Over the last few years, group workouts and High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) classes have risen in popularity due to their camaraderie, leadership, and quality of exercise. However, there is a common misconception that these types of group workouts only provide cardio benefits and offer little value for building strength and muscle mass. This article will explore the power of group workouts, some examples of strength training within group classes like HIIT, and the advantages these exercises provide.
The Benefits of Strength Training
Why is strength training important to begin with? Strength training can get a bad reputation as something done by bodybuilders and gym bros looking to get ripped. However, training functional muscle groups like your back and abdominals that help stabilize your core is crucial for maintaining long-term health.
According to the National Institute of Health, our muscle mass peaks around 30-35 years old and begins to decline after that. In fact, about 30% of adults over the age of 70 have difficulty performing simple tasks like walking or standing up from a chair because of their decline in muscle mass.
This is why strength training is so important, with benefits for nearly every aspect of our health and wellness.
Increased Muscle Mass and Strength
Strength training increases muscle mass, allowing individuals to lift heavier weights or perform more challenging bodyweight exercises, fostering continuous improvement.
Muscle tissue is metabolically active and burns calories, whereas fat stores do not. As you build muscle mass, you will increase resting energy expenditure just by having larger muscles.
Enhanced Bone Health
Strength training is beneficial for bone health, as it increases bone density as well as reduces the risk of osteoporosis. This is especially crucial as individuals age.
Improved Functional Fitness
Strength-based exercises improve functional fitness, making everyday tasks easier to perform. This includes better posture, increased core stability, and a reduced risk of injury from activities like twisting or bending down.
The Power of Group Workouts: Fostering Motivation and Camaraderie
Group workouts offer a dynamic and supportive environment that can significantly impact one’s fitness journey. The power of collective motivation cannot be underestimated, as participants often find inspiration and encouragement from their peers. When working out with others, there is a sense of camaraderie and shared commitment, fueling the desire to push each other and achieve common fitness goals.
Additionally, group workouts provide a level of structure and accountability that might be harder to maintain in individual training sessions. Knowing that others are counting on you to show up can serve as a powerful motivator, reducing the likelihood of skipping workouts. One study found that the chances of someone completing a weight loss training program increased from 76% to 95% when they were recruited with friends.
Group workouts can also provide quality instruction at a far cheaper rate than private fitness classes, which makes them accessible to beginners and seasoned athletes alike, fostering inclusivity and minimizing feelings of intimidation. If directions and demonstrations are followed properly, this could even help minimize the risk of injury for newcomers who aren’t as familiar with lifting weights or performing bodyweight exercises.
Types of Strength Workouts in Group Classes
Group classes like HIIT often combine short bursts of intense effort with periods of active recovery. These classes have gained immense popularity due to their time efficiency and effectiveness in improving cardiovascular health and burning calories. There are multiple ways to incorporate strength training into group fitness classes to activate your muscles.
Bodyweight strength training involves using the body’s own weight as resistance to improve functional strength and flexibility. Common exercises include push-ups, squats, lunges, planks, and burpees.
Resistance Band Workouts
Resistance bands are useful for targeting specific muscle groups. They provide constant tension throughout a specified movement, engaging stabilizer muscles, and promoting a different kind of muscle activation than what is seen in bodyweight exercises.
Dumbbell and Kettlebell Exercises
These classic strength training tools allow for a wide range of exercises that target various muscle groups. HIIT classes often incorporate rapid movements with dumbbells or kettlebells, including bicep curls, weighted step-ups, kettlebell swings, the Arnold Press, and more.
The diverse range of strength workouts in HIIT classes ensures a comprehensive approach to fitness, targeting different muscle groups and improving functional strength. If you’d like to experience the power of strength training and group fitness yourself, grab a friend and head to your nearest Fit Body Boot Camp to take one of our signature 30-minute Afterburn HIIT classes. See why it’s everyone’s favorite workout!