in one of the following subjects:  Business Management, Classical Studies, Economics, English, ESOL, Geography, History, Media Studies, Modern Studies, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies, Sociology.

Country Specific Requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants from over the world. Select your country from the below options.