Use simple circuit segments to get the entire class involved.
In this day and age of cost-per-head analysis and streamlined schedules, the classes that make the cut are expected to keep numbers out of the red. However, the bigger the class, the more disparity there is among participant preferences and abilities. Meeting everyone’s needs is tough, but not impossible. The following segmented circuit class uses a combination of music- and drill-based movement patterns. You can please the stepaholic and the boot camper all in the same class!
Format: timed interval/circuit
Total Time: 30–60 minutes (1 or 2 circuits)
Equipment needed: Gliding™ discs, steps
MUSIC: 128 beats per minute or slower
From the moment students enter the room, instruct them to start walking laps around the perimeter. Moving immediately alleviates the stress of not having a “special spot” on the floor. It is also a great way to improve the flow of traffic when you are faced with back-to-back classes. Once class has officially started, stand in the center of what is essentially a “track,” and present yourself and your class plan. Put participants at ease and eliminate their apprehension.
Use this time to set up the equipment. It’s part of the fun!
- As students walk by, assign each person a number from 1 to 5 (adjust this range based on class size).
- Once everyone has a number, say, “If you are a 1, leave the track, grab a step and set it up somewhere in the center of the track so that the short side is facing the front of the room. Once all the 1s are back, the 2s are up, etc.”
- While people are busy setting up their steps, give the remaining walkers a small task; for example, “Walk on your tiptoes,” “Walk with your toes in the air,” “Backpedal,” etc. This is a great time to crack jokes and let everyone know this is a fun, judgment-free environment.
- Once all participants have set up their steps and are back walking on the track, scatter the Gliding discs around. Give students 15 seconds to grab a pair of discs and head back to their step. For safety purposes, have them stash their discs under their step risers when not in use.
This segment features Gliding discs in each of the four 32-count blocks.
Participants use only one disc per person, to give them ample opportunity to acclimate to this new stimulus. Progressions provide a platform for increased range of motion.
- Block 1: Perform alternating rear and lateral lunges (down 2, up 2, out 2, in 2) with left foot on disc (toe and ball of foot) and right foot on floor. Repeat 4x.
- Block 2: Change rhythm to “down 3, up 1.” Repeat 4x.
- Block 3: Add additional range of motion. Continue with “down 3, up 1” but add simple floor touches and overhead reaches.
- Block 4: Shake it out, and push hips to right for quick stretch of stabilizing hip (nonmoving leg). Switch to other foot and repeat blocks 1–3.
The second segment uses discs as markers for timed intervals. This drill is for folks who don’t “feel” the beat of the music or who prefer to just “go for it.” This is also the first opportunity for students to really get their blood pumping.
- Place two discs on ground, 3–4 feet apart.
- Walk in figure-eight motion around discs, keeping shoulders and hips square to front of room. Safety note: as participants get used to the movement pattern, bring spatial awareness—steps, neighbors, mirrors, etc.—to their attention.
- Quicken pace by taking smaller, more frequent steps while staying light on toes.
- Get ready to start the clock! Time students for 30 seconds of all-out speed without sacrificing size of figure eight. Follow this with 30 seconds of recovery walking, still in figure-eight pattern. Repeat this interval once.
- Try hopping all the way around the figure eight, and then switch legs. This is a great way to build lateral knee strength and work the stabilizing muscles surrounding the ankle.
This section includes a step pattern in four blocks, for a total of 32 counts.
- Start by straddling bench, standing at back edge. Straddle-tap (R then L) in place.
- Block 1: Move straddle-taps toward front of room, up length of bench. When students reach front of bench, they are standing on floor with bench still beneath them.
- Block 2: Squat twice.
- Block 3: Straddle-march in time to get behind bench.
- Block 4: Perform a squat-thrust.
- Repeat 8–10 times, alternating legs as you go.
This pattern allows for ample modifications. The taps can become traveling side-squats, the floor squats at the front of the bench can become jump-squats, and the march back can become four hops home—use your imagination!
This section includes timed step drills, using the benches as markers. It builds off the base pattern learned in Segment 3, but focuses on agility and power. Your participants will no longer be following you or the beat of the music—it’s all about time and movement efficiency.
- Change straddle-taps to straddle-hops. Do them as quickly as is safely possible.
- Add two squat-jumps at front of bench for more intensity.
- Rather than marching backward, backpedal.
- For squat-thrust, get back to standing position as quickly as is safely possible.
- Do 30-second interval followed by 30 seconds of tapping in place for recovery.
- Repeat 30- x 30-second intervals 4x.
Five minutes may seem like a long time for each of the sections. However, you’re giving participants time to practice and aim for a higher quality of movement. This leads to feelings of accomplishment.
If you have a few minutes to spare, put on a popular song and time participants in their favorite variation of plank. Let them change up the variations as necessary. Build plank endurance over time. Sixty seconds eventually becomes 4 minutes!
Consider using the following stretches as the primary part of your cool-down:
- Eve’s lunge, or a variation, to open up hip flexors.
- Adductor stretch. Sit with heels together, knees apart. Move hands to rear to keep posture upright and open chest.
- Calf stretch. Many people stay on toes during jumping activities, which compounds issues with tight calves. Use modified version of downward-facing dog, or wall stretch.