What Count Should Music Be for Aerobics Classes?
Music and its tempo are important in aerobics classes. If you are teaching a high/low impact or step aerobics class, the music adds structure to your class by helping participants stay on beat and together. In other forms of exercise, music can keep participants motivated or to set the appropriate mood.
Depending on what type of aerobics class you are teaching, different tempos, measured in beats per minute, are appropriate for each style.
Make sure your participants are warmed up before class. An appropriate tempo for an aerobics warmup is between 118 and 136 beats per minute. At the lower end of the appropriate tempo range you could use Ram Jam’s “Black Betty” and toward the higher end you could use Neon Trees’ “Your Surrender.”
This varies greatly because it depends on what you are going to be doing with the class after the warmup. The warmup should be at a lower intensity than the workout, but should be similar to the workout to get participants’ bodies ready for what is to come.
High/Low Impact Aerobics
An appropriate tempo for high/low impact aerobics is between 134 and 158 beats per minute. At the lower end of the tempo range you could use “Break it Off” by Sean Paul and Rihanna, and at the higher end you could use “Surfin’ USA” by the Beach Boys.
During high/low impact aerobics, you are doing combinations of different movements; depending on participants’ fitness and abilities, you can judge which tempo they will be able to continuously exercise to for the duration of the class. With classes of older or less fit participants, you should keep the tempo slower and progress to faster tempos as their fitness and ability improve.
An appropriate tempo for step aerobics is 118 to 128 beats per minute. You could use songs ranging from Blake Shelton’s “All About Tonight” to Madonna and Justin Timberlake’s “4 Minutes.”
The tempo is slower for step aerobics than for high/low impact aerobics because it takes more time to step up to do movements than to do movements with your feet on the ground. Assess your class and choose the tempo based on participants’ fitness and abilities.
Non-Choreographed Group Fitness
If you are teaching a class that does not rely on the beat to keep everyone together, it is still important to provide music for motivation or to set the mood. For a muscle conditioning class, keep the tempo at less than 132 beats per minute so participants’ movements do not become fast and out of control.
An appropriate song would be Sean Kingston’s “Fire Burning” at 123 beats per minute. If you are teaching a class in which you are doing flexibility work, yoga or Pilates, you could choose songs like “All of My Days” by Alexi Murdoch or “Om Narayana” by Wade Imre Morissette.
You should keep the tempo less than 100 beats per minute, or choose music that does not have a strong beat, to keep the mood relaxed.
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