Fitness alone is amazing, but group training dials up the intensity—while helping you build community. This’s one of the most popular exercise modalities out there, and almost every gym offers some form of group exercise. But when you’re new to group programming, choosing the right blend of exercises can be a little daunting. (Nobody wants to miss a muscle group.)
At ABC Glofox, we’re focused on helping gyms and trainers deliver group training without the operations headaches, and we’ve picked up tons of training tips along the way. We love sharing what we know, too. So let’s explore strategies for community-building around group exercise classes, and dive into all the exercises you’ll need to start leading your own. You’ll be up front teaching confidently in no time.
How can I build community around group workout classes?
Group fitness classes bring people together and ask them to join in on a shared fitness challenge. As the trainer, there’s several steps you can take to really establish and grow that sense of community in your classes (while helping everyone build a lil’ extra muscle). Let’s explore how you can strengthen the community you create through your group workout classes.
1. Focus your programming
Having a clear focus for your program will ultimately allow you to tailor it to the needs of your participants. Instead of trying to make a program that appeals to everyone, make a program that fits a specific need. That might be a need around intensity or accessibility, or just a need for a specific type of training.
To put it another way: you’re not just trying to distinguish between people who care about building their chests and shoulders and people who want an hour in the lunge position working on legs—think broader. Think step classes, high-intensity interval training, dance and Zumba classes, or spin and biking bootcamps. Each mode of training attracts specific communities, and being clear about what you offer will make outreach to your community easier.
2. Play with the class structure
Exercises are powerful when combined, but the way you combine them matters. Experiment with your class’s structure to increase the intensity or decrease it as needed and avoid plateaus. Don’t hesitate to have a little fun here. You can rearrange the same moves in countless ways to create fresh fitness experiences week after week—and when in doubt, bring experienced participants up to the front to demo moves alongside you.
3. Stay connected after class
Being available after class or even online is a wonderful way to establish a community. It gives your participants the perfect opportunity to talk about the class and their experiences. This is a chance to offer guidance and mentorship–and it can improve your group classes, too. Strong teacher and student relationships improve performance and experience, so every after-class check-in is an investment! (Plus, it’s just nice.)
4. Be supportive and friendly
A good attitude is the ultimate tool in a trainer’s kit, and that comes down to friendliness and support. When you bring this approach to your classes, your clients will love their experience with you. Chat to people before class, learn everyone’s names, and get to know a little bit about who they are outside class. They’ll remember the personal touch you’re bringing as a trainer, and be more likely to come back.
5. Create safe spaces for everyone
We all have different needs, and we all have our own stories. Since you can never know where someone is coming from or what their story is, it’s important to prioritize safety for everyone. One dimension of safety involves managing intensity. Give everyone the chance to get their heart rate up and their body moving regardless of their fitness level—and remember to add a rest period, too.
Safety includes class management, too. That also means challenging any problem attendees who might be disrupting the experience for others. If an attendee makes someone uncomfortable, take them aside after class and alert them that they’re on thin ice—and what they need to change in order to continue participating. Speaking up isn’t always easy, but you’re the leader. You’ve got this.
3 programming ideas for your group workouts
Bringing effective structure and programming to your group training sessions is a must. When you plan in advance, you can make sure that your courses are balanced, comfortable, and deliver results. The best group workout classes combine several different moves for a higher impact. Let’s explore some popular options.
1. Density Workouts
While some exercises prioritize a specific area, density workouts tend to combine a lot of different types of exercise. With density workouts, clients will balance cardio, strength training, calisthenics, and more. Using density workouts effectively comes right down to repetition in set sequences. As you move through the machines in a cyclic nature, you can maximize the effects of each individual exercise.
Exercises to incorporate:
- Dumbell push press
- Reverse crunches
- Reverse lunge
- Bench press
- Calf raises
2. Metabolic Conditioning
The power you bring into a workout group class often comes down to how your body manages and releases energy. Metabolic conditioning shares characteristics with high-intensity interval training, but it focuses more on the energy transformation process and consistency (rather than pushing it to the max). With metabolic conditioning exercises, your goal is to increase how much energy your body can store and release. Most commonly, this type of workout focuses on maintaining consistent output for longer set lengths at a moderate intensity.
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Exercises to incorporate:
- Jump squats
- Calf jumps
- Leg lifts
- Bicycle crunches
- BurpeesStrength Training
3. Metabolic Conditioning
A person’s level of strength can influence everything from what kind of job they can do to how they will age. It’s no secret that strength training has become more popular than ever, and this trend is popping off with athletes of all ages and fitness levels. With strength training, the goal is to strengthen and build muscle around the body by using them to oppose a specific type of force.
Exercises to incorporate:
- Reverse lunges
- Bench press
- Barbell row
- Split squats
- Bicep curls
15 exercise ideas for your group fitness class
These simple group workout ideas are perfect for a group training session where everyone will have a lot of fun—while exercising all the key muscle groups!
- Bench Press
A bench press involves holding a weight at shoulder width, then pressing outwards until your arms are at a roughly 45-degree angle before lowering the weight back down.
From a standing position, drop down into a squat and place your hands on the ground before moving into a plank position and lowering down, then promptly reverse the motion to return to standing and finish with a squat jump.
A push-up will place you on all fours with your hands just beyond the width of your shoulders, with you lowering your body until your arms are at a roughly 90-degree angle, then coming back up.
Lie facedown on the ground before raising feet, hands, legs, and arms from the ground and maintaining the pose.
Standing straight and tall, hinge down to touch your fingertips to the ground and begin walking your hands out until you reach a plank, then reverse to return to standing.
- Bird dog
On all fours with toes tucked, raise opposite hands and legs while balancing on your two remaining limbs before bringing them back to rest and repeating with the opposite side.
- Arm circles
With arms outstretched, move the hand in a circular motion as if outlining an invisible circle repeatedly, taking time to reverse the direction as needed.
Using a bar, pull up your entire body using your arms until your face passes the bar, then return down slowly. Assisted pull-ups can be done using a band, for those who need extra support. (That’s most of us, let’s be honest.)
- Plank combined with shoulder tap
From a standard plank with your legs, arms, and back extended, bring hands up one at a time to tap the opposite shoulder, oscillating between hands each time.
Abs and Core
For a crunch, you’ll lie on your back with your knees bent and your arms crossed before lifting your shoulder blades, head, and neck off the mat before returning to lying flat.
From a seated position, tighten the core and lift your legs until they are at a 45-degree angle while maintaining a straight spine and breathing consistently.
For a sit-up, you’ll lie on your back with your knees bent and your fingertips on each side of your head before lifting your torso and pressing as close to your thighs as possible before coming back down.
- High knees
While standing upright with a broad chest, bring your knees up one at a time until they are at waist level before bringing each one back down, then beginning again with the other.
With feet hip-width apart and a straight spine, tense the core and lower your body down while avoiding leaning over your toes until your legs reach a 90-degree angle before coming up and repeating the process.
- Leg lift
While lying on your back, straighten your legs together and raise them toward the ceiling until you begin to leave the floor, then lower them down to a couple of inches from the floor and repeat.
So, what’s next?
By this point, you understand exactly how to create group workout classes that build and uplift communities, and you’re ready to get started. At ABC Glofox, we’ve got the tools you need to provide great group workout classes to the folks you’re training, whether you’re teaching groups virtually or in the gym. With our software helping you streamline memberships and signups, you’ll be able to handle larger class sizes without the logistics challenges—and scale up your fitness revenue. Book your free demo to get started today.