Back arrow icon
The Blog

The Ultimate Guide to Coaching Strength Athletes Online

September 28, 2023
Tim Saye

Personal Trainer Software

Save time, and build your fitness business with the #1-rated personal trainer software!
Start free trial
image of female personal trainer

Welcome to the ultimate guide for strength coaches venturing into online training. Whether you're a seasoned pro expanding your reach or a budding coach stepping into the digital arena, this comprehensive resource is tailored just for you.

Coaching strength athletes online has evolved from a possibility to a highly profitable venture in today's digital landscape. You can remotely guide athletes to their performance goals with the right strategies and tools.

This guide provides invaluable insights and proven methods for excelling in online coaching, regardless of your specialization—powerlifting, weightlifting, bodybuilding, or any other strength sport. Get ready to elevate your coaching career and make a lasting impact on the athletes you serve.

Benefits of Online Coaching for Strength Athletes

Coaching strength athletes online offers a wide range of benefits for both coaches and athletes:

Benefit 1: Wider Reach

Coaching strength athletes online allows you to transcend geographical boundaries, tapping into a global pool of potential clients. No longer confined to a specific location, you can connect with athletes from diverse backgrounds and cultures and reap the benefits of tapping into a global online fitness market.

The Ultimate Guide to Coaching Strength Athletes Online - Online Fitness Market growth forecast

This broadens your impact and exposes you to various training preferences and challenges. Embracing this global reach can lead to a richer coaching experience and a more well-rounded skill set as a strength coach.

Benefit 2: Flexibility

Online coaching provides flexibility that benefits both you and your athletes. Athletes can integrate strength training seamlessly into their busy schedules, adapting workouts to fit their schedules. This newfound flexibility empowers them to take charge of their performance development in a way that suits their needs.

As a coach, you can accommodate clients with various time constraints and commitments, making your services accessible to a broader audience. This flexibility also extends to your schedule, allowing you to manage your coaching business alongside other responsibilities.

Benefit 3: Custom Workout Programs

The beauty of online coaching lies in the ability to offer highly personalized workout programs. Each athlete is unique, with distinct strengths, weaknesses, and goals. You can gather comprehensive information about your athletes through online platforms and communication channels, enabling you to design workouts that cater precisely to their needs.

This level of customization ensures that every exercise, set, and rep is strategically chosen to optimize their performance. Tailoring workouts in this manner boosts their progress and strengthens the coach-athlete relationship, as athletes feel valued and supported in their journey toward strength and success.

Benefit 4: Saves Time

Online coaching streamlines the training process for both coaches and athletes. You can allocate your time more efficiently without needing in-person meetings or travel time. You can take on a larger client base without compromising the quality of your coaching.

Additionally, automated scheduling, progress tracking, and communication systems can streamline administrative tasks, allowing you to focus more on designing effective training programs and providing personalized attention to each athlete.

Benefit 5: Boosts Revenue

Transitioning to online coaching opens up new revenue streams and expands your income potential. You can attract more clients from different geographical locations and demographics with a broader reach. The flexibility of online coaching allows you to accommodate more clients without the constraints of physical space or time.

This scalability can significantly increase your overall revenue compared to traditional in-person coaching. Additionally, the lower overhead costs associated with online coaching can lead to higher profit margins, maximizing your earning potential.

Challenges of Coaching Strength Athletes Online

While there are numerous advantages to online coaching, it's essential to acknowledge and address the challenges that come with it.

Challenge 1: Establishing Trust and Connection

Building trust and a strong coach-athlete connection can be more challenging in an online coaching setting without a physical presence. Athletes may initially feel a lack of personal connection compared to face-to-face interactions, the solution:


  • Frequent Communication: Initiate regular check-ins, video calls, and messaging sessions to maintain consistent contact. This helps athletes feel supported and connected.


  • Active Listening: Take the time to actively listen to your athletes' concerns, goals, and progress. Demonstrating genuine interest in their journey builds trust over time.


  • Provide Detailed Feedback: Offer specific, constructive feedback on their performance, form, and progress. This demonstrates your expertise and dedication to their improvement.

Challenge 2: Ensuring Accountability and Adherence

Without in-person supervision, it's harder to ensure that athletes adhere to their training plans and maintain accountability for their progress, the solution:


  • Clear Expectations: Set clear expectations regarding training schedules, progress tracking, and reporting from the outset. Emphasize the importance of discipline and consistency.


  • Utilise Technology: Leverage tracking apps and software to monitor and evaluate athletes' adherence to their programs. This provides a visual record of their efforts.


