Exercise classes can be so tricky to cater to a wide variety of clients, because one size definitely does not fit all!
Teaching classes on an online platform can be challenging because of this. It is hard to program for people that you do not see moving in front of you. In a face-to-face setting it is easy to make adjustments to clients’ movement patterns, to suggest alternative exercises if required and to alter the exercises for the class as a whole depending on who is attending. Virtually, you cannot do this so easily!
When I am recording an online session, I try to teach exercises that I believe are important for most clients – exercises that move the spine in every direction and work on strengthening the body as a whole. Even then, there will be some exercises that don’t work for one person the way that they work for another. This is where I offer alternatives in my teaching. I suggest different props or positions that a client can move into if they do not feel an exercise suits their body at that time. I try to provide as many options as I possibly can for a client to find a tension free position for them to work in.
I also try to encourage my clients to listen to their body. Movement should be pain free and we shouldn’t do an exercise that causes us pain. That having been said, there can be a fine line between pain and being uncomfortable because we are stiff or feeling less mobile! It’s important to check in with your body to assess how that exercise feels. If it feels good, then keep going! If it feels uncomfortable then decide whether it is painful (in which case you should stop and re-assess) or if it is just feeling like a bit of hard work but manageable to continue. We should never push through an exercise when we’re in pain just because we think we should complete it. It’s much more important to complete an exercise with good posture and form and if that means stopping, resetting, and starting again to ensure we do it properly, then that is okay.
So, when you are doing any type of exercise, it is so important to listen to your body. Remember that not every exercise is ideal for your body type and if it just doesn’t feel good, it is better to leave the exercise than to push through and potentially cause pain or damage. If you do find exercises that don’t suit your body, see if you can find an alternative to the exercise to make it more comfortable – add a prop or move into a standing or kneeling position rather than being down on the mat. Feel free to reach out to me if you have an exercise like this, as I would be happy to help you find an alternative.