For most serious athletes, fitness can help maximize performance and minimize injury. Elite athletes know the strategic approach is to tailor your workouts to mimic the movements of your sport while reducing the risk of injury. The mantra for serious athletes is “train the movement, not just the muscle.”

Athletes should train ‘functionally’ while also ‘cross training’ to produce the best outcomes for their sport.  For most athletes, training workouts should emphasize strength, explosive power, speed, agility, and quickness. It’s also important to build strength and stamina to be able to perform for a specific time period (whether short or long), and to be able to recover effectively.

While traditional workouts at the gym can be effective at building strength and endurance, it’s a smart idea to find ways to cross train. One of the best ways to do this is by introducing group fitness workouts. Group fitness focuses on a wide variety of exercises, specifically compound movements that are most like the ones found in sports. Varying your workouts with group fitness can help you focus on, and build up your overall fitness…well beyond the sport itself.

The benefits of group fitness include:

    • Diverse programming, including cardio conditioning, strength training, flexibility, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT)
    • Safe and fun instruction and coaching
    • Team approach encourages accountability, motivation and energy, positive reinforcement

Here are some of the best group fitness classes for athletes:

Core conditioning
A core conditioning class like CXWORX focuses on working the entire core muscles to prepare and strengthen the abdominals, back, shoulders and hips for sport, while improving posture and joint stability that all athletes must have. Yoga and Pilates classes are also extremely effective to strengthen and stretch muscles, enhancing stability and maximizing flexibility.

Indoor group cycling
These classes provide a cardio training session that works for all fitness levels and ages by manipulating pedaling speed and resistance. RPM is an example of a group cycling workout that is based on authentic cycling drills and programs. It incorporates simulated climbs, sprints and timed intervals similar to cycle racing.

Strength conditioning
Look for classes that provide intense training designed to develop and define major muscle groups. Athletes will enjoy the combination of strength training and endurance of BODYPUMP, a full-body barbell workout that burns calories and shapes and tones your entire body. This kind of group exercise increases core strength and improves bone health.

Cardio challenge:
Group fitness classes that include high-intensity intervals, repeated over again in sets are effective training methods to get your heart rate pumping which is the key to building cardiovascular strength, power, and stamina. BODYATTACK combines athletic movements like running, lunging and jumping with strength exercises such as push-ups, squats, and lunges.

No matter what your goal, including group fitness in your workout plan, makes good sense. Not to mention it’s a fun, safe and effective way to cross-train. Group fitness classes are designed to challenge participants and to build strength, stamina, and suppleness, with options to pace yourself or amp up the intensity. The chance to push your limits alongside other fitness enthusiasts makes group fitness classes an excellent option to keep your training program fresh, challenging and motivating.