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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Three Ways To Over Deliver In a Group Exercise Setting

Re-;post from

Three Ways To Over Deliver In a Group Exercise Setting
by Greg Robins of TPS

Recently I had the privilege of talking to a friend who is just getting started in the fitness industry. She mainly wanted to pick my brain on how I go about teaching classes, and programming for them. The group setting will always be less than ideal in my mind. However, nothing is ideal, and there are ways to deliver an outstanding product in the larger group setting. Here are a few thoughts:

1. Keep It Simple, Keep It Consistent:

I can't stress enough how important it is to have people be good at things. In this case, have them be good at exercises, and movements. A flaw I see in many group classes is that every week there are 15 new exercise variations on the agenda. The week before it was 15 other ones, and next week it will be 15 more exciting ways to accomplish less. You can talk me to death about how people want new things, and want you to keep it fresh. In my mind, by changing the exercises you are taking the absolute easiest way out in order to make those things happen. There are plenty of ways to make it fresh, and just as in a semi - private or individual setting, changing an exercise is only one way to progress.

Have people become incredible at the basics. Have them squat, swing, push up, row, etc. One reason the KB lends itself so well to group classes is because you can only do so much with it. You can squat it, swing it, press it, clean it, snatch it, a get up it. Ya, there are other things, but I don't really put stock into those. If you want to over deliver, make your group members walking examples of beautiful form in everything they do.

2. Have a Set Up Progression / Regression Scheme:

This is a lot easier to do when you keep it simple. In actuality, if you don't keep it simple, you're probably doing a sub par job of this. Doing a sub par job with this isn't going to be good, as it is vital to keeping your members safe. If you have 6 basic movements, each one should have a progression, and regression, often a few in each direction. Here is an example:

TRX Supported Squat - Squat To Box - Goblet Squat - Double KB Front Squat - Offset KB Front Squat

Hands Elevated P-UP - TRX Chest Press - Push Up - Feet Elevated Push Up - Push Up vs. Band

This is mostly for teaching purposes, as an example. The Goblet Squat is generally accessible to most people, and it falls in the middle, with two levels of regression and progression built in.

I'm a big fan of more work up front and easy sailing there out. You might need to take some time to develop your approach, but it will make for a better product and better results thereafter.

3. Have Some Kind Of Quantifiable Results:

If you get the same people every week you can very well do a body fat contest or something like that. I am not talking about that. I am talking more on a performance level. If you keep it consistent, and you progress and regress, you should have people making actual improvements in the exercises. I'd rather send 10 people home after 12 weeks of boot camp who can now press twice as much, swing twice as much and squat twice as much. I don't want to send them home being the same at everything because we never gave them time to improve one skill. These kind of results are actually impressive, and these results will leave you with happy people who see the value in consistency. You won't have to worry about keeping it fresh, improving their numbers will be fresh enough.

Another place you can work the numbers is training density. Instead of giving people 12 new density sets through 12 weeks, change the sets every 4 weeks, and have them improve how much work they get done in that time. As an example:

10m Density Set (complete as many sets as possible in time allotted): 1A. KB Swing 16kg x 10, 1B. Push Ups x 8

Week 1: They completed 8 sets, shoot to see them improve to 9 sets, 10 sets, 11 sets.

Now that is keeping it fresh, simple, consistent and you can regress or progress the exercises easily. Heck you can just use your progression / regression scheme to change the exercises every 3 - 4 weeks and they will still be accomplishing the metabolic effects regardless of their training history.

Just some food for thought!

Avoiding this is a sure fire way to over deliver as well.

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