The term ‘AEROBIC’ refers to a particular type of training effect. In fact, the term aerobic does not actually refer to a specific type of movement pattern ot class teaching style.
Aerobic Training Effects can be generated by any movement pattern, and also by almost any Exercise Class Type which involves the process of working muscles against the force of gravity in order to gain an aerobic training effect.
If you understand that training intensity is dependent on factors such as the force exerted and speed incorporated against gravity, then you will also understand that such an effect can be created equally successfully in a ‘New Body Class’, 'Step Class', 'Dynaband Class', Free Form Exercise Class, Routine Oriented Segments, etc, etc.
Those who recognise how effort applied in any movement pattern relates to subsequent training intensity will also understand that all the above class types simply use different resistance and intensity variables to achieve a training effect.
STEP CLASS - Uses ‘a step’ to increase intensity of a walk movement pattern. The intensity variable incorporated when using the step is distance of travel' up and down and potentially increased Range of Movement. (NB: However, unless the step is very high, the range of movement used to step up and down is probably comparatively less than would be used in an aerobic class without the use of a step.
NEW BODY CLASS or any CIass utilising DUMBELLS / WEIGHTS
- Uses light ‘handweights’ to increase resistance of the arms and weight carried by the legs. The intensity variable incorporated is resistance applied by adding extra weight to a limb. (It is disputable by many that the addition of a light handweight actually contributes significantly to Fitness Improvement for many individuals. Since many ‘uneducated’ participants usually compromise range and exercise quality, it is also highly likely that an exercise class without weights would be just as effective or even more effective for many participants).
FREE FORM EXERCISE SEGMENTS & Various ROUTINE DESIGNED FORMATS
- Should use all variables of intensity as described later in this manual. Including: Speed, Range, Length of Lever, Distance Travelled etc.
Brief dicoussion on specific class types are presented in this manual, however most class types have been allocated more detail in following specific manuals. We have limited this manual mainly to the design of a basic aerobic exercise class.
LEARN IT ONCE!............LEARN IT WELL!
If the variables of intensity (described and drilled in this workbook) and functional anatomy (covered in the fitness leader book) are well understood and capably applied in a bacis aerobic exercise class, by an aerobic teacher we can assume that the same aerobic teacher should be able to generalise this knowledge easily to many class types.
Aerobic Class - Getting Started...
Leam and consider the following participant assessment questions before and during every aerobic class. Some of these questions will be suitable to distribute as part of a screening ques-tionaire sheet, however the answers to many ofthese, you may need to decide for yourself from your own obscrvation. It usually follows that the more experienced you become, the more skills you develop in assessing accurately from your observation of individual performance as class is in progress.
Answers derived from the following questions will determine the design ofyour aerobic class session...
Participant Analysis Questions
* Previous movement and aerobic class experience of your participants.
* Medical history.
* Physical build.
* Co-ordination Ability.
* Current Fitness Level.
* Short term and long term goals.
* Personal preferences in movement styles.
* Personality Type. .
* Difficulties in attendance and training which may be encountered.
* Additional exercise programmes which may be done in conjunction.
* Current level and type of motivation demonstrated.
Know your Principles of Fitness
Frequency... To gain noticeable aerobic fitness improvements it is recommended that partici-
pants exercise 3-5 sessions per week. This is not to say that more or less exercise sessions will show results. In fact less than three exercise sessions per week will show significant improve-ments however less sessions generally take longer to show results. If participants complete more than five sessions per week we can assume that faster improvements will be evident. However, with an increased number of exercise sessions per week we must take care to ensure the safety and appropriate intensity ofthe overall
programme is maintained...(ie: Perhaps ifmore sessions, a lower intcnsity may be recommended for some of these extra sessions),
IlltenSlty...To show significant fitness improvements participants should aim to
exercise in what is referred to as their 'TRAINING RANGE - HEART RATE' which will differ significantly between individuals because of differences in maximum heart rates and relative anaerobic thresholds. The formula (60%-70% of [220 - Age]) as shown on most heart rate charts may be too generalised and is not recommended as a formula which can bc depended on to be accurate for all class participants.
