precision in exercise selection for long term athletic development

a map of the terrain

milestones, starting points and progressions to the extremes of human movement.

evidence based

skill-acquisition processes and principles sewn into the fabric of the framework.

universally applicable

whoever you coach, these fundamental principles of movement hold true.

built for teaching

optimised for communication with athletes & between colleagues.


The Strength-Skill Operating System (SSOS) is a comprehensive matrix of heavy strength exercises designed as a reference manual for assisting coaches in selecting and progressing exercises toward movement mastery.

What started as a way to organise my programming has evolved into an obsession that turns out to be an amazing tool for coach education.


The goal of the SSOS is to differentiate Skill from Strength so that you can make more intentional exercise selections for your athletes.

Movement Quality (Skill) and Movement Capacity (Strength/Power) are two different things. You can move with great skill and be weak as a kitten. You can be strong as an Ox with poor movement quality.

The SSOS provides tremendous detail to the Skill dimension of strength training for human performance.


The Strength-Skill Operating System was originally developed for use in performance tennis, a subtly brutal sport which places unique and diverse demands on the body. It was born out of a need to expand skill with the same aggression and to the same elite level as we were pursuing raw strength and power.

It was a realisation that for skill-sport athletes in particular, you have to train strength and movement skill in equal measure. It is the recognition that each without the other is a dead-end for performance.

It has evolved into a blueprint for Long Term Athletic Development across all sports, ages and level of experience.

It is a map of the terrain for heavy strength training which lays out the milestones and progressions for what the human body is capable of with physical training.

Baked into the system are evidence based principles of skill acquisition to support the methods for getting there using strength & conditioning. 

It is a live document that continues to evolve as we use our coaching practice to search out universal methods for expanding movement competencies.


COACHING YOUR ATHLETES: The SSOS gives your athletes a clear pathway toward technical mastery that they can use every day in their strength sessions. “You are here and this is the next exercise to master on your journey.”

COMMUNICATION WITH COLLEAGUES: Align practice using a reference framework for discussing movement competency. Promote interdisciplinary practice where all practitioners contribute to strength-skill. 

GROUNDING YOUR COACHING PRACTICE: Use the SSOS as a document to reference new exercises and help design interventions. Ground your philosophy in the immovable principles of exercise complexity and give more insight into your strength training.

PERSONALISING THE SYSTEM: These are the milestones of skill in strength training. Lay your sports specific needs analyses and coaching style over the top. Bring your expertise and favourite methods for creating lasting change to move people through the framework.


Much of human movement is universal. Every athlete that you will ever coach will sit somewhere upon these continuums of movement skill. The system doesn’t discriminate by age, gender, sport or competitive level. It is a lens through which to view the quality of human movement using the very exercises you use to coach every day. It can be a system for teaching our athletes to move better, whoever they are and whatever their goals.

11 year old female tennis player vs 30 year old elite rugby player? Every athlete or client you see will sit somewhere on these 14 continuums. Young or old, male or female, strong or weak, fresh faced or battle weary- this is the way the human body moves and can be taught to move better.

Disability athletes? Not all categories will apply but some will. Train them.

Powerlifter vs Golfer: Not all categories will matter equally. I’d argue they all matter to some degree for us to function optimally. Use your expertise to decide which are worth more time and effort, aware of the entire picture.


This system is designed to address 90% of the gross movement deficiencies that we see in our athletes. The other 10% demands our expertise and knowledge of the sport and the person in front of us. It is not designed to replace a thorough clinical assessment, rather it is designed to provide practitioners with a reference language for effective inter-disciplinary communication and practice.

Strength Coaches: This was designed to improve how effective I (as a strength coach) was at developing movement competency in parallel with strength and power. It’s highly practical and is designed to fit seamlessly into our practice.

Physiotherapists: Contribute to the holistic athletic development of your patients beyond localised single joint exercises. See how your clinical interventions blend seamlessly into the bigger picture of re-training for performance.

Massage Therapists: Pair your hands-on interventions with precisely selected exercises that sought to take advantage of the transient window of opportunity to stabilise that new range and expand movement possibilities.

Chiropractors/ Osteopaths: Support your treatments with challenging movements that push into newly restored ranges of motion and create lasting changes in local stability and postural control to stimulate lasting changes.

Surgeons: What are the key competencies your patient needs to resolve post surgery? Use this reference framework to communicate your medium and long goals for the patient to sports science and medicine practitioners.


The Blog researches and investigates the best methods and coaching tricks to move people through the Strength-Skill Operating System. Where the SSOS is a road map of milestones and signposts for assessing movement competency, the blog explores insights from top coaches and drills down into the tactics of programming for skill development.

Our Courses are intended to provide highly applicable coaching methods for working with your athletes using the Strength-Skill Operating System. They are designed for sports science and medicine practitioners of all levels to create reference frameworks for their exercise prescription and facilitate communication.

Course announcements coming soon. In the meantime, have a look around, see what you can find and get in touch with me, Bob using