Tips for Using Group Fitness Instructor

Whether you’re a newly qualified instructor or looking to update your techniques and knowledge, our tips for the best group fitness instructor cues are bound to come in handy!

We’ll cover various techniques to help you become a confident instructor so your class has a great experience.

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What is an Example of a Cueing Technique? 

teacher group fitness instructor cues graphic

There are 3 main types of group fitness instructor cues. These are:

Voice inflection involves changing the tone of your voice when giving cues. 

As mentioned earlier, many fitness instructors talk in a monotone voice or by shouting. Neither are effective for all classes since monotones can be boring while shouting can be intimidating. 

This is why if you want to have a successful fitness class you should change your tone when conducting classes to keep all clients engaged.

Non-verbal cueing is using parts of the body to instruct a movement. 

This could be as simple as pointing in the direction you want participants to move or using a thumbs up to offer feedback. 

Non-verbal cues work best in accompaniment with verbal cues as clients will truly understand what is being asked of them. 

Visualisation cueing involves getting class members to imagine certain concepts or situations to help with their form.

We’ll cover an example of this in #6 to instruct people about how to improve their posture! 

If you master each of these methods you can help your participants to get the most out of your classes and steadily improve. 

9 Tips for Using Group Fitness Instructor Cues 

Now we’ll run through some tips for the best group fitness instructor cues and how to use them to maximise your classes!

#1 – Provide Demonstrations as Part of Your Group Fitness Instructor Cues

group fitness instructor cues 1 image

Demonstrations will help your group to process what is being asked of them more effectively than with just verbal cues.

Visual aids can be massively beneficial for new group members and for covering new movements, especially when accompanied by your verbal cues.

It will also help the running of the class as people will grasp the movements and exercises quicker, minimising the need to demonstrate individually.

You can quickly demonstrate the exercises you’re going to do, maybe focusing on which muscles class members should be using. 

So, if you want to teach fitness classes with the best mix of group fitness instructor cues, providing demonstrations is a great way to engage your class members!

#2 – Don’t Over Explain Your Group Fitness Instructor Cues 

teacher 2 group fitness instructor cues graphic

Explaining movements and poses is important, but there comes a point when this is in too much detail for your group fitness instructor cues. 

This is because long-winded explanations can slow down the pace of a class. The rhythm of the class is especially important if you’re creating a HIIT class plan or circuit training. 

Class members won’t get the most out of the high intensity style of the class if you over explain and have to keep interrupting the class for corrections. 

A ruined rhythm makes it harder for clients to re-establish their flow which is an important aspect of many fitness classes.

Some participants may also find it condescending. You want to make sure everyone feels confident participating in the class without feeling like you’re talking down to them. 

You can make sure you’re making your group fitness classes fun and engaging by practising your instructions before incorporating them. 

You could do this with friends and family and ask for feedback so that the best version of your instructions is the one that you include.

Then explaining instructions in some detail may be useful the first time you go through it, yet it’s safe to assume that the class has gotten the hang of it by the third or fourth sequence. 

In these instances, remind the class of what’s coming quickly rather than going through each instruction again. 

#3 – Use Group Fitness Instructor Cues for Each Part of the Body 

knees group fitness instructor cues graphic

Another top tip is to share cues for each part of the body. 

Doing this provides a short and snappy instruction that your group will understand quickly and also helps to preserve an established rhythm of the class. 

Doing this will act as a regular reminder of exactly what class members should be exercising and how they should be doing it.

It can also act as a fun way of commanding a certain movement and save time and keep the pace of the class fast.

For example, you can alternate between two upper body exercises or movements and lower ones, just shouting ‘legs’ and ‘arms’ after you’ve explained which exercise you’ll be focusing on.

Here are a few more examples to help inspire you:

  • Back straight
  • Chest up
  • Arms out
  • High knees

You should still always demonstrate first and instruct people how they should be doing the exercise.

This is what makes a good fitness instructor, finding the right balance between keeping the pace of the class perfect without compromising the safety and accuracy of class members’ exercise.

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#4 – Don’t Overuse the Same Group Fitness Instructor Cues

kettlebell group fitness instructor motivational cues graphic

As a group fitness instructor, you should have motivational cues which create impact and inspire your attendees. 

However, if they’re used too frequently, they’re likely to lose their effect. 

Plus, if you use cues too frequently, this could confuse the group in fast-moving sequences. 

Instead, use cues often at the beginning of a class so that the group becomes familiar with the movements and slowly reduce the amount you use as the class goes on. 

Too many instructions could also seem condescending, especially if you’ve performed certain sequences a few times previously and the group is familiar with what’s expected of them. 

As with our other tips, this is about finding the right balance. You want your class members to be focused and in the zone with your class, without feeling confused about what they should be doing.

You should use cues to keep people on track but not so much that you distract them and stop them focusing.

That’s why one of our top tips for any group fitness instructor is to keep your cues reserved for the occasion when they’re needed rather than using them just to fill silences!

#5 – Scan the Room Whilst Giving Your Group Fitness Instructor Cues

instructor group fitness instructor cues image

Continuing on from our previous tip, whilst you’re gradually reducing the instructions and cues you give you should scan the room to see how people respond to your instructions.

9 times out of 10, everyone will be getting on with the movements as expected. 

