Small group training (SGT) has become increasingly popular recently because it promises to deliver more money per hour for PTs and group X instructors. However, the problem is that SGT is commonly misunderstood and often badly delivered. Many group X instructors assume that because they can manage a room of 20 people, they will excel at SGT. Some PTs assume that, because they know how to train one person, they can train four. However, small group PT is a very different animal.

SGT can be defined as a fee-based, systematic, periodised program designed and configured for two to eight people. It covers all aspects of exercise designed to get results with the majority of clients the majority of the time, utilizing options due to the presence of multiple skill sets and goals. SGT is ideal for clients who may not want or be able to afford one-to-one training, yet enjoy group motivation and want results.

Benefits to the instructor

  • Instructors are able to increase their exposure to clients due to being able to teach multiple clients at once, which allows instructors to earn more money per hour worked.
  • Sessions are scheduled at the same time each week, which ensures a regular income. Payment can be set up so that clients still pay even if they miss a group session.
  • Group camaraderie aids client retention.

Benefits to the client

  • The reduced price point means more clients are able to afford SGT.
  • The group environment is less intimidating to new members or beginners.
  • Clients can train in a social and fun atmosphere, which will increase adherence to their exercise program.
  • Small group training will add variety and challenge to a possibly repetitive or stagnant exercise program.

Benefits to the health club/employer

  • More members paying for a service means increased revenue for the club/employer.
  • The increased number of members in an interaction programme will directly impact on member retention, which will in turn positively impact profit.
  • The increased number of potential options available to members increases customer service and club brand and appeal.
  • If instructors and trainers are able to make more money per hour using this model, this is likely to increase job satisfaction, impacting positively on staff turnover and recruitment.

Three key elements necessary to building a successful SGT business

1. Strategic business plan
SGT can fail because of a failure to differentiate and this is where ViPR can be key. Offering ViPR SGT enables a trainer to stand out from the market and offer their clients a full-body and fun workout that will challenge them. ViPR is also perfect for use outdoors due to its durability and versatility.

2. Structured progression
SGT should be rooted in sound exercise science principles and should be developed in such a way that simultaneously improves work capacity while allowing clients to learn and develop their movement skills and motor patterns.

3. Skill set
SGT is about using coaching skills in a dynamic environment to motivate all the participants to work at their potential for the common good of the group. The dynamic is what makes small group training unique. Many instructors struggle with communication: the ability to lead and coach the group without barking. Remember that, if members of the group do it wrong, it wasn’t their fault: it was yours. Your ability to coach is key. Use non-technical cues and remember that people learn in different ways so you may need to adapt your coaching style accordingly.

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