Group Exercise: All You Need to Know Before Enrolling
Group exercise — where a group of people workout at the same time under the direction of an instructor, usually in the same physical space — is quite popular. Check out the group exercise schedule at any gym and you will find innumerable options to choose from. Some of the more popular ones include:
- Circuit training
- High intensity/ bootcamp
- Outdoor running
There are others such as treadmill, trampoline, stability (BOSU ball) and water classes as well.
Apart from traditional group exercises performed in a gym, there are two relatively new models that have become quite popular.
a. Boutique studios: These are stand-alone facilities that offer one or more types of classes and are paid for on a class or monthly membership basis. Popular classes in this sector include cycling and yoga.
b. Virtual classes: These have been around for quite some time in the form of workout video tapes. However, the Covid-19 pandemic made this format even more popular. While people still use workout videos to exercise, in-home group cycling such as Peloton (an interactive fitness platform) are rising on the popularity meter.
1. What makes group exercise so popular is the human factor. People often find it more motivating to workout with others rather than on their own.
2. The fitness club environment usually comes with a large number of options, and it is likely that an individual will find at least one type of class that interests them.
3. Unlike one-on-one or group personal training, which often costs extra, group exercise in the traditional gym model usually comes under the gym membership.
4. Most group exercise classes have music as a part of the class and for many, this is highly motivating.
5. Socialization plays a big role. Most people have their favorite class and/ or instructor, so participants often get to know each other quite well and often form friendships inside and outside the gym.
1. The primary disadvantage of the group exercise format is a lack of personalization or customization. While an instructor can inform a class of participants about modifications to particular exercises, it cannot be done effectively on a one-on-one basis. Therefore, if an individual has a pre-existing condition (say, a herniated disk) that gets aggravated in particular positions/ movements, a group exercise class might not be the best choice.
2. The lack of personalization also pertains to the rate of progression. Individuals respond differently to the same training stimulus. In a group exercise setting, one individual might get great results, while another might fail to get any.
3. Classes are held at set times. Therefore, if an individual’s schedule changes that prevents them from participating in the class, they might miss their workout.
4. In a standard gym group exercise setting, classes are routinely added and removed from the class schedule. Therefore, if an individual loves a particular class, which has low participation numbers, the class will likely get replaced. Becoming reliant on a particular class can be thus, quite risky.
Also watch: Group Classes or Personal Training?
How do you select the right class?
There is no right or wrong class and selecting a class will depend on what you want. The most important factors to consider are:
1. A time that agrees with your schedule
2. Enjoyability factor
3. Matching your intensity level with that of the class
Group exercise classes are fun, there is no denying that. In addition to upbeat music and motivation from people around you, it is an enjoyable way to workout! It can also be a great way to break the monotony of working out alone and add some inspirational element to your routine. However, if you are looking for a more personalized approach with a focus on your progression that cater to your schedule, group classes might not be an ideal fit. To get the best of both worlds, schedule group exercise classes alongside your workout routine to add that extra bit of fun while working out.