Tuesday, July 02 2019

The above preview is for ShaDeep Seniors, posted on 11/28/15

Treat your students to a super-fun choreographed routine that can be performed in both deep and shallow water.   ShaDeep Seniors just posted and it features choreography that I teach in my dual depth classes.  Teaching classes at a busy YMCA in a retirement/tourist community means you have big classes filled with older adults that expand out across the entire pool – shallow and deep.  Routines must be specifically designed to work in both depths. 

This senior friendly routine maintains cardio intensity yet provides impact options. Any routine can become more suitable for mature audiences when you incorporate some or all of these five teaching strategies.

#1  Multi-level programming
ShaDeep Seniors can be an intense shallow water experience with lots of bounding action, but it can also be a challenging cardio workout with little or no impact.  The secret lies in the cueing.  The workout becomes more senior friendly when cues are provided for removing impact.  Most base moves can be performed at Level II (neutral) with shoulders dropped low; or they can be performed grounded, anchoring one foot to the pool floor and thus removing the impact.   Intensity can be maintained in grounded and Level II movements by focusing on aggressive arm patterning.

#2  Functional movement
If a routine is labeled as being for seniors, than extra scrutiny must be given to movement selection and execution.  Is there enough posterior (back) movement to offset all of the anterior (front) movement?  Are the arms and legs moving in all directions that the ball & socket joints of the hips and shoulders allow - externally, internally, posterior and anterior?   Are cues offered to maximize safety and alignment?  For example, in the ShaDeep video, cues are offered to keep thumbs up when moving arms in the transverse plane.  Some fitness pundits think this is safer for the shoulders.  Designing a senior fitness routine is all about selecting and cueing appropriate exercises for aging bodies.

#3  Reset Buttons
If a routine is intended for older populations, transitions must be more carefully considered.  You learn from experience!  When I first started teaching the ShaDeep Seniors routine in my classes a few months ago I had way too much crammed into the routine.  The combinations were transitioning too frequently and some of my students were getting lost.  The situation improved dramatically when I incorporated ‘reset patterns’ in which one move, such as kicks or jogs, was performed for one full cycle of music (32-counts).  Doing this allowed my wayward students to get caught back up - and reset back on the appropriate lead leg.   If you find your students getting lost in the choreography, I highly recommend these reset buttons.

#4  Add-on instruction
There are 8 blocks or combinations of movement in the ShaDeep Seniors routine.  These blocks of movement are taught with the add-on style of instruction.  Block #1 is introduced and taught for several minutes with lots of repetition.  Block #2 is then introduced and taught for several minutes.  Then Block #1 and Block #2 are taught together.  Block #3 is then introduced and taught for several minutes.  And then Blocks #1, #2 and #3 are taught as a sequence.  Block #4 is then taught and eventually added to the sequence…and so on.  I truly believe that my senior students love add-on instruction because it represents comfort and predictability.  They become familiar with the movements through repetition and that allows them to exercise more confidently and with better form. 

#5  Music
I get lots of email inquiries regarding the music I use in my videos.  Ironically, I have used the SAME three music playlists in every video I have produced over the past two years.  Two of the playlists were provided by Yes! Fitness Music and the other was provided by Dynamix Music.  Most of the music you hear in my videos is found in three tribal CDs that I sell in the Fitmotivation store.  Music used in videos must be specifically approved and licensed for use.  It is not easy to get music approved and nor is it cheap. Please understand that when I teach the ShaDeep Seniors routine to my students I use fun ‘oldies’ music such as music from the decades or Swing & Big Band.  Unfortunately, this music is NOT approved for use in a video.

The list below includes some of the fitness music CDs/downloads I have used for the ShaDeep Seniors routine in my classes.

Dynamix Music          Phone: 1-800-843-6499

Aqua Classics (135bpm)
Big Band & Swing (129-135bpm)
Senior Smash (128bpm)
Silver & Fit Instructor Music 4 (128bpm)

Yes! Fitness Music     Phone: 1-800-321-9379

Aqua Celebration (135bpm) Aqua Revolution (135bpm)
Retro Oldies 2 (128-132bpm)

Both Dynamix Music and Yes! Fitness Music also offers custom mix options that allow you to create your own mixes.  I am addicted to custom mixes and have made several 60’s, 70’s and 80’s mixes because my older students really enjoy music from the decades. 

With the right instruction, cueing, moves and music an aquatic routine is magically transformed into a senior friendly workout.
 I hope your students enjoy the ShaDeep Seniors choreography as much as mine do. 

And don’t forget to stage a Russian gymnast dismount at the end of the routine. 


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.