Technology | Training Tips

Best Tips on How to Teach Good Form as an Online Trainer

ISSA, International Sports Sciences Association, Certified Personal Trainer, Online Personal Training, Best Tips on How to Teach Good Form as an Online Trainer

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Whether virtual personal training is new for you or you’ve been an online fitness coach for a while, you’ve likely hit a few speedbumps learning new things and overcoming obstacles. A common concern with online personal training clients is making sure they are safe and moving properly during their workouts. When you aren’t right in front of your client, it becomes more of a challenge to not only teach good form but also monitor their form and help them make corrections. 

However, with a little creativity and adaptability combined with today’s technology, it can be done. We’ve gathered the top tips to help you teach and correct good form for your online clients.

Importance of Good Form

Proper form when exercising is one of the most important components of success. Not only is good form essential for injury prevention but it is also one of the keys to helping clients reach their fitness goals. Proper movement mechanics help engage the right muscles and joints which will elicit better results.

Even the slightest modifications can make an exercise safer and more effective. But, clients, and especially new clients, may not be able to identify incorrect form. So, it’s important for online personal trainers to be able to provide examples, view their clients’ movements, and communicate effective cues to help guide their clients toward proper, healthy, functional movement. 

Online Personal Trainer Video Demonstration

One of the most valuable resources for an online personal trainer is a video library of exercises and/or workouts. It is a collection of video content that shows proper form for any exercises you include in your clients’ exercise program. You can shoot the video yourself or find other online videos properly demonstrating the exercise.

Consider these important tips to help you shoot or select the best videos for your online training sessions:

Use Proper Lighting

Proper lighting is essential for an online personal trainer. It is important that the client can clearly see the movement. Pay attention to both the electric lighting and the position of the windows in the room as they can both impact the appearance of the footage. 

Capture Different Angles

Many of exercises for the video library should be shot from more than one angle. The squat, for example, should have both front view and a side view for the client. Think about what you want the client to see and take the time to collect or create the proper views. 

Use a Simple Background

Again, the purpose of the video is to allow the client to see the personal trainer move properly. A busy background can make it hard to identify some of the intricate movements. You may also want to consider wearing a contrasting color to the simple background so that your body and movement are easily distinguished. 

Record More Than One Rep

Perform a few reps at each angle. The flow and repetition can help the client grasp how the movement should look in a set. It also makes the online footage a bit more user-friendly when the client doesn’t have to replay one rep over and over to try and understand the form. 

Include Common Errors

You will want to include some of the most common mistakes with each of the movements so clients can create some awareness around what not to do. Whether you do a voice-over of the video footage or have readable content along with the video that provides these tips is up to you. 

Use Simple Language

Many of the clients you will work with won’t have a personal training or exercise science background. So, it is important to use basic language so clients can understand your coaching. For example, if you ask a client to abduct their leg and they aren’t sure what abduction is, they may not understand your cues. Proper communication and cueing is an important part of proper form. 

Take Stable Footage

If you are using a fellow fitness trainer to help you capture the video footage, make sure they have a steady hand or consider using a tripod. 

Consider a Platform

To be more efficient training clients online, you may want to consider having a portal, platform, or app your clients can log into to access the content. It gives you a bit more control over access and may be much less time consuming that emailing or texting content back and forth to every client. 

ISSA, International Sports Sciences Association, Certified Personal Trainer, Online Personal Training, Best Tips on How to Teach Good Form as an Online Trainer, Plank

Online Client Video Feedback

Providing proper instruction and cueing in advance can help minimize issues with form. However, as an online trainer, you will also want to have consistent check-ins with clients to analyze their movements during exercise. 

Have your clients show you their form from time to time. The following list includes a few things you should consider for your online clients.

Understand Your Client’s Fitness Level 

It’s important to know your client. If they have been training with you for a long time, you may only need to provide them guidance when you add a new exercise to their workout routine. However, if you have a new client, it will be important that you spend more time with them to ensure proper form. 

Capture Different Angles

Similar to the online video demonstrations, it will be important for clients to provide footage from more than one angel when appropriate. 

Use Proper Lighting

Have your clients trial shoot a few different directions so they can determine the best lighting for the video. It is just as important for you to see them clearly as it is for them to see you clearly in the demonstration videos. 

Suggest Proper Fitness Attire

Recommend that clients wear form-fitting fitness attire on the days they capture the video footage if they are comfortable with it. Baggy clothing makes it difficult to view the different kinetic checkpoints.

Live Training

Consider having a live online training session with each client. You can use FaceTime, Zoom, or some other communication platform to connect with your clients and cue them through proper movement, helping them make corrections in real-time. 

For some, the shift to virtual training has been quite drastic, but the changes may actually help fitness professionals reach more people. Many people aren’t owners of a gym membership. So, not only does online training allow a certified personal trainer to continue training during times of social distancing but it may also help them reach new potential clients that can’t make it to the gym, aren’t comfortable in a gym, prefer to workout on their own with minimal guidance, etc. So, once you get comfortable with the transition, don’t be afraid to branch out and grow your business. Personal trainers are needed now more than ever. 

Passionate about personal training? Expand your expertise with ISSA’s Online Coach Certification to learn even more about how to excel in the virtual training world. Boost your online personal training business by signing up NOW!


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