As coronavirus restrictions have been easing, it’s literally been a breath of fresh air to be able start running some covid-19 friendly exercise classes outdoors at the local recreation ground.
Whilst Zoom has been a real game-changer for personal trainers, allowing us and our clients to continue with virtual classes during lockdown (and I fully intend to keep it in the mix going forward), my library of bodyweight exercises, whilst extensive, is not limitless and I’ve felt quite challenged to keep the online classes varied and engaging. The Zoom dynamic is also very different: with just the odd flash of participants’ swinging arm or extended leg appearing in the instructor’s view, the classes have to take a “follow the leader” approach and consequently, my role has been to talk everyone through the exercises as we all do them together, highlighting the key points for correct execution and hoping that everyone is getting it right.
Getting back outdoors and seeing everyone performing the exercises ‘live’ at the different workstations, once more provides the opportunity to walk around a class and individually correct form or tweak posture where required. I find this a refreshing change and it also enables me, I believe, to add more value for my clients (although some may simply be wishing I’d stop banging on incessantly about keeping their back straight and their head up!).
Just as importantly, it’s great for people to actually see each other 'in the flesh' again. This face-to- face social interaction is a benefit I think we hugely underestimated before lockdown and just watching a group have a catch-up conversation makes you realise how important this aspect is. The group dynamic of mutual support, encouragement and (friendly!) mickey-taking also returns, which is very difficult to replicate on a Zoom class.
And in the warm-down, it’s so nice to ask everyone to stretch up to the sky, rather than the ceiling!