Customize thanks to Youtube – is it possible?

Even during the corona lockdown last spring, Professor Theodor Stemper’s grandson had a regular training program. After morning homeschooling, she was to “mature” at 12:00, as she explained to her grandfather.

Behind “Reif” is 24-year-old Pamela Reif from Karlsruhe, who has published several fitness videos on YouTube. About five million people follow her there and train. But can it also be recommended?

“From a sports science point of view, Reif’s videos are well made,” says Stemper, a professor at the Department of Sports Science at the University of Wuppertal until he retired in the summer. “With very few exceptions, the movements are purely executed.” The background music appeals to the target group and motivates young people to play sports. Like Stampers grandson.

recipients of the crisis

Reif is just one of many who upload fitness videos to YouTube. Other well-known examples are “Fitness Blender”, Lilly Sabri or the German Gabi Fastner. Their videos have names like “Online Winter Fit” or “Full Body Workout”.

The fitness youtubers have benefited from the fact that many in the Corona crisis moved the sport to their own four walls due to closed fitness centers or lack of training opportunities in the club and watching their clips there.

However, the fact that the offers are freely available and free of charge is not a sign of poor quality: Users can generally feel that they are in good hands with the instructors on the Internet, although they rarely find out anything about their sport-specific education.

“Because of the democratization of the Internet, the bad guys are gone right away, and the good guys are being pressured,” said Professor Lars Donath of the German Sports University in Cologne. “It’s impressive how good these deals are.”

Lack of interactivity as a disadvantage

Nevertheless, there are criticisms: The degree of difficulty of a training session is sometimes made clear in the title of the video. However, sports researcher Stemper, for example, misses Pamela Reif’s indications for controlling the load.

Lars Donath adds that there is almost no feedback from the coaches on the YouTube trainings. This interactivity is lacking unlike sports in a club or studio where instructors can correct posture and performance. In most of the videos, on the other hand, “they go through gymnastics from A to Z,” Stemper says.

Self-control in the mirror or with a smartphone

The Vice President of the Federal Association of Health Studios Germany (BVGSD) therefore recommends that you check yourself in the mirror and see if you do the exercises as in the video. In addition, according to Stemper, you can film yourself using your smartphone and compare the two videos.

“But what you don’t have to do is constantly look at the computer screen during the exercises on the floor to see how the instructor is moving,” says Stemper. You should keep turning your head or upper body to get a better look. “Then there are wrong working postures and as a result possibly painful wrong loads.”

Not on Youtube after a long break from the sport

Not all offers are suitable for all age groups. Especially older people who may not have played sports for ten or twenty years should first go to a club or gym and preferably stay there, Stemper recommends. There they would receive support.

From the age of 30, one should ask oneself, “whether one has enough previous experience and is still in education,” says the expert. To be on the safe side, you can go to the doctor for checkup in advance.

It is fitting that Gabi Fastner, for example, in a study by the Stiftung Warentest on online fitness offers was praised for “convincing instruction and execution of the training”. However, the tests criticized the lack of risk information.

With young people up to the age of 20 or 25, however, there is not the great risk of overloading themselves at Fastner, Reif and Co., Stemper explains. If they are healthy, they often still have good contact with sports, for example through school sports.

With yoga mat and enough space

The home training area in front of the screen should only be designed to be safe, says Stemper. Walking on a slippery carpet, for example, is not a good idea. Here it is better to put a yoga or rubber mat underneath. It should also not be too tight: Extended arms and legs need space.

Functional gymnastics is best suited for at home, says Donath. “You only train with your own body weight or small equipment.” You do not need more.

Almost no success without a plan and goals

Under the restrictions in the spring, the sports researcher from Cologne set up his basement for sports and drilled in addition to his rowing ergometer e.g. sling trainers in the ceiling. “I didn’t do much, but at least 20 minutes every day,” Donath says.

After the shutdown, however, the “everyday autopilot” quickly started again with more regular office hours and meetings. That was when he realized that one had to make a plan and keep fixed times free to stick to it.

In addition, it is good to set goals, says Donath. “You need the absolute will to persevere. Therefore, you need to be aware of why you are playing sports and making a plan.” This is especially true of online offers, which unlike club or study offers do not, of course, specify specific times for training.

So Stemper’s grandson was right: do “mature” at 12.00.

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