I’ve spent the last 20 years reading the scientific literature pertaining to all modes of exercise. Although the research has shifted my understanding and approach to exercise significantly over the years, one element has continued to emerge from this research: the importance of supervision in strength training.
A sampling of studies examining a variety of populations yield a similar outcome: Supervision produces better results. 
A 2000 study published in Medicine and Science and Sport and Exercise concluded, “Directly supervised, heavy-resistance training in moderately trained men resulted in a greater rate of training load increase and magnitude which resulted in greater maximal strength gains compared with unsupervised training."
A 2004 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research that utilized collegiate rugby players as subjects concluded, “The present findings provide strong support for the direct supervision of resistance training in young athletes. In the practical setting, the direct supervision of resistance training by appropriately qualified strength and conditioning coaches will significantly augment the absolute strength and percent increases of supervised athletes when compared to unsupervised athletes.”
A 2009 study published in Epidemiology and Clinical Medicine examined the impact of supervised exercise versus non-supervised exercise in overweight adults. Researchers concluded that, “Exercise under supervision of a qualified fitness instructor leads to a larger decrease (in fat mass).”
A 2011 study conducted in the Netherlands comparing supervised and unsupervised strength training concluded, “After four months, those who received supervision lost more weight (17.6 pounds compared with 6.16 pounds) and body fat (13.64 pounds compared with 3.74 pounds) than those who received no supervision. 
In research studies, two separate groups who perform the exact same workouts will have dramatically different results when one group has direct supervision.  Regardless of the type of exercise, the style of the workout, or the goals of the individual performing the workout (a type-2 diabetic or an elite athlete), the singular element of direct supervision always produces better results.  

Iron Sharpens Iron

Rick and I are in East Lansing Michigan this weekend to attend our first ever Michigan State University football game.  We have an infinity for the Spartans because we've been influenced

The Best Workouts I’ve Ever Had Shared these Common Factors

With our “Train Like Your Trainer” program starting next week, I’ve been reflecting on my personal workouts over the last 16 years and I’ve started to think about the common factors among the best workouts I’ve ever been through.  By “best” I mean those workouts that stand apart from the rest in terms of intensity, challenge, focus, and fatigue.  The list below sheds light on the commonalities in most of the best workouts I have ever experienced.  Collectively, they serve as a guideline for productive training not only for me, but also for almost anyone interested in engaging in intense, evidence-based resistance exercise.  Of course, this is not an all-encompassing list of evidence-based exercise tenets, but guidelines to maximize one’s individual workouts. 

I Love To Be Coached - Supervision yeilds better results

The coaches I have had throughout my youth and high school athletic career have made a significant impact on the person I am today.  My father coached me as an amateur boxer for eight years.  We spent a tremendous amount of time together in practice and training as well as traveling around the country for bouts and tournaments.  I prided myself on listening to everything he had to offer and tried to execute in the ring according to his instruction.  During my sophomore year of high school, I looked up to our defensive coordinator of the football team, Reed Boltmann (former head football coach at Edina High School) so much that I dressed up like him for "hero day" during homecoming week.  My desire to be coached and my understanding of the importance of coaching only increased as I started my career.

As a young assistant strength and conditioning coach for the MN Vikings, we coached every player in the weight room on a 1-on-1 basis. To be clear, my experience with the Vikings taught me that a strength and conditioning coach didn't exist to simply "supervise" the weight room and the workouts of athletes (a paradigm that is still prevalent today), but instead, to COACH every aspect of what the players did.  More coaching and better coaching always led to better results.  As a business leader, we utilize a coach, Greg, who helps us implement a business operating platform (we have also utilized coaches to specifically develop leadership abilities).  I look forward to my once per quarter, day long meetings with Greg as much as I look forward to anything I do. With respect to my own workouts, one of our trainers trains me during each and every one of my workouts.  

I simply love to be coached and I have always seen a direct correlation; dare I say causation between working with a coach and the results I end up producing.  This is the underpinning of Discover Strength.  We produce better results when we are coached.  

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