Finally!! The last post in the AFAA certification series. If I’ve been a little long-winded, I apologize, but you never know what piece of information will be helpful to which person. Thanks for making it this far in the series. If you’d like to check out the previous posts, they are here: Post 1, Post 2, Post 3, Post 4.
MUSCLE GROUP DEMONSTRATIONS
This topic is covered in great detail during the workshop. A presenter will take you through each muscle group and demonstrate several options for exercises you can perform for the demo. You can also come up with a game plan prior to the workshop and use that opportunity to confirm that your choices are acceptable. Here, we won’t discuss exercises you’ll do for this group, only what is expected during testing.
As soon as you have completed the cardiorespiratory demonstration, you will be told to “demonstrate exercises appropriate for the … <one of ten muscle groups>.” You will be given two minutes. They will not announce that you should switch to your second exercise, so I recommend that you choose your two exercises and do one of two things: perform each exercise for 15 repetitions each and alternate between the two until time is called OR perform each exercise for 130 beats worth of time, since your music will be approximately 130 bpm. 130 beats is 16 8-counts. If you do “2-up, 2-down” you’ll do 32 repetitions before you switch.
Also note, you will not be using any type of weights or bands for this demonstration, so you’ll have to mime the act of wrapping your tubing or picking up your weights. You will also be asked to show by your facial expression, breath and muscle tension where you are contracting or doing the work, and when you are releasing. This can take some practice, so again, if you have no sculpting experience, head to the weight room with your book so you can try out some of the exercises before you show them off.
After the two strength exercises, you are asked to show a stretch. Remember how your stretch reflex works: it takes at least 20 seconds for flexibility gains to be made so once you pick your stretch, HOLD IT! Unless you realize ten seconds into it that you flubbed up and are stretching chest when they asked for shoulders, you are expected to hold a static stretch. You have the option of demonstrating and active stretch, but this has a specific formula you must follow. Your best bet is to demonstrate one stretch and hold it the entire time you are given. I saw lots of folks who demonstrated their inability to follow directions — doing ballistic stretches, switching two or three times or going back and forth between two different stretches… You will get marked down for this! Remember: two strength, ONE stretch.
After you have completed your group demonstration, including cardio respiratory and muscle group demos, it is time for the individual presentations. This is by far the most frightening section for most folks because the spotlight is shining on you and there is no where to turn for help! But fear not, because #1 – it goes by too quickly to notice and #2 – after you read this, you’ll know more than enough to get by.
One by one, you are called up to lead your group in a single exercise which you will demonstrate in three varying ability levels, ie. Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced. You must speak at least one minute and no more than two. In those 1-2 minutes, you must:
1. Give the name of the exercise
2. Tell what muscle group it will be working, or that it is a cardio segment
3. Describe the action and give form cues (I recommend no fewer than three form cues).
4. Provide proper progressions for Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Levels
Again, it helps to have a game plan. Choose an exercise that has obvious progressions, such as cardio (HINT: You already have a game plan for this — you did it during the group demo!) or strength exercise, such as a push-up,squat, crunch, or combo move. The hardest part can be deciding what differentiates a beginner(1) exercise from an intermediate(2) from an advanced(3). Here are some examples:
1. Knees positioned under your hips
2. Knees positioned behind your hips
3. Up on your toes
1. Feet shoulder width apart, hands by sides or on hips
2. Add a knee lift at the top of each squat
3. Single-leg squats
1. Feet on the floor, hands across chest
2. Feet on the floor, hands behind head
3. Feet off the foor, hands behind head
2. Feet on the floor, hands overhead
COMBO LUNGE + OVERHEAD PRESS + GLUTE PRESS
1. Basic static lunge, no arms
2. Static lunge + overhead press
3. Lunge + lift back leg to a glute press as you stand up and press overhead
Now, here’s a sample script you can use to fill in the <suggestions> for your own demonstration:
“Hi everybody! My name is <name> and I am going to lead you to stronger <muscle group> by performing <name of exercise>. To do a <name of exercise> you’ll need to be <sitting, standing, on your knees, etc>. You’ll also need <handweights, a band, nothing but your smile>. Are you ready? Let’s start with the basic version of this exercise. Start with your <form cue 1> and your <form cue 2>. <Form cue 3>. Move to the top of this motion in two counts as you <ex/inhale> then return to your starting position. Keep the alignment in your <toes, knees, shoulders, ears> as you <move something>. Stay here if you are a beginner. For my Level II students, you can progress this exercise by <intermediate form cue>. Stick with this, and don’t forget to <form cue>. For some of you, this may not be intense enough. If you would like to try the Level III or Advanced version of this exercise, change to <advanced form cue>.”
At this point in the demo, you should hear the words, “Thank you very much” followed by thunderous applause (especially if you are the last one in your group!). If you hear nothing, you did one of two things: You either did not go for the full minute, or you left out information in one of the categories. Do a couple of repetitions to make sure you didn’t just run under time. If you lead a few reps and still have not heard, “thank you very much,” run back through your checklist in a refresher way. “Can you feel your <muscle group> working?” and/or “Done properly, the <exercise name> is an excellent way to develop your <muscle group>.” Then, give a few more form cues, especially alignment and muscle action. Finally, demonstrate your distinct Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced movements.
If you get cut off mid-sentence, chances are you made it and covered all of your bases. A final hint: if you choose cardio for your demonstration, make sure that your progressions do not cause your students to bump into each other. For instance, you can’t progress a grapevine by adding jumping jacks at the end of it because your beginners will be moving laterally while the folks who added jumping jacks are standing still. Progress to a movement that “covers the same territory” as the one before it, ie. Side-to-side lunges can lead to jumping jacks or step touches can lead to skater jumps.
So there it is. You made it. You’re done. Now you sit back and wait 6-8 weeks to find out if you passed. (Note, I did, so I have some evidence that my advice works!!) If by some fluke you do not, you can retest without taking the entire workshop again. However, you might consider taking the workshop again so that you can hear the things again that you might have missed or forgotten.
I wish you the best of luck in your certification! Study hard, listen up and read all 5 posts — you’ll do fine!