Online workout programs do come with certain risks. Injuries resulting from at-home exercise increased by nearly 48% from 2019 to 2020, according to a survey conducted by Medicare Marketplace using U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission data. Syatt recommends beginners hire an in-person trainer for 30 days to learn proper form and technique before attempting an online program on their own. With this foundation, an individual can be knowledgeable enough to avoid incorrect form that may lead to injury, he says.
For example, jumping exercises, such as burpees (a combination of a squat, push-up and vertical jump into the air) and box jumps (a jump from the floor to an elevated surface), are not beginner-friendly exercises and should be avoided unless you’re an advanced athlete, says Syatt. What’s more, these types of exercises aren’t meant to be done at high-rep ranges for a cardio workout. “I’ve seen CrossFit coaches give clients 100 jumps in a workout. That’s when people tear their Achilles off the bone,” he says, adding that exercises on unstable surfaces (like a Bosu ball) can also be unsafe without proper foundational fitness knowledge.
Anyone can call themselves a fitness coach these days, so it’s important to confirm the credentials of the program or instructor you choose, says Bret Contreras, Ph.D., a personal trainer, researcher and author of Glute Lab based in Las Vegas. Before signing up for an online program, verify the instructor’s credentials, certifications, education and experience, he advises.