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What is Small Group Personal Training?

Updated: Mar 12

Is 1-on-1 Personal Training dead? In recent times, fitness has taken a new turn with Small Group Personal Training becoming increasingly popular. This approach to fitness offers many benefits and we'll break down what it's all about, how it works, as well as the pro's and con's of Small Group Personal Training - all in simple terms!

So, What is Small Group Personal Training?

Everyone knows 1-on-1 Personal Training - a single Trainer works with a single Client in a 1-on-1 format.

Small Group Personal Training is where a Trainer works with a small group of Clients at the same time, usually between 3-10 max.

Here at Hybrid Personal Training, we work with a maximum of 6 Clients at any one time, keeping the group really small and attention really personalised.

The focus of Small Group Personal Training is on personalised instruction and spending time with each client to ensure they are performing exercises correctly, working at the right intensity as well as staying safe and progressing at the right pace.

Is Small Group Personal Training a Fad?

Certainly not. It's actually been around for a long time but the recent rise in it's popularity has been amplified by more people wanting a personalised experience as well as a shift in training habits - more people wanting to focus on strength and resistance style training as opposed to (dare we say it) more faddy type training!

Proper strength and resistance style training takes more detailed and personalised coaching (than say, spinning classes) and so a Small Group Training environment works well for this.

What is Small Group Personal Training?
Small Group Personal Training can be more fun and challenging than other fitness options

Why Small Group Personal Training Works

There a number of reasons why Small Group Personal Training is so effective for clients:

1. Structured Programming

  • You have the benefit of following a well thought out and structured exercise programme that will help you achieve better results than what you would do by yourself

  • It also means that you don't have to worry about writing your own programming or changing it up to stop the plateau as a well structured Small Group programme will do that for you. So just go in, do what you're told, and you're good to go :-)

2. No Waiting Around

  • A good Small Group Personal Training studio will ensure their workout programmes are laid out so minimal time is wasted and you can complete an effective workout in 45-50 minutes

  • Be honest, how many times have you been to the gym and just used the equipment available because it's too busy, or hopped on the cross trainer for 20 minutes because you didn't know what else to do?!... I think we all know that a workout like that is not going to be hugely effective

3. High Levels of Personalisation:

  • Even in a Small Group format, a good trainer is able to help you personalise the workout to make it easier or more challenging, depending on your level of ability

  • As an example, here at Hybrid Personal Training, for every exercise we have in a workout programme, we have options to make it harder, make it easier, or adapt for injury - meaning even in a group format you can have an amazing workout that is personalised to your ability level (and pre-existing injuries, if you have any)

4. Affordable:

  • Small Group Personal Training is at a lower price point than 1-on-1 Personal Training sessions, so you can go more often without breaking the bank

  • This is because you are effectively sharing the Personal Training cost with the others in the session

  • This helps make a premium and personalised fitness experience much more accessible to more people

5. Fun, Enjoyable and Motivating:

  • Exercising by yourself, especially when it's hard, can be lonely, uninspiring and very boring. With others, it can be a lot of fun. You'll feel more motivated when you see others working hard alongside you and sharing the experience with others makes it a lot easier - especially when you're all trying to achieve similar goals

  • Being part of a group makes you more likely to stick to your workout routine, helping to keep you accountable and reach your goals faster

6. Variety:

  • Small Group workouts are much more exciting because they offer a greater range of exercises and workouts. This not only helps to keep you engaged but it stops boredom setting in, creates excitement and means you don't dread coming to the gym!

  • You'll also enjoy the sessions more, making it easier to stick with your fitness plan and see results

7. Small Group Personal Training Can Support General or Very Specific Goals

  • General goals such as losing fat, building muscle and improving health, as well as specific goals such as swimming 5km or an uphill cycling event, can all be achieved with the support of Small Group Personal Training

  • With specific goals, combining Small Group Training with a personalised training programme for outside of the studio will be key to achieving the best possible results

  • As an example, in the studio we often have Clients training for marathons, ultramarathons, sporting events, mountain climbs, triathlons etc and the combination of strength and resistance training in studio with us and then goal specific training outside the studio works very well

  • This is because there is huge crossover from strength and resistance training (our specialty) to almost all aspects of sports performance, body composition and injury prevention

8. Flexibility with Booking:

  • If you've ever worked with a 1-on-1 Personal Trainer then you know that quite often it can be rigid and difficult when it comes to booking - if your Personal Trainer doesn't have a slot or you need to rearrange because of work/social/travel/family etc then it can completely throw off your fitness routine

  • 1-on-1 Personal Training cancellation fees are also typically high - usually you'd lose a session if you cancel within 24-48 hours of the start time

  • With Small Group Personal Training, typically you have a number of options to choose from throughout the week, making getting your workout in much more flexible and adaptable to your diary

  • As an example, at Hybrid Personal Training, we run 45+ sessions per week at our studios for you to choose from, making getting in your workout much more realistic and the cost of cancelling is much lower that 1-on-1 PT

When is Small Group Personal Training Not Right For Someone?

