For the past few weeks, I’ve been subbing a Group X spinning class on Thursday evenings at my main gym. That’s in addition to the spinning classes I always teach there Monday and Wednesday evenings. Typically, I steer clear of subbing on my “off nights”, so that my participants can get some variation in their weekly workout routines. But I was able to trade the Thursday classes for ones I’ll need covered during an upcoming vacation, so this is where we ended up.
Since I have been teaching the only three evening spin classes offered during the week, I knew I would need to put extra effort into planning some variation from class to class. But, this also got me thinking about my biweekly classes I teach Monday and Wednesdays. Teaching the same class more than once a week makes it even harder to keep participants interested and engaged day in and day out.
Here are a few tips I keep in mind to make each Group X class unique, especially when you teach the same format for more than one class a week.
Don’t Try to Do it All
When you try to cram every activity into a class, there isn’t time for participants to master the exercise and make a difference in their exercise regime.
On top of that, if you fit all of the activities in one class, then when you teach another class in two days, you won’t have anything to do.
Instead, I would recommend segmenting out the activities you want to teach and doing some one class and others in the next class. That way, the class can experience these exercises for longer and you can build an entire class around a select few activities.
Focus on Different Body Parts
For example, one easy way to segment classes is by body part in a strength class. On Mondays, you can teach lower body and then teach upper body on Wednesdays. If you do this consistently, then participants will know what to expect in your class and will start planning their schedules strategically.
Otherwise, just choose a few body parts to work on and then do a different set of body parts the next class. I would still make sure to balance each exercise on a given day. For example, do chest and back on the same day or biceps and triceps. That’s because if participants can only attend one day, they won’t look unbalanced a few months into taking your class.
Use Different Group X Equipment
Another option to mix up bi-weekly classes is use different equipment in each class. On Mondays, maybe we’ll do all of our strength exercises using body bars and then on Wednesdays we’ll use dumbbells. What’s great about this is you can still target just about every muscle, but it will still seem different.
Choose a Unique Class Theme
Other classes with equipment that is either fixed or non-existent — like spinning or dance fitness — need other strategies to add variation. For these, I would select a theme for each class. This can be based on the type of activities you’ll do. For example, in one spin class I did all fast songs with lots of intervals and quick feet. You can do the same in a dance class. Maybe one day you focus on endurance drills, with moderate intensity for longer. Then, the next you focus on high intensity interval training.
For those that teach the same format twice (or more) a week, the above offers great strategies to add variety to the Group X classes. For more tips and tricks, check out the group exercise ideas page.