Specialist in Group Fitness

Deliver real fitness results for groups by designing safe and effective adaptive programs! You’ll master creating winning class formats, exercises and choose ideal equipment and learn how to market yourself, your classes and your business!

Everything you need to confidently lead groups of all abilities to great results:

  •  How to perform objective assessments and monitor class safety
  •  How to do effective program design and implementation
  •  How to focus on class-based strength, endurance, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness
  •  How to create winning class formats, exercises and choose ideal equipment
  •  How to market yourself, your classes and your business

Specialist in Group Fitness

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  • Study at your own pace
  • Up to 12 months to complete
  • Online exam at home
  • Unlimited educational support
  • Amazing customer support
  • Nationally accredited
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Specialist in Group Fitness

This distance education course will show you how to use your knowledge and experience as an ISSA certified fitness trainer to design and lead safe and effective group training sessions. The course begins with the scientific foundations for group training design, including training-essential anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics, as well as how training elicits various physical adaptations. Material then advances to the practical application of these concepts as they apply to group training program design and implementation. Advanced concepts include programming, assessment, safety, exercises and equipment, class formats, performance nutrition, and marketing your classes.

  • Study at your own pace with flexible, online learning to fit your busy schedule.
  • Pass your certification exam online wherever you're most comfortable.
  • Enjoy unlimited educational support from your team who loves fitness too!
  • Rest easy with great customer support before, during and after your certification.
  • Take pride in knowing ISSA is nationally accredited by the DEAC.

Here's what you'll learn

Our course material is continually updated so you can be sure you're receiving the most accurate and up-to-date information available.

The Musculo-Skeletal System

The Skeletal System, The Muscular System

Kinesiology and Biomechanics

Posture, Postural Deviations, Muscle Contractions, Levers, Balance, Kinesthesis and Proprioception, Movement and Terminology, Anatomical Planes, Muscle/Strength Imbalances

Physiology and the Training Effect

Muscle Fibers, Metabolism of Muscle Contraction, Muscle Fiber Types, Recruitment, Mechanisms of Fatigue, Rate of Perceived Exertion, Homeostasis and the Training Effect

Strength, Endurance, and Cardiovascular Fitness

Newton's Laws of Motion, Biomechanical Factors in Strength, Strength Defined, Strength Development, Program Design Recommendations for Strength, Muscular Endurance, Conditioning, Cardiovascular Fitness


Flexibility Defined, When to Incorporate Stretching into the Workout, Proprio-Neuromuscular-Facilitation (PNF) Stretching

Body Composition and Performance Nutrition for Groups

Approaching Body Composition, Performance Nutrition, Nutrient Utilization During Exercise, Post Exercise Nutrition, Daily Caloric Requirements, Macronutrient Requirements, Special Considerations

Periodizing Your Planning

Periodized Training, Training Concepts, Microcycles: Short-Term Training Focus, Mesocycles and Macrocycles: Long-Term Training Goals

Considerations in Program Design

Information Gathering, Being Flexible, Performance Nutrition, Safety and Injury Prevention, Designing Your Class: Short-Term and Long-Term Goals, Incorporating "Coaching" Into Your Practice

Designing Your Group Workouts

Assessing Clients, Scaling Workouts, Structuring Your Workouts

Equipment and Exercise

Tools, Dynamic Warmup Exercises, Exercises, Exercise Selection

Workout Programming

Warming Up, Prescribed Repetitions and Rounds, Class Formats, Alternative Training Methods

Marketing and Managing Your Business

Professionalism, Record Keeping, Pricing, Marketing

What's included in this program

Chapter Download Icon
Hardcopy and Online Main Course Text

Group Fitness is a 265 page book that includes everything you need to earn an ISSA Specialist in Group Fitness. The course material is continually updated with new information so you can be sure you're receiving the most up-to-date information available.

Final Exam Icon
Online and Home Study Exam

ISSA's certification exam solidifies your proficiency as a fitness professional. Choose a paper-and-pencil exam or utilize our secure online testing portal. One No-cost Retest (if necessary)

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Study Guide and Workbook

This handy reference guide walks you through the course unit-by-unit, allowing you to gain a better understanding of personal trainer concepts.

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Online Student Forum

Our online forum is where you can post client or business challenges and receive guidance from our on-staff Master Trainers and members of the ISSA family worldwide.

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Online Exercise Lab (250 animated exercises!)

ISSA and Hyperstrike provide you with an exclusive online exercise lab. 3D animation and three different angles ensure that proper form and technique are a breeze!

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Practice Examination and Section Quizzes

The practice exam and quizzes test your understanding of the materials; so while you're reading you're preparing for the exam at the same time.

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Free Professional Website

All ISSA members get a free website to support their personal trainer careers online. Five pages of professionally designed, easily editable, fully hosted content is included. Choose from nine designs and put your best face forward online!

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Unlimited Educational Support

All ISSA students have access to unlimited educational support. If you have questions about the course materials, our on-staff professors can guide you through. This support continues even after you earn your personal trainer certification.

How the Specialist in Group Fitness works

1. Get Instant Access and Start Studying Right Away

Enroll and you will instantly gain access to your online course materials. We will also ship you the hard copies of the textbooks so you can study on-the-go. You have 4 months to complete the course but if you need more time, you can apply for a free 2 month extension. Most students finish the course in 8 to 10 weeks, with an hour or two of studying a day.

Take Quiz
2. Complete Quizzes and Test Your Comprehension

We offer online practice quizzes throughout the course to test your comprehension. Once you complete the quizzes, you'll gain access to the online final exam.

Take Exam
3. Take the Open-Book, Untimed Final Exam from Anywhere

The final exam is online, open-book and untimed. It can be taken from the comfort of your home and completed during multiple sessions. You can also change and answer, at any time, before you submit your exam. After you pass your final exam we help you plan your next move. We also provide you with a business guide and a free professional website to jump-start your fitness career.


The ISSA is the first and only fitness organization in the U.S. accredited by a federally recognized agency.