10 Benefits of Group Fitness

For years I was under the assumption that I should only do one-on-one private sessions if I was going to get all the benefits of Pilates. And when I was tired, or just being lazy, I would talk to my instructor about my day, my boyfriend troubles, or ask in depth questions about a specific muscles or exercises. Secretly… I was stalling. My instructor would listen patiently, and at the end of the session I would write her a Big Fat Check for my one-on-one private Pilates session.

For new Pilates students I’m a huge fan of a introduction private package for a few classes. You learn the Pilates apparatuses and fundamental repertoire – it’s like learning to walk before you learn to run. For clients who may have had a major trauma (contraindications of certain movement) or are maybe a professional athlete, they may stay in the private setting indefinitely.

However there can be pitfalls and challenges of only doing one-on-one private sessions. I know first hand, as an instructor and student, that privates often lead to more chit-chat than movement. And ultimately for a majority of people the price tag of a private makes Pilates inaccessible.

So, let’s remove the training wheels. Move students into group classes and they gain a myriad of benefits. Students have the same needs met (and more!) in group classes. As the founder of LubbDubb I’ve talked to countless studio owners, instructors, and students about what inspires them in group classes. Between these conversations, and my own experience as an instructor and student, I’ve developed this list of 10 Benefits of Group Fitness that create positive movement experiences, and keep people coming back to the practice for a lifetime.

For the Student:

1. Cueing Epiphanies – There are so many well-trained instructors out there, and everyone learns a little differently. One instructor’s “extend your spine” cue could work with students who know what extension is. Another instructor may say “arch your back like a dog stretching after a nap”. Both are great cues, but what matters is how it lands in the student’s body. The more instructors you can expose yourself to, the more opportunities you’ll get to expand your understanding of movement.

2. Mutual SupportHaving mutual support and a sense of community through caring for others and being cared for by others gives us a sense of value in our community. When we feel valued we are: more motivated, happier, more engaged, and more satisfied. I can’t tell you how many times during or after a group class that “we are all in this together” feeling has led to new friendships or profound experiences that have shaped me in a positive way. In addition when one student has a modification, another student can mimic that modification and can use it if they need it without the instructor cueing a modification. Or often times support comes to us as inspiration from other students who are more advanced than we may be, and this inspiration can support us to work towards our more lofty movement goals.

3. Increased Motor Learning – In a private setting, instructors often hover and correct every small error a client makes. However, in a group-class students make errors, and small errors help us learn, they can create self-sufficiency and confidence. When people have confidence they can do all sorts of amazing things. Think about balance, for instance, negative self-talk is one of the main reason students fall out of balance in a class. As soon as you say to yourself “I can’t do this” you fall. In addition, there are all kinds of external stimuli in a group class. Processing external stimuli can feel overwhelming at first but will ultimately improves our motor learning. What students gain in motor learning advancements will make them successful in all areas of their life.

4. Social Connectedness – One of the biggest benefits of group fitness is the social aspect. Social connectedness has many different branches, each of which has its own benefits (and probably deserves its own blog post). As many of us have experienced, group fitness often expands communities. A fitness community keeps us accountable. For example: we are more likely to go to that 6am class if we have a cohort of fitness buddies there to greet us. People tend to work harder in a group, and of course there’s a positive and negative side to working hard, it can be motivating and also competitive but when balanced correctly it’s easier to meet our fitness goals with our tribe by our side

5. It’s More Affordable – Group classes range from $15-40 per class, and when you book classes through LubbDubb students earn money as the group class grows. Private instruction ranges $100-120 per session. At $15 per class you can save up for your favorite instructor’s International Wellness Retreat. For those of us who have been on wellness retreats we know the value of a retreat experience. To be able to travel to a beautiful place, get out of our comfort zone, and be in a cohort of like minded individuals is well worth the $500-$4000 price tags of retreats.

For the Instructor:

1. Financially Beneficial – A full group class often brings a lot more revenue in the door. Students pay less, instructors get paid more, and the studio is bustling with the energy of happy people. They are a win-win for everyone.

2. Expanding Business Opportunities – Teaching group classes often lead to private clients, therefore more business. Group class substitute teaching opportunities are the best way to make a little extra money and build relationships at studios where you’d like to teach regularly.Once you have a strong student followings from group classes, students will often take workshops or go on retreats with you because they trust and enjoy the group dynamic that you create. Workshops and retreats when done right can be much more lucrative than just teaching group and private classes.

3. Challenges Repertoire – Teaching a group has some of the same dynamics as performing on stage. And when we are performing we want to be our best. It’s possible to deliver the same-old repertoire but I believe we are more inspired as teachers when we have that little bit of needed pressure of being in front of a group. I personally teach better and get out of my comfort zone by trying new sequences, and interesting exercises when I teach group classes. Group classes make me a better teacher.

4. Group Energy Boost – Teaching to a group can be fun, your personality can really shine, and when you master teaching groups you’ll leave feeling energized and fulfilled because your skills just made a whole class of students feel better then when they walked out the door. When you energize a group, they return it to you X-times the amount of smiling faces.

5. Seeing a Group Grow – In my honest opinion this has to be one of the best things about teaching a group. More students getting fit = WINNING!  Seeing budding friendships and camaraderie amongst students = HEART EXPANDING! Knowing you’re making a difference in the world one student at a time = CONTENTMENT!

Regular group exercise has benefits that go beyond the fitness studio. It will make people feel more connected, while giving a sense belonging in their chosen fitness community.  Group fitness is accessible, affordable, and fun!

The above list of 10 benefits is what I have experienced as an instructor and lover of fitness classes. When brainstorming this blog idea I took an outdoor boot camp class. After class I asked the group of students what they felt the benefits of group fitness were, and here are some of their reflections:

  •     You realize you’re not the least coordinator person in the room
  •     You get lots of high fives #bootcamp
  •     Occasional beer after class with friends (maybe they’ll invite me out next week…)
  •     Learn lots of good dad jokes

Mandi Bateman is a Polestar Pilates freelance instructor/mentor, and the founder of LubbDubb. When booking classes through LubbDubb students earn money the more they participate in classes and share with their friends. LubbDubb is a marketplace for studio managers, and freelance instructors to post their group fitness experiences. As a freelance instructor it can be very challenging to travel from studio to studio and maintain a student following. At LubbDubb we’ve addressed this challenge by offering freelance instructors the opportunity to post classes on the platform, and students can follow you wherever your teaching whether it be a studio class, outdoor class, workshop, or retreat. To take or post your classes visit Lubbdubb on Facebook – Share what makes your heart beat!!

Reader Interactions


  1. It’s good that you point out that group fitness training is a great way to make new friends. I just moved to a new city, and I’m considering signing up for group fitness classes to help me make friends. I’m going to look for a good business in the area that offers group fitness training.

  2. Thanks for the advice to go to expose yourself to multiple instructors. I think a ton of people overlook this in the end and assume one instructor will be enough. Then sometimes they don’t get along with that instructor and end up not liking pilates when they should just try someone else.

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