My resistance classes have always been my biggest retention tool. They have been my USP in my local area, bridging the gap between doing fun cardio and gym workouts. Check out my top 5 tips for bringing resistance training to your crew.
It's a tough one. A lot of us start off with a cardio style class, quite often dance fitness or an aerobics style format. After all, it's basically what the ETM teaches us how to do. The smattering of resistance training covered on the L2 qualification does not leave many people feeling like experts in the field of weights and if we are honest probably not even bodyweight resistance training. Over the years I have been to many classes and met many instructors and it is not rare to meet or see someone who is 'nervous' or unconfident in coaching a squat (a decent one). The thing is the qualification was designed to show you how to teach a class to music, how to layer the choreo, how to make people understand what is coming next, how to communicate with and manage large groups of people. This is a BIG skill.... but if we are really honest for lots of people it's not necessarily on our ETM course that we have gained our knowledge of weights and how to use them.
A cardio workout is a great thing..... for the cardiovascular system. We need healthy lungs and a healthy heart and of course it does deliver results to those who want to feel and maybe look fitter and healthier. The thing is back in the 80's when everyone was jumping around in a leotard rocking a belter of a perm, everyone thought cardio was the only way to go. It's taken all of this time to get people to realise resistance training is where it's at for lots of the health and physically benefits that our participants really need to see. Now I am NOT saying there isn't a BIG need for cardio, I'm not an advocate of a cardio free lifestyle as much as I love a weight.... I personally can't see the point in looking like a fitness model if you are blowing out of your ass demoing a burpee. All I'm saying is people want to look 'more toned', 'feel stronger' and to improve their function in day to day activities such as getting up off of the floor, getting out of the chair, picking up boxes, lifting the kids in and out of the car etc etc..... pure cardio probably isn't going to have a massive impact on any of those things.
As an instructor, it can be a BIG thing to add a resistance class to the timetable. It might be pushing you out of your comfort zone and the truth of the matter is that it is harder to market. The majority of people prefer to jump around like a loon rather than learn how to squat properly. However, adding in a resistance program to your timetable will give your full-on geeks something to help them step their training up a level and to challenge them in new ways, it will reap the physical gains that your hardcore lot are after, and will double or even triple the health benefits for your participants. So here are my top 5 tips to getting your resistance on:
Know your sh*t
Don't expect to be able to coach an entire resistance based workout if you don't do resistance training yourself. It's like trying to coach a HIIT class if you don't know what 80% of your max heart rate is/feels like. It's a damn sight harder to describe the movement to people just by repeating the teaching points you learnt on your ETM/Gym Instructor/PT course. If you can 'feel' the movement in your own body you will find new and better ways of encouraging and coaching your participants to perform the movements safely and effectively. Read. Watch YouTube clips. Train with a PT. Do your PT course, PT clients and STILL train with a PT. Whatever it takes, this is a chance to upskill and to learn something new. Even if you already lift a lot of weights there is ALWAYS a chance to learn.... there are always new training methods and protocols, research and twists on various training patterns to mix things up!
2. Learn new ways to pimp your ride
So you're doing it.... stepping into new territory.... then get thinking about your marketing strategy... it's not enough to use the same phrases and blurb as you do for your cardio classes. Resistance classes will probably not feel like a party, they might not sweat their tits off (unless it's plyo/HIIT etc), they will ache more, you are going to have to persuade newbies that the ache is OK. I find that the best way to communicate with my gang is to firstly add little bits of theory to each class I teach. Not so much they stop listening (after all they are concentrating on lobbing a barbell up and down above their head) but just little comments to let them know that the feeling of impending doom when you have one squat left is fine, that we