By Amanda Vogel MA
Fitness instructors and trainers are always looking for new exercise ideas to bring to their fitness classes, and there have never been more options at our fingertips, thanks to social media. Picking up new ideas is as easy as tapping the YouTube or Instagram app on your phone. However, with fitness-related video clips being posted on the daily, fit pros must be extra discerning about sourcing the best and safest exercises from the most reliable accounts. Here are a few ground rules for seeking out exercise inspiration on social.
Ignore Follower Numbers
Rule number one about where you get your exercise ideas online: A large follower base does not ensure credibility or authority. Never use a person’s follower numbers as your primary guide for determining trustworthiness.
If you aren’t already familiar with the accounts you’re looking at, check social bios for indications of education and credibility. Does the bio mention a fitness certification from AFAA, NASM or other reputable association? If not, follow the link in the bio to the person’s website. Check the ABOUT page there, which should include more detailed information about qualifications. If you can’t find fitness qualifications mentioned anywhere in a social profile and/or on a website, move on.
Seek Out Industry Leaders
Search the names of prominent industry leaders, presenters and educators on Instagram and YouTube to see what they’re up to there. If you’re looking for exercises using a specific piece of equipment, go to official accounts for the equipment brand and its master trainers.
You’ll find that many respected educators upload clips to YouTube and/or post-exercise content on Instagram in the main feed and in Stories. You can save videos to a “saved” page within your own Instagram profile to quickly access your favorite videos any time (to save, click the bookmark icon directly under the video you’re interested in).
Follow Trusted Associations
For more exercise ideas you can trust, you’ll naturally want to follow accounts from the industry’s top education and certification associations. For example, @nasm_fitness posts exercise demos on Instagram that include progressions and technique tips. On Facebook, check out NASM’s video playlist —called #WorkoutWednesday—for plenty of exercise ideas all in one place. There’s also the NASM YouTube channel.
Exercise Critical Thinking
Even when you’re sure about an account’s credibility, it’s still smart to rely on critical thinking whenever you see an exercise on social. Analyze whether the exercise is sound in terms of its purpose and mechanics. If a demo doesn’t include modifications, be sure to work out a few regressions and progressions before you introduce the exercise in class.
Also, take a moment to decide if the exercise would even be the best choice for your participants. Some Insta trainers showcase pretty complicated or intense sequences as a way to “wow” their audience—these exercises look cool but wouldn’t necessarily be suitable for general exercisers. Try every exercise personally to ensure it will flow well when you teach it and feel like a good fit for your participants and clients.