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The Science of Strength

Reflections on the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the Emergence of Research-Based Strength and Conditioning

Shurley, Jason P.; Todd, Janice S.; Todd, Terry C.

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: February 2017 - Volume 31 - Issue 2 - p 517–530
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001676
Original Research

Shurley, JP, Todd, JS, and Todd, TC. The science of strength: reflections on the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the emergence of research-based strength and conditioning. J Strength Cond Res 31(2): 517–530, 2017—The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) formed in 1978 when a group of 76 strength and conditioning coaches banded together to start an organization whose goal was to facilitate the exchange of ideas on strength training for sports. At the time, very little research existed regarding strength training protocols or their effects. Members clamored for scientific information, however, and by the group's second meeting, they moved to establish a research committee and a professional journal. In the years that followed, more members with experience both as practitioners of strength coaching and training and as scientists joined the organization. As membership demographics shifted, the NSCA's mission changed from exchanging ideas about strength training to creating research on its effects. The group sought to “bridge the gap” between scientists and practitioners, and to that end, the NSCA Journal published features like the “Sport Performance Series” and “Roundtable” articles containing applied science and investigations of claims made by strength equipment manufacturers about the efficacy of their products. In 1987, a second journal, The Journal of Applied Sport Science Research, was established to provide more access to research-based publications, now renamed the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. With over 400 articles published in the JSCR in 2014 alone, the science of strength has advanced dramatically since the NSCA's founding.

1Department of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Coaching, The University of Wisconsin—Whitewater, Whitewater, Wisconsin; and

2Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas

Address correspondence to Janice S. Todd,

Copyright © 2017 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.