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Are Group Fitness Classes Safe?

Updated: Jul 15, 2021

Someone asked me what my opinion was on group fitness classes, if I felt they were a good idea or just an accident waiting to happen. I’ve had this conversation numerous times with people, because many people get injured and feel like the trainers don’t really pay the attention they should, is that really the case?

Are fitness classes safe?

“Well it’s safe if the person participating in the class understands proper form, technique, how to adjust the exercise if they have an injury and knows their own limits. The trainers don’t pay huge amount of attention to the participants’ individual needs, because they can’t and it’s not their job. Their job is to lead a class, give general posture and muscle focus cues, watch out for serious concerns like a heart attack or someone passing out and deal with that.

I have a few clients who go to group fitness classes and it works for them because, during our private one on one sessions I can teach them how to adjust an exercise so it doesn’t hurt, because if there’s pain there’s usually an alignment issue, which usually means muscles aren’t firing properly and, it’s fairly simple to correct with practice. I can teach my client how to either work around it or, teach them what muscles they need to be focusing on, specifically during that particular exercise.

Just recently I had a client say “Heather the outside of my knees really hurt after I went to my fitness class”, we went over what she did in class, and I provided an explanation to where the pain could be coming from, I taught her a different position for both squats and lunges, and a specific muscle to focus on that needed strengthening in order to reduce the pain, and I said “next time squats and lunges are on the menu tell the trainer you need to do it this way”.

Sometimes I’ll tell a client “look just scrap the pushups during class because all they are doing right now is causing you more shoulder and neck pain, do this stretch, or exercise instead.

I do find the trainers of group classes to be fairly receptive to a client needing to make a modification to an exercise, but the client needs to know how to adjust and that’s where a Personal trainer, Physiotherapist, Chiropractor or even a Massage Therapist is really useful!

Group classes are great for many reasons, but they aren’t for everyone, be prepared though that if you start to end up with twinges, aches or pains, it’s not your fault, it doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong, or that the instructor isn’t paying the right amount of attention, it just means your body doesn’t like something your doing, and the only way of figuring that out is to consult a professional.

If you want a recommendation for a Chiro or Physio in the Edmonton area, comment on the blog and I’ll be happy to share.

What's your experience with group fitness classes? Love em? or not?


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