First Impressions

by Aileen Sheron on Jan 01, 2005

Create a warm-up that works!

The warm-up creates the first impression and sets the tone for your entire class. Too often, students consider this introductory segment something they just need to get through. They may even wander in late and be slow to get fired up. Why? Perhaps they sense the instructor feels the same way. It’s your responsibility to educate participants about the importance of a proper warm-up for injury prevention, but don’t forget to inspire your class and have fun along the way.

Ensure a powerful initial impact by starting on time, being prepared and having a positive, motivating attitude. While you can help keep things fresh by regularly changing the choreography, it can still be difficult to find new ways to present the standard warm-up. Here are some ideas to help you break the monotony:

  • Change the order of your exercises.
  • Add or alter arm accents.
  • Tailor the exercises to the specific feel of your music.
  • Face in a different direction.
  • Rather than alternating sides, do everything on one side and then the other.
  • Present tempo changes for the same exercises (slow, medium and fast).
  • When you need a lift, break it up with a fun cardio interval.

Customize Your Creation

All warm-ups should contain similar components, including an introduction (class plan), a slow increase in intensity, dynamic movement and active stretches. However, the specific choreography and exercises depend on the class itself. Customizing your warm-up for a particular format makes it unique and allows for proper preparation.

In a cardio-based class movement, choreography and creativity spark the group and set the pace. Keep things interesting by changing combinations often, adding directional variations, partnering students or bringing a participant to the front for a “student spotlight.”

A resistance-based class focuses on slower, more deliberate movements. Warm up the large muscle groups of the lower body with lunges, squats or pliés. Prepare the muscles and joints of the upper body by adding full-range-of-motion arm exercises with increasing tension. Keep combinations simple to follow, and focus on proper alignment and technique.

Try this quick combination (10–15 minutes) in your resistance class to guarantee results:

Part A

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Part B

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Part C

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About the Author

Aileen Sheron

Aileen Sheron IDEA Author/Presenter

An innovator and fitness entrepreneur since 1979, Aileen Sheron has starred in over thirty exercise videos and has been featured on TV, radio, and in print as a fitness expert. An international presenter and continuing education provider for over 26 years, she is the inventor of the patented OmniBall®, as well as other products, and consults on product and program development. Certifications: ACE and AFAA