November 9, 2020 Connor King

What Is Live Online Coaching?

By Grant Broggi & Connor King

Starting Strength Coaches


We get a lot of questions about live online barbell coaching. Everyone interested wants to know how it works, is it easy to set up, and what they can expect as an outcome.

As coaches, we’ve tried to develop a coaching method that allows you to have as much success in the weight room as you would if we were there with you. The overwhelming feedback that we get is that this is the next best thing to seeing a coach in person.

We hope our article answers your questions and prepares you for your future success under the bar with a coach.


Why We Started

On March 17th, 2020, our gyms were closed when the County of Orange stated that all gyms were not allowed to operate due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a coaching team we started to think about the impact the closing of our gyms would have on people’s lives.

Our gym – The Strength Co. – helps people of all ages gain strength through resistance training because we believe improvements in physical strength can benefit everyone’s health and well-being. In our gyms, we coach you hands-on and close up on how to perform the big barbell lifts, how much weight to add, and teach you all the fundamentals of strength training.

So we had to do something. For starters, we couldn’t just sit by and let our business collapse, and we also wanted to keep our clients lifting. Because we believe lifting is life changing for our clients. So we began to try online live coaching.

Over the last eight months our online coaching program has created an expansive online community with lifters from all over the world and across all time zones.

We’ve learned a lot over the last eight months, so if you’re looking for a strength coach online — we’re here to explain how our service works.


Live Coaching is Key

In-person coaching from a qualified source is the absolute gold standard for anyone looking to get stronger. We can’t replace in-person coaching (nor would we want to), but we have found that we can come very close to creating the same results as if you were lifting in our gyms.

Strength training is a highly skilled endeavor requiring clear instruction and consistent feedback every time you perform the lifts.

Normally, online coaching relies on the lifter to record their movements, send them to their coach, and await feedback which hopefully arrives prior to their next session.

What sets our online coaching apart from others is that we rely on our ability to provide clear and concise feedback in real time and between each rep.

Let’s look at the difference:

Traditional Online Coaching

You go into your garage, or your local gym and begin your workout. Your coach isn’t there but they’ve given you instruction on what to do. They’ve also instructed you to  record your heavy sets so that they can break them down after your workout.

Without any feedback , the session is completed along with every form error that was committed, repeated, and now ingrained in your motor pattern.

Your coach receives the video some time later and provides an exhaustive and overwhelming list of everything you need to correct before your next session: form errors, cues to think about, how much weight to use, for how many reps, don’t do this, do that. You get it…the list goes on…

home gym

Two days go by, you’ve tried to process your coaches long text review on your form and you go back to your place to workout.

Secluded within your garage, or by yourself in a commercial gym you do your best to remember everything your coach told you. We respect you for that. It’s hard to find the motivation to get under the bar alone, and it’s hard to go down on rep five when rep four felt like the end of the world.

This can be overwhelming, frustrating, and plain inefficient.  There is a better way.


Live Online Coaching

You schedule a time to workout with your coach over live online video software. The day goes on, maybe you don’t feel like lifting. But you don’t have a choice anymore, you’ve made a commitment to your coach to show up. So you do, even when you don’t feel like it.

You log on and there is your coach on the other end of the screen. Instead of working out alone, they ask you how you’ve recovered since your last session.

coaching online

Have you been eating enough? How did you sleep last night? Now let’s get to the bar and begin training.

This is a totally different experience because now your coach is able to observe your movement in real time. As you warm up your coach provides corrective and actionable cues for you to execute during each rep.

“Shove knees apart…keep your eyes down…hold your breath…COME ON YOU GOT THIS!”

Feedback is happening during your movements by coach yelling corrections during your set. After you are done, you and your coach then have dialogue: re-explaining cues,  reviewing previous instructions, making adjustments on the fly, answering questions, and offering encouragement.

At the conclusion of the session your coach is able to give you some notes to think about as well as a plan for next session.

You log off. You’re done, until your next session. You don’t have to log on and read your coach’s feedback. You already made the adjustments you needed for your session.

In both cases a great deal of time and effort was spent by both you and your coach. But in our live online coaching option much more was accomplished in a shorter amount of time.

We call this efficiency. We like efficiency.


You Don’t Have To Be A Nerd To Lift Online

Starting barbell training for the first time can be intimidating, and for some, the misplaced anxiety of training online conjures images of complicated equipment set-up and glitchy software. This is not the case at all. Don’t let technology be your excuse for not getting strong.

Our clients are always surprised at how simple it really is.

In fact, we have not had one person take our Intro to Barbells class and discontinue because the technology gets in the way. Even my parents lift with me online.

We have lifters of all ages and levels of tech savviness that get the hang of it by the end of the first session. Plus, we’ll send you our starter pack with instructions. We also schedule a 15 minute phone call before your first session to go over all of it with you — along with your strength goals.


What You Will Need

Assuming you have your home gym set up, or any place where you can get access to a barbell, rack and weights you really only need a few other items.

Camera/ Phone/ Tablet + Tripod

online barbell coaching setup

You will need a reliable device with a camera to film yourself. Remember, we are trying to recreate the experience as if we were there with you. One solid camera with good internet works fine, but two or even three devices is even better.

As coaches we want to be able to watch you from different angles to ensure that we are seeing all form deviations so we can give you rapid feedback during each rep. So the more we can see, the better.

We use Zoom for all of our coaching sessions, so once you get your devices, you’ll just download the free Zoom app.

You will need a tripod for each device to allow for flexibility of camera placement and angle. This will allow your coach a proper viewing angle of your entire body during each lift. You can purchase a reliable tripod for around $20 — as a matter of fact, we’ll send you a link when you sign up on what we recommend.

Reliable Internet Connection

This is an important one. We want the session to be as efficient and effective as possible. A strong internet speed is vital to ensure a good connection with no lag. We will help you test your connection before your Intro.

And that’s it. There’s nothing else that you need. Because it’s actually really really simple. A place to workout, a few devices, and a willingness to put in the work and you are set.

lift at home

So Now What?

Well, that’s really up to you. You already want to get strong. If you need a barbell coach and you can’t get to one, you should get one online.

There is no better way to get stronger than with barbells. And there is no more efficient way to do it than with a coach.

So grab your barbell, get out your phone, and let’s start training. Sign up below and one of our coaches will contact you within a business day.


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