5 Impactful Cues for Group Fitness

In my two-decade journey as a fitness instructor – and yes, I started this incredible adventure at the tender age of 5 – I’ve encountered my fair share of challenges, including the occasional stumble over words and the ongoing quest to find just the right cues. If you also find yourself wrestling with the nuances of articulation and crafting impactful cues for group fitness sessions, you’re not alone. This conversation is tailor-made for those who understand the delicate dance between words and movement, recognizing that even seasoned instructors like myself continually strive for improvement.

“Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.” -Brian Tracy

Believe me, the struggle is universal. In my extensive experience, I’ve educated countless group fitness instructors who have grappled with discovering their unique verbal cadence and learning to appreciate the profound impact of well-placed moments of silence. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting your journey in group fitness instruction, pursuing effective communication is an ongoing process, and it’s perfectly okay to acknowledge the challenges that come with it.

Let’s dive into 5 ways to improve your cueing as a group fitness instructor.


1. Practice in Your Daily Life

A great way to improve your cueing is to practice with yourself daily. What? Yes, talk yourself through simple daily tasks. For example:

  • Open the closet.
  • Pick a shirt.
  • Slide it on over your head.
  • Put your arms in the holes.
  • Pull the shirt down.

When you are going on a walk, cue yourself.

  • Roll your shoulders back and down.
  • Engage your core.
  • Step forward and repeat. 


2. Be Clear and Concise

Clarity remains paramount whether you’re leading in-person classes or navigating the virtual realm. On average, people only hear about 7% of the words you use when communicating. Make every word count. 

Avoid vague language and opt for specific, action-oriented cues to ensure participants grasp your guidance effortlessly. Rather than a generic “Follow me,” provide precision with directives like “Rotate your torso to the right.” This approach facilitates a better understanding, enabling participants to execute movements more accurately.


3. Foster Two-Way Communication

Effective cueing thrives on interaction, be it in person or virtually. Encourage active communication from your clients during both types of sessions. Establish a supportive environment where questions and feedback are welcomed, aiding you in gauging their understanding and tailoring cues to individual needs.

Whether through in-person check-ins or virtual moments for sharing experiences and asking questions, this interactive approach fosters a sense of community. It ensures that everyone feels engaged and supported regardless of the setting throughout their fitness journey.


4. Emphasize Empathy and Connection

Prioritize empathy and connection in in-person and virtual coaching by acknowledging your client’s unique challenges and expressing genuine understanding and support. Utilize positive reinforcement and motivational cues to cultivate a supportive atmosphere.

Building a solid connection transcends merely instructing movements. Share personal anecdotes, celebrate achievements, and create an environment that promotes camaraderie, whether in a physical or virtual space. Clients who feel seen, heard, and valued are more likely to respond positively to your cues and remain motivated in their fitness journey.


5. Words Matter

As a group fitness instructor, the impact of your words extends far beyond the mere conveyance of instructions. Your verbal cues create an atmosphere that directly influences your participants’ emotional and mental well-being. Everyone in your class seeks physical improvement and a positive and supportive environment that fosters their overall well-being. Using words as insults, passing judgment, or making someone feel inadequate for their performance not only goes against the ethos of inclusive fitness but can significantly damage the trust and confidence your participants place in you. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

In group fitness, your words are a powerful tool for motivation and inspiration. They can uplift spirits, instill confidence, and create a sense of belonging among participants. Conversely, negative words can act as a deterrent, breeding insecurity, and discouragement. Recognizing each participant’s unique challenges and choosing words that encourage effort, progress, and a growth mindset enhances their individual experience and contributes to creating a supportive fitness community. Ultimately, your words shape the emotional landscape of your class, influencing not only physical outcomes but also the overall enjoyment and sustainability of each participant’s fitness journey.

Effective cueing requires intentional practice, clear communication, visual aids, two-way interaction, and a strong emphasis on empathy, regardless of whether you’re leading in-person classes or virtual sessions. Incorporating these tips into your coaching approach can elevate your cueing skills and provide your clients a more impactful fitness experience.

Ready to learn more about leading effective group fitness classes? Join us at MyFIIT – a company where created to help you teach movement that matters. Use the code “JHM” to save 25% on your certification.  

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