  • Regular Check-Ins: Schedule regular progress check-ins to review their performance and results, address any challenges, and reiterate the importance of commitment to their training.

Challenge 3: Providing Hands-On Guidance and Corrections

In an online coaching scenario, you don't have the physical presence to adjust an athlete's form or technique in real-time, the solution:


  • Video Analysis: Encourage athletes to record their workouts and movements for analysis. Provide detailed feedback on their form and technique, offering specific cues for improvement.
The Ultimate Guide to Coaching Strength Athletes Online - Video Analysis


  • Virtual Coaching Sessions: Conduct live video coaching sessions where you can observe their movements in real time and provide immediate corrections.


  • Educational Resources: Share instructional videos, articles, and resources focusing on proper form and technique to empower athletes to self-correct.

Challenge 4: Adapting to Individual Preferences and Learning Styles

Understanding and catering to each athlete's unique preferences and learning styles can be more complex in a virtual setting, the solution:


  • Intake Assessments: Conduct thorough athlete assessments to gather information on each athlete's learning style and communication preferences.


  • Customized Communication: Adjust your communication approach based on individual preferences. Some athletes prefer written instructions, while others benefit more from visual aids or video demonstrations.


  • Offer Options: Provide alternative exercises or approaches that align with an athlete's needs, ensuring they feel comfortable and engaged in their training.

Challenge 5: Technical Barriers

Not all athletes may be equally tech-savvy, leading to challenges using online platforms and tracking tools, the solution:


  • Provide Tech Support: Offer clear, step-by-step instructions on how to use any necessary platforms or apps. Be available to answer any technical questions or concerns.


  • Offer Alternative Solutions: If an athlete faces persistent technical difficulties, be ready with alternative methods for reporting progress or receiving feedback.


  • Simplify the Process: Choose user-friendly, intuitive platforms like PT Distinction and tools to minimize potential technical hiccups.

Understanding the Needs of Strength Athletes

To be an effective online strength coach, it's imperative to have a deep understanding of the unique demands and intricacies of strength sports. This section delves into critical areas paramount in tailoring training programs for strength athletes.

By mastering these facets, you'll enhance the results your athletes achieve and solidify your expertise as a trusted online coach in strength sports.

#1. Biomechanics and Movement Patterns

Strength athletes rely heavily on specific movement patterns and biomechanics to excel in their chosen sport. Understanding these fundamental principles is crucial for designing effective training programs.


  • Analysing Biomechanics:Delve into the mechanics of fundamental movements like squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and Olympic lifts. Comprehend how joints and muscles interact during these motions. Feel free to use strength resources like BarBend to widen your knowledge of biomechanics of specific lifts done by a variety of athletes.
The Ultimate Guide to Coaching Strength Athletes Online - BarBend Deadlift


  • Tailoring Exercises: Use this knowledge to select exercises that target the right muscle groups and mimic competition-specific movements.

#2. Energy Systems and Periodisation

Strength sports often require short bursts of high-intensity effort. Knowledge of energy systems and periodization is essential for optimizing performance.


  • Energy System Dominance: Differentiate between the anaerobic and aerobic energy systems and understand how to program workouts to develop them for the various strength sports.


  • Periodization Strategies: Implement periodization techniques to manipulate volume and intensity, ensuring athletes peak at the correct times for competitions.
The Ultimate Guide to Coaching Strength Athletes Online - periodization table

#3. Recovery and Regeneration

Recovery is paramount for strength athletes to sustain performance and prevent injuries. Understanding the unique demands of recovery in strength sports is vital.


  • Managing Fatigue: Recognise signs of overtraining and implement appropriate deload periods to mitigate the risk of burnout or injury.


  • Nutrition and Sleep: Educate athletes on the vital role of nutrition and sleep in the recovery process.


  • Alternative Recovery Practices: Athletes will find a range of practices that may help them recover faster between sessions or competitions. Rehydration, massage, foam rolling or ice baths may come up when talking to your clients. Ensure you know the science behind them and when they might be beneficial.
The Ultimate Guide to Coaching Strength Athletes Online - Fitness recovery

#4. Specificity in Training

Strength athletes have distinct training needs based on their chosen discipline. Tailoring workouts to match these specific demands is crucial for success.


  • Sport-Specific Training: Dive into the nuances of powerlifting, weightlifting, and strongman, depending on which athletes you want to coach. Customise training plans to align with the demands of each sport.


  • Accessory Movements: Identify supplementary exercises that enhance performance in the primary lifts specific to each strength discipline.

