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Sample Class: Creative Core & Cardio

Group fitness participants can’t seem to get enough of creative core and cardiovascular exercises. If you need innovative ideas to challenge your students, this class is for you! Target core muscles while introducing unique variations of familiar moves. Round out the routine by torching calories with high-intensity interval training exercises.

Creative Cardio and Core Details

GOAL/EMPHASIS: core strengthening and HIIT

TIME: approximately 60 minutes

Raising the Bar

Asymmetrical bar training (ABT) can help clients enhance their sense of balance while improving their core strength and rotational power.

Miniball Moments

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.

Progressive Core Exercise for Beginners and Beyond

Every day, in fitness facilities worldwide, beginners walk into group fitness classes. Remember that even the fittest students in your classes were once beginners, and possibly obese. It’s important never to lose touch with the beginner’s mind. Try to imagine what new students are feeling and thinking. They may feel intimidated, physically uncomfortable and afraid of failure. This beginning stage doesn’t end after a couple of classes—it can last some time—so be patient.

Medicine Ball Moves for the Core

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.

Core Progressions on the Reformer

The core plays an essential role in everyday activities. It facilitates movement and assists with posture, stabilization and support. Learning to use the core as a dynamic center is the key to efficient, safe and balanced movement.

Core Off the Floor

?Instructors, it’s time to take your core work off the floor. There are many fantastic ground-bound exercises that target the core—and you should definitely keep them! However, if you learn how to “sneak” in core work while standing, every workout has the potential to enhance participants’ strength, power and functionality.

Diastasis Recti: When the Abs Don’t Come Together

Things your clients may split:

a training session, with a friend
their pants, while doing a deep squat
their abdominal muscles

Sometimes an unnatural divide can develop between the two sides of the rectus abdominis muscle bundles, a condition doctors call diastasis recti. It’s usually associated with pregnancy, but it can happen to men and children in addition to moms-to-be. If you have clients suffering from diastasis recti, chances are they are going to be interested in how the separation came about and how they can fix it.

Sample Class: Yoga + Hip Hop = Fusion Fun!

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.

Medicine Ball Magic

Do you want to revitalize the core sections of your classes? Training the core is fundamental to any program. Why not add new “twists” using fundamental, but often underused, equipment? Medicine balls have been around for years and are a staple in boxing and sports performance communities, as well as many fitness facilities. If you’re struggling to find new ways to incorporate medicine balls into your group classes (besides Russian twists), check out these variations.

Postpartum Core Support

After having a baby, many women decide to head back to group fitness classes, hoping to get their “bellies” back in shape. While traditional crunches may not be appropriate, this is a time to “rebuild” the core, along with doing other supportive activities. If you teach a class that is specific to the postpartum phase of a woman’s life, feel confident using the following moves as a component of a safe, well-designed workout.

Sample Class: Core Conditioning Camp

Boot camps are everywhere, and there’s something for everyone. If your students are looking for the challenge of a boot camp with additional focus on stability training, try Core Conditioning Camp. This class includes powerful calorie-burning cardio moves and unique strength training exercises, with an emphasis on balance training to challenge the core. Keep the following principles in mind when leading Core Conditioning Camp:

True Core Integration

The definition of core work varies from format to format and means different things to different people. My own perspective has evolved over 28 years of yoga, running, dancing, Pilates, shiatsu massage, cadaver dissection and opera singing. Of all the core muscles, the respiratory diaphragm seems to be the most underutilized.

Core Strength With Kettlebells

Your program director invested in a set of kettlebells for the group fitness studio, and you’ve attended the introductory workshop on proper form and basic teaching skills. However, you don’t feel confident enough to lead participants through a selection of drills. There’s no need to let the kettlebells rust in the corner of the studio! Use the core section of your next class to teach students three simple and effective moves.


Diaphragmatic Breathing & Neck Pain

Everyone from elite athletes to average clients can benefit from learning more about breathing or reprogramming the way they breathe. More specifically, by teaching them techniques that emphasize diaphragmatic breathing, you will help them meet their exercise goals.

Crunches Don’t Cut Fat

Have you come across clients or exercisers who insist that the best way to carve a tight midsection is through endless repetitions of abdominal exercises? Here’s a study that will help them understand that it takes more than crunches to get that six-pack. Researchers from the department of kinesiology and health education at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, had one goal: to determine the effect—if any—of abdominal exercises on abdominal fat.

The 3-Core BodyMapping Perspective

Over my 40 years of teaching, I have come to deeply appreciate the innate intelligence of the body. I have learned to listen to its messages. Out of this appreciation and listening I have developed the 3-Core BodyMapping Perspective

Sample Class: Extend Yourself!

Here’s an idea: Add spinal stabilization (in neutral) and mobilization movement to your core-training repertoire. Students’ posture will improve, and the exercises will ensure that daily living activities involving extension and rotation are efficient and pain-free.