Small Group Personal Training is not always the best option. Consider the below:

1. Recovering from Injury

  • We'd say that if you are recovering from a specific injury and need to do more focused exercises or more rehab type exercises then opting for a 1-on-1 Personal Trainer might be better, or following your own programme in your own time whilst you recover may be the better option

  • At Hybrid Personal Training, we work with lots of people that have had injuries previously and they use our training to help restrengthen and get their fitness levels back up, but there may be situations where the injury needs really specific exercises in order to recover and rehab fully and in this instance Small Group PT may not be the best option

2. You Absolutely Hate Being Around Other People

  • If you cannot stand the thought of being around other people when training then Small Group Personal Training won't be for you

3. You Are a Complete Beginner When it Comes to Exercise Technique and Fitness Levels

  • If you've never attempted any sort of exercise before and have absolutely no idea how to do basic movements then Small Group Personal Training may not be for you and working 1-on-1 with a Personal Trainer for a short time to learn the basics may be worthwhile

  • Having said that, we often have people come to train with us that haven't trained in over a decade and fit in to the programming fine. As there is only 6 people in our sessions, it's easy for trainer to give personalised attention when needed

How Does Small Group Personal Training Adapt to Different Fitness Levels?

Any good Small Group Personal Training gym / studio will ensure that their session programming can be "scaled up or down" for varying fitness levels or to accommodate injuries or restrictions in ability.

At Hybrid Personal Training, we have a set programme that everyone follows for the day and then for every exercise within that programme we have an option to make it harder, an option to make it easier and an alternative exercise in case of injuries.

Our trainers are also well qualified and have the experience to change things up on the spot for you in session to ensure your workout experience is great regardless of any potential limitations you may have.

How Often Should I go to Small Group Personal Training Sessions?

We recommend to complete 2-3x Small Group Personal Training sessions per week. If you're training 1x per week then it's really important that you're doing other fitness work outside of that one session. 2x per week is our most common membership, by far.

Many of our Clients combine our Small Group Personal Training with gym sessions by themselves, cardio such as running or cycling, or sports such as tennis, golf, football, cricket etc with the aim of completing a total of 4 exercise sessions per week.

How Much Does Small Group Personal Training Cost vs 1-on-1 Personal Training?

Small Group Personal Training sessions are usually priced at around 30-50% of the going rate of 1-on-1 Personal Training Sessions in any given area. As an example, if the local market rate for 1-on-1 Personal Training is £80 per session then Small Group Personal Training will likely be around £24-£40 per session.

Small Group Personal Training vs 1-on-1 Personal Training

  • Hopefully we're not upsetting an entire industry here, but the reality is that most people don't need 1-on-1 Personal Training. The majority of the population need to be consistent with exercise, implement a better diet and be held accountable to actually stay on track and achieve results

  • Whilst this can be achieved with 1-on-1 Personal Training, it can also be achieved with Small Group Personal Training - usually to a higher level as the group atmosphere and camaraderie that comes in a group/community format creates higher accountability and leads to more consistent attendance and results

  • Many 1-on-1 Personal Trainers will hate us for saying this, but a lot of time is wasted when working 1-on-1 with someone - the relationship becomes too familiar, the intensity of workouts drop off and too much time is spent talking about the weather or the weekend as opposed to working out and achieving results. That'll be difficult to hear for many Personal Trainers and their Clients but sadly, it is the reality

Small Group Personal Training vs Large Group Classes

  • Large group fitness classes usually have 15-60 people in a class, led by a single trainer (or sometimes two trainers)

  • As you can imagine, it's very difficult to provide personalised guidance when there are so many people in a class

  • It can also be difficult for the trainer(s) to monitor people in the class as there are a lot of moving parts, lots of different exercises, and lots of different equipment being used - this typically leads to a higher risk of injury and a struggle for trainers to correct everyone's form

  • The benefit of large classes is that the price point can be lower and as such, more affordable than Small Group or 1-on-1 Personal Training options

  • If you are an experienced trainee and don't need the help or instruction of a trainer then large group classes are a good option for regular exercise

  • The atmosphere in large group classes can be higher - more music, smoke, lights etc - so if you're in to that sort of vibe then larger classes work well

Small Group Personal Training is a Mix of Both 1-on-1 Personal Training and Large Group Classes

Small Group Personal Training effectively sits between 1-on-1 Personal Training and large group fitness classes both in terms of number of people in a session and the price point.

It's perfect for those that want / need more personalised attention and instruction than what you might get in a large group class but also don't want to pay the high rates of 1-on-1 Personal Training.

Given the price point is only slightly higher than large group classes, it also means that a really premium and personalised service is much more accessible.

For those that train with us at Hybrid Personal Training, it means you're getting world class Personal Training at a fraction of the price of 1-on-1 PT.

Is Small Group Personal Training Safe?

Very. And certainly a lot safer than being in a large group fitness class of 30-60 people. With any form of training there is a risk of injury but the low client to trainer ratio in Small Group Personal Training means that the training method is very effective and safe.

A good studio will also ensure that there is adequate space for everyone in the session and that there is adequate equipment for everyone in the session also to reduce any risk of injury as much as possible.

Embracing a New Way to Get Fit

Small Group Personal Training is a great way to reach your fitness goals while having fun and staying motivated. Whether you're new to working out or have been doing it for a while, joining a Small Group Studio can make exercising more enjoyable and effective. So, why not give it a try and see the difference it can make in your fitness journey?


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