With online courses through the corona crisis: Pilates in the living room – a self-experiment – Berlin

The outfit fits. Tablet and yoga mat are ready. Highly motivated, I close the door to the living room and hope that the technology now works. For the first time in my life, I will be attending a sports course via video chat. I’m skeptical, but the coronavirus somehow forces me to perform this experiment.

My pilates class has not taken place since the contact ban came a week and a half ago. Pilates largely avoids high impact, high power output, and heavy muscular and skeletal loading. Sport is good for your figure and promotes a better posture.

It relieves some of their back pain. What I especially like about the course is that the trainer with his funny nature motivates me to do muscle exercises that I would otherwise be too lazy to do. I also like that I meet nice people there and that the course is only five minutes away from my home. But today he comes directly to me in the living room. Actually quite practical.

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Shortly after the shutdown, the coach sent a link

At first I was upset when it was said that the gyms should also close. But just a few days after the contact ban imposed by the Senate, my Pilates coach Thomas Westphal wrote an email to his students. He now offers his courses online. We just had to go online at the usual time instead of going to the studio.

To participate in the course, download a specific free video conferencing app with either your mobile phone or tablet and click on the link provided by Westphal. The browser version of the service can also be used with the laptop.

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“It’s best to lay the yoga mat over the camera so I can see you from the side,” he writes. As I roll my olive green sports mat out on the floorboards at the agreed time, I wonder how the motivation is going to work. I miss the other students, the talk just before the start of training. Unlike a recorded video, after all, there is a fixed date. Otherwise, I might not have woken myself now.

So I click on the link and look for a short delay coach Thomas Westphal, who is also sitting on a mat on the floorboards, now also recognize me and greet me just like the other participants from the online round.

The video is of surprisingly good quality. However, I am not quite familiar with the app yet. While Westphal is already working on the first instructions, I’m still looking for the volume control and the correct position for my tablet. The challenge: I need to be able to see the coach who first demonstrates the exercises, but at the same time he needs to see me so he can correct me. Not easy.

It’s a little lonely at home for the coach

It all starts with push-ups. I hate them, but you can not cheat. Because the coach probably has a good eye for me. “Big Brother is watching you. I’ll finally see you at the same time,” he says. “Otherwise it doesn’t work so well in the analog room. Then it’s on the back. , what exercise is meant.Its clear advantage for digital training: Most of the participants have been on the course for years.A keyword is enough and everyone knows what to do.Now it’s time to be on your side.More. or less strenuous muscle exercises for the legs, hips, back and abdomen follow.With Pilates it all depends on how well trained you are at the moment, it targets the deeper muscle groups.

Later, Thomas Westphal will tell on the phone that he is not yet so good “in the flow” with online training. He can not hear us. Without our “moaning sounds” he does not know what the strength is. “Is there more? Or should I continue with a light stretching exercise?”. He feels this during normal training as soon as he enters the room. In the online course, all participants, today there are ten, must turn off the microphones due to the background noise “He only hears himself speak, a strange feeling. Especially when he makes a joke, as he so often does.” Then I just hope someone was laughing, “says Thomas Westphal.

A swip to the right and I see the living rooms of the others

In my living room now, I try to concentrate on the exercises. Usually I look a lot left and right in the courses to see what the others are doing. I’m doing the same with the app now. A swipe to the right and next to trainer Thomas I see three other participants who all clearly know what exercise is meant. I grab them, while admiring their living room decor.

One has red wallpaper, looks fat I think. In my room, my two children are now jumping through the picture and around me. Everyone can see it now. But hopefully not the moving boxes still standing behind the sofa because the new shelf could not be delivered due to the corona crisis.

After training, I am slightly exhausted. In between I had to throw my kids out of the room, I will organize their care differently next time. Otherwise, I feel well prepared for upcoming online sports courses. Digital training does not replace personal contact, but it is a good solution to the current state of emergency.

No participant dropped out – his professional existence is assured

Thanks to his swift action, Thomas Westphal has managed to avoid being one of the solo self-employed who now depend on financial aid from the state development bank. His course program continues as before. He gives about ten courses a week. Of the approximately 100 participants, not a single one dropped out due to the crisis, he says on the phone. All participants would have been involved in the digital course version – including the seniors from his back fitness courses for the 70 plus generation. For Westphal, his sports courses are an important financial foundation, although he also works as a non-physician.

Nevertheless, a tiring week lies behind him. The digital transformation cost him a lot of energy, says Westphal. In the senior group, he had to hold long discussions about how to use the video conferencing app. “Of course everyone wanted to talk a little bit, because a lot of people feel so lonely at the moment,” he says.

However, only three of the seniors are currently unable to attend the online course for technical reasons. An 80-year-old was actually convinced that she would not be able to do it with the app on her mobile phone anyway and was quite surprised when it worked. Everyone is very motivated because sport is so important to them. “Many of the elderly have a lot of pain without exercise,” Westphal says.

But younger people also need exercise to compensate for their office jobs and the perhaps even worse sitting position in the home office.

Would he offer web sports courses even without coronavirus? “No,” he says very resolutely. But as long as the situation demands it, it’s a good option for him. Thanks to the technical change. If the crisis had happened 15 years ago, it probably would not have been so easy.

Digital sports courses for the home

Offer sports courses
Educators who want to continue their lessons digitally can easily use video conferencing software from everyday office life. The most common program is “Zoom” or “Hangouts” for fewer participants.

Yoga and Pilates in the living room
Many sports studios in Berlin offer their courses online during the crisis. For example Dharma Yoga (dharmayogaberlin.com), Yoga Sky (yoga-sky.de), Lotos Yoga (yoga-lotos.de) The contact for Pilates trainer Thomas Westphal can be found at www.pilateskoerpertraining.de.

Real-time fitness
The fitness platform www.cyberobics.com offers more than 100 training units via video and streams courses in real time at fixed times. There is a free trial period of one month, after which prices vary depending on the offer. A daily new yoga workout for the living room is also available with the “Down Dog” app (www.downdogapp.com).

Personal training
Urban Gladiator’s fitness studio offers online coaching for regular training and creates personal training plans, also via Facebook. You can find it at: www.urbangladiators.de/home-training saa

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