One of the best experiences you can have as someone who is passionate about group fitness is to do Gandalf Archer Mills’ BODYJAM™ class. Gandalf represents everything that is cool – he’s edgy, fashionable, funny, and has an amazing ability to be a puppet master with the emotions you can experience during the workout. There are so many things that create magic within his classes but overwhelmingly it’s his movement that gives you goosebumps; he is indeed the master of movement.
While Gandalf is an obvious example of great movement, if you think of the leaders in every program they are all masters of their own movement/technique: Jackie Mills in BODYBALANCE™, Dan Cohen in BODYCOMBAT™ , Lisa Osborne in BODYSTEP™, all great Instructors who have such incredible technique that subconsciously it takes their classes to places they didn’t think possible.
I want you to have this impact with your movement, so today I’m going to share with you the top tips to create movement that inspires and motivates people, here we go:
1. Do mirror work, but…
Doing mirror work is an obvious way to improve your movement as it allows you to get instant feedback on what you are doing well and where you can improve but many Instructors don’t get the most out of their time in front of the mirror because they aren’t focusing on the right things.
Here are 3 things that will take you mirror work to the next level:
- The main objective of doing mirror work is to gain the understanding of what great movement feels like. Use the mirror to help you make the adjustments you need to make but while you are doing that constantly ask yourself, “what does this feel like when I’m getting it right?” We don’t teach in front of mirrors so we need to have an ingrained, intuitive feeling of what good movement feels like.
- Turn away from the mirror. Once you have an understanding of what it feels like to move correctly, turn away from the mirror and practice with your focus being on maintaining the feeling of good movement. One thing I do is film myself when I do this as it allows me to see if what I feel is correct, if it’s not I can get back in front of the mirror and make corrections. This feedback loop is a powerful way to fast forward your growth.
- Move as far away from the mirror as possible. Most of us do our mirror work standing just a couple of meters in front of it but this isn’t representative of a real class environment. Depending on your studio, people could be standing over 15 meters from where you are on stage so by standing further away from the mirror you get a better understanding of what you look like to the people at the back of the room. This helps you learn how to create more of a journey out of your movement, because you have to develop the extremes of movements to make it effective.
2. Develop the emotion in movement
All great movers have correct technique but what makes them powerful is their ability to use the movement to express the emotion of the workout. I remember years ago I was at a Les Mills Live where Rachael Newsham’s mic stopped working! For most of us this would be a stressful experience but Rachel used it as an opportunity to let her movement shine. She drew people into her emotional journey just through her movement, it was a special thing to experience.
To develop this you need to use your music as your guide. Spend time understanding the emotional journey of the music and develop your ability to get your movement to go on that emotional journey too. Using contrast, expression and internally being "one with the music" will help with the synergy.
3. Video yourself, often
The biggest impact you can have on your technique is filming your classes, often. The video doesn’t lie. What we think we are doing when we are teaching may be different to what is really happening. Make a commitment to filming your class every month and after review give yourself one or two things to improve on, I can 100% guarantee that if you commit to this you will make massive progress.
The greatest Instructors have the ability to make passers-by stop and watch. There’s an attractiveness to movement that can transform others and if you commit to doing the right type of mirror work, develop the emotion through your movement and video yourself often, you could be on track to be a leader and master of your own and guide others to places they didn’t think possible.