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Voice Safety for Fitness Instructors

by Ryan Halvorson on Oct 26, 2009

Making News

Vocal cord damage can be a bane for group fitness instructors. Since the voice is a primary component in cuing, instructors who teach multiple classes daily may be at great risk for harm to their vocal cords. But vocal cord injury doesn’t have to be a part of the job. IDEA author and presenter Julz Arney offers the following tips to keep your voice healthy and strong for years to come.

Use Visual Cues. In choreography classes, the most effective cue can often be just one or two words coupled with a strong, clear visual cue. Take the time to rehearse pairing verbal cues with their visual counterparts. You will clip entire sentences out of your script.

Play DJ. Many boot camp, circuit, indoor cycling and similar classes require a coaching style of instruction. Those classes also include loud music that instructors must compete with. Use an iPod connector cord extension to keep your music volume control close. This way you can conveniently dial down the level to give a timely cue or connection without shouting.

Get Miked. Wireless microphone systems are reasonably priced and compact. For the price of teaching 7–10 classes, you can purchase your own portable system that connects to almost any stereo, so you will always be sure to have a microphone at your disposal.

Talk . . . Less! Most instructors (myself included) talk way more than is necessary. Think of your cues as written words. Run them through your head and “edit” them before speaking aloud. You’ll use fewer words, your instruction will be clearer and you’ll save your voice.

Use Intonation, Pitch and Volume. Film a 15-minute section of yourself teaching and notice how you use your voice. Do you always speak with the same pitch? At the same volume and rhythm? Alter the pitch, volume and inflection, and you will increase the time your voice will work without tiring.

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About the Author

Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson IDEA Author/Presenter

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor. He is a long-time author and presenter for IDEA Health & Fitness Association, fitness industry consultant and former director of group training for Bird Rock Fit. He is also a Master Trainer for TriggerPoint.