During the past decade, the term functional training has been used to describe programs that mirror everyday activities. Functional exercises are sometimes referred to as multiplanar movements that require coordination of two or more limbs, muscle groups, joints or areas of the body. There is another simpler way to define functional movement: pushing, pulling, bending, twisting, squatting and lunging! Look closely at these gross motor patterns that humans perform daily and you see an easy formula and library of movement patterns for a strength training class.
Take your barre class to the next level by adding equipment and intervals, and bring new life to your tendus and passés! Students will gain postural and body awareness while increasing their strength and cardiovascular health. This class touches on all levels and is fantastic for cross-training.
For years, yoga has supported my career as a b-girl (breakdancer) and professional contemporary and hip-hop dancer. From this stable foundation, I’ve built strength, grace, balance and power. The following sequence—which blends dance, yoga and footwork drills—has the basic structure of a hip-hop class. The combination gives participants a unique cardio experience while safely building flexibility and increasing upper-body and core strength.
Classes that appeal to athletes often intimidate many beginning- and intermediate-level exercisers; however, participants of all levels can do a challenging plyometrics class if you give them options. Jumping, in fact, can provide a foundation for inclusive, fun and effective training. By teaching with layers, you facilitate self-paced progression that challenges everyone.
Jump Onboard Details
FORMAT: Layered plyometric intervals using a step platform.
Did you know that training your core (your body minus arms and legs) is important to maintaining a healthy, strong body? Looking for some new core exercises? Want to add new “twists” to core exercises using fundamental, but often underused, equipment?
Medicine balls have been around for years and are a staple in boxing and sports performance communities. If you’d like to incorporate medicine balls into your workout program, check out these variations from Dan Bettcher, MS, a Muay Thai practitioner and cofounder of KOR Strength and Conditioning in San Diego.
AquaFLEX, featured at the AquaCon Fitness Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, takes participants into the pool for a dynamic class that focuses on strength training, core conditioning and flexibility. Attendees use a lightweight AquaFLEX bar to increase the natural resistance of the body moving through water.
Cycorga combines cardio, strength training and flexibility into one format. During this class, found at Executive Sports & Fitness Center in Chicago, participants get a mix of indoor cycling, Pilates and yoga.
The term arthritis describes two distinctly separate medical conditions: rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA). RA is an autoimmune disease that results in swollen, painful joints, which are a contraindication to exercise. If a client has this symptom, ask him or her to wait until it has diminished before exercising.
Golden Barre, an offshoot of the Bender Barre Method®, is designed for active aging participants with injuries. This class, offered at Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Reno, Nevada, slows down the Bender Barre experience and focuses on balance, strength, flexibility and posture.
A martial-arts–inspired warm-up increases circulation, improves dynamic flexibility and range of motion, integrates sport-specific activities and connects body and mind. The series presented here is an excellent way to begin almost any general fitness class. Start slowly and encourage students to be patient and “listen” to their bodies.
Awaken the Center
First, bring attention to the back and abdominals, the body’s “center.”
Step used to be one of the most popular group cardio formats. Although it has recently seen a slight decrease in popularity—mostly because new programs have proliferated and time slots are limited—step still has its place. Delivering step classes requires creativity, strong teaching skills and preparedness. The following routine includes a full breakdown with a choreography progression.