Group classes won’t make you strong

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Since I’m a personal fitness trainer, people come to me for strength and fat loss. Some people just want a free consultation to get information without paying anything; others want a trainer, but can’t afford the cost of personalized sessions; or, there are those few that are ready and willing to get help from a professional, and sign up for training sessions on the spot.

One of the common explanations I get as to why people decide not to hire a personal trainer is that they are “just going to take group strength classes.” What I’ve found is that after doing many strength assessments, people who have been taking group fitness classes cannot do proper push-ups, squats, or lunges, and have poor balance. People just won’t get strong solely by taking group fitness classes.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for classes, I take yoga classes and teach TRX; and these classes do increase strength, BUT, they won’t get people strong enough to do day-to-day tasks without compensating, or injury.

The reasons why group fitness classes fail to give people adequate strength is that they are designed for a general population; they are not customized to you or your goals. They are also set up in a format for enjoyment, with limited reps and sets, not strength. Even if the class instructor corrects your form every now and then, they cannot be at your side continuously, or change the exercise to suit you.

Based on a person’s strength, fitness level, injuries, flexibility, medical history, goals, and age, I give them exercises that are best suited for them. No one person gets the same workout. I won’t put someone who has back pain on a leg press machine, or put someone on the leg extension machine who has knee issues. Certain exercises are reserved for advanced lifters, and are too dangerous for beginners.

The bottom line, is that group classes are a great way to increase your cardiovascular system, burn extra calories, make friends, and increase strength. But if you want adequate strength, you need to lift heavier weights and do body weight exercises that hit every muscle, at least twice a week with proper form.




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