#5. Addressing Strength Imbalances

Strength athletes may exhibit imbalances due to the repetitive nature of their sport. Recognizing and addressing these imbalances is essential for preventing injuries.


  • Muscle Imbalances: Identify discrepancies in strength or size between opposing muscle groups and design corrective exercises.


  • Prehab and Rehab: Implement prehabilitation and rehabilitation exercises to fortify vulnerable areas and correct imbalances.

#6. Monitoring Load Management

Tracking and managing training loads is crucial to prevent overtraining or undertraining. Understanding load management principles is fundamental.


  • Volume and Intensity: Balance training volume and intensity to ensure progressive overload without risking overuse injuries.


  • Monitoring Tools: Leverage technology for load tracking, using metrics like RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) or tracking software to fine-tune training programs.
The Ultimate Guide to Coaching Strength Athletes Online - RPE strength scale

How to Coach Strength Athletes Online

Mastering the art of online coaching for strength athletes requires a blend of expertise, effective communication, and strategic use of technology.

This section provides practical insights and actionable techniques to guide you in harnessing the full potential of online coaching, ensuring your athletes achieve their peak performance, regardless of physical distance.

Step 1: Set Goals for Strength Athletes

Setting clear and achievable goals is the cornerstone of a successful strength training program.

As an online strength coach, the process begins with a thorough assessment and a collaborative approach to goal-setting. Here's how you can navigate this crucial step:

#1. Initial Assessment

Begin by conducting a comprehensive assessment of each athlete's current performance level.

This should encompass evaluating their strength, muscular endurance, mobility, and any existing limitations or injuries. Understanding their background and training history provides valuable context for establishing meaningful goals.

#2. Clarify Objectives

Engage in a detailed conversation with the athlete to understand their short-term and long-term performance goals.

This dialogue should be focused on identifying specific outcomes they aim to achieve. Whether reaching a particular strength milestone, excelling in a competition, or enhancing overall performance, these objectives form the foundation of their training journey.

The Ultimate Guide to Coaching Strength Athletes Online - Strength Goals from Semantic Scolar

#3. SMART Goals

Encourage athletes to set SMART goals - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This framework ensures that goals are well-defined and actionable.

For instance, instead of a vague objective like "Get stronger," a SMART goal would be "Increase deadlift max by 20 pounds within 12 weeks." This specificity provides clear direction for training efforts.

#4. Individualization

Tailor goals to align with the athlete's unique aspirations, abilities, and the specific demands of their chosen strength discipline. Recognize that goals vary based on experience level, sport, and personal preferences. This individualized approach ensures that the athlete's objectives are both challenging and attainable.

Step 2: Create Custom Strength Training Plans

Crafting individualized training programs is a cornerstone of successful strength coaching.

As an online coach, this step involves tailoring exercises, volume, and intensity to suit each athlete's unique needs and goals. Here's a comprehensive guide on how to create custom strength training plans:

#1. Exercise Selection

Based on the assessment, select exercises that align with the athlete's goals and capabilities. Consider incorporating compound movements to target multiple muscle groups and ensure a well-rounded approach to strength development.

#2. Periodization Strategies

Implement periodization techniques to manipulate training volume and intensity over specific periods.

This structured approach ensures that the athlete progresses systematically, experiences adequate recovery, and peaks at the correct times for competitions or performance assessments.

#3. Progressive Overload

Gradually increase the training stimulus to induce adaptation and continued progress.

This may involve manipulating factors such as load, repetitions, sets, or intensity. Continual progression is critical to long-term strength gains.

The Ultimate Guide to Coaching Strength Athletes Online - peerj

#4. Individualised Programming

Tailor the program to suit the athlete's strengths, weaknesses, and preferences. Consider factors like training frequency, preferred exercises, and any sport-specific requirements to ensure the plan is both effective and enjoyable.

#5. Form and Technique Emphasis

Prioritize proper form and technique throughout the program. Provide detailed instructions, video demonstrations, and cues to help the athlete execute exercises correctly and safely.

#6. Periodic Program Reviews

Regularly review and adjust the training program based on the athlete's progress and feedback. This ongoing evaluation ensures that the plan remains aligned with their evolving capabilities and goals.

Step 3: Stay Connected via Effective Communication and Support

Maintaining strong communication and providing ongoing support is essential for building a thriving coach-athlete relationship in the online realm.

As a coach, it's crucial to establish clear communication channels and offer unwavering support to keep athletes engaged and motivated. Here's how you can excel in this pivotal step:

#1. Diverse Communication Channels

Utilize a variety of communication platforms to stay connected with your athletes.