Time...To gain significant aerobic Fitness Improvements it is recommended that participants
need to exercise for at least 15-20 minutes within their training heart rate range in each exercise session. Of course shorter or longer exercise sessions will also be of benefit and we can assume that success can be measured according to the intensity and frequency of such sessions
Type..'.To gain significant aerobic Fitness Improvements it is recommended that
participants should engage in AEROBIC TYPE of activity. Aerobic type of activity can be de-fined as any activity which uses the processes of the aerobic energy system.
JL requencyJLntensity JL ime JL ype.
. We may say then that if we observe the general recommendations for achieving fitness improvements, that we could design programmes around the following formula ofF.I.T.T.
To gain significant fitness improvement participants should exercise as often as 3-5 days perweek for a minimum duration of 15-20 minutes per session in an exercise format which is usually Aerobic Type at an intensity which is within an appropriate Training Heart Rate Zone or even better ...an appropriate Perceived Exertion rating. .
We can certainly depend on this general formula for exercise to be a safe guide for the gen-eral population. The principles ofF.I.T.T. can be manipulated though especially in terms offre-quency and intensity to design a huge variety ofeffective programme types and approaches to training.
BUT...THE BIG PROBLEM IS...
1 KNOWTHEPRINCIPLESOFKI.T.T..... BUT...HOW DO 1 APPLY THIS TO AN AEROBIC CLASS..
...WHAT TYPE OF EXERCISES ACHIEVE...
...INTENSITY AT APPROPRIATE PERCEIVED EXERTION ...SO MANY PARTICIPANTS...SO MANY DIFFERENT... ...TRAINING RANGES...SO MANY DIFPERENT... ...RESPONSES...HOW DO 1 KNOW WHICH... ...EXERCISES TO SET FOR WHO?
The design of an aerobic prpgram for any participant should be related to their current level ofhealth and fitness and also how to achieve their fitness goals. If the concepts of exercise physi-ology and training principles are well understood, then the next step is to apply an appropriate training timeframe and loading to each individual.
Because the aerobic class format is a situation where many individuals with different needs must be trained together in the same timeslot, the artistry of designing the workout session must relate to teaching design and delivery skill as well as physiological training parameters.
The aerobic teacher's task then is to manipulate fitness variables for those that they train according to the energy systems and effects described below: (Also - please refer to the Fitness Leader Book to revise more Exercise Physiology Specifics) .
Maximal Aeroblc PpWer (especially central factors associated with aerobic
metabolism) is most effectively increased by training at exercise intensities that achieve maxi-mal oxygen consumption (max V02) and therefore achieve maximal heart rate levels.
Such exercise intensities can normally only be maintained in a single effort for periods of approximately 5 to less than 10 minutes even in well trained athletes, because of the high levels of lactic acid that accumulate after such efforts due to concurrent lactic metabolism. The greater part of this lactic acid is produced in the earlier stages in efforts of this nature due to the initial lag in aerobic metabolism (which takes approximately one to three minutes to 'crank up' to maximal and efficient levels ofaerobic energy production) resulting in high demands for an-aerobic metabolism.
Initial lactic production can be minimised by starting at low work intensities and increasing the rate of work slowly so as to give the aerobic energy system time to increase in efficiency and meet the majority of the increasing energy demands. Work intensity should be gradually in-creased over approximately three minutes to the anaerobic threshold level and then increased sharply to maximum heart rate work level for approximately two minutes thereby ensuring maxi-mum oxygen utilization. ,
Of course reasonable levels of lactic acid willstill be produced during the final two minutes ofeach interval with lactate levels normally being in the region of six - ten mmol/L and perceived exertion being rated as "hardwork".
Active recovery periods ofthree to ten minutes will act to lower lactate levels to reasonable levels between subsequent efforts ensuring that the appropriate work intensity can be maintained. Work need only be carried out at the minumum exercise intensity necessary to induce maximal heart rate levels (ie: 95% - 100% ofmax).
