Choreography Styles: Layer Technique

Tuesday, October 26 2021

Variety is the spice of life.  William Cowper (1785)
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is popular with both instructors and participants.  However, mixing up your workouts with different kinds of exercise is the best way to ensure continued results and the healthiest version of yourself.  Aquatic Layers Remixed is a 45-minute dual-depth cardio workout taught with the layer technique, which features a carousel of changes – one move at a time.   

Committed to posting up to three videos a month, one of the greatest challenges is making sure that there is diversity in the lineup.  Thanks to my colleagues and a busy summer of filming, we had an abundance of content for the first time since the pandemic hit.  However, I started noticing that most of the recent videos skewed more towards interval training and high intensity.  Therefore, I thought it was time for a choreography intervention. 

The Aquatic Layers DVD (yes…DVD) was filmed in 2012 and featured the choreography style known as the layer technique.  The workshop and DVD were a hit with instructors and the trailer got lots of attention on YouTube. Therefore, I thought a remix was a good idea. Subscribers have probably figured out by now that I favor a more choreographed approach to fitness programming, given that many of my workouts are taught with add-on and pyramid choreography.  As a group fitness instructor for 26 years, I prefer instructing my classes with a polished presentation of movement.   

What is the Layer Technique?
The layer technique became a popular style of instruction in the mid 1990’s when step aerobics instructors started making classes too complicated for new participants.  Yes, I was one of those instructors.  The fitness industry presented a solution with an instructional style that showed a base pattern of moves, which were changed one by one, offering a more intricate option for each base move.  After layering in the options, a new and fancy pattern emerged that allowed seasoned participants to enjoy an advanced level class, while new members were encouraged to stick with the basic moves.  Problem solved!  

Workout Options
The layer technique as utilized in Aquatic Layers Remixed is more designed to remind instructors of the endless options for changing base moves.  However, this aerobic workout also provides participants with the option of choosing their level of intricacy.  If someone doesn’t like the new option for a move, they can just do the base move or another variation.  And if an instructor doesn’t like the layer technique, they can teach the moves with a different instructional style, such as freestyle, interval, pyramid, add-on and more. Watch Mark talk more about Aquatic Layers Remixed.   

Intermittent Vs. Continuous Training
Many of the videos posting over the last couple years have featured interval training that include high intensity work cycles paired with low intensity recovery or complete rest.  This varying of intensity is known as intermittent training.  Less featured in the last couple of years has been steady-state aerobic exercise, also known as continuous training in which the heart rate stays at a consistent level for an extended period.  Both are cardio, both burn calories, and both are beneficial.  Exercise benefits will plateau in the absence of variety.  Fitness instructors and participants are encouraged to mix up exercise activities for optimal results.    

Resistance Options
The only viable equipment option for Aquatic Layers Remixed would be webbed gloves.  This workout includes too many movement transitions for bulkier drag equipment, such as Aqualogix. Buoyant equipment, such as foam dumbbells, should not be used.  As stated in many of these video blogs, the water’s natural resistance should be educated and understood as the best equipment of all.  The emphasis should be placed on developing strong skills at applying force and velocity in your movements, also known as “working the water,” before adding any equipment.    

Dual Depth Options
The original 2012 Aquatic Layers was a shallow water workout.  As subscribers have probably also figured out by now, I am a big fan of creating dual-depth workouts.  If you have access to both deep and shallow, you should definitely teach or enjoy this workout in both depths.  Personally, I think this workout is harder in deep water, but more fun in shallow water. 

Music used in Video
The music used in this video was primarily from the playlist - Off the Shelf Step - Volume 1 - available to download through Muscle Mixes for $20.00

Stay tuned! 
My focus is on variety and there is more coming, including a new Stretchflex video, a deep-water yoga workout, several 15-minute express videos, land fitness workouts and a special holiday release – “The 12 Days of Fitness.” 
The best inspiration for new content comes from subscribers.  Please do not hesitate in Sending a Suggestion

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.