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How to Cue a Group Fitness Class Without Wasting Time

Group Fitness Instructor Cueing an Exercise

When the energy is high in your group fitness (or Group X) class, the last thing you want to do is slow things down to explain the next activity. If members stand around for too long, you’ll risk losing momentum as their effort and attention start to decline.

Instead, you’ll want to find a balance between providing ample Group X instruction and getting the fitness class moving. Here are a few cueing and fitness tips to strike the right balance.

Share basic cues first, start the exercise and feed in more cues as they work.

Most participants have a basic understanding of standard movements, like lunges, squats, bicep curls, etc. For exercises like these, get the class started with a short sentence, like, “grab your dumbbells, because we’re going to do alternate forward lunges”. Once you have the class doing the exercise, then you can provide additional form and safety cues. I’ve found it’s easier to cue form once the class has started, because then you can share tips based on what they’re actually doing (e.g. if members’ lunges are too narrow).

The same technique can be used in a progression exercise. Start the group doing a simple exercise first, continue to cue, then add on progressions once the class has mastered it. For example, you can cue, “grab your dumbbells, because we’re going to do alternate forward lunges and then add on”. The class can quickly start their lunges and then you can cue changes, like going faster, slower, or holding the lunge. Also, you can easily transition to a compound exercise, adding bicep curls or upright rows while the class is still doing the lunge.

While they’re still completing the last exercise, demonstrate the next one.

Especially if you’re ending a sequence with an isometric exercise, you can have your class continue to hold it while you demonstrate the next move. That way, you can physically demonstrate the exercise and verbally explain it, so participants can seamlessly transition to the next move.

For example, while your class is in an isometric squat, you can reveal the next exercise at the front of the group fitness room. From there, participants can go right into the next move. You will have participants that break when you break, but that’s okay. Some people are kinetic learners, and only learn by trying the exercise with you. But, other folks will appreciate that they’re not standing around while you explain what’s coming.

Introduce a series of exercises at the beginning and then do each one back-to-back.

If you’re planning to do a few different exercises in a series, you can demonstrate all of them first and then the group fitness class can do one right after the other when you say “go”. This works great during times when members naturally need a break, like after an interval or another series has ended. Folks will appreciate the rest in between series.

Start the move on your own and then ask the group fitness class to, “Join me when you’re ready.”

There are some exercises that are complicated to explain. Sometimes, it’s easier just to do the move, find the pace you want and ask the class to jump in. That way, everyone is on beat (lookin’ at you, my rhythm teachers!) and everyone has an example to mirror.

Use phrases your class will recognize.

How many of your friends know what an abductor or adductor is? What’s the different between an upright and bent over row? There are certain phrases you’ll have to explain the first few times in class, but once members are familiar with it, you can quickly say the term and go right into the exercise. Be sure to go back and explain those phrases every once in a while as a refresher, especially when you have new participants.

For example, I’ll pick a name for each ab exercise we do (i.e. crunches, scissor kicks, circle, etc.). After we go through the series once in a class, then we can do it a second time much faster. I can just call out a name and they can recall the move.

If you feel like you’re spending too much time explaining exercises and the class is starting to get restless, start testing the group exercise ideas above in your fitness class. It feels great once you’re able to find a balance between instructions and execution. And I know your group fitness members will appreciate it most of all.

For more tips and tricks, check out the fitness motivation and cueing page.