Primary Group Exercise Cert. v4 - 5 CEUs

AFAA’s Primary Group Exercise Certification is designed to equip those seeking to become certified as group exercise instructors with the competencies needed to design safe and effective group exercise programming for the general healthy population.

This gold standard, fully-accredited (both exam and program) and globally recognized certification course is appropriate for instructors who teach free-form and/or pre-choreographed programs.

The following topics are covered in advance of the included one-day certification review and practicum workshop:

  • Basic Anatomy, Kinesiology, Biomechanics and Exercise Physiology
  • Nutrition and Weight Management
  • Group Exercise Program Design
  • Essentials of Teaching (Basic Exercise Standards & Guidelines, Motivation, Choreography, Cueing, etc.)
  • Exercise- selection, technique, alignment and performance with or without equipment
  • Injury Prevention, Emergency Response and Special Populations
  • Other Modalities (Aqua Fitness, Indoor Cycling, Dance Fitness, Step, etc.)
  • Business Skills and Legal Responsibilities (Substitute teaching, Law and Exercise)
The certification review and practicum workshop is designed to allow participants to review and apply what they’ve learned prior to taking the written and practical examinations towards the conclusion of the workshop. (Both exams are included in the workshop registration fee).

Upon successful completion of the AFAA Primary Group Exercise certification course, participants will be able to:

  • Apply the principles of anatomy, exercise physiology, nutrition and kinesiology to the design and delivery of group exercise classes.
  • Formulate the appropriate response(s) for safety issues such as injury prevention, preexisting conditions, special populations, and emergency response protocol in a group exercise setting.
  • Outline and appropriately apply the AFAA fitness training recommendations according to the Basic Exercise Standards and Guidelines in group program formats.
  • State and appropriately apply the AFAA 5 Questions when evaluating exercise selection and technique.
  • Integrate the areas of instructional technique, cueing, music usage, exercise sequencing and choreography within a free-form or pre-choreographed group exercise class setting.
  • Incorporate professionalism in his/her practice by following the Code of Ethics and related legal guidelines.
Depending on prior education or experience, AFAA recommends no less than 1-3 months of dedicated pre-study before attending the certification workshop. The following recommended materials are available at to help you successfully prepare:
  • Fitness: Theory & Practice (2010) textbook ($69.00)
  • Study Guide (included with workshop registration)
  • Group Exercise: The Practical Way® Workshop (practical skills development workshop. Offered online or onsite; $129)
  • Music Essentials for Group Exercise ($45.00)
  • Practice Test ($20.00)
  • The Practical Way DVD ($20.00)
  • Instructor-led Live Online Study Groups (see for details)


  • Possess Current CPR and AED Certification. (Proof must be received before certification will be issued. Online or home study CPR courses not accepted.)
  • Be at least 18 Years of Age
  • Early Registration
  • Pre-Study
  • Prior Group Exercise Experience Recommended (those with no prior experience are strongly advised to take the Group Exercise: The Practical Way® workshop prior to registering for a certification workshop).

The workshop fee is $399† (less a 10% discount for current AFAA members. Corporate affiliate discounts may not be combined).

This fee includes:

  • One-Day Certification Review and Practicum Workshop
  • Primary Group Exercise Certification Study Guide (Shipping not included)
  • Written and Practical Certification Exams
  • One-year AFAA membership ($68 value) or membership extension to current members and a print or digital subscription to American Fitness magazine (does not include postage to addresses outside the U.S.)
  • AFAA certified instructor certificate and I.D. card (upon successful completion of both written and practical examinations). CPR/AED certification required before certificate is issued.
  • 5 CEUs for AFAA certified instructors
  • If you have a disability and require special accommodations at an AFAA workshop, please call 800-446-2322 x213 in advance

AFAA certified professionals who wish to register only for CEU credit pay a workshop fee of $85. Receive 5 CEUs.

†Fee does not include the recommended Fitness: Theory and Practice textbook (2010. $69 plus shipping), or the practice test for Primary Group Exercise Certification ($20).