Maximal heart rate should not be predicted fromage (ie: 220-age) as considerable deviations exist between individuals with variations ofup to 40 beats above and under predicted levels (80 beat range) existing. Maximal heart rate is inversely proportional to heart size. Where maximal heart rate levels have not been actually detennined (with a quality pulse rate meter in progressive max work tests), then work intensity should be carried out at a level that produces a perceived .. exertion of "hard \vork"J . . .' , '...'•
AnaerobJC Threshoid is the level ofexercise intensity at which lactic acid pro-duction begins to exceed the rate of lactic acid removal from working muscles. Exercise
carried out at orjust below the anaerobic threshold (AnT) can be maintained for reasonably long periods of time (12 to 40 minutes and more, depending on the fitness level ofthe individual) without lactate levels increasing dramatically (3-6mmol / L) and is characterized by a level of perceived exertion that is only "a little uncomfortable" with rythinic controlled breathing and being able still to talk properly for brief periods if required to. Relatively high levels of aerobic metabolism (50-90% of max V02 depending on fitness levels), occur at this level without signifi-cant lactic interference to aerobic function and as such proves to be an effective and efficient level to perform a.reasonable proportion of training designed to improve aerobic metabolism (both central and peripheral factors).
The anaerobic threshold is an important determining factor in level of perfoimance in endur-ance activities. The level of one's AnT in relation to max V02 varies significantly between indi-viduals and is primarily determined by the volume of endurance training undertaken. Training at orjust below one's Ant is an effective means of improving it.
In untrained persons AnT occurs at approximately 50%-60% of max V02 (55%-65% of max HR) whilst in very well trained endurance athletes AnT occurs at 80% - 90% of max V02 (over 90%ofmaxHR).
As one becomes fitter. the percentage ofmaxV02 and the heart rate at which AnT occurs increases. Because of these factors, as well as significant variations in rn.axim.um heart rate levels between individuals (maximum heart rate also decreases as a result of aerobic training) and daily individual variations it is highly inappropriate to set target heart rate levels for endurance training influenced by anaerobic threshold and aerobic threshold levels.
The appropriate training intensity is therefore best gauged by individuals operating at a perceived exertion of "a little uncomfortable".
AerobJC Threshold is the minimum level of exercise intensity at which signifi-
cant improvements in aerobic metabolism can occur providing the exercise is ofsufficient
duration. It also approximates the exercise intensity at which lipid oxidation is still predominaru but significant glycolytic oxidation is beginning to occur. At this level, lactate levels are very lov (1-3 mmol / U. and the level of perceived exertipn is "comfortable".
Operating at the Aerobic Threshold allows exercise to be carried out for very long duration and provides good stimulus for the improvement ofperipheral factors influencing aeroblc metabo lism as well as improved efficiency of lipid metabolism and glycogen sparing capabilities.
Because of the long duration of training that can be achieved at this exercise intensity, the total caloric expenditure can potentially be very high and consequently can make it an effective means of fat loss. Heart rate levels at which one's Aerobic Threshold occurs vary significantly between individuals and is primarily dependant on the total volume ofaerobic training under-taken. In untrained persons it occurs at less than 60% of max HR whilst in well trained persons heart rate of approximately 70-85% of maximum are necessary when undertaking Long Slow Distance Training (LSD).
Freguency ofTrainmg .
The frequency with which any form of training should be undertaken is inversely pro-portional to the intensity oftraining and the fatigue produced by training (largely influenced by the amount oflactate accumulated).
Lactic Power. Lactic Acid Tolerance and max-> V02 training all require long recovery periods betv^een workouts (48 - 120 hours depending on the relative intensity of training) for optimal adaption to take place.
The body is unlikely to be able to adapt effectively to more than approximately three (two to four) high intensity, fatiguing workouts weekly. This often necessitates performing sessions • which effectively stress two factors simultaneously. For example, both max-> V02 and lactic acid tolerance training can be both trained effectively by perfbrming intervals of3-5 minutes duration at maximum heart rate levels, with approximately 3-5 minutes recovery between intervals. Such training is highly appropriate for athletes who perform at intensities that induce very high oxygen consumption and heart rate levels, as high levels oflactic acid will acompany those conditions.
Training carried out at orjust below the Anaerobic Threshold can be effectively performed three times weekly and possibly daily depending on other training demands.
