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To Film, or Not to Film, Your Training?



If you're new to fitness or strength training, you may be wondering if filming your training is something you should consider. I only started posting my training less than 3 years ago simply to document my strength journey, so I am by no means an expert on how to be great at social media or become an influencer. However, after training for almost a decade in different athletic pursuits, with the last 3 dedicated specifically to powerlifting, I can definitely help you determine whether the juice is worth the squeeze when it comes to filming. Below are some pros, cons, and considerations you should take into account when deciding to film your training.


Side note… just because you film training does NOT mean you need to post it on social media. While posting your footage can be fun, it isn't the ONLY reason to film as noted below. Now, if you ARE wondering whether or not to share your footage with the world, then stay tuned for our next blog post aptly titled "To Post, or Not To Post, Your Training?"


PROS OF FILMING


Assessing RPE or Rate of Perceived Exertion


Rate of Perceived Exertion is a term used in strength sports to indicate the difficulty of a movement. Sometimes lifts feel harder than they look, and sometimes lifts look harder than they feel. The problem with RPE is that it is by definition, "perceived," or influenced by subjective factors. Most experienced lifters have had "great" training sessions based on performance when they "felt" terrible, and the opposite is also true. Reviewing your footage after the lift can help you fine tune exertion ratings for that movement and better inform the rest of your training. For more detailed information on RPE and how to apply it for yourself, I recommend reading this article by Mike Tuchscherer who popularized its application in strength training as we know it today: https://articles.reactivetrainingsystems.com/2017/12/05/how-to-use-rpe-in-your-training-correctly/


Assessing Proficiency


Filming allows you to analyze movements post-mortem, which allows you to review after the adrenaline rush, develop an eye for movement, and find opportunities for technical improvement. Playing a video in slow motion or frame-by-frame will allow you to see things you normally couldn't at real-time speed. If you have a remote coach, then filming is an absolute must since it is the easiest way for them to provide technical feedback.


If you plan to compete in a barbell sport, you'll need to get used to lifting without looking in a mirror for visual feedback since you can't do that on the platform. Filming allows you to obtain information you can't get during a lift, especially if you don't have an in-person coach or training partner to provide real-time feedback or cueing. At the very least, the footage will reveal whether or not you are meeting competition standards.


Content


As mentioned in the beginning I am by no means a social media expert, but it goes without saying you can create all kinds of content with your footage should you decide to do so! Telling you what to do with your footage is outside the scope of this post, but there are plenty of resources out there to help you develop content for social media.


CONS OF FILMING


Anti-Minimalism

Depending on the complexity of your filming setup, camera gear is yet another set of things to bring, in your already crowded gym bag, and one more thing to think about. If minimalism is your thing, you may want to ditch the camera, however, if filming "sparks joy" or adds useful feedback to your training as noted under pros above, then it may be worth the extra effort.


Over-Dependence

Filming is a helpful tool, but if you can't rate RPE and complete a training session because you forgot your camera, or the battery died, that could be a sign that you're overly dependent on filming your lifts. If you are filming for social media or marketing purposes, that's one thing. However, if you rarely trust your own self-assessment of exertion to within +/- 0.5 to 1.0 RPE of what the footage tells you, then it could mean we need to further develop that skill.


OTHER CONSIDERATIONS


Location and Camera Setup

Where you train will have a direct impact on how and even if you can film. While it is more common these days to see people recording their training, it is not necessarily the norm at a commercial gym. If you train at a Powerlifting gym, Weightlifting gym, Crossfit gym or other S&C facility, filming is more common. Obviously, if you train at home then you don't have to deal with any of this drama! However, if you are forced to train in a commercial setting, here are some challenges you may encounter.


Commercial Challenge 1

Some commercial gyms do not allow filming, so you'll have to film inconspicuously which may lead to view angles that are not ideal for your purposes.


Commercial Challenge 2

You may need to contend with people walking in front of your camera depending on your setup and location. Since the USA is a free country, and you're in a public space, there's not much you can do about it. You can't really put up caution tape or cones to block people off… or can you??? Every now and then you may also see some funny things going on in the background you weren't expecting, which could also be a pro or a con :)


CONCLUSION


The choice to film your training is a personal one with many considerations, so I hope this post helps you make an informed decision! In summary, pros include 1) Assessing RPE 2) Assessing Proficiency and 3) Social Media Content, while cons include 1) Anti-Minimalism and 2) Over-Dependence. Finally, training location and camera setup are big considerations that will impact your ability to film.


Do you have other pros, cons, or considerations!?!? Be sure to share and comment below!


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