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Short-term supervised virtual training maintains intensity of effort and represents an efficacious alternative to traditional studio-based supervised strength training


  • Luke Carlson Discover Strength
  • David Gschneidner Discover Strength
  • James Steele Solent University
  • James P. Fisher Solent University



strength, body composition, bodyweight strength training, resistance training, perceptual responses, supervision


Background: Virtual personal training might represent an uncomplicated, accessible, and time-efficient approach to supervised strength training, particularly under government-imposed lockdown or closure of fitness facilities. However, there appears a dearth of literature evaluating the efficacy of virtual personal training.

Methods: The present study considered trained participants being supervised one-to-one through traditional resistance exercise sessions in a strength training studio (STUD), compared to a virtual personal training protocol performed using bodyweight resistance exercises (VIRT). The study utilized a crossover design whereby male (n=13) and female (n=7) participants were tested for body composition using BodPod, and strength for bench press, leg press, and high-row exercises. Participants were then randomly assigned to 3-weeks of VIRT or 3-weeks of STUD training. Following each 3-week training period, participants had a 1-week washout period without training whereby mid-intervention testing occurred, after which participants then completed the alternate training intervention. Further, we surveyed the client base of a chain of training facilities who had begun offering virtual personal training during lockdown to explore their views on this approach.

Results: Strength and body composition changes were similar between groups, however for neither condition did results surpass the smallest meaningful change. The remaining survey data suggests that supervised virtual resistance training yields similar perceptions of effort, motivation, enjoyment, and supervision quality, compared to traditional supervised studio training.

Conclusion: Based on the current data, it appears that short-term supervised virtual resistance training is as efficacious as traditional supervised studio-based resistance training


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