Functional Training Centre

EP098: Lessons in Coaching, Program Design and Athlete Development from 25 Years in Strength and Conditioning w/ Chris Tombs

Chris has worked with elite players in rugby for almost two decades and has a reputation for developing players at the highest level – enabling them to withstand the test of time, and have long fruitful careers.

Over the past year I have had the pleasure of getting to know Chris on a deeper level, and decided that it was time to get him on the podcast.

During our discussion Chris shares the lessons he’s learned in his 25 years as a Strength and Conditioning. He shares his insights around building trust with clients, the different phases of development, program design, how to become a great coach, and so much more.

In this episode you’ll get wisdom from one of the world’s great Strength and Conditioning coaches. Wisdom that, if applied to your coaching, will save you from making a lot of mistakes in your own career. Not to mention help you withstand the test of time, and differentiate yourself as an elite coach.

Let’s go.


  • How Chris got started with one of the best rugby teams in the world. 
  • Why years working as a personal trainer helped Chris become one of the world’s great Strength and Conditioning coaches.
  • How Chris got into training world-class athletes. He shares the foundation that led him there.
  • Why percentage based training is dead and what makes much more sense.
  • The 4 quadrants of athlete/client development and how it applies to pretty much everyone.
  • A big reason why the sets, reps, time under temp, rest periods, etc. in your nicely organized program design spreadsheet may be a waste of time.
  • “Physical preparedness is not the event.” We discuss the meaning behind this statement, and why you need to understand it when training your clients.
  • The definition of VBT (Velocity Based Training) and how can it be used with any client to get better results and create a better overall training experience.
  • The importance of mindset, recovery, nutrition, how they can nudge results forward, and why we must focus on them.
  • What Chris means by “stimulus for the day” and how to apply it to anyone’s program to make it simple.
  • Why if you add something to your program you have to take something away and why not doing this is a big mistake. 
  • The biggest insights for up and coming coaches. 

And much more.


Chris Tombs Instagram:

Seattle Seawolves Rugby:

Seattle Seawolves Rugby Instagram:

Vigor Ground Fitness and Performance:

Vigor Life Podcast (iTunes):

Luka Hocevar YouTube Channel:

Luka Hocevar Instagram:

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback that you’d like to share? Leave me a review on iTunes.

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