If you belong to a gym and frequent group exercise classes this article is a must read! Here are 3 tips on getting the most out of your favorite group exercise classes:
1. Although it may be intimidating, set up in the front row. Too often people are self conscious that others are watching them. The gym is a very self centered place, you can rest assured that most of the time people are looking at themselves and not at you! You get more out of the class if you are closer to the instructor, can hear all their cues and inherently being in front of the class will push you to work harder. (You’ll also be less likely to take breaks!)
2. Introduce yourself to the instructor and get to know them if you attend their class regularly. Similar to setting up in the front, this tip is about accountability. We work harder in the presence of friends and people we care about because we don’t want to let them down. Another benefit of this tip, is when an instructor knows your name they’re likely to use it. Hearing “Great job (insert your name here)!” in the middle of class is a great pick me up when you’re busting your butt.
3. Whether you look up videos on youtube or grab a few sessions with a personal trainer, learn proper form. A major downside of group exercise is that most instructors can’t keep track of 10-30 people’s form and teach class at the same time (especially if they’re using the class to get in their own workout–which unfortunately happens more often than it should). Additionally, some instructors don’t use great form themselves, which is definitely not helping you squat, plank, push up or lunge properly. You get more out of the exercises, and are less likely to hurt yourself if you’re doing them correctly.
A few quick tips to start you off:
Regardless of the exercise you always want to begin with your shoulders down and back (good posture), and core pulled in nice and tight (belly button drawn in towards spine),
When squatting, keep knees behind toes at all times, you can lower your chest a little as long as it’s still facing forward and not down, back stays flat, butt goes back (think sitting on the toilet), actively squeeze your glutes on the way up!
When lunging, legs should form two 90 degree angles and your knee does not need to touch the ground, hip and knee of the back leg should be in alignment.
During push ups, hands should be directly under the shoulders, on your toes, body should be aligned in a straight line from armpits to toes, on your knees, body should be aligned in a straight line from knees to armpits. Don’t drop your head, and do your best to lower all the way to the ground and push all the way up, exhaling on the way up.
Have a favorite group exercise class? Leave a comment and let us know what class and why you love it!