Instructors: Need Some Rut Busters?

So, it's been awhile since you got certified. You're comfortable with the routines, you've got your timeslots set, the participants know you, and maybe you've even got a set of "regulars". New music? No big deal. You can learn a new release in a weekend. So one day you pull out the playlist, and all of a sudden it hits you - it's all old stuff. Sort of like having a closet full of clothes, but there's nothing to wear. What happened?

You're in a rut, that's what. It can happen with anyone, with anything, and at any time. It just happens. But here's the good news: you can bust that rut right now - and we can help! Here's some of our favorite rut busters:
Run a "Form Clinic" - It takes two to do this right, so you'll need to buddy-up with another instructor. Tami and I like to do these on Fridays - we call them our "Form Friday" class, and it's a real big hit with the participants. While one of us teaches a track, the other walks around giving personalized instruction. We begin the class by telling everyone that our goal is to visit each person at least once during the hour, and that we try to tailor the instruction to their level of experience. For newbies, you simply want to help them get the mechanics of squats, clean & presses, and lunges worked out. For regulars, work on fine-tuning techniques such as keeping wrists straight during chest and triceps.

"Everything Old is New Again" launch - If you have an extensive release collection, pick songs that you haven't done in a really long time - or ever. And don't forget the 11th (bonus) tracks on those past releases. Better yet, if you have an instructor on your team who's willing to share some of their extensive collection, pick a release that you've never taught. Now, learn it just like you'd do a new release, and then do the entire set just like you'd do a launch. We did this one time and called it our "New To Us" launch, because it was all old music that we'd never taught before!

The "All Request" Hour - Pick three song titles for each track, and write them down on a sheet of paper. Hand copies out in class, let people circle their favorites - then do the most-picked titles for each track. Or pick 'em on-the-fly - just before a track, name three songs and ask for a show of hands - then do the one that gets the most votes.

The "Hopper" - Take two CDs, put one in the CD player, and the other becomes the "hopper". Now, just before a track, tell everyone the name of the song that's queued up next in the player. Pick an unsuspecting volunteer, and tell them that they get to choose the next track - either the song you just told them, or what's "in the hopper" (but you won't tell them what that one is). This works best when you pick one of your regulars, and especially when they pick the hopper and it's a really tough song! Try it a time or two for a fun twist whenever you need to liven things up a bit.

The "Jukebox" - This is my favorite, because it really puts you on the edge (Tami hates it though!). If your club has one of those "carousel" type CD changers then you're set, but you can also do it with a single-CD player as well. Pick any three, four, or five releases, the number them. Now, just as class starts, tell the class you're going to do something different today. Quickly go around the room and have ten people pick any number between one and five (or however many releases you've numbered). Write the number sequence down as you go - and that becomes your playlist! For example, if you get this: 3-5-4-4-1-5-2-2-5-1 that means your warm-up comes from CD #3, squats from CD #5, chest from CD #4, and so on. You're still doing the tracks in BodyPump's 1-10 order, but neither you nor the class will know what song was selected for each until it starts playing! A variation on this is to do it only with a couple of tracks rather than the whole batch - either way, it's a sure-fire rut buster!
(PS - Listen to the podcast for our disclaimers on this technique...)
The thing about some of these rut-busters is that they put you on "the edge" a bit. So maybe you won't call every move perfectly. So what? As instructors, we shoot for perfection when it comes to the choreography. But what matters more is the energy and enthusiasm you bring to the class - and that's tough to do when you're in a rut. So the next time you find yourself there give one of these little twists a try. You might just surprise yourself at how well you do under pressure!
3 Comment(s):
On 20 October, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great suggestions, as usual. You two must be well-loved at your gym since it's obvious you put your participants first and keep going for the gold. Wish we had a CD carousel at our gym, but now that I use my iPod and have all my music in it, I can modify your suggestions. By the way, I heartily recommend using the iPod; you just have to buy a cord with a split end. I also have a remote control that I wear like a wristwatch.

On 21 October, 2005, Blogger Craig Warman said...

Thank you for the encouragement. Actually Tami is the well-loved one of us, my tracks are just the entertainment in between!

We've tried using our iPod a time or two but had trouble getting the songs started and stopped just right for some strange reason. Having a remote control would really do the trick I bet - maybe I'll get one for Tami as a Christmas gift!

On 28 October, 2005, Blogger Tami W. said...

Of course - anything with a cord attached..... hey honey - how about something sparkly this year? Small and sparkly - that doesn't cook or cut anything??


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