May 17, 2022
Since Barbell Logic began providing online coaching, we have offered it almost apologetically, only as a backup if you lacked in-person access to a great professional barbell coach. We have changed are thinking on online coaching's value.
Online coaching is better than in-person coaching for most people most of the time.
Online coaching provides greater flexibility, personalization, consistency, and effectiveness for coaches and clients.
We still love in-person coaching, and most of our coaches offer both online and in-person coaching.
We used to believe in the extreme importance of the first few sessions and first few months for novice lifters.
Coaches correct technique errors in the initial sessions, getting lifters moving in the most biomechanically efficient way possible (with proper form). Clients needed to get as strong as possible in those first few months.
While we still value correct technique and getting clients stronger in the beginning months, these are rather the initial steps in a longer transformative process of building strength to improve quality of life.
Numbers on the bar increase drastically in the initial months of training, but the true value comes from how strength training and health habits become a part of their life, which ultimately creates the effectiveness, value, and lifechanging changes the clients are looking for.
Online Coaching provides flexibility to coaches and clients that in-person coaching cannot compete with.
Clients train when and where they want, and coaches coach when and where they want. This flexibility has led to greater consistency and higher consistency to more effectiveness.
If you have an in-person session and something comes up so you can't make it, the chances that your coach has the flexibility to modify his schedule are slim. Whereas if you typically train before work and something arises where you have to train after work, it's not a problem with online coaching. This also leads to greater compliance.
As a client, you can maintain your training habit through a gym closure or a vacation while still receiving coaching from your coach. As a coach, you can continue to retain your clients as they move. If you want to live in small town USA or in sunny southern California, you can and coach people around the world.
This also enables better coach-client pairing. Clients with specialized needs such as postpartum or pregnancy training, training for military requirements, or training around injuries can find coaches with that knowledge. Coaches can be paired with more clients who they are better-equipped to coach.
Online coaches earn more money per hour and can have more clients than the limitations of a daily or weekly schedule allow.
Beyond this, the pathways to higher-paying coaching are limiting. Personal training wages are low, and not all people want to open their own gym (plus, with business closures, this is riskier than ever before).
Clients pay less money for online coaching while typically getting more or as much feedback from their coach as they would from their in-person coach.
In-person coaching from an excellent professional barbell coach is extremely expensive. Most people typically get occasional technique tune ups or follow a group coaching model to make in-person coaching more affordable.
Online coaching enables coaches to video themselves while watching their clients videos and provide video feedback. While online coaching has some limitations (especially tactile cues) its capabilities enable some different coaching methods.
Through either moving your body in the video or drawing on the screen, visual cues are easier to deliver to clients than when in-person.
Online coaching enables more long coach-client relationships. Although long relationships certainly exist with in-person clients, oftentimes the coach or the client moves and though both would like to continue the relationship it must end. Online coaching can sustain these coach-client relationships.
Online coaching excels at programming. Not only is delivering workout programming (coach) and receiving programming (client) easier, but the coach can explain strength programming decisions and adjustments easily.
Metrics can be automated and tracked for all lifts and all rep ranges. While this may seem like a small benefit, if seeing different PRs go up over time motivates clients, then this again increases compliance while ultimately leads to greater effectiveness.
Lastly, online coaching naturally leads to greater client education. In-person coaching the coach can do more in terms of immediate technique cueing and load changing. As clients learn and coaches better understand their clients, developing guiderails in case of bad training days (or awesome training days) involves the coach enabling the client to make those decisions for themselves.
The clients, too, are not on their own with these decisions, but the coach can provide feedback as to the decision the client made. For example, if a client has a tendency to make decisions that take it easier on themselves, the coach can both adjust the guiderails and let the client understand this tendency they have.