How to Get Your Group X Class Out of a Rut

Michelle holding a Group X resistance band

It happens to all group fitness (or Group X) instructors. You’ve been teaching the same class for so long that you’re feeling uninspired. If each week feels like the same ‘ol thing and you’re ready for a change, here are four ideas for putting some oomph back in your group exercise class.

Change your workout music. 

Modifying your music can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it. A quick fix? Buying a new premade CD or iTunes playlist — these work especially great in choreographed Group X classes, like step, where the program centers around a certain beats per minute (BPM).

If you create your own new playlist for each class, this is where you’ll need to get creative. Consider making a themed song list, filled with songs for an upcoming holiday or event. You can also slot in a few songs from a different genre to shake things up. For a supercharged class, throw together all of your favorite songs — the ones that really get you fired up — to give you an added boost that you can pass on to your participants.

Use different Group X equipment.

Most gyms are limited on their equipment offerings. If you’re lucky, there’s enough dumbbells for everyone. Try to focus your lesson plan on a different piece of equipment. You can use gliders, body bars, steps, bands, the BOSU, stability balls and more. If your gym has a limited supply, consider partner exercises. Depending on the equipment, you can have everyone doing the same exercise, with half the class on the floor and the other half on the equipment, switching halfway. Or, you can create a circuit where members do some exercises using one piece of equipment and switch to another exercise using the specialty equipment.

And remember, the walls and floor can also be used as “equipment”. Your class can do wall sits or across the floor lunges. Even a small change like having your class put their feet against the wall during their planks will change things up (and it will also help if their shoes are sliding around).

Go heavier or harder.

If you’re feeling like you’re in a rut, more than likely you’ve been teaching the same, or close to the same, thing for a few weeks now. By now, you can expect your class to have built up a comfort level with your go-to exercises. A good way to “up the ante” is to do the same exercises, but this time use heavier weights, resistance or go faster. Depending on the exercise, find a way to make it slightly more challenging than normal. Here are a few group exercise ideas to try:

  • If your class regularly does push-ups on their knees, ask them to take a stab at doing every third push-up on their toes.
  • If your spin class has mastered a 30 second sprint on a relatively flat road, make the sprint longer or add more resistance.
  • Complete a signature move in double time or half time, like doing bicep curls twice as fast.

Research new choreography or exercises.

If you want some Group X ideas for new moves, there are a ton of great resources online. Check out other fitness professionals or influencers’ YouTube videos, articles or Instagram videos. You can also find tips and routines on the group fitness certification and program websites.

Here are a few of my personal favorites:

  • Greatist.com is a great resource for new exercises and what’s happening in the fitness industry.
  • ACE Fitness’ Certified News is a great resource for group exercise instructors. I especially loved this article sharing tips for increasing confidence as a group x or group fitness instructor.
  • Chris Freytag’s Get Healthy U exercise library allows you to filter by muscle group, equipment and type of workout to show you exercise ideas that fit the bill.
  • I follow DeliciouslyFitNHealthy on Instagram and not only does she have great workout ideas, but her videos also feature guest appearances from her adorable kiddos.

We’ve all been in a group fitness rut before. With the above tips, you can kick it up a notch to give your group X class a stellar workout.

For more suggestions for changing up your classes, check out the group exercise ideas and tips page.