Should I wear sneakers to workout indoors? Your at-home fitness questions answered

Make sure you're on the right track when working out at home

People have been working out at home in a bid to stay fit amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Courtesy Urban Energy
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As gyms around the world close their doors amid the coronavirus pandemic, we have all had to bring our workouts inside, and train from home.

Many gyms across the UAE (and globe) are offering at home workouts, but there is still no-one on hand to keep an eye on our form, as we all become our own PT.

Here, we turn to Dubai fitness professionals to answer our burning home workout questions on form and essential equipment.

Training in trainers: yes or no?

As we’re not going outside to workout, there is a temptation to ditch the trainers, but is that the right thing to do?

Brian Cochrane, the co-founder of UnderdogBoxn in Dubai’s Knowledge Village explains: “Most homes have concrete floors that are tiled or marbled and not cushioned like most studios, therefore they offer zero cushioning or support for any dynamic training.

“Most at-home workouts have lots of impact (such as running in place or squat jumps) so training barefoot can really compromise the health of your feet and ankles as these are not movements that we are accustomed to doing barefoot.”

epa08320587 Susanne Hassler-Smith performs yoga in her shared flat in Vienna, Austria, 24 March 2020 (issued 25 March 2020). Susanne Hassler-Smith, 30-year-old Austrian freelance photographer and videographer from Graz, Styria, married Thomas Smith, 34-year-old American video editor and stock trader, on 20 February 2020 in Graz, Austria. Soon after, they had to cancel their honeymoon in Venice, Italy, as the spread of the Covid-19 disease had broken out in Europe. While in the midst of moving Susanne's home from Graz to Vienna in February, they finished settling in a shared flat in Vienna a week before Covid-19 matters worsened. Susanne will apply for a Green Card, Thomas' scheduled flight back to Los Angeles was cancelled, as were many other international flights worldwide due to the global coronavirus outbreak. Susanne and Thomas begun applying for VISA extensions for his stay in the European Union to overcome the crises together. Now, they are a part of a shared flat in Vienna, together with roommates from France and Germany, whom the couple didn't know before. 'With everything as it is at the moment, we don't plan too far ahead and take each day as it comes,' Susanne says. 'We stick to the home office lifestyle and social distancing measures as instructed to help flatten the curve of this epidemic.' They keep the daily routine as normal for everyone as possible. Coffee, work, lunch, workout, dinner and from time to time they meet for a coffee in the kitchen or on the balcony on sunny days. Austrian Chancellor Kurz had announced extended restrictions concerning the movement of individuals, the closure of commercial activities and other extensions of the preventive measures aimed at slowing down the pandemic COVID-19 disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, from 16 March 2020 on until at least Easter Monday, 13 April 2020.  EPA/SUSANNE HASSLER-SMITH  ATTENTION: This Image is part of a PHOTO SET
Low-impact workouts like yoga benefit from a barefoot approach. EPA

However, there are workouts that benefit from a barefoot approach.

“With all that said, we would recommend adding some kind of barefoot training into your routine such as some kind of power, dynamic or sculpt yoga,” Cochrane adds. “These workouts are designed to be done barefoot and can help strengthen our feet and ankles to be more resilient.”

UnderdogBoxn is currently offering packages of classes for people to take on at home via Zoom.

What are we doing wrong at home?

Without a trainer on hand to keep us right, it is easy to make mistakes with form when you’re working out.

James Heagney, the founder of D5 Executive Gym in DIFC, explains: “When working out at home the biggest mistake I see people make is not using the correct range of motion. When performing an exercise it is beneficial to work throughout the full range.

“Typically, when we train at home it is easy to perform half squats and push ups. My recommendation is to slow things down, focus on controlled full ranges of movement.”

The best way to correct form, Heagney advises, is to take time when you finish working out and watch what you have been doing.

“You can act as your own personal trainer by filming yourself performing the exercise and watching it back,” he adds.

When it comes to specific moves like squats, lunges, push-ups and planks, focusing on form is essential.

Cochrane told The National: "The most common movement faults generally occur in bodyweight exercises such as squats, lunges, push-ups and plank variations, and if you think about it, these four bodyweight exercises (or variations of) make up the bulk of most at-home workouts circulating social media right now.

“It is really important to find an instructor online who is able to give clear, concise coaching cues on how to do these movements effectively, this is why we value live sessions over pre-recorded short exercise clips or workouts that only show exercises and don’t provide any coaching cues.”