Exercise Group Fitness 101 – What Every Instructor Should Know

Group Fitness 101

Have you ever been to a group fitness class and have encountered a trainer whose goal seems to be to make everyone puke? Like it’s supposed to mean they are some kind of super trainer? They prescribe the same exercise for all participants and expect everyone to follow it regardless of differences in abilities and possible limitations.

In a group fitness situation, it can be embarrassing for participants to draw attention to themselves by asking for a modification or other option.

A knowledgeable trainer can justify why they are prescribing each exercise. They are able to progress or regress them in order to provide a safe and progressive work out for participants.

A great rule of thumb is to have 2 exercise options per exercise. One that can regress the exercise and one that can progress it.

For example a push-up.

Although the push-up is one of the most common and well-known exercises on the planet, it is often one that is seen to be performed poorly. A solid push-up takes hand and arm position into account and sees a neutral head and spine position.

Because of the varied fitness levels of participants in a group setting, not all will be performing the push-up from the standard toe position. Some may need to perform it from the bent-knee position. Some may need to perform it from an inclined position.

Providing an effective workout means providing participants with modifications so they can build and progress their fitness correctly and safely.

Providing the 2 exercise rule will ensure you accommodate everyone’s needs.

The “Push-up” example could be demonstrated to clients like this:

Exercise: Push-up (standard position)
Regression – perform from bent knee or from an inclined position
Progression – perform with alternating leg raises

The ability to modify your exercises demonstrates to your participants that you are knowledgeable and a true professional. It shows you can handle all fitness levels and challenge them at the level they are currently at. Your participants will know you care about their safety and their experience. This will turn into referrals and help build your business.

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