If you love group fitness classes you’re probably already familiar with some of the golden rules of being a good student, such as arriving to class on-time and putting your equipment away when you’re done. However, there are some additional considerations that will help you maximize your results. Here we look at four of the mistakes we commonly see students make in different group fitness classes and offer tips to help you get more out of your next sweat session.
The mistake: Going in too deep
One of the great benefits that a shallow water aquatic fitness class offers is a joint-friendly fitness experience. However, positioning your body too deeply in the water can actually lead to a less effective workout. It’s very common to see participants in the water at shoulder depth. A body immersed to the waist bears approximately 50 percent of its bodyweight, whereas a body immersed to the chest bears approximately 25 to 35 percent of its bodyweight. The downside to performing exercises at shoulder depth is that the body cannot maintain vertical alignment, which means the strength-based benefits begin to diminish.
If you love group fitness classes you’re probably already familiar with some of the golden rules of being a good student, such as arriving to class on-time and putting your equipment away when you’re done. However, there are some additional considerations that will help you maximize your results. Four of the country’s top group fitness instructors share the mistakes they commonly see students make in different group fitness classes and offer tips to help you get more out of your next sweat session.
The mistake: Waiting for instructions to become mindful
With a plethora of research-supported physiological and psychological benefits of mind-body exercise formats like yoga, it’s clear that there is much to be gained from a class experience. However, don’t wait for an invitation from the instructor to become more mindful.
The fix: To get more out of the time spent on your mat, we recommend practicing closing your eyes at will throughout your yoga practice to heighten your own kinesthetic sense, without the need to wait for instructions to do so. “This improves balance, helps you to ‘work in’ and overall increases your self-awareness in time and space, enabling you to know where you are by feeling where you are instead of seeing where you are. This is one of the true goals of mindful disciplines.
The mistake: Inappropriate weight selection. If you’re walking away from your weights-based workout feeling like you could have given it more, chances are you should have.
The fix: It’s challenge that makes change, so next time you’re in a Body Pump class pick a couple of tracks where you think you can up the ante and add an extra weight plate or two to your bar. Remember though, if at any time you feel that lifting a heavier weight is compromising your technique stop for a few reps and reset before joining back in – or simply drop your weight back down and try to increase it again next class. Check out this list and if you can relate add more weight to your workout.
The mistake: Pedaling too quickly without enough resistance
One of the most common mistakes people make when in the saddle is pedaling too fast with little-to-no resistance. Many people opt to ride without resistance because they mistakenly believe that too much resistance will result in big, bulky legs, which is completely untrue. Riding with adequate resistance produces a higher level of wattage, and because wattage is most closely paralleled with caloric expenditure, adding resistance can help make your legs smaller, stronger and more well-defined.
The fix: To maximize the benefits of this class format, Roberts recommends pedaling between 70 and 100 RPMs (revolutions per minute)—which equates to how many times one of your legs makes a complete pedal cycle per minute—using adequate resistance. By using appropriate resistance you increase the wattage, meaning you’ll burn more total calories.
Adapted from an article by Jessica Matthews, M.S., E-RYT from acefitness.org