For many people, their first exposure to structured exercise comes in the form of an exercise class. Not knowing any better, many people stick with this form of exercise and wonder why they never really achieve their goals. Coming up is a list of 15 aerobics class criticisms.
Before then, I need to explain why I don’t like aerobics classes.
Over the years many of my personal training clients have come to me from a group exercise background – they came because they had been exercising for a long time and hadn’t achieved their goals, or had come to me because they had developed injuries through an unsuitable exercise regime.
There is an argument that says this kind of exercise is better than no exercise at all, and to a point I agree. My counter argument however is that if you are going to spend the time exercising, why not do something beneficial instead? Or, at the very least book a few sessions with a personal trainer so you can learn correct exercise technique, making the work you do in the classes safer and less likely to cause injury.
My aim isn’t to stop people exercising, it’s to make the exercise they do more effective.
So, without further ado, here are my 15 aerobics class criticisms
- The barrier to entry for instructors is too low. An instructor can do a weekend course then be suitably ‘qualified’ to lead a class through a workout.
- The quality of coaching is far too low. How can one person accurately and safely monitor technique across 20+ participants AND teach a class at the same time? They can’t.
- It’s not functional. How performing little spins and air punches in time with music improves human performance, I’m yet to understand.
- There is limited scope for progression in most aerobics classes. Other than make the class longer or faster (which are both limited variables), there isn’t a way to progress.
- Classes such as Body Combat involve punching and kicking thin air at high speed. This can’t be good for the joints.
- Body Attack involves high intensity plyometrics. In a room full of people with varying levels of ability and without movement screening it is an accident waiting to happen.
- The marketing claims are ludicrous. Zumba ‘tones’ does it? So why do I see dozens of overweight Zumba regulars at my gym?
- The movement patterns in most aerobics classes are repetitive, which over time will cause muscle imbalances.
- Group exercise instructors. Hyped up, over the top, whooping barbie doll-type instructors leave me cold.
- Aerobics can make you fat. Want to know why? Read here.
- Overuse of the same muscle groups. Want a bad back and terrible posture? Do ‘abs’ classes every week.
- Lots of aerobics classes require movements performed at high speeds. Unless technique is coached thoroughly, (which it usually isn’t, see point 2) technique will break down, leading to injury.
- There is no sound way to monitor progress. How can you accurately monitor the progression of a person doing a Zumba or step aerobics class?
- Lots of classes contain too wide an ability mix. Ever seen a Zumba class where half of the participants can’t follow the choreography? I have – it’s chaos, not a workout.
- It is dangerous for the obese people – their target market. When you walk, step, jump, run etc the force absorbed by the body is equivalent to many times that of your actual weight. This is dangerous to the joints of those who are over weight.
These criticisms are very basic – there are much more in-depth criticisms I could make if we went into the physiological changes brought about by aerobics, but essentially this is about providing a counter argument to the relentless positive marketing surrounding some of the most pointless and dangerous exercise approaches that currently exist.
If you are an aerobics class attendee, I hope my list of 15 aerobics class criticisms has at least made you think about why you do aerobics and whether or not it has helped you achieve your goals.
If you are new to exercise and are a regular participant of aerobics classes, there is a better way! Progressive weight training and effective cardio coupled with sound nutrition is the way forward. Don’t be another aerobics class victim…