You’ve spent a lot of time and energy working on your class, and you’re ready to wow your students with another great workout. But wait: How much effort did you really put into that warm-up? Not only does the warm-up set the stage for what’s to come; it also ensures a safe and effective environment for students. Don’t skim over this crucial opportunity to make a lasting impression.
Most group fitness instructors introduce and close their classes with some remarks to participants. Style will vary depending on personality, but openings and closings are always important opportunities. Petra Kolber, 2001 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year, says, “People may not always remember the actual choreography, but they will recall the first and last 5 minutes. Since we only have one chance to make a great first impression, being prepared for the beginning and ending is key for success.”
How many times does the staff email blast urge you to “talk up other classes on the schedule?” It’s a good idea, but by the time you get to the studio, cue the music and lead people through your own class, either you forget to mention the vinyasa yoga class or participants leave before the cool-down, which is when you usually share announcements. Why not use the warm-up instead? This dynamic, yoga-inspired warm-up works for a step, dance, boot camp or strength circuit class and serves many purposes:
If you’re looking for a fresh, effective way to help your group participants move better, why not include foam rolling in your next class? Chances are some of your attendees are curious and could use some guided instruction.
This simple foam roller warm-up uses self-myofascial-release (SMR) techniques to warm up the fascia, allowing tissues to move more freely. Trauma, irritation, repetitive use and a sedentary lifestyle create stiffness and can shorten the muscles and/or fascia. A few minutes of SMR offers many benefits.
Fitness instructors know that music has the power to stimulate and relax, to divert attention from feelings of fatigue and to enhance positive moods. Now, Tunisian researchers have shown that up-tempo warm-up music can improve short-term bursts of anaerobic exercise
by highly trained athletes in competitive activities.
Aquatic exercise is a great way to get and stay in shape. In addition to being a fantastic cross-training option and full- body workout, exercising in the pool helps the body stay balanced. A water workout might not be the first thing your class participants think of when they’re looking to shape up and slim down—but perhaps it should be. Water fitness burns calories, boosts metabolism and strengthens muscles without putting extra stress on joints.
When it comes to warm-ups, indoor cycling instructors often fall victim to the “oatmeal effect”—good for you, but not very memorable. It’s easy to just jump on a bike and ride. However, with a little creativity and skillful instruction, you can engage participants from the start. Be prepared, connect with riders and add a little ingenuity. Begin with a warm welcome and a short introduction, and then ride into one of the following warm-ups.
As a group fitness instructor, you already know the value of a warm-up and how it decreases injury risk and improves performance. Recently, our collective vernacular has expanded to include movement preparation (prep) and/or tissue prep as interchangeable terms for warm-up.
Are your golf clients determined to lower their handicap? According to researchers from Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas, golfers’ fairway performance was best after a dynamic warm-up and no static stretching. The study appeared in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research (2010; 24 , 3326–33) and included nine “young” male golfers.