classes, The Big Myth
here to listen to a 60 second summary of this article
by Cris LaBossiere
exercise is a fine idea, when implemented properly, but individual
coaching is more productive.
five mistakes made by aerobics instructors
play follow the leader instead of actually instructing individuals
have no idea what an individuals heart rate should be, yet
they ask people to take their pulse
donít use heart rate monitors themselves. HRMs have been
around since 1982 and all top level fitness professionals
use them. So why not most aerobics instructors?
most instructors donít observe all the participants in the
class, many participants execute moves with bad technique
and poor posture, and their mistakes go largely unchecked
by the instructor
classes are more about music and choreography than about
addressing the individual fitness needs of class participants
was the last time an aerobics instructor tested your fitness
to determine if they were giving you the right exercise instruction?
how could they know the right instruction for YOU?
instructors donít test your fitness, and rarely ask what the
results of your fitness test were so they can make an informed
decision on how to instruct you. Virtually all aerobics instructorsí
instructions to a group are uninformed. (The instructor does
not know the needs of each individual).
the contrary, the majority of coaches offer individual assessment
and technique correction to every student they work with.
Coaches spend the majority of their time observing and supporting
their students. It is true that there are good and bad coaches,
however the model of instruction in coaching is to attend
to the students individual needs, not to be a showboat at
the front of a class.
the aerobics instructor makes sure they take center stage,
a coach would be side stage, observing and correcting. While
demonstration of technique is needed, there is a difference
between demonstrating, observing and correcting, and playing
follow the leader. During class aerobics participants look
at the aerobics instructor, and the instructor plays a lead
roll in a dance sequence, but doesn't really do any instruction,
other than the "follow the leader" method.
is true that aerobics classes attract people to participate
in regular physical activity, and this is positive. Sure you
have fun in aerobics classes, thatís one of the great attractions.
Good luck finding a class that is also truly addressing your
individual fitness needs though.
Rate Errors In Aerobics Classes
you know that the heart rate charts and formulas many aerobics
instructor's use to calculate your target heart rate zone
for exercise intensity are inaccurate? Click
here to find out why. Even if you have had a proper fitness
test done to discover your true target heart rate, following
the aerobics instructors direction to feel the pulse on your
neck or wrist then count your pulse for 10 seconds is useless.
(Feeling a pulse with your fingers is called "manual
Reasons The Manual Palpation Method Of Counting Heart Rate
you are prompted to keep your legs moving while counting
your pulse rate, the fact is you slow down so much while
counting that heart rate drops significantly. You are not
measuring your heart rate during exercise, you are
measuring your heart rate taking a break from exercise.
The result is calculating a heart rate that is much lower
than what it really is when you are exercising.
pulse check is extremely sparse, perhaps only two times
during an entire 45 to 60 minute class. In fact heart rate
requires consistent monitoring to observe increases and
decreases in heart rate as they occur. The result of checking
infrequently is using a heart rate that is not reflective
of the vast majority of the workout.
loud music, your own body movements, and other distractions,
it is nearly impossible to perceive every beat you are trying
to count. You are bound to mistakenly add or miss a few
beats in the 10 second measuring period. Because the total
beats you count in 10 seconds are multiplied by 6 to calculate
beats per minute, missing only 2 beats adds up to 12 beats
per minute. A 12 beat difference in heart rate is significant.
only way to accurately and reliably measure your heart rate
during exercise is to wear a heart rate monitor. Heart rate
monitors sell for $70.00 (CDN) $50.00 (US) and up, and consist
of a strap worn comfortably against the skin (under a shirt)
around the chest and special wrist watch that receives a wireless
signal from the strap. The strap has special sensors (electrodes)
that detect your heart rate. Heart rate is viewed on the watch
along with time and other information. Wireless heart rate
monitors have been available since 1982 and are widely used
by novice to experienced exercisers and by athletes. Why do
so many aerobics instructors talk about heart rate but not
talk about the importance of heart rate monitors or even use
heart rate monitors themselves? You can't teach what you
famous phrase that dates back to the Roman Empire. Itís a
reference to how, to appease the population, circuses, free
bread, and a party type atmosphere were used to divert peopleís
attention away from real needs such as democracy, education,
and health. Eventually the Roman Empire collapsed on its self.
In my opinion, much of the fitness industry including aerobics
classes create diversions with catch phrases like "Pump
you up!" "Feel the Burn!" "Break a sweat!"
and the infamous, "Just one more". Motivation is
great, but there has to be something to back up those words.
With loud music and almost religious like mantras, aerobics
classes use the Bread and Circuses diversion. It feels like
such great fun while you are there, but the scientifically
proven fact is that these classes offer less than mediocre
fitness gains over the long term when compared to individual
training. Like a bilge pump pumping out raw sewage, many aerobics
instructors chirp out "feel good" motivational clichés
that donít add to up anything useful in the long run.
this; watch any aerobics class from the sideline. Observe
whether or not the instructor spends even one second of their
time with even half their class, making needed corrections.
bottom line on aerobics classes:
aerobics classes are very rare. Hopefully the quality
classes will serve as an example and other instructors will
exercise that does not hurt you should provide improvement
to your fitness.
that you are motivated to do is usually the only exercise
you will do.
the above two variables into consideration, I can see a
lowest common denominator benefit to the way most aerobics
classes are run in that some exercise is often better than
no exercise, accepting the lowest common denominator.
donít go for the lowest common denominator myself. What
are your standards?
recommend thinking twice about attending aerobics classes
run by instructors who donít know your individual needs,
and I have reservations about "fitness professionals"
who donít measure their own heart rate during exercise.
donít get their primary training from aerobics classes because
the classes are too randomized making it impossible to maximize
a class is fun, does not mean it is providing the fitness
results you want or deserve. Donít let the emotions you
experience in the staged atmosphere of aerobics mislead
you. If you canít find a class that is both fun and
productive, think about finding another class, or have a
professional fitness appraisal done and follow a program
tailored to your needs.
interesting observation; I've seen many aerobics instructors
who have been teaching for more than three years, yet they
look really out of shape.
youíre going to exercise for 45 minutes to one hour, donít
you want the best results possible?
© 2004 Rhino Fitness