Things you learn when you make a video of yourself working out

At-home exercising apps really are fantastic and I love using my Sworkit app – I’m in my living room every morning huffing and puffing, swing weights around and trying to do push-ups. The only down side of working in my living room is that I can’t see myself performing the exercises.

I just have to really listen to the instructor’s voice when he gives the instructions for each exercise, and then trust that I’m doing things right. I always try to copy the exercise exactly as I see them in the app, but how can I be sure that my form is correct?

For example, it feels as if my heel is lifted really high when I do a donkey kick, but does it feel high because it is, or because my muscle are weak or tired and even a small lift would feel much higher than it actually is? Same thing with a push-up. It’s really hard work and I feel as if I’m doing a okay job, but am I really? And when I do a bridge, how high is my bum really lifting? When I squat I push out my bum as far as I can, but could the squats be better? Do I really keep my back straight when I do a lunge?

How would I know the answers to these questions if I’m exercising on my own with no-one to tell me what I’m doing wrong (or right), and without a mirror?

The only way I could think of, was to just take a video of myself exercising.

So, here I am as recorded on Sunday morning, doing 22 minutes of the “Small Equipment Strength for Cyclists” Sworkit workout. I sped up the recording to make it a 5 minute video. (By the way, I’m not a cyclist – I just really enjoy using exercise loops and dumbbells. And I thought I was doing 20 minutes but it turns out I was at it for 22 minutes.)

Watching myself exercise was quite an eye opener for me.

I spotted a few things wrong with my form:

  • hips tilted when I do donkey kicks;
  • not going down low enough in squats;
  • when doing clams I need to bring my heels closer to my bum;
  • and my push-ups are barely noticeable. (How is that possible? I try so hard but my nose goes down barely an inch!)

On the plus side my form when doing lunges is good, and my bridge is as high as I’m going to get it.

I can’t believe I’m making this video public, but if anyone can give me constructive feedback on my form, it would have been worth it.

As for the push-ups, I found this helpful video that shows how you should work your way up to a “regular” push-up, by starting with the easier push-up type exercises.

The easiest version is to do a push-up against a wall. Once you are able to do two sets of 50, you can move on to push-up on knees, then half push-ups and eventually a full-on, regular push-up. I’ll just have to stop trying to do regular push-ups, and instead build up my strength first by doing wall push-ups. 100 Of them!

As a woman, there is something very empowering (read: bad ass) about using weights and being able to do a proper push-up – you can be sure that I will be posting a video once I am able to do a minute of push-ups!

So there you have it. The video I took of myself has pointed out areas where I need to work on my form, and in the process I’m now going to train myself to do a proper Big Boy push-up. And that was the whole point of making the video: see where I need to improve, and work on that.

Hopefully when I’m strong enough to do a Big Boy push-up, I’ll also be able to do Crow Pose in yoga. I have this thing about Crow Pose. It started when I saw it being done at the OM Yoga Show (there’s a photo of it in this blog post) and it looked so cool. I want to be able to do that! But first 2 x 50 push-ups against a wall.

(If you’d like to sign up to Sworkit, use this link and you’ll get 20% off!)