This may include email, messaging apps, video calls, and dedicated coaching software. Having multiple channels ensures that you can reach your athletes in a way that suits their preferences and availability.

The Ultimate Guide to Coaching Strength Athletes Online - communicate

#2. Regular Check-Ins

Initiate regular check-ins to touch base with your athletes. These sessions provide an opportunity to discuss progress, address concerns, and offer encouragement.

Consistent communication fosters a sense of accountability and demonstrates your commitment to their success.

#3. Responsive and Timely Feedback

Be prompt in providing feedback on training sessions, progress updates, and any questions or concerns the athlete raises.

Offering timely responses shows that you value their efforts and are actively engaged in their journey.

#4. Goal Review and Adjustment

Periodically review the athlete's goals to ensure their plan aligns with their aspirations and capabilities. Work together to adjust goals based on their progress and evolving priorities if necessary.

#5. Encourage Open Communication

Create a supportive and non-judgmental environment where athletes feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, concerns, and achievements.

Encourage them to communicate openly about their experiences and any challenges they may be facing.

#6. Provide Motivation and Encouragement

Offer words of motivation and encouragement to boost the athlete's morale. Recognize their achievements, no matter how small, and celebrate their progress.

Step 4: Track Progress and Measure Success

Monitoring the progress of your athletes and objectively measuring their success provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of your coaching program.

As an online coach, implementing robust tracking methods is essential for guiding your athletes towards their goals. Here's how you can excel in this pivotal step:

#1. Performance Metrics

Utilise specific performance metrics relevant to the athlete's chosen strength discipline. For example, if working with powerlifters, track one-rep max squats, bench presses, and deadlift lifts. For Olympic weightlifters, focus on snatch and clean and jerk numbers.

#2. Training Logs and Documentation

Encourage athletes to maintain detailed training logs documenting each workout, including sets, reps, weights, and relevant notes. These logs provide a comprehensive record of their training history and valuable insights into their training results.

The Ultimate Guide to Coaching Strength Athletes Online - training log and progress

#3. Subjective Feedback

Gather feedback directly from the athlete regarding their overall experience, satisfaction, and perceived improvements in strength and well-being. This subjective input provides valuable qualitative insights into their progress.

#4. Video Analysis

Leverage video analysis to assess the athlete's technique and movement patterns. This tool allows for in-depth form scrutiny and provides an opportunity for detailed feedback and corrective cues.

#5. Goal Review and Progress Updates

Regularly review the athlete's goals and provide progress updates. This allows for a transparent evaluation of their improvement towards their goals, ensuring they remain motivated and committed to their training.

Step 5: Leverage Technology to Streamline Online Strength Coaching

In today's digital age, harnessing the power of technology is paramount for delivering effective online coaching.

PT Distinction, a leading online coaching software, offers a comprehensive suite of features tailored to enhance every facet of the coaching process. Here's how PT Distinction can significantly streamline your approach to coaching strength athletes online:

#1. Customized Training Programs

PT Distinction allows you to easily create and deliver personalized training plans based on each athlete's unique needs and goals. You can design highly specific strength training programs that optimize results with an intuitive workout builder and a vast exercise library.

#2. Client Progress Tracking

Effortlessly monitor your athletes' progress with PT Distinction's advanced tracking tools. The platform enables you to view and analyze performance metrics, training logs, progress photos, and video submissions, providing you with a comprehensive overview of their development.

#3. Communication Hub

Stay seamlessly connected with your athletes through PT Distinction's integrated communication hub. Send messages or emails and schedule regular check-ins, all within the platform.

#4. Client Engagement and Accountability

Utilise PT Distinction's automated reminders and notifications to keep your athletes engaged and accountable. Whether it's upcoming workouts, progress assessments, or goal reminders, this feature ensures that athletes stay on track with their training.

#5. Nutrition and Lifestyle Coaching

Expand your coaching services beyond strength training with PT Distinction's integrated nutrition and lifestyle tracking tools. Provide personalized nutrition plans, track dietary habits, and offer guidance on supplementation to support your athletes' overall performance further.

Elevate Your Online Coaching

This guide has outlined crucial steps for coaching strength athletes online. Every aspect has been covered, from setting goals to leveraging technology like PT Distinction. Effective communication and progress tracking is essential.

With PT Distinction, you gain powerful tools for success. Continuous learning and commitment will drive athlete achievement. Embrace the digital world and make a lasting impact in strength coaching.

Read More