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Abbie Appel

Abbie Appel is an international fitness expert and educator who has written the SCW Ballet Barre Certification and the SCW Pilates Matwork Certification. She is a Rykä® FIT-PRO Ambassador and a senior master trainer and consultant for Schwinn® and TRX®. As a program design and instructor development specialist, Abbie creates and delivers programming for organizations such as Equinox, Crunch, and YMCA, among others. Abbie has contributed material to numerous fitness videos and publications such as Prevention and Shape magazines.

Article Archive

Multiple Planes, Many Positions

February 16, 2018

Participants may have a love-hate relationship with your core routines, but there’s no reason why you can’t make things fun while helping people to move, feel and look better. Ideally, the core-training exercises you choose will hit multiple planes from many positions (supine, prone, side-lying, sitting, kneeling, standing) while also stabilizing the pelvis, spine and scapulae. This functional approach prepares the body for the rigors of daily life.

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Miniball Moments

February 20, 2014

Fitness “toys” can make a big difference in helping class participants heighten body awareness—especially awareness of their core muscles. Case in point: a small, soft, inflatable exercise ball known as a sponge ball or Pilates miniball. The miniball comes in a range of sizes, from 7 to 12 inches in diameter, and is a great addition to many classes.

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Cool Down With the Stability Ball

February 1, 2013

Using the stability ball for cool-down stretches provides many benefits over traditional stretching. The ball’s reactive properties make stretching more dynamic, since balance, coordination and body awareness depend on certain muscles stabilizing while others stretch. Participants can modify moves by simply rolling deeper into the stretches or pulling back from them.

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Sample Class: Jump Rope Circuit

March 29, 2012

Jump rope training is a tried-and-true form of exercise that has been around for many, many years. Relatively easy to do, it improves cardiorespiratory fitness and overall health. It’s lower impact than many other activities, and jump ropes themselves are inexpensive–even in bulk!

Jump Rope Circuit Details

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Sample Class: Jump Rope Circuit

February 1, 2012

Circuit training is such a great option in group fitness. It is efficient and allows you to get more done in less time. A smart way to combine cardiovascular training with strength training, it also helps participants avoid boredom. In this class, for example, one movement never lasts for more than 3 minutes at a time. This cardio/strength circuit focuses on the entire body and utilizes jump ropes for cardiorespiratory training, rubber tubing for muscular-endurance training and the stability ball for core and balance training.

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Sample Class: 30-Minute Cardio-Strength

February 18, 2010

Format: This is a stationary circuit/a>, which means all exercises are executed simultaneously—as a group—with the instructor leading (no stations). Following a 3- to 5-minute warm-up, the main workout comprises three blocks of time-based cardio segments and repetition-based strength exercises for both upper and lower body.

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Sample Class: Done in 30 minutes

January 1, 2010

Some people have limited time in their busy days to exercise. Others think that working out for 60 minutes is tiresome. In either scenario, finding the time or energy to take an entire fitness class can be a challenge. Providing efficient workouts that take less time can encourage these folks to get to the gym. Another big benefit: shorter workouts can also yield many of the same psychological and physiological benefits as longer ones.

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Step Thrills and Body Bar® Drills

June 24, 2009

So, your participants are hungry for muscle definition. Meet their needs by integrating cardio and strength in one great workout combining step training with weighted bar drills. This class is wonderful because you can easily personalize it to accommodate your students’ skill level and to vary the focus.

Choose Your Cardio-Strength Ratio

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Teaching Tips: Interval Training Classes

February 28, 2008

Interval training can be a very effective way for clients to increase sports performance, lose weight faster and make workouts more enjoyable.

The benefits of interval training include the following:


more calories burned in a shorter amount of time
increased compliance thro…

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The Right Rehearsal

December 31, 2006

When I started in group fitness almost 20 years ago, I was taught that the warm-up offered many benefits and was a mandatory segment of a properly designed class. Even so, I took warm-ups for granted and saw them as an obstacle I needed to overcome in order to get to the “good stuff.” It took me years to figure out that a fun, effective warm-up could set the tone for the entir…

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