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Dublin: 11°C Monday 19 October 2020

7 advantages of training in a small group in the gym

You might be surprised how enjoyable, affordable and beneficial semi-private sessions can be.

Image: Shutterstock/Mat Hayward

IN A PREVIOUS article, I’ve highlighted the importance of finding the right training path for you.

This can be anything from joining a big, commercial gym, to working with a personal trainer or going down the small-group, semi-private, training route.

You may have heard about the small-group route before but are maybe unsure of what this means and how it may help you reach your goal.

Let me explain:

Most people who go to the gym have similar goals:

  • To look and feel better
  • To tone up
  • To decrease body-fat percentage
  • To improve strength and have a generally healthier lifestyle

Small, group sessions work on the same idea as a fitness class but in a controlled environment where the personal trainer is providing your group with the motivation, training and assistance you need.

Here are seven benefits of training with partners:

1. Learning

All good trainers will educate their clients as well as assist them to achieve their goals in the sessions.

At the start, you’re not going to be thrown in at the deep end. Every good trainer will have a consultation session before easing you in.

Not only are you learning from the trainer but each member of the group is assisting each other.

2. Variety

All sessions are generally varied so that you will never get bored.

However, the general layout stays the same; 15 minutes of mobility/warm-up, 20 minutes working on a new skill, or perhaps some strength work, followed by a 15-minute conditioning piece.

The fact that it’s varied means you shouldn’t get bored, however the work you do needs to be relative to your goal. It’s shouldn’t just be different to keep you motivated.

3. Measuring progress

And not with the scales!

We all know that numbers on the scales will fluctuate and are not the most important thing.

You should be working with the same trainer in these sessions so that they get to know what you can and can’t do.

I believe that measuring strength, mobility, fitness and body composition is far more important than checking numbers on the scale.

When performance starts to improve; image, aesthetics and weight will soon follow. Once your nutrition is dialled in and your training is going to plan there is no reason why you can’t hit your goals.

4. Individual approach

Even though it’s a group-based workout, everything in the session is catered towards YOU.

In most of my sessions my clients range from first-timers to veterans. A good personal trainer will be able to manage that.

But a GREAT trainer will adapt the movements for individuals so that everyone gets a great workout in the same session.

For example, if you can’t do a pull-up, you might do a pulling variation such as ring rows. Or if one of the clients isn’t feeling 100% ready to go then maybe you just need to map out something different. Believe it or not, the most effective workouts can be in groups.

5. Making new friends and being held accountable

Source: Shutterstock/wavebreakmedia

Let’s face it, social gatherings in Ireland are generally circled around alcohol.

Sometimes it’s nice to get together with friends to exercise.

I’ve also seen many clients who have met new friends through semi-private training. Training alone can be boring and lonely at times.

Plus, when you’re booked in to train at 6am with your friends you’re going to be more accountable, which in the long-run is going to help you achieve your goal.

6. Structure

The layout of the session is already sorted.

Most people can’t afford to spend too much time in the gym so they need to make the most of the time that they do have.

With a solid training plan, prepared by a trainer, it’s about getting it done and getting in and out of the gym.

It’s completely different from attending the gym, jumping on the cross-trainer for a bit, looking around to see what other equipment is free, bouncing around on a few machines before getting bored, hopping into the sauna and heading home. That’s just wasting your time and money.

7. Price

One-on-one personal training can be expensive.

Many good trainers will charge between €60-80 per hour.

You can join the local, commercial gym for as little as €30 per month. It may sound cheap but it’s not good value if you rarely show up, and when you do, you still haven’t got a clue what you should be doing.

Or worse still, you have a plan but the gym is packed and the equipment you need to use is unavailable.

Semi-private workouts can cost as little as €15-20 per person.

It is still pricey for some people, but you get most of the same benefits that you’d get with a personal trainer for a fraction of the price.

Hopefully this small article has helped explain the semi-private, small-group training concept.

David Last is a personal trainer based in Dublin, for more information you can follow him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter

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About the author:

David Last

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