As I open up some more time slots for my small group personal training sessions, I thought I’d pen some of the benefits of training as part of a small group! This method of training delivery isn’t used nearly enough. Group sessions these days are just made as cheap as possible, with as many people as possible with less and less emphasis on the quality of the session. Huge group exercise classes might be enjoyable and a decent cardio workout for those participating - but are you making progress? Are you actually getting stronger or getting closer to your goals?
Here’s my top 5 reasons to join a semi private personal training group:
1. Your coach can properly monitor form and pay attention to each individual.
Huge group classes run by big gym chains will often see 20+ people training at one time, usually with the fitness instructor joining in with the session. This should be a red flag if weights are involved as nobody can effectively monitor that many people with varied experience and strength levels and ensure that EVERYONE is performing each exercise properly. Plus if the instructor is joining in with the session then there’s little to no form checking going on (unless it is a very small group) and people at the back of the class could be doing the can-can and they probably wouldn’t get corrected.
Small group sessions allow for that extra attention to detail. In my female only training groups we have a maximum of 3 women per session which means that I can form check everything that they do and I can take the time to teach new movements. Plus, rather than just copying what the instructor or PT is doing, small group sessions mean that clients actually learn a movement pattern and have to self regulate. That means better movements, less injuries from poor form and more progress.
2. Programming can be individualised.
Rather than slogging through the same workout with Pete who does HIIT classes 5x a week and Shelley who can barely squat but just comes for the social, smaller group sessions are tailored to the individual. This means that appropriate progressions/regressions can be made and injuries can be accounted for during a training session. If there’s 20+ other people in your exercise class then chances are, your knee injury isn’t being accounted for. I’ve seen too many people who have just trained through pain during big group classes and made injuries worse because the instructor didn’t have time to check.
During my small group training sessions clients will follow a similar program plan - however exercises are adjusted to account for experience, strength and injuries - so that workouts are appropriate for each individual! Clients earn the right to progress by demonstrating good skill and hitting certain strength standards. This means nobody runs before they can walk but also allows for continuous progress to be made, week in week out.
3. Training with others can boost motivation and adds a competitive element!
Training solo works for some but many people perform best when they train either 1-2-1 with a coach or when they are with their peers. Small group training provides a competitive element - even if it’s not spoken aloud - and that continues to drive progress forward. Even if clients are at completely different stages in their training, having others around you that are making progress helps to keep you motivated and push yourself whilst you train. It also means you’ve got a team around you, cheering you whilst you hit that PB on deadlifts - who doesn’t want that?
4. You get the chance to meet other like minded people and make new friends.
This shouldn’t be underestimated as a reason for wanting to train in a small group setting. Considering the 12 months that we have just had, getting out of the house for a few hours a week and meeting new people with similar goals is a huge reason to get involved. It offers huge benefits to mental health as well as physical health.
The aim for my training groups has and always will be to provide an environment that is supportive, fun, an opportunity to ask questions and that pushes everyone forward towards their common goals. The people you surround yourself with can make all the difference when you want to make big lifestyle changes - so if your current friends aren’t interested, make some more who are!
5. You have access to quality coaching at a lower cost than 1-2-1.
Small group training makes access to a quality coach more financially viable to those who might not be able to afford 1-2-1. Small group training will always and should always, cost more than the massive group classes. However that extra cost is representative of the quality coaching you will receive - making it 100% worth the investment. Clients should be confident that they are going to learn something from training with a coach and that they are going to make progress - large group classes just cannot facilitate this when it comes to weight training.
All in all, getting a coach in any capacity is a great idea - whether that’s 1-2-1, online or in small groups. If you could train with other like minded individuals, receive high quality programming that’s bespoke to your needs, make regular progress week in week out and pay a lower hourly rate - what’s holding you back?
And this isn’t a post about hating on exercise classes - although I do think some of them are wholly inappropriate for the majority of people that take part. It’s about the fitness industry and our responsibility to provide BETTER options that benefit clients long term. Clients deserve more than just getting sweaty for 40 mins and 2 years down the line, blowing a knee out doing HIIT classes every morning at 6am. The gyms and coaches that provide these higher quality training sessions with a cap on the number of attendees should be celebrated. You just might have to look a little harder to find them.
If you think that small group training sounds like the right option for you, or you want to find out more then drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a phone call consultation. My women’s only training groups are currently taking on new clients, training 2x a week with various training times available. Why wait? Get started, get strong!