A good group exercise session is one that is inclusive, challenging, and fun.
Inclusivity means that everyone feels welcome regardless of their fitness level or experience. Yes, we can offer different level classes, but as we know, people will decide they are an advanced exerciser even if they’ve never been to your particular class before- and what does “Beginner” even mean? It is all so subjective; we can all interpret it differently!
So, it is often much easier to offer a range of options within one class based upon who your participants are. I will have 3 levels I plan for (and then often have a couple of “half” modifications when needed for class members/injuries.)
Now I know that sounds like as lot, but actually it all stems from how our bodies deal with loading around a joint and how we keep those joints stable.
For example, if someone cannot move their limbs in supine without arching into their lumbar spine, I’m not going to add in a leg lift and put more load into their body until they have learnt precision and control.
Likewise, if they can work easily in that position, I want them to add in more effort and get a training effect, so we may then add in double table top work etc
This gives me a “stable base” to work up from- gradually increasing the effort needed to maintain proper form.
We should plan our sessions to be challenging enough to push participants to their limits but not so difficult that they feel discouraged or uncomfortable.
Fun is also crucial as it helps to keep participants engaged and motivated.
We all know our class members are much more likely to keep coming to class if it’s fun and enjoyable for them. There are lots of ways we can achieve this:
· Teach the class in a fun, friendly manner
· Welcome members using their names
· Use music to add to the vibe of the workout and motivate movement
· Add themes to make the workout feel less like a chore and more like a fun club to be a member of
· Help create a social group, so people feel less alone at the club/hall
A good group exercise session should be well-structured, with clear instructions and a variety of exercises that target different muscle groups.
There are so many ways to run a group class, but you do need a plan of attack!
· Keep a record of what you teach so you can remember when you last taught it and change it up
· Ensure you are targeting different parts of the body (either in one class or over time). No-one wants to look like they only do “Chest Day” and skip on “Leg Day”. This is especially true for functional work when we want to optimise our class members capacity to achieve the movements needed for daily living.
The instructor should be knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and able to provide modifications for participants with injuries or limitations.
What I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE about the Pilates method is that it makes it easy to modify for injuries etc . Yes, you may need to re-visit certain conditions and injuries to make sure your knowledge is up to date, but then it can be easy to modify around that "stable base" we spoke about earlier.
Adding in standing work can be a great modification for your non-kneelers, Prone and seated work can be added in for those with sore shoulders who can’t load in All 4’s, for example.
Finally, a good group exercise session should foster a sense of community and support among the participants, creating a positive and encouraging atmosphere that motivates everyone to achieve their fitness goals.
Any group exercise instructor will tell you of that buzz that you can create in a session-the way you can uplift one another-if we could bottle that feeling then everyone would be hooked!!
This may all sound complicated to achieve.
Running a group exercise session is very dynamic and will test your management and communication skills.
Need some extra help with this?
Not a problem: Groovelates does all of this for you-my 22 years of experience and love poured into our pre-done formats for you to share with your classes. Easy.