Inspired to energize her HIIT classes, Sharlie created this class template to provide more challenge to her class members by changing up the timing and the activity HIIT is a popular format in aquatic fitness facilities, but if class members become accustomed to exercising in short bursts of high intensity, it becomes harder for them to maintain high intensity at longer durations. The challenge was on for Sharlie to find a way to make them push harder and longer. Stacked Wall features a working time of 60 seconds for each wall exercise, but as the exercises are stacked one at a time the class participants have to perform at higher levels of intensity and duration.
The Stacked Wall class format includes a warm-up, cool down and three working blocks of Stacked Wall action with an emphasis on cardio endurance and core strength. As mentioned above, the working blocks become longer as the exercises are stacked, which transitions from intermittent training to steady-state training. The expected rate of perceived exertion (RPE) in these longer stacks is higher than what you would find in a traditional aerobic steady-state format. The building block method of stacking is based on add-on choreography, which is a gold medal standard of group fitness instruction. The predictable patterning in add-on instruction helps participants refine their form and efficiency as the exercises are repeated. Predictable patterning is especially beneficial with older populations and less advanced participants because they exercise with more confidence when moves are added-on and repeated. Likewise, more advanced participants tend to exercise at a higher intensity when fewer moves are introduced and repeated. Watch Sharlie talk more about this class template in the video below, and then read in her own words the inspiration behind Stacked Wall.
By Sharlie Peterson
In many pool facilities, there are multiple aquatic activities taking place at the same time. A water fitness class can be met with lap swimming, swim lessons, and sometimes, in my case, multiple classes happening at the same time. Having multiple activities overlapping one another in the same pool space can become overwhelming and also take class focus off of their workout.
One of the reasons Stacked Wall was created was to be able to utilize a pool wall when so many other activities may be taking place in the pool area. Each participant has a space on the wall that they stay at or come back to throughout the entire class, making it easier to focus and also freeing up the rest of the pool. The pool wall is often used in aquatic classes as a strengthening and core tool, which is why Shockwave Aqua Fitness wanted to showcase a well-rounded blend of cardio, strength, and core exercises.
The Stacked format was created when my Aqua HIIT routines were becoming stale in the summer of 2022. The athletic class participants wanted to be pushed more, and it was time to re-invent some of the programming. Stacked is an excellent format not only because it truly pushes the participants on endurance and cardio, but it is also a fairly easy class for instructors to teach as it only requires 8 exercises total outside of the warm up and cool down blocks.
The creativity with Stacked comes in knowing which exercises to pair together and which ones may not flow well together for reasons such as too much cardio back to back, or too many core-focused exercises can not only overwork class members but can also be on the boring side. By creating clever patterns of cardio, strength, and core work, your Stacked classes are sure to thrill and be a quick favorite among class members!
Stacked has quickly become not only a Shockwave class member favorite, but a requested format for fellow aquatic instructors to learn and understand the science behind exactly how to stack exercises. More goes into a Stacked routine than simply coming up with our favorite Shockwave exercises - there is a smart strategy to each lesson plan for Stacked. Therefore, I created an online video training series for Stacked in order for other instructors to learn the structure, concept, musicality, and everything that goes into creating an effective Stacked lesson plan. The cost is $20, but there are currently no CECs being offered for it. It is simply a training that came highly requested and Sharlie’s first online instructor training. You may sign up here.
Fitmotivation extends gratitude to Sharlie for sharing her passion for water fitness with subscribers. Check out her other Fitmotivation videos and stay tuned for more Shock Wave videos in Winter/Spring 2023.
Author: Mark Grevelding is the founder of Fitmotivation. He is also a training specialist and consultant with the Aquatic Exercise Association’s (AEA). Mark has been active in the fitness industry for 22 years as a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, international presenter and a continuing education provider for AEA, AFAA & ACE.