My only qualification for writing this is my Y chromosome, there may well be influence of my own neurotransmitter preferences on my views, so while this is written as if I’m speaking for my gender as a whole, please note that different viewpoints may be available.
Infantilise me. Babies and toddlers might have ‘tummies’ (perhaps some postpartum women might), but I do NOT have a tummy, or tummy muscles, and I won’t feel that I’m in the right place if you imply that I do.
Teach me to engage my pelvic floor. (Unless I’ve specifically told you that’s what I’m looking for) It works fine, thank you. And if you ask me to think about walking into the sea, or another body of cold water, I’m likely to think of shrinkage – not what I’m looking for in my exercise class (especially if I’m already wondering how manly the class is).
Use my bra strap as a reference point. I’m not wearing one. Yes, I do know roughly where you mean, but you’re reminding me that I’m doing women’s exercise, thanks.
Make me feel ‘special’ by relentlessly focusing on what I’m struggling with. Ok, I’m not great at some of this, but I don’t enjoy feeling incompetent. My ego is fragile. Maybe, if I need it, take me aside after class and show me one thing that might help.
Give me some purpose. Don’t assume that I know why I’m doing this movement. How will it benefit me? Maybe not with every exercise, but a few times each class.
Give me some rules. I like rules – they give me clarity. When I’m doing exercise X I know that the rule is my arms should always be in position Y…. It’s like having a manual in my head.
Give me measurements. How will I recognise if I’m doing it right, or not? Like a checklist, perhaps: Are my shoulders off the floor? √ Is the bottom of my ribcage down on the floor? √ Are my legs in the air? √ Are my elbows straight? √ Etc.
Give me something to aim for. Maybe show me something that’s beyond me at the moment, and then give me an idea of what I need to do to achieve it.
Drop some science on me. I’m not the biggest fan of science as the answer to everything, but if you let me know that the ability to perform an isolated hip hinge is well correlated with reduced risk of back and knee injuries, for example, I might feel more like I’ve come to the right place.
Relate the exercises to stuff that I like. Let me know how it’s going to apply to my martial art/tennis/deadlifting/football…. (this may mean doing some research into the requirements of these activities)
Allow me the opportunity to do something well. Maybe I don’t cope very well with fluid choreography, for example. (As I mentioned above, my ego is fragile). Throw in something which plays to my strength/s, so I have something to feel good about.