Tuesday, July 02 2019

(Above video: Aquatic Pyramids was posted on March 1)

Taking away new moves from a video or workshop is exciting. But taking away new ideas on how to move those new moves will have longer lasting impact in your classes. For this reason, I have been focusing on different instructional styles for the past 5 years. We all teach the same base moves, but how you teach those base moves can make the difference of whether your class is rated average or awesome by participants.

Would you rather attend a class where there is a polished presentation of movement or attend a class where the instructor teaches on a wing and a prayer? I think we can all agree that a presentation of movement is more desirable. And if you are thinking, “I don’t have time to make a presentation,” no need to worry because there are presentation templates that have already been prepared for instructors. Follow the template; add the moves and voilà you have a polished presentation.

So what are these templates? These are the instructional or choreography styles that group fitness instructors use to present movement. For example, using the add-on template, all you have to do is string together a list of moves – building a sequence as you go. Not good at remembering? Write the moves down and hold them in your hand while you are teaching. It only takes 10 minutes to make a list of moves. And don’t let anyone ever tell you that you shouldn’t hold notes in your hand while teaching. That is absurd. I do it all the time. I am proud to be a teacher and my students respect the fact that I make up notes for my classes.

One of my favorite templates of all time is the Pyramid method of instructing movement. In this template of instruction, repetitions of movement are increased when you want to decrease intensity; and decreased when you want to increase intensity. Repetition reduction is a gold medal standard for group fitness instruction and for building intensity in a class. It is a very simple, yet polished presentation of movement

How does reducing repetitions increase intensity? You can thank Sir Newton Isaac and his Laws of Inertia. Aquatic fitness instructors use inertia in their classes in three ways: total body inertia, water inertia and limb inertia. Limb inertia is manifested when you change arm and leg patterns.

The more frequently you change up your arms and legs; the greater the intensity produced. This is particularly effective if you are changing movement planes frequently. Movement in the three different movement planes – sagittal, frontal and transverse – represents different muscle groups. Involving more of the major muscle groups as you reduce repetitions of your arm and leg movements will create greater cardiorespiratory output.

Let’s look at a template for instructing repetition reduction. Choose four moves. Move #1: Jumping Jack (occurs in the frontal plane) Move #2: Twist (occurs in the transverse plane) Move #3: Front Kicks (occur in the sagittal plane) Move #4: High heel jogs (occur in the sagittal plane)

Ready to start teaching? First round: Perform 32 repetitions or sets of each of the four moves (4 music counts for each set or repetition) Second round: Perform 16 repetitions or sets of each of the four moves Third round: Perform 8 repetitions or sets of each of the four moves Fourth round: Perform 4 repetitions or sets of each of the four moves Fifth round: Perform 2 repetitions or sets of each of the four moves Sixth round: If you dare… Perform 1 repetitions or set of each of the four moves

By the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds you are seriously flying though moves, changing movement planes and changing muscle groups frequently in a constant flow of limb inertia. Say HELLO to intensity! If you teach to a less advanced group, consider stopping at the fourth round.

In my recently posted video, Aquatic Pyramids, I demonstrate 5 combinations of movements taught exactly as described above. Aquatic Pyramids was introduced as one of my CEC workshops in 2011 and later filmed as a DVD. Honestly, this was one of my favorite workshops to teach on the road. It seemed as though instructors who attended this workshop and identified themselves as “choreography challenged,” embraced the simplicity of this polished presentation of movement. I received emails from many of those instructors days, weeks and months later, informing me that their students loved the pyramid choreography.

And so it is with great excitement that the Aquatic Pyramids video is now posted on the Fitmotivation website. Even more exciting, ALL of the recognized instructional styles are now posted on the website: Aqua Free (linear progression/free style), Aqua Add-it (add-on), Aquatic Layers (layer technique) and Pure Aqua (pure patterned repetition).

Ready to polish up your presentation of movement? Log on and get busy!

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.