Just Don't Annoy Me: How to Coach a Good Group Exercise Class

Becca Borawski Jenkins
Coaching, Strength and Conditioning, Martial Arts

Despite the fact I’ve been a trainer and an athlete for many years, I prefer to work out with others rather than alone. In fact, I really enjoy training in group class scenarios. Group exercise is full of potential pitfalls, however, and is often the domain of minimally educated instructors.


group fitness, group exercise, coaching a group, how to coach a groupIt can be easy for instructors to hide within a group, function as cheerleaders rather than coaches, or rely on someone else’s programming that they don’t actually understand. I’m not singling out globo-gyms or Zumba with that statement either. I include CrossFit, kettlebells, yoga, and just about anything else taught in a group setting. It’s easier to teach what someone else already taught, to mask your ignorance with enthusiasm, and to fake it until the clock runs out, than it is to actually know your stuff. (And yes, if you’re teaching CrossFit, chances are for most of you it means you’re teaching “group-ex,” and if that bothers you then you might have some deeper things to think on.)


So how do you tell the legit instructors from the group-ex charlatans? I have one simple rule, one straightforward litmus test when attending group classes:


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