One of the hardest parts of being a fitness instructor is cueing group fitness exercises effectively. Self-doubt always used to creep into my head as I explained technique. Am I talking too much or not enough? Are folks understanding what I’m saying? Are they even listening? It’s a delicate balance to find, and unfortunately, you won’t always get a lot of feedback from participants mid-activity. At first, it’s normal if cueing group fitness exercises sometimes feels like a shot in the dark whether it resonates with participants. But, I promise fitness instructor cues will come more naturally over time, and it’s definitely something you can learn to master.
Here are my tips to help you sound like a pro when cueing group fitness classes.
Practice cueing group fitness exercises. ALL. THE. TIME.
The first time you ever use a cue, it usually comes out awkward and long-winded. Practice saying your cues often, so you can say them quickly and efficiently. You can practice this while you’re doing other stuff — taking a shower or driving in the car. Think about an exercise you want to do in your next class, and go through the cues you’ll use.
I strongly encourage you to practice saying your cues out loud. It makes such a difference to say it instead of think it. If you can, also practice your cues to the music you’re going to use. That way, you’ll get used to how much time you have to get through all the instruction you want.
It may feel silly, but it’ll save you from feeling uncomfortable in front of a class full of participants. Trust me, my boyfriend would walk in on me sitting on the couch with my headphones on saying, “Alright, ladies! Time for another hill!” He teased me about it for weeks, but my class went off without a hitch.
Start from head to toe (or vice versa).
If you’re ever in doubt about what cues to share, think of the body like a checklist. Tick through the cue for each body part starting at the top and working your way down (or vice versa). For example, where should you be looking, at your feet or straight ahead? Is the neck in line with the spine? You can think of a cue to share for just about every body part. Even if some feel obvious, it’s nice to use as a reminder or clarification for the class.
Scan the room, but don’t stare as you cue.
If you’ve ever taken a Group X class, you know that every cue the fitness instructor shares feels like it’s directed specifically at you. It’s mission critical that the instructor is scanning the room and sharing cues based on what participants are doing. Those cues are going to prevent injury and make sure everyone is getting a good workout. But, you don’t want to make anyone feel bad by staring at someone or pointing anyone out for doing the exercise wrong.
Share both positive and negative feedback.
Sometimes we’re so busy sharing cues to correct form that we forget to acknowledge all of the good stuff our participants are doing. Have their push-ups gotten so much better in the past few weeks? Is their plank form on point? Tell them! It feels amazing to hear your Group X instructor tell you that you’re doing something well.
Don’t be afraid of silence.
You don’t need to talk all the time, nor do you need to feel guilty about talking a lot. You’ll find your sweet spot between periods of silence and cueing. Especially in the warm-up and class intros, you can (and should!) talk a lot. The rest is up to you.
As you build your confidence in cueing group fitness exercises, you’ll be able to start having fun with it. Participants will come to your class each week because they like your personality. Start to personalize the cues you use and your style to really make your Group X classes your own.
For more cueing tips, check out the fitness motivation and cueing page.