When you walk into a group fitness class, what do you see? Beginners to athletes, males to females, experienced to newbies, a group fitness class population truly can run the gauntlet. Yet, we as instructors must connect with each student while providing a safe and effective workout for everyone. How do we juggle so many balls in the air at once?
We rely on our communication skills! In this post, we will discuss the three different styles of cuing and how to use different cuing to connect with everyone in your room.
Three Styles of Cuing
- Visual: Visual cuing has always been important, but became a fitness focus when Zumba launched. Visual cuing is when the instructor’s movements give the class specific instructions. Whether it is pointing to the right to show which direction you are about to move or actually performing the movement with the class (for a few reps, of course), visual cues speak to participants who learn best by seeing the information being taught.
- Auditory: Do you ever wonder why group fitness instructors feel the need to describe an exercise in perfect detail verbally? This cuing method speaks (literally) to participants who learn best by hearing. So, speak up! Tell the class exactly what you want to see. [Learn more in this great article from Jenn Hall]
- Kinesthetic: Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how many times you verbally give a correction or show the proper posture. Sometimes, a person just needs to do it. Those people are kinesthetic learners. They need repetition and the chance to try, mess up, and try again. Don’t think that having the class perform 1-2 reps will be enough. Practice makes perfect for everyone, especially this learner.
How to Use Different Cuing to Connect with Everyone in Your Room
- Test yourself. Record one of your classes, pour yourself a glass of wine, and watch the class. Note how many times you use each of the styles of cuing. Do you favor visual cuing? Or perhaps you talk far more than you demonstrate. Whatever it is, the camera won’t lie. But this is a great technique to see what you need to practice and provide you with ideas on where to implement different cuing styles. This will ensure that you are allowing ample cues for each style of learner.
- Try not to count the entire time! If you are preoccupied with how many reps are left, you will forget Suzy’s name in the back row. Instead of counting down from eight, compliment Suzy on the perfect position of her knees in her squat. Visual learners may look to Suzy’s form for guidance and auditory learners will hear “knees” and think about their own positioning. If Suzy is a kinesthetic learner, then you have just solidified her learning experience.
- Ask your students questions. Asking questions like “how are you feeling” is a great conversation starter, but that’s really low hanging fruit. Ask them “how many are left”, “what muscle is being worked” or “which direction should we go next”. Ask questions that beg answers past “great” or groans. Make sure they are being mindful of their movements while being engaged with you and the class. Some people will not verbally answer you, but will instead point or pat the answer. Voila! You are learning who are the visual or auditory learners in your class.
Inspire everyone in the room by mastering different teaching styles. Everyone has a different style they lean towards, remember it may not be yours’, so make sure you “speak” to everyone!