Previously published on mygroupfit.com
Point A to Point B!
Human beings today are very goal-oriented. We are constantly looking at where we want to go next. With our daily goals we rarely look at where we ARE (Point A) in comparison to where we want to GO (Point B). That’s because it usually does not matter where we are; all that matters is where we are going.
In life this will help you achieve your goal. But in a group fitness class, not focusing on where we are can create a mess. In a group fitness class, synchronized movement is mandatory to be able to focus on “Point A” BEFORE you plan your steps to “Point B.” So as an instructor, be sure to take a moment and recognize where you are before heading out to where you want to go.
Let Them Figure You Out!
Introduce your movements in a way that your students can figure out what you are thinking and where you are going. Most instructors have a fear of boring their students. For this reason they don’t want to be “figured out.” They tend to believe that if the student knows what the instructor’s intentions are before they perform them, then the student will get bored sooner, rather than later. This is not true at all. I tell my trainees to be methodical and logical in their transition so that their students begin to see where they are going even before they get there. This will help the students follow more easily, perform more effectively and, most importantly, enjoy a feeling of success because they understood the direction of their instructor.
Take It Apart!
If you want to know how to build something, then first take it apart piece by piece. When you apply this to a group fitness combination, you will improve your transitional skills tremendously.
When you dissect your group fitness combination you will identify several types of pieces.
- Foundational pieces; the actual basic leg movements (e.g., grapevine, hamstring curl, basic, over-the-top, knee lift, etc.)
- Supporting pieces; what you do to the foundational movements, like adding rhythm (singles, doubles, single/single/double, 3 and 1, etc.) and adding space changes (moving forward and back, right and left, diagonal, turning circles, etc.)
- Creative pieces; the “cherry on top” and usually the impact (high, low, syncopated etc) and style of movement or feel of class (jazz, funky, attitude, claps, martial art, Latin, etc.). An effective transition begins by adding the foundational pieces,followed by the supporting pieces, and ending with the creative pieces. This should all be done in an order that is methodical and logical to the students. Your students should be able to figure out what supporting movement goes with what foundational movement and what creative movement goes with what supporting movement, and so on.
Choose Your Speed Well!
How fast should you transition into each movement change? In other words, should you add a change every eight counts of music, every 16 counts, or maybe every 32? Of course we know that the quicker you change things during transition, the more difficult it will be in both complexity and intensity. Likewise, the slower you change things during transition, the less difficult it will be. So, how fast you go depends on what your class description is (beginner, intermediate, or advanced), your instructional abilities and the students’ abilities.
Choosing your speed of transition is really what determines a beginner class from an advanced class. Your actual finished combinations will determine this too, but not as much as your transitional speed will. The reason? If you think about a one-hour aerobic class you will find that it is 20% combination and 80% transition. With this in mind you can see why good transitional skills are very important, and without them a group fitness instructor can wreak havoc on an entire workout.