Aerobic Threshold training can be carried^out up to twice daily if necessary in well trained persons ifthe duration is not excessive in all sessions. Training at this level for shorter durations is an effective form of active recovery. .
* So in view ofthe training effects outlined above, the following table is a useful guide to application: .
In designlng aerobic classes for effectiveness you will probably be more successful if you understand the concepts and principles of movement and exercise design rather than if you just try to remember exercises by rote leaming.
If you leam to teach aerobics by simply memorising the exercises themselves without understahding or identifying the intensity or design variables which make them easier or harder to perform, you will probably find that you have difficulty in matching the goals and fitness abilities of your class participants. This difficulty in itself is one which has plagued the Fitness Industry since its beginmngs. This difficulty in itself is the one which is most likely the reason for member drop off rates and lack of adherence to aerobic programmes as well as short and long term injury effects.
So then....it is not your choice to spend a little extra time in understanding the variables of exercise design, it is your obligation as a professional aerobic teacher.
You have already leamed that all exercises that you do in any aerobic class are derived from the same very limited set of base movement patterns . So you ean assume that if you understand how all intensity variables and design variables effect the base movement patterns then this effect will not change when these base moves are combined into routines of various length.
To assist you in understanding and leaming to use the exercise design concepts , look at the equati6ns on the following pages, and relate them to The Flow Chart ofMovement Vari-ables [previous page], and also The Model ofPlanning Criteria for the Aerobic Phase [previous page].
NB: You do not have to learn these equations 'offby heart', because they do not mean anything unless you can relate them to the Flow Chart and The Modelfor Plannmg and....unders(and the concepts ofclass design. To teach aerobics cffectively though, you must learn and understand the concepts contained in these equatlons. Test yourself. See ifyou can work out what the equations mean before looking at the explanations ofeach equation.
Refer to the "Model for the Aerobic Phase" on the previous page as you read and analyse the following class con-struction equations.
The recovery or cooldown phase of the class is generally considered an integral part of an aerobic class. Participants often rush or eliminate this part of a class in an endeavour to meet their next committment.
HOW IMPORTANT IS m
Some people believe that a good cool down with significant stretching will assist to eliminate post-exei;cise soreness. However, there is no significant evidence to suggest that post-exercise soreness wili>be diminished. Soreness.will result as a factor of the resistance imposed during the strength or aerobic phase of the class. Soreness will occur regardless 6f post exercise stretching and it will be most apparent in novice exercisers who are unaccustomed to any form of overload.
Regular exe^cisers will not be affected by post-exercise soreness unless ofcourse, as a result of unaccustomed resistance factors. The real benefits ofa good recovery phase are as follows:
 Flexibility Development
Since the body has been extremely warmed up at this stage, it is a most appropriate time to focus on developing flexibility. Stretching positions can be held longer, at this stage, and if lying, crouching and kneeling (on the floor) bases of support are used for stretching, then muscles will be better relaxed since they are less likely to remain in a state of tension caused by postural requirements which occur by weight bearing in standing positions. .
Flexibility, can be effectively developed during this phase where the music volume is usually lower allowing more time for focusing verbal instruction and exptanation.
 Removal of Wastes
During vigorous exercise, lactic acid build-up can occur. So any gentle rhythmic movements incorporated with the stretches will significantly assist in veinous return. Therefore blood reoxygenation is more likely to occur quicker, reducing the levels of lactic acid build up during the exercise bout.
Participating in the recovery phase is important to the aerobic class and participants should be encouraged to remain in class to receive the full benefits as outlined. You need to
General Principles of Choreography tor Aerooics
Because choreography can be defined as the art of movement design, you may consider that if you have progressed through this manual to this point, then you have akeady encoun-tered many concepts of basic choreography. .
It is necessary to understand that there is no such thing as a right and wrong way to de-sign movement, For the choreographer, the old adage: "If it works, use it!" will always stand. On the other hand as with any other art form, if it doesn't work you have much more than the option to throw the idea out. For the artist, an idea that doesn't work is simply an opportunity to make adjustments and probably arrive at something absolutely unique.
Like any art form, to choreograph well, there must be enjoyment and relaxation and the willingness to make mistakes if necessary in becoming a better artist. For the aerobic teacher, who is often criticised fairly harshly by peers, the willingness to make mistakes is often a hard attitude or frame of mind to establish.
