Evidence-based practice in strength and conditioning – reality or fantasy?

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Ian Jeffreys

My practice is ‘evidence-based’. This is a term that has permeated the vocabulary of strength and conditioning over the past decade, and is becoming increasingly pervasive in any conversation about training programmes and philosophies. But what does this term actually mean, where has it come from, and is evidence-based practice a reality, or just a pipedream in the field of strength and conditioning? This article will attempt to frame evidence-based practice in terms of its origins, the challenges faced in the development of evidence-based practice in strength and conditioning and some suggestions as to how this may be most optimally achieved in this field. Along the way, it will take a number of diversions into fields not traditionally associated with strength and conditioning, and may question things we hold dear. The aim is not to criticise or to suggest we randomly abandon valuable methods, but instead it is to generate thought and to look at how coaches can appropriately use the tool of evidence-based practice to optimise their athlete’s training.

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