YouTube is a great resource for free workout videos that anyone with a steady internet connection can use. Of course, it is important to know how to tell whether a video is more likely to help or hurt your workout routine. Below are some red and green flags to look for when trying to find an effective muscle-building workout on YouTube. You could obviously read some of the reviews to gauge the popularity and success, but these tips will help you formulate an initial first impression.
Green Flag: The Instructor is a Professional
Anyone who has the right equipment can make a YouTube channel and post videos; that doesn’t mean that anyone who can post a video should post a workout video on YouTube. Check out the YouTube channel description to see if the channel host shares their credentials or not. If not, do a quick online search to see if you can find any information on the host. Healthline also has a list of professional fitness YouTubers that provide great workout routines.
Red Flag: The Video is Full of Supplement Endorsements
A workout video should be primarily based on the workout. Watching a video that is sponsored is one thing, but having a muscle-building workout video littered with advertisements is another. Another thing to watch out for is who is advertising and what they are saying about the product. If a random person is talking up a product, then their word should be taken with a grain of salt. If the video host is a professional who works with the product, like a doctor, athlete, or professional workout coach, then their word is more credible.
If a video does have supplement (or other) endorsements, always make sure to do your own research before taking them. Checking out customer reviews for things like multivitamins, the thrive patch, supplements, and protein powders can make all the difference between buying a popular product that doesn’t work. It is also a good idea to talk to your doctor before you take certain supplements, as some may affect the body oddly if you are taking some medications.
Green Flag: The Video Starts and Ends With Stretching
A great green flag to look for in a video that starts and ends with stretching. It is best when a video begins with dynamic stretches. These stretches help to warm up the body by getting you moving. The term “dynamic” in this sense means a person will move a good deal while stretching instead of holding a pose for X amount of time. As part of warming up for the main workout, stretching will help to reduce the risk of injury during the workout.
Workouts should also end with stretching as a way to cool down. Doing straight from an active workout to sitting on the couch isn’t as good for the body as having some kind of moderate movement in between the workout and hitting the sofa. Static stretches are best for cooldowns. They are the opposite of dynamic stretches, as they are done by holding specific stretches, rather than moving around rapidly.
Red Flag: Instructor Does Not Explain Proper Form
Some exercises such as push ups and pull-ups may seem straightforward, but any expert will provide cues to each portion of an exercise so you can check your form without having a trainer watch your every move. Without these exercise cues, some athletes will not be sure which muscle to target, which angles to hold extremities, foot positions, hinging requirements, etc… At a minimum, the instructor on any YouTube workout video should explain how to start and how to execute the exercise, then provide some additional cues during or after the demonstration.
Green Flag: Many Workout Variations Are Available
A good muscle-building workout on YouTube will have multiple options for the different workout moves. When looking for a new YouTube channel, try to find a video that has two or more hosts. When there is more than one host, one person usually does the main version of the exercise, while the other person does an easier version of the exercise.
Switching between the normal and easier versions of an exercise isn’t a bad thing, especially if you are just starting out. Don’t push your body more than you can handle. Doing this can cause injuries, which will make it more difficult to exercise in the future. So, don’t take it easy, but don’t break yourself trying to do things you are not ready for either.
Building muscle takes a lot of time, but it doesn’t have to take a lot of money. Use free muscle-building workout YouTube videos to learn how to do more workout moves. Follow the right channels and you will be sure to find some quality content.