Q & A: What is a Performance Enhancement Specialist?

From ensuring that athletes stay safe during both training and play, to unlocking new levels of performance, Performance Enhancement Specialists are responsible for the creation of an integrated and functional performance programme that boosts ability and reduces the risk of injury.

When working with athletes, the most important responsibility of a fitness professional is to ensure safety both on and off the playing field. The opportunity to put these types of skills and knowledge to work is huge. It is estimated that 11,000 ankle sprains occur annually among amateur athletes (Hootman, Dick & Agel 2007). For these athletes, the initial injury can lead to reoccurring ankle sprains and even osteoarthritis later in life.

Knee injuries are another common occurrence in sports (Saltzman et al. 2005). Following an ACL injury requiring surgical intervention, only 75% of those individuals are able to return to previous activity levels (Noyes et al. 1983).

These staggering numbers establish a need for fitness professionals to have the knowledge and skills to work with athletes to not only prevent injury but assist athletes in returning to their previous levels of performance post-injury.

Athletes expect results for the time, effort and money that they put into their training. Their goal is to improve their performance. A fitness professional’s goal is to get them to that level while keeping them in the game and off the injured list.

Enhancing performance occurs in systematic and progressive steps. This is one of the many reasons why understanding an integrated training system is so important for fitness professionals who are working with athletes of any level. Applying an integrated, functional approach to athletic development will lead to high levels of dynamic flexibility, core strength, neuromuscular control, power, speed, agility, quickness and functional strength. From stabilisation to maximum power development, each component of training is going to assist an athlete in reaching their peak performance capabilities while avoiding rehabilitation.

In order to increase performance, the fitness professional also needs to have a solid understanding of multiple training concepts. One example is understanding the stretch-shortening cycle and how to effectively use it within an athlete’s training program. Here, by capturing the power of an eccentric muscle contraction and transferring it to an explosive concentric contraction, the athlete will be able to develop high levels of power in athletic activities.

When applied appropriately, this can be utilised across all planes of motion. Sports occur in all three planes, often times simultaneously, not just in one or two planes. It is important that the athlete has the ability to stabilise, reduce and produce forces in all three planes effectively, or they risk a reduced level of performance and an increased likelihood of injury.

Ultimately, a well-designed performance enhancement programme will improve an athlete’s ability to execute their sports skills on the playing field while preventing injuries that could side-line them.

Expand your skills & your business with an internationally-recognised & locally-accredited performance enhancement specialisation with Physical IQ & NASM

From NASM, the world’s leading fitness institution, and with complete support from Physical IQ, the Performance Enhancement Specialist course gives you the expertise to improve performance and prevent injury at any level, in any sport. This distance / online course gives you the flexibility to study in your own time, with in-person and/or virtual practical sessions to ensure a high-quality learning experience.

Listen to the experts

“Physical IQ really gave me a great foundation and understanding of the industry, and I like that it’s based on real in-person activity and not just theory out of a textbook, it really prepares you and makes you think outside the box.”
Carol Hayes
Physical IQ National Certificate in Fitness and NASM CPT
“As a fitness professional, our business is to help people get to their fitness goals. NASM is the gold standard in the industry in my eyes. When I see NASM on an application, I know that candidate wants to grow in the industry and has a solid foundation.”
Robert McCullough
UFC Gym Senior Director of MMA & Former WEC World Champion
NASM is more than just a quality education, it is a systematic method of creating programs that has truly helped me become the trainer I am today. The NASM-PES in particular and its integrated training approach will change your entire mindset around what training and coaching really is. I continue to send all of my coaches and friends the NASM route for their education. The National Academy of Sports Medicine is the best education a fitness professional can find.”
Kaisa Keranen
Owner of KaisaFit

Click here to study towards a career in Performance Enhancement and enter into one of the world’s most dynamic and exciting industries.