5 Basics for a good group lesson!

You are looking for a sporty leisure activity and preferably in a group... Then a group lesson is obviously an ideal choice. However, it is very important to choose the right concept and the right place.

Having fun is one thing, but you also want to experience progress and above all avoid injuries. Therefore, it is very important to make the right choice(s) in this area or you could soon find yourself complaining.

1. A group class should be coached and not supervised

What exactly is the difference between the two? Well, unfortunately there are still many group lessons where the teacher stands in front of the group and the group imitates the teacher. The teacher has neither the time nor the opportunity during the group lesson to go around and adjust. This means without doubt that at least part of the group does not perform the exercises in the right way. In this way you miss progress, but much worse.... you unconsciously teach your body wrong patterns and increase the risk of injury.


A group class is a super dynamic event. The teacher may not stand still for a second, so to speak. Constant adjustment and especially watching from as many different angles as possible are really indispensable basics. You must have the feeling that the person giving the lesson is a positive addition to the lesson. Ask yourself the question, are you being redirected as much as possible? A maximum size to provide all this, in my opinion, is between 15 and 20 people. With a larger group, it is almost impossible to provide the proper quality.

2. A group lesson should give you energy instead of taking it away (in the long run)

The feeling of going to extremes is very addictive. All too often people assume that you have to be completely exhausted to have done 'good' sports. Much more important than that is to be able to keep moving. Being tired afterwards is certainly possible, but most of the time you should still feel energized by exercising rather than losing it.


Going to extremes can certainly be fun and useful, but take as a rule of thumb that most of your sporting work is best done at 80-85% of your ability. The training stimulus you get and the progression you make is pretty much the same as that of 'giving it your all'. Beyond that, you greatly reduce the chance of injury and thus ensure the possibility of lifelong exercise. Here and there you can then tactically pick exercises or a workout where you go just a little bit harder. In this way you will undoubtedly experience the best of both worlds!

3. Thoughtful - that sounds special

Training - whether on your own, with a personal coach or in a group - should always be well thought-out. In concrete terms, this means that what you're going to do and why you're going to do it are determined in advance. Ideally, this should be a long-term plan. If there is no such plan, it must be thought out for at least a semi-long term or a clear direction must be chosen. Balanced, a balance between upper and lower body, between push and pull movements, between quadriceps and hamstring dominant movements, ...


Ask about the way a particular class is structured. Ask why a particular movement/exercise is chosen. Ask why a certain structure is followed, a certain sequence of exercises, what the approach is, ...

4. Personal and group feedback vs 'it's a counter'.

All too often, a 'coach' during a group lesson is for me on a par with a speaking clock. Not a fancy one from Amazon or Google, but a very simple clock. The only task he/she performs is counting down, letting you know when to rest, start and push through, ... Another thing are the random (not so) 'motivational' things that are shouted ('feel the burn, think of the calories, good job, come on keep it up, ...).


What is important is that there is plenty of room for feedback. Personal adjustment is not always easy in a group lesson, but it should be as much as possible. An absolute minimum are moments of rest where feedback can be given in group or where the most common errors can be gone over. In other words, is your group instructor a talking clock or effectively the reason why you take lessons there? You need to hear things that add value, that not just anyone could call out or see. Humor is also so important, it should be fun lol! Look for a place where you have to work hard, but you can laugh just as hard. Hard work, suffering and being barked at at the same time is no use to anyone.

5. Clear pre-given progressions and regressions

The challenge of a group is that you have different levels, possibly even with limitations or injuries. People who are fitter & less fit, bigger & smaller, more experienced & less experienced, ... A good group exercise class takes this into account. A good group trainer thinks this through beforehand. Everyone must be able to follow & be challenged but no one should feel like they are holding up the group.


You must feel that you can follow perfectly, but also be challenged at your level. To achieve this, more difficult and easier versions of the different exercises are needed. If only 1 exercise is explained, feel free to ask what if it doesn't work? What if this is just too easy?


After following a group lesson you should have the feeling that you are really being coached. The teacher must be an absolute value-added to the class. You exercised in a group, but felt like there was plenty of room for personal or specific feedback. It was pretty tough, yet you felt afterwards that you had more energy than before. After a chat with the teacher, he could clearly explain why certain exercises, concepts, etc. were chosen. Before the lesson started, you were given a number of options for the different exercises to make them harder or easier.

You want to feel that you have worked hard, but at the same time had a good time and a good laugh. That is what keeps you going and that is what produces results!

These friends, are 5 absolute basics that should be at the very top of your list of points where you can distinguish a good group class from a not so good one.

Want even more Primer? Be sure to listen to our podcast STERK WERK for similar content like our EP4: De waarde van een top team of  EP19: Help me! Waar kan ik sporten?  See you soon! 

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