Should I Be Doing Instructional Exercise Videos?

Should I start doing instructional exercise videos? This is something I’ve been deliberating over for a while, and I’m still not entirely sure, still not entirely convinced. My main questions are, who do they actually benefit, and how beneficial would they really be? I have a few issues with them… Don’t I always have a few issues with everything!?! One being, the majority of people don’t really need to be worrying about how perfect their squat is, or how perfect their deadlift is, etc etc, when they struggle to control their own diet, what they’re eating. Being able to do all these exercises perfectly, doesn’t necessarily change things if you’re not getting the other aspects of your life right. But, let’s move beyond my usual moaning about nutrition and diet.

The two real questions are; who are they for, and are they actually beneficial. Who are they for? Well really, they’re probably for two groups of people. One being the people who want to start resistance training, and the other being people who already do it. If you’re not interested in resistance training, and you just want the treadmill or nothing, then you’re probably not going to watch the videos, they’ll pass you by. But maybe, just maybe it’ll encourage that person to give it a go. Now people who already do resistance training, it’s very likely that they either already know what they’re doing, or they certainly think they do. The only real interest they’ll have is maybe expanding their repertoire of exercises, or progressing ones they already do. So the real target audience would be people who actively want to start resistance training, but are worried about how to do it, or how to do it safely. And that is a quite a small group of people. Basically, they’re really for inexperienced people looking to start training, and that leads onto the bigger issue, the second question.

Are they actually beneficial? Let’s say you’re an inexperienced person, chances are you know very little about your body, how it moves, how it reacts to exercise, how certain things can or should feel. I know my body, I know how to move it, or readjust even, during an exercise to hit a certain part of my body. And instructional videos are useful, especially because most of us professionals will use words or phrases that should encourage you to perform the exercise correctly. But even so, when I say, “Drive through your heel,” or “Focus your weight onto your left glute or buttock,” unless you physically know how to do that, unless you can make that adjustment, especially if you’re doing it wrong, the video, me saying it, that’s not really going to help. You can watch an instructional video, but when you physically go to do the exercise it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to do it right. I can watch Messi play football, it doesn’t mean I can actually play football like Messi! I’ve trained numerous people over the years who believed they’re doing something “right”, and it’s not necessarily all about avoiding injury either. Yes, doing exercises correctly will help you avoid injuries, but it’s more about getting the most out of the exercise, properly hitting the spots it’s supposed to hit.

So my number one piece of advice would be to get help, get someone with knowledge to help you, to instruct you, or at least check you’re doing things right. Most gyms, most gym professionals will extend that minimum of courtesy to you. To be honest, if we see you doing something risky, we’re often straight over, and yes, we are trying to sell our services, but just accept that, and maybe give it a go if you’re inexperienced and worried. Even if it’s just until you feel more comfortable.

Instructional videos are alright, particularly for experienced trainers, but they’re not a touch on physical,

tangible assistance. As it happens, I have done a few for Christmas, but make sure you’re having someone check your form, because what you see in that video, and what you do, doesn’t necessarily equate. Be safe and smart, leave your ego behind, and always be willing to get help. See you next week.

Dan Miller

Body Fuel Personal Fitness Trainer