Group Strength Training. Part 1

Confused about how to start a program at your facility? Take a look at these three facilities who are experiencing great group strength-training success.

Group strength-training classes have emerged as a popular exercise choice among health club members. Offering a group atmosphere and a safe, guided weight-training session, they are now available at 79 percent of fitness facilities in the U.S. (2000 IDEA Fitness Programs and Equipment Report). If you are thinking about adding a strength class to your group exercise schedule, or if you need to spice up your current class list, looking to other fitness facilities can help. The following fitness facilities give examples of what they are offering in terms of group strength.

Aerobics Stop

Aerobics Stop, a women’s-only gym in Marlboro, Mass., started a muscle conditioning class three years ago to fill a slow Monday night time slot. Gym owner Kathy Ecktal wanted to start a new and unique program that would attract individuals who felt they weren’t coordinated enough for aerobics, and marketed the program to people who didn’t want a choreographed class. Instructor Kathy Coram, who helped implement the program, says, “I don’t care if you’re on one foot, and everyone else is on the other. If it’s a controlled movement and it’s safe, that’s all I care about.”

The Total Conditioning class involves a combination of drills. The class starts with big muscle movements such as squats or lunges, and then adds light weights and squats along with biceps curls or overhead presses. Coram likes to use props to keep the class fun and interesting. She uses steps for lower-body conditioning, Resist-A-Balls for abdominal work, and bars and free-form weights for exercises such as chest presses and pec flys.

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