Needless to say that to. become good at anything, a certain amount of practice time must be invested. The aert^bic teacher then, needs to spend time outside of class hours practicing and experimenting with movement variables in order to achieve proficiency.
It is not good enough, when teaching choreography construction, to simply introduce ready made 'new moves' to aerobic teachers such as is often the case in various workshops di-rected to the Fitness Industry. Leaming ready made moves only produces a type of "band aid" solutlon to the lack of ideas problem. The 'bottom line' is that probably no amount of copying other people's moves will make you good at choreography composition. However, copying the moves of others may certainly make you more versatile. Aerobic teachers need to experience and' then practice implementing choreography systems which allow them to become proficient in creating their own original moves. Experience with movement styles must be preceded or accompanied with an awareness and proficiency in choreography method. That is: "How do you design moves for yourself?"
Although we have already stated that there is no right and wrong way to choreograph, there are certainly some ways that are more effective and certainly more time efficient than others.
Like the task of creating a work for any art form , choreography for aerobics must exist within certain limltations. Just as a painter must assess the meaning and ultimate destination for his work in deciding what size canvas, what colours, what style, what textures etc to use, the aerobic teacher as a choreographer must also make decisions which are based on the limitations of an aerobic class setting. This makes the test of design so much more difficult yet so much more exciting. Your movement composition will be influenced by your knowledge of the fitness level of participants, room area, general safety recommendations, type of music most suitable for aerobics, and even personality ofyour participants.
A workbook of how to teach aerobics is really a choreography manual in itself as all your practical exercises so far, have incorporated movement design skills that you hopefully have leamed as part of learmng how to teach an aerobic class.
In introducing you to some extra choreography exercises and experiences, our task in this section is to familiarise you with some speclfic systems for constructing your own unique moves...but remember ...Choreography is like any new language, you will find that proficiency will only occur ifyou practice and use the systems (the language ofchoreogra-
Choreography, as any form 6f creative art, is too often seen as a magical ability where either you can do it, or you cannot. 1 suggest that this view of choreography ability is a myth which has been perpetuated because aerobic teachers have rarely allowed time to manipulate the basic elements of movement to a degree where they can compose moves confidently. Most people potentially have the ability to compose fabulous new moves but never get the opportu-nity to practise, or are never shown how to practise choreography and systematically develop the skills required to achieve originality. The elements of movement are as definable as the elements of science, mathematics or music. The aerobic teacher who understands and thor-oughly memorises the few vital elements of movement (design variables), has learned the language of choreography.
To leam the language ofchoreography, 1 will introduce you to what 1 have developed as "A MOVEMENT DIRECTORY" . The directory is your choreographic tool. When you under-stand what this tool (The Directory), can do, you can use it to compose movement. Each ele-ment of movement and its derivatives included in the directory are your ingredients. Combined•in different ways these movement ingredients provide an infinite variety of movement patterns. Like mixing primary colours together to make infinite variety of hues, the basic elements ofmovement mixed together allow you to construct potentially more moves than you can ever remember or use in a life time.
The directory is at the basis of all the movement possibilities in an aerobic class situation that are already in use and those which are yet to be used. In other words, all aerobic class exercises can be simply identified as a mixture of movement directory elements.
Because 1 have designed the movement directory to be used as an adjunct to the "GRID SYSTEM" of progressive construction,with which 'new moves' can be developed spontane-ously, 1 rarely feel the need to strain to remember particular moves. In fact, from my experi-ence of using this system of construction, 1 feel that the creation of truely unique movement patterns seems to occur when the choreographer is courageous and willing enough toforget all the moves that they have done before. That is to choreograph as much as possible with an 'open / clear' minded approach.
Knowing and understanding the directory is certainly at the basis ofsuccessful choreogra-phy, and 1 feel that the various directory elements of movement are probably used subcon-sciously by anybody who creates movement. However knowing how to manipulate the ele-ments of movement in the most efficient and effective manner for the aerobic teacher, is the real focus of the aerobic teaching issue and the Grid System which 1 have designed specifically for this purpose.