No gym? No sweat: We may be stuck at home, but from ballet fitness to yoga, there’s an online class for all shapes and ages

Gyms are shut, workouts cancelled and personal training routines scuppered. Normally, I love going to boxing, yoga and even spin classes (if I’m feeling brave).

Rosie tested a selection of the most popular fitness videos for an at-home workout

I often go to the gym three times a week — but confess it’s as much for the chat and coffee afterwards as for the workout. Now, four weeks into lockdown, a solo jog or a few stretches before returning to my home desk aren’t quite cutting it. I’m longing for a new challenge and a little camaraderie.

Luckily, one effect of the crisis is a bewildering panoply of new online and TV workouts, many by top professionals and available for free. Fitness videos have come a long way since Rosemary Conley, but can they rival the intensity of going to a class and are they worth the technical faff?

THE MOTHER OF ALL ONLINE WORKOUTS

Who: Jennifer Brown, AKA One Fit Mother.

Where: Instagram Live @onefitmotheruk; free.

Fitness level: Medium.

Super-fit Jennifer has a body that belies the fact she’s a mum of four. To access her live video classes, you must first check her Instagram posts to find out when the next session is. Then, at the allotted time, click on the profile picture circle at the top left of her page, under which the word ‘live’ should be displayed.

You should see Jennifer in her studio going through the class. She can’t see you — but she can see any comments or questions you type, as can other users, so it feels quite social.

I tried a Barre session, a hybrid workout combining ballet, Pilates and stretching for a strong, toned body. The only equipment I needed was a chair, in place of the ballet barre in her studio, and a deflated football (or similar).

Smiley and positive, she worked us through plié-style squats, agonising leg lifts, and small arm movements for 30 minutes — some classes are an hour.

You get a rush of feel-good endorphins afterwards.

DAVID BECKHAM’S YOGA GURU

Who: Yoga teacher Shona Vertue.

Where: YouTube; free. Or sign up to a 12-week programme on her website from £24.99.

Fitness level: Medium.

With a long list of celebrity clients, including David Beckham, Shona’s short videos are a great way to de-stress and tone up with minimal faff.

Easy to follow, and not patronising or complicated, she has a great teaching style. Her 20-minute ab and core workout slotted into my lunchtime with ease. I felt like I worked hard, but didn’t get so sweaty that I needed to shower. I also love her 10-Minute Energy Boosting Stretch.

Unlike some yoga classes, most of her videos have an upbeat, active vibe — and they’re recorded so you can use them any time.

THE TRAINER WITH A CULT FOLLOWING

Who: Melissa Wood Health.

Where: melissawoodhealth.com; £8 a month.

Fitness level: Medium.

Melissa Wood has a cult following — and it’s easy to see why: glossy hair, toned body, enviable lifestyle.

Her programme is based on 30-minute ‘body flows’ (yoga and Pilates-style sequences using your own body weight as resistance) to create ‘long, lean lines’. She mixes this with nutrition advice and meditation, so you think there’s a chance you’ll feel as zen and look as lithe as her by the end.

I did the 8-Minute Express Booty series. The slow, concise movements made my glutes burn and my body feel strong and energised.

YOGA WITH 7 MILLION SUBSCRIBERS

Who: Yoga with Adriene.

Where: yogawithadriene.com; free.

Fitness level: Medium.

Adriene has a legion of devoted followers, seven million at the last count. She started in 2012 and is the go-to yoga teacher for midlife women — some of my friends say she has changed their lives.

I can see why. Whatever you want to achieve (weight loss, upper body strength) or remedy (stress, back pain, PMS) there’s a yoga session for you.

Serene, Adriene makes you feel you’ve found a friend.

I did her Yoga For Runners class because my pavement pounding habit does nothing for my mobility. It was 20 minutes of soothing stretches.

DANCE PRO WITH BEYONCE MOVES

Who: Dance Box Official.

Where: @danceboxofficial on Instagram; free.

Fitness level: Medium/high.

Illana Gambrill is a ball of energy. The feisty Essex native encourages you to shake your booty to get your heart rate up and your endorphins flowing — usually in her studio, but now live online via Instagram.

A 30-minute body conditioning session flew by.

Her dance classes usually last for an hour, with modern moves inspired by Beyonce and J Lo.

It’s truly cheering to be a part of while on lockdown — but I was glad other class-takers couldn’t see my lack of co-ordination.

ENGLISH NATIONAL BALLET STAR

Who: The Ballet Coach.

Where: Zoom classes, or videos on YouTube and Facebook; free.

Fitness level: Low/medium.

If you like your exercise gentle and elegant, then this is for you. English National Ballet alumna Sarah Du-Feu is an encouraging teacher with enviable posture.

I did the OAPs’ workout (Ballet for Grandmas and Grandpas) because I knew my skills and flexibility were in need of improvement.

Yet, despite it all appearing serene and slow, I was in for more of a workout than I had bargained for.

See Also

Slow pliés, holding your arms in position and deep bends all work you harder than you think.

The good news is you can dial up or down the intensity as much as you like — and you can either watch classes as videos direct from YouTube or Facebook, or check her Facebook page for a link to dial in to a live class on Zoom.

MELANIE SYKES’S FAVOURITE APP

Who: Nike Training Club.

Where: Free app.

Fitness level: Any.

When super-toned presenter Melanie Sykes revealed she worked out with the Nike Training Club App, I signed up pronto.

You can create a tailored plan (e.g. ‘lean fit over six weeks’) or chose a workout by fitness level, intensity or length of time.

I went for Tank Top Arms (which required dumbbells) and the mini videos in the app showed me the correct body position for each exercise (28 in total).

It was all do-able, but pushed me out of my comfort zone.

NATION’S PE TEACHER DOES GROWN-UPS TOO

Who: The Body Coach.

Where: YouTube; free. Or sign up to The Body Coach’s 90-Day Plan for £50.

Fitness level: Medium.

Joe Wicks may be making headlines for his kids’ workouts, but if you are short of time, the adult sessions on his YouTube channel are a godsend.

I did seven-minute abs, which was literally seven exercises in seven minutes.

Not reinventing the wheel (crunches, leg raises, sit-ups, planks), but well-chosen movements, with clear explanation.

Forty seconds’ work, 20 seconds’ rest. No equipment needed. It’s a great return on time investment.

CARTOON-THEMED EXERCISES FOR KIDS

Who: Cosmic Kids Yoga.

Where: YouTube; free.

Fitness level: Low.

These are perfectly pitched yoga videos for under-fives. In each one, the narrator tells a story or fairytale using movement, such as stretching up to the sky, while little ones follow.

Lurid cartoon backgrounds mean it’s pretty mesmerising for adults, too.

Joining for parents is optional, but I thought I should have a go. I regretted it — I was stiffer than the late Princess Margaret’s gin and tonics.

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