The benefits of having a coach supervise your training might have more of an effect on your training results that you think. An objective eye can coach you on safely exercising, which is key because consistency determines results. Secondly, many individuals go to the gym and spin their wheels doing the same program over and over again. Whilst any exercise is good for the body, why not make the time you do it as efficient as possible to get the long-lasting health benefits that will change your life. Effective exercise needs to incorporate the principles of progressive overload, intensity (feeling of difficulty or amount of load) and specificity (be aimed at achieving your goals). Having a trainer guide you through the process is a much more likely way to help you achieve the fitter, faster, stronger, and more toned body you are after.
Study one: A group of rugby players were divided up into two groups, one supervised and one unsupervised, and completed the exact same resistance program. The supervised group significantly increased their strength more in the squat, bench press and max chin ups, then the other group. The supervised group adhered to more sessions, which is most likely due to having a coach expecting them.1
Study two: A group of 18- to 35-year-old males performed the same resistance program, both groups had a trainer there, but only one group received verbal encouragement and were told when to add weight. These participants had 1-2 years’ experience, so they were not beginners in the gym. The group that was told to push themselves ended up improving their strength on their squats and bench press more and had also improved their body composition (muscle to fat ratio). The key difference in the training program was the trainer getting the participants to add load faster than they would otherwise.
Study three: A group of trained participants with an average of 4 years’ experience, were divided into a group that were told to train to failure or to a self-determined rep max. The group who trained to failure gained strength, muscle mass and lost body fat. Whereas the group that could choose their own weight, did not improve at all. Whilst training to failure is not an approach that is needed to get results, you do need to train within a close proximity to failure and it is likely that when left to your own devices, you might not push close to it.3
In summary, when training with less supervision it is likely you will not push yourself to adapt as you would with a trainer present. Even in experienced lifters this can occur. Having the appropriate supervision with your training may increase your strength, increase muscle gains, and reduce body fat faster, than if you were to train by yourself, ultimately allowing you to enjoy the results of better health quicker.
1) Coutts AJ, Murphy AJ, Dascombe BJ. Effect of direct supervision of a strength coach on measures of muscular strength and power in young rugby league players. J Strength Cond Res. 2004 May;18(2):316-23. doi: 10.1519/R-12972.1. PMID: 15142000.
2) Mazzetti SA, Kraemer WJ, Volek JS, Duncan ND, Ratamess NA, Gómez AL, Newton RU, Häkkinen K, Fleck SJ. The influence of direct supervision of resistance training on strength performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2000 Jun;32(6):1175-84. doi: 10.1097/00005768-200006000-00023. PMID: 10862549.
3) Gieβsing J, Fisher J, Steele J, Rothe F, Raubold K, Eichmann B. The effects of low-volume resistance training with and without advanced techniques in trained subjects. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2016 Mar;56(3):249-58. Epub 2014 Oct 10. PMID: 25303171.