Chris Holder
Chris Holder
Title: Head Strength & Conditioning Coach
Phone: 805-756-5288

Chris Holder, a Cal Poly master’s degree graduate of 2005, returned to Cal Poly as the Mustangs' head strength and conditioning coach in February 2013.

Holder joined the Mustang Strength Staff after a seven-year stint at San Jose State University.

"I feel tremendously blessed that Don (Oberhelman) and the rest of the Cal Poly Athletics Department have trusted their strength program to me," said Holder. "This university, this town and this program has been my home my entire professional life. Even when I was away, my heart was still in SLO.

"We have some unique opportunities," Holder added. "The previous staff left the department in great shape. Our athletic teams are thriving right now and I will work my fingers to the bone to continue the successes already established and prepare these athletes in the best way possible."

Named Head Football Strength Coach in 2006 at SJSU, Holder's work with the Spartan football team had a direct impact on the success of the 2006 season. San Jose State produced a 9-4 record, including a victory in the New Mexico Bowl. The bowl appearance at that time was their first since 1990. Accepting the position of Director of Strength and Conditioning in February 2007, Holder oversaw the operations of the strength program for SJSU's entire 16-sport athletics department for the next six years.

From 2002-05, Holder served as Cal Poly’s head strength and conditioning coach. During his time with Cal Poly, the Mustang football team produced three consecutive winning seasons (2003-2005) for the first time in 25 years and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision playoffs in 2005. Holder was a member of the football staffs which contributed to the development of three consecutive Buck Buchanon Award winners -- Jordan Beck in 2004, Chris Gocong in 2005 and Kyle Shotwell (2006).

Entering his 15th year as a strength and conditioning coach, Holder began his professional career at Eastern Kentucky University in January 2000 as an intern working with the football and volleyball teams. He moved on to Cal Poly in May 2000 as a volunteer strength and conditioning coach. He was the assistant strength and conditioning coach at Appalachian State University the first half of the 2002 calendar year before returning to Cal Poly and being named the Mustangs' first-ever head strength coach.

The 2000 graduate of Eastern Kentucky University majored in physical education and earned a master’s degree in kinesiology from Cal Poly in 2005. In February 2012, Holder completed his doctorate in Chinese Medical Qigong Therapy. Under the tutelage of world famous Qigong Grand Master Dr. Jerry Alan Johnson, Dr. Holder conducted groundbreaking research on the effects of Medical Qigong Therapy with athletes in competition. This research has spawned other works and additional studies on the effects of this ancient medical practice and its impact on athletes and athletic performance.

Holder received his American doctorate from the International Institute of Medical Qigong in Monterey, Calif., and is also licensed in China to practice medicine from The Western District Qigong Science and Traditional Chinese Medicine Research Institute in Beijing, China.

He was a starting center for the EKU Colonels’ 1997 and 1999 football teams. The 1997 Eastern Kentucky team was the Ohio Valley Conference champion.

Holder is certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association as a strength and conditioning specialist.  He holds the title of Master RKC for Dragon Door, has completed his studies with Z-Health Performance Solutions certified (R,I,S,T, 9s), and is a CrossFit Level 1 Coach.

Holder recently wrote an article titled "The Kettlebell Alternative" that was published in the August/September issue of American Football Monthly (

"My motto going into this is: Can you imagine anywhere else you would rather be right now? No… no I can’t," said Holder.

Holder is married to the former Jessie Shull of Downey, CA. The Holders have three children: Elogious (10), Delaney (8) and Avery (6). They make their home in Grover Beach.