Teaching Physical Fitness Levels

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Teaching To All Fitness Levels

--by Michaele Rogers

How do you teach a new move for all intensity levels? Start with the lowest degree of difficulty and impact. Once everyone in the class has the basic pattern, demonstrate the next level of difficulty while the class continues with the basic. Gradually, those that want to move up will do so as the rest of the class continues to repeat the exercise. Then demostrate the highest level of difficulty for those really craving a challenge.

I never teach more than two new moves per month, and I may re-teach a harder move or a variation on an old move. Teaching more than two new moves can be overwhelming to the lower level students who are new to the class or those who aren't as coordinated. Those that learn fast are challenged by varying the intensity of the activity, adding hand weights, or using exer-tubes. All levels simply love the idea of having something new to do. My class really enjoys the variety and they really feel good about themselves when they move up a level.

When using the new moves in the work-out, I always perform the move at the lowest fitness level and remind the class they can take it up to the higher intensity levels if they desire. If they need me to demonstrate the higher level again, I do so, but only until they catch on, and then I return to the lowest intensity level. This makes your low-level participants feel comfortable. Otherwise, they might feel that they are behind or that they are not reaching the level at which they need to be.

In teaching a wide range of ages and fitness levels, I have found it very helpful to start teaching any new moves on a certain day of every month. I also use this day as a review day and question day for those students who are having problems with a previously taught set of moves. This way, your class knows when to come prepared to learn something new. Beginners and new class participants are also pleased that everyone will be new to the idea - they won't be the only one trying to learn the steps. Putting everyone on an equal footing really helps those who are new or easily intimidated. One note about picking a certain day to teach and review new moves - be prepared for a high attendance day!

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