It’s easy to push your clients when you’re training in person, but how do you accomplish this remotely? How do you get your clients to train with the level of intensity you know they can (and should be)?
As an online coach, your clients don’t have the luxury of being with you for all their workouts. In order to help them get the best results possible, you need to find ways to push them without you actually being there.
Here are five ways to help your clients train hard remotely:
1. Set your standards from the start
You and your clients probably have different definitions of intensity. While you don’t want to over push your clients, you want to challenge them enough so their workouts are effective and they’re getting the results they want.
In order to do this, set your standards from the start. Before they start their program (depending on the client and their goals), tell them what they should expect in terms of intensity and difficulty.
For example: If you write 3 sets of 10 in their program, tell them they should really be fighting for the last 2-3 reps of each set while still maintaining proper form (this is what’s called technical failure…the set ends when you can’t complete any more perfect reps).
This way, they’re using a weight that’s heavy enough to challenge them but not so heavy that they can’t complete the set.
2. Be specific with tempo
This one works like a charm and I explain it to my clients like this: Tempo for your muscles is the same as cooking times for recipes.
If you’re following a recipe that tells you to put chicken in the oven for 30 min and you only cook it for 15 min, it’s not going to be edible. Same thing goes for your muscles when it comes to how long they’re working or “under tension” during an exercise.
Example video: https://www.instagram.com/p/CKKCxBJBkku/
More often than not, people will perform exercises way too fast, usually for one of two reasons:
· They equate speed to intensity and effectiveness. They think the faster they perform an exercise, the more intense it is, which makes it more effective. While speed can be beneficial for certain movements (like sprints or explosive jumps), it doesn’t apply to most of the exercises or lifts you’ll have your clients performing.
· They want to get it over with! The faster they do it, the faster it’s over! Sets aren’t meant to be done as quickly as possible. They’re meant to suck lol.
By outlining specific tempos for your clients, you’re providing the information they need to maximize tension and match the level of intensity you know the exercise should be producing.
3. Outline RPE
Some coaches are all for RPE and some aren’t. Either way, it’s a useful tool you can use to help your clients understand how hard they should be training during certain lifts or exercises.
RPE stands for rate of perceived exertion on a scale of 6-20 (6 being lowest level of intensity and 20 being the highest; or to make things simpler for your clients you can use a 1-10 scale).
Providing some guidance on RPE scales is not only effective for your clients who need that extra push, it’s also a helpful tool for clients who go too hard.
I’ve trained many people (as you probably have) who are go getters. Type A personalities who want to get after it and feel if they’re doing anything less 100% they’re not doing it right. This is great if they’re going for a max effort lift or doing a brutal circuit. It’s not so great when their body needs the rest during a deload.
Giving your clients a “low scale” RPE can help them understand how to go a little “softer” on their workouts when their body needs it (even if they don’t know it).
4. Have your clients upload videos of their working sets
Videos of your clients are an integral part of coaching online. You need to see how they’re moving and that they’re actually doing working sets and not just warm-up sets.
Occasionally (not all the time), have your clients upload videos of their working sets. You’ll know right away if they’re lifting as heavy as they should be or if you need to progress their bodyweight exercise(s) to more advanced variations.
5. Offer virtual “check-in” sessions
You ever take a client through a virtual session and they say something like, “Man, the workout is always so much harder when you’re here.” Yeah, same.
That goes for anyone, not just your clients. If you have a set of eyes on you making sure your technique is perfect, you’re not scrolling through your phone in between sets, and your tempo is on point…you’re going to have a good session.
Not everyone (yourself included) may want to train virtually all the time, but it helps to do it occasionally throughout your clients’ program.
It allows your clients to feel firsthand what kind of intensity you expect of them for their workouts. I’ve trained so many people that have looked at their workout, scoffed, and then been amazed by the end of the session at how challenging it was! Band pull aparts seem simple on paper, but when you do them right, they’re brutal!
A great coach will not only take the guessing out of their clients workouts, they’ll also find ways to motivate and challenge them to achieve the results they want. While these tips aren’t the only way to do this, they’re a great starting point to give your clients that extra push remotely, without you even being there.
More on progress tracking here.