What makes a good instructor?

In my zombie-like state I have been frequently staring off into space and letting my mind wonder. Did I mention this was while I was studying? Yup straight A student haha. Okay guys, give me a break I did manage to get a fair bit done! But anyways what was I saying- yup my mind is wondering and I began thinking about fitness (as you do), group exercise classes (as you also do), instructors (1+1=2) and then I got to the topic of this post. What makes a good instructor?

As an active participant and an instructor I thought it’d be fun to do a two-sides of the coin type run down of what I think makes a good great instructor. (This is from my point of view, so you may agree or disagree- feel free to let me know in a comment; I’d love to discuss it more!)

A good instructor from a Participant’s point of view:

  • Runs on time.
  • Knows their stuff- choreography, left from rights, moves etc.
  • Is friendly and smiley.
  • Makes the class fun.
  • Turns the music up LOUD!
  • Doesn’t say the same thing over and over.
  • Offers options and challenges.
  • Motivates when it gets tough.
  • Is in time (you will be amazed at how often they go out of time haha!).
  • Is not crazy/loopy– haha personal joke ;)
  • Doesn’t take forever in between tracks or have 5 million drinks breaks.
  • Is fit enough to not die on stage haha!
  • Changes the mix so it doesn’t get repetitive, boring and easy.

A good instructor from an Instructor’s point of view:

  • Speaks clearly and loud enough for everyone to hear.
  • Offers visual, verbal and pre-cues.
  • Uses correct names for the moves.
  • Knows the feel of each track and how to deliver each one (which relates to the next one sorta)
  • Knows the intention of each track (peak, work the legs, conditioning etc).
  • Motivates.
  • Knows the choreography in and out. (And sticks to it mind you).
  • Stays in time.
  • Fit enough to effectively teach and do the moves.
  • Caters for all participants- give options and adapts.
  • Attentive.
  • Interactive and engages with the audience.
  • Knows the participants names and uses it.
  • TECHNIQUE, TECHNIQUE, TECHNIQUE. This should probably be first because Les Mills is fanatic about proper technique.
  • Passionate about the program.
  • Makes sure everyone does the class safely and with the best technique possible.
  • Makes beginners feel welcome, safe and secure- so hopefully they keep coming back!

The biggest thing for me would have to be a flowing class (not constantly stopping), good and loud music, and someone who loves the class and teaches it in a way that makes you feel like you’re not exercising!

To each of us a good instructor is going to inhibit different qualities and do different things. For instance, I know some members who ate being asked to make ‘woop woop’ noises or join in on the countdown but personally I love it. I also know that members hate being ‘picked on’ for technique; and unfortunately I am probably guilty of this. I never point one person out but always start my class with a little speech at how important it is to chose an appropriate level and do that 100%, instead of doing a more advanced move dangerously or wrongly. Another option is telling the whole class to get their bums down and hope the person gets the message ;)

Don’t worry, I’m not quite like this guy ;)



What things do YOU think makes a good instructor? Or tell me about your favourite group fitness instructor!


  1. I once had an instrcutor who came to class saying she was too full from her big lunch to do the class so she would stand in the back and tell us what to do…needless to say, I did not return. Haha I do agree on the LOUD music being necessary! :)

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  4. Sarah C says:

    For me, it’s knowing your stuff, encouraging the class, and ALWAYS giving options (because you never know what someone can or can’t do). I joke with my classes that I don’t have enough fun in my life so it’s up to them to have fun with me – get into the moves, sing along with the music, make a face – anything to let me know that you want to be in class as much as I want you to be there. And good, loud music is always a must.

    • xoxbekxox says:

      That’s a great justification- you never do actually know what people can and can’t do. Haha, I like that little trick- I might try it on my classes sometime when I want them to yahoo or get into it with me ;) Thanks for that!

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