However, if you see anyone looking a little confused or moving slightly behind everyone else, consider repeating some of the instructions to remind them. 

Try not to direct such instructions to individuals, such as by saying their name, as this could cause embarrassment. 

You shouldn’t stare either or make it too obvious that you’re targeting any one member of a class unless you’re doing hands on adjustments. 

The best way to do this is to scan the room while making short eye contact with each person and evaluating whether repetition is needed. 

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Finding our tips useful? Check out our other articles on how to be a successful fitness professional:

#6 – Use Visualisation in Your Group Fitness Instructor Cues 

lotus pose group fitness instructor cues graphic

When giving group fitness instructor cues, using visualisation techniques can also be valuable for clients. 

This is where you will tell class members to imagine something happening to them that will improve the form of whichever pose or exercise they’re performing.

The group may find visualisation particularly beneficial if they’re covering new concepts. 

For example, if you want to become a yoga teacher as well as a fitness instructor, you might use visualisation to describe how a class can achieve good posture when in a cross-legged seated pose. 

You might ask people to imagine they’re being pulled in a straight line from the top of their heads to improve their posture in a particular exercise.

You could say something like this:

Begin by sitting cross-legged on your mat. Then, imagine that there is a piece of string coming out of the top of your head and tugging slightly. 

Let the string pull your body up so that you position yourself in a neutral spine.

With this, the teacher could also use non-verbal visualisation when saying “pull” by using hand gestures to imitate the movement. 

This way you’ve got a great balance between all of the different group fitness instructor cues to keep class members engaged and working hard!

#7 -Practise Using Group Fitness Instructor Motivational Cues 

megaphone group fitness instructor cues graphic

One of the best ways to master your group fitness instructor cues is to get comfortable practising them. 

Not only will you be more confident going into the class but this will also give you a process of trial and error so you can practise different tones of voice and different group fitness instructor cues.

In fitness classes, many instructors tend to use two tones when cueing: monotone (which many find quite boring and uninspiring) or loud and shouty (which can come across as intimidating). 

While the latter may be appropriate for bootcamp settings, it isn’t always the best way to motivate a group. 

If you’re unsure of exactly what you want to say, practice saying the cues out loud when in private. 

That way, if something sounds off, it’s easily modified without being in front of an audience. 

Once you’ve practised a few cues, you should try implementing them into a class.

You’ll probably find that once you feel comfortable using them, you’ll have more confidence to go off-script and experiment with new cues as the class is going on. 

You should try to match the tone of your voice and your group fitness instructor cues to the style of class that you’re teaching.

For example, if you want to teach the best yoga class you’ll want a peaceful tone whereas you should be more upbeat for a circuit or HIIT class. 

If you want to discover how to create good group fitness instructor motivational cues for your class, practising privately is the best place to begin.

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Still want to learn more about the fitness industry? Give these articles a read:

#8 – Personalise Your Group Fitness Instructor Cues 

personalise group fitness instructor cues image

As a group fitness instructor, motivational cues help to keep the energy alive during a class and personalising your cues to attendees can help. 

When a group member is addressed directly, it can help to boost motivation levels and give them a push to keep going. 

Using nicknames is also a great way to establish rapport building with class members once you’ve reached an appropriate level of familiarity. 

To achieve this, you should try to reserve some time before and after your classes to speak with clients.

You want to make sure you find the line though between being directly encouraging and making people feel like they’re being called out.

You want to only direct your group fitness instructor cues at individuals when you’re praising people and giving positive motivation.

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Otherwise people will feel singled out and may not want to come back to class!

A simple “Keep going, Stacy!” or “Nice high knees, Jack!” will help stimulate participants. 

You should also try not to address the same individuals more than twice per class as this draws a lot of attention towards specific people which they may not like.

It also runs the risk of lesser-known clients feeling excluded.

In short, personalising your group fitness instructor cues is a great way of engaging a class and helps when building a good rapport. 

#9 – Avoid Using Technical Language in Your Group Fitness Instructor Cues

speech group fitness instructor cues graphic

Our last tip for using group fitness instructor cues is to avoid using technical language to do with exercise, fitness, or health in general.

This is because using it could potentially alienate your class members and take away from their experience.

Their confidence may be knocked if they don’t understand the language and could therefore potentially distract them from the instructions. 

For this reason, keep any complex terminology for chats with colleagues and use simple language during a class.

At the end of the day, participants of your class aren’t going to care about the intricacies of movements or poses as they’re there to have a good workout and have fun. 

So, don’t bog them down with technical words. Keep things upbeat and lively instead!

Before You Go! 

We hope that our top tips for using group fitness instructor cues have helped inspire you for your next class.

Don’t forget, you can inform and improve your class instruction with our range of advanced personal trainer courses!

You can find out more details if you download and browse our free course prospectus.

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About the Author: Emily Evans

Emily OriGym Author
Emily studied English Language and Literature at the University of Sheffield, graduating in 2021 with a 2:1 BA honours degree. Alongside her degree, she also gained experience in student publication as Forge Press’ Lifestyle Editor and Deputy Editor for Post-Production. This is where her love for content writing stemmed from, which also led her to OriGym. Outside of her work, Emily will either be found on a long hike, at the gym or making a mess trying new healthy recipes in her kitchen!

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