Program Design For Group Training

If you are thinking of moving into the avenue of group training, know that it can be a great way to make more money and simplify your daily schedule. However, it is a learning process in regards to program set-up and efficiency. It is usually within the class that you realize your mistakes in planning or set-up and by that time it’s too late! If you have a happy client it may not be an issue but remember that your participants want a great workout. They want as little time as possible wasted and if you have to take time during THEIR workout to modify or change the structure it may leave them frustrated.

Here are some tips in order to have a smooth transition into group training from private training:

  • Timed intervals work better in a larger group. This way everyone starts and stops at the same time. If a faster participant needs to wait for someone slower this takes away from their workout and increases frustration. If everyone moves through a circuit at the same time this allows them to work at their own pace and feel they are getting the best workout possible.
  • grouptrainingBe sure to know how many pieces you have if using equipment. If Medicine balls are the tool of choice be prepared to have enough for each participant to use. If you are grouping them in stations you may find 2 clients wanting the same weight. What if you only have one 8lb Medicine ball? Give another exercise option so they feel they are doing more work and aren’t waiting for the tool. Example is pairing a Medicine ball slam with a glute bridge.
  • Always have a modification backup. If you have Pushups in your program you must be prepared with a regression for someone with an underlying dysfunction. Always have another option available if needed!
  • Plan the flow of the class nicely. Set up stations in a pattern where members are flowing in one direction. If they have to walk back and forth across a room and through other members this can be distracting and frustrating.
  • Take into account your conditioning level of the majority of participants. If you include too many technical movements you will spend more time cueing technique and take away their intensity of the workout. Include one high technical movement (if you are including Olympic lifts or certain TRX patterns) with the majority exercises that are familiar with the client. This technical move allows them to learn the pattern and keeps things fresh but allows you the ability to keep an eye on all participants.
  • If including weighted movements with dumbbells, you must take into account the amount of dumbbells available. What if you offer stations that are competing for the use of the same desired weight? If you only have 2 sets of 20lb dumbbells then only offer one station that you think will utilize them. Any other stations should include exercises that you know will allow the client to lift heavier or lighter if needed.
  • The less you need to demonstrate the faster your clients can start. Variety is important, but if you set up a circuit for 12 participants then that is a lot of demonstration and a lot of form you need to watch. Group clients together! This means only 6 stations instead of 12.

These are just some simple tips to make a smooth transition into group training!

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Rhonda Catt

Rhonda Catt

Rhonda CattNASM, CPTFMS Level 2Owner of Catt Conditioning Performance Center/Excel FitnessVernon, BC Canada
Rhonda Catt


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