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- American Council on Exercise: Kettlebells: Twice the Results in Half the Time?
- ACE Fitness: Interval Training
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Fitness Instructor Class Ideas
Teaching the same fitness classes day after day can lead to boredom — for you and your students. Regardless of the class format you teach — be it cardio, sculpting, or stretching — with a little imagination, you can add variety and spice.
Add some different props to your class for a change of pace. For a cardio class, add jump roping or cones, for agility drills, for example. If your class is a strength format, consider resistance bands, kettlebells or medicine balls. According to the American Council on Exercise, kettlebells, along with dumbbells and weighted bars can greatly increase students' benefits in class.
Foam rollers can be a great addition to a stretching class. Begin with a segment of foam rolling to release tension from the muscles you plan to stretch.
Even if you have a meager budget, add a hand towel or paper plates to slide on the floor in lieu of gliding discs. Use them to punch up the challenge of lunges, planks and mountain climbers.
One way to give a little variety to your class format is to set class up like a circuit and use stations. Take some of the exercises you typically do in class, and create a sign for each. Tape the signs up around the class room. Prior to class, count how many people you have in the class and determine how many should be at each station.
Send participants to their first station and then, using a timer, work them through several rotations through the entire circuit. Have them visit each station for 30 to 60 seconds, and give about 15 seconds between sessions to move. You may invite participants to go through the circuit a second or third time, depending on the number of stations available.
Interval training is a great way to spice up your fitness class. It is similar to stations; however, the intervals are done together as a class. For a cardio format, mix up bouts of higher intensity cardio with lower intensity cardio and work through the circuit.
You might also add interest to a strength class by having participants do 20 to 30 seconds bursts of high-intensity cardio between resistance exercises. For example, do 15 to 20 reps of squats and then go into 20 seconds of jumping jacks.
Use music to create a different atmosphere in your class. A good example of energy-inducing music is anything with a fast and fun Latin beat. Tailor your music to the season: spooky music at Halloween, Latin-inspired tunes near Cinco De Mayo or Christmas music in December.
Match your workouts to the music by adding a seasonal theme. For example, around the holidays, do a 12 days of Christmas themed workout in which you have an exercise to match each of the "days" with an exercise and do the requisite reps to the spirit of the song.
Based in Wisconsin farm country, Jami Kastner has been writing professionally since 2009 and has had many articles published online. Kastner uses her experience as a former teacher, coach and fitness instructor as a starting point for her writing. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in secondary education from Trinity International University.