Australia seems to be taken over by Michelle Bridges fever. Well, Coogee has, at the very least. The amount of women I’ve heard muttering JFDI (Just Effing Do It – the 12wbt Mantra) under their breath as they tackle lunges and burpees in the public parks across Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs tells me that Michelle Bridges is onto a good thing. My fiancée just so happens to be one of these 12wbt ‘transformers’ so I’m privy to a lot of behind-the-scenes intel into the program. My living room has turned into some kind of perspiration haven, as my fiancée tells me “You have to sweat like a pig to look like a fox!” in between sets of mountain climbers.
And whilst I can’t deny that the results are pretty impressive, so too is the speed at which my fiancée’s knee injury has returned. And I can’t help but blame Bridges’ blanket-regime that her 12wbt gives to all participants. Can excessive lunges be good for people like my partner, who has terrible problems with patella-femoral pain?
The 12wbt program got me asking the question: can a virtual trainer ever be as good as a physical one? Is it really worth risking injury and putting your weightloss and fitness ambitions on indefinite hold?
I really admire Michelle Bridges, and the fact that she’s got millions of Australians moving again. But that doesn’t mean she is teaching good exercise techniques. I watch the fitness videos that my fiancée does and cringe; technique is sacrificed for speed, and advanced pilates postures are encouraged for complete beginners. No wonder my Mrs is complaining of soreness every evening!
A lot of good personal trainers out there, from the beaches of Bondi to Maroubra, are recognising the importance of not just getting their clients moving, but getting them moving in the correct way. Their presence at training sessions allows them to spot incorrect technique, and correct it before injury occurs; something no virtual trainer can achieve.
To those who are doing the 12wbt, I say, Good On You, and keep it up. But make sure you tread (or, in this case, lunge) with caution. Getting your technique correct is more important than the amount of reps you do.
Not all of you will be as lucky as my fiancée to have a personal at-home physio for a partner! (Although, let’s face it, I’m not sure my fiancée would exactly describe herself as “lucky”.)
Here’s a quick snapshot of what a proper lunge looks like:
The major technique points are to make sure you maintain a neutral spine and pelvis, keep your head upright and body weight equal over both legs. For example if you feel like you're going to fall or topple over, then you're probably not doing it correctly! Go back to basics, and keep it slow and steady.