Online coaching is something that has exploded in the last few months. Nowadays, almost everyone with decent powerlifting numbers is getting in on the online coaching world. And the same could be said for bodybuilding and anyone with what could be deemed a decent physique. I’ve seen coaches come out of the wood work after a year or two of lifting, one meet, or even just because they’re popular on social media. So with the market so saturated, how does one choose a coach?
The first thing I’d recommend as far as looking into hiring a coach is look at what sort of results they have gotten for their clients in the past. If you have someone with a completely unproven track record, then it doesn’t matter how strong they are, they probably have no clue how to coach. The second thing you’d have to ask yourself is what is most important to you? Do you want a lot of correspondence or are you looking for someone who won’t make you break the bank? Individual preferences are going to have to be taken into account here. Some guys will spend a little more money if they know they’re getting more feedback and help; others are just looking for the cheapest options out there since they don’t need much a whole lot of help.
I think one of the most overlooked aspects for a perspective client is looking beyond the name and seeing what type of plan the coach offers. Many “coaches” advertise upwards of six month to year-long plans. But the caveat is that they give you everything upfront and tell you to follow a very basic cookie cutter program that you have to tweak on your own. The more reasonable approach I use as a coach myself, is to send programming on a weekly, biweekly, or even monthly basis with tweaks along the way. But that seems to be few and far between with so many looking to make a quick buck. Not to say that a simple, everything laid out upfront program can’t work, but it’s not in the best interests of the client. It’s in the best interests of the coach looking to take on as many clients as possible.
Do you need a coach? I would say most people could take the time to figure out what works best for them on their own time, but there’s no telling how many years that would take. I’ve been training for almost eleven years, and just now am I figuring out the exercises and layout that works best for me. By having a coach, you can take a shortcut through all of that due to the experience they’ll bring to the table. They’ll be able to better steer you in the right direction without you having to use your own trial and error approach.
Another often overlooked component, is that a large population of clients simply want a coach for the accountability and to have a second pair of eyes. It isn’t necessarily the actual programming that is most important. It’s having an experienced individual in your corner who will motivate you, keep you on track, and ensure you stay healthy. Injuries happen to anyone who pushes their body to the limit, but at the same time, if you have a coach who can monitor your form, it will lessen your odds of sustaining anything serious.
I’d say that at some point in your training career, it would be a good idea to hire a coach. At least give it a few months and see what they can point out to you that you may have never noticed before. A coach will also give you new ideas about training and new exercises you can implement on your own down the line. Over my lifting career, I’ve had three or four coaches and I can honestly say I learned something from every one of them and they’ve all shaped me into becoming the lifter I am today. So figure out what you’re looking for in a coach, find the right one for you, give them a fair chance for a few months, and I can guarantee you’ll walk away as a better, more knowledgeable lifter.
Pete Rubish is one of the most popular raw powerlifters in the world competing in the 220/242 class. Famous for his intensity and explosiveness in the deadlift, Pete began training in his parents’ basement near the most famous washing machine in powerlifting. His accomplishments include a 667 Pound Squat (no knee wraps), 418 Pound Bench Press,788 Pound Beltless Deadlift and an 1851 pound raw (no wraps) total in the 242 pound weight class.