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4 Key Considerations for Small Group Training


Small Group Training (SGT) comes in many styles, is delivered in many different ways and enjoyed by countless individuals. It’s an important way to create energy, excitement and motivation. 

But, what exactly is SGT? Most fitness industry articles refer to it as having group size from 2 to 12, some advocate even higher numbers. In adult education, a small group can range from 2 to 8 students. An ACE article in 2012 defines SGT as, “big enough to be fun, but small enough to still be quality.”

According to Dr. Melvin Hilsdon, the key component is enjoyment. Hilsdon’s research suggests that when enjoyment and social engagement are present in group classes, member retention rates are higher.

Implementing successful SGT in a facility isn’t always easy. But start by examining a few key points.

Know the Experience You Want to Create

Find out what your member groups are looking for. If advanced members are after a challenging HIT workout, then SGT delivers, adding an element of competition. If exercisers are after social engagement, SGT provides enticing engagement from the trainer and others in the session. If participants are new to exercise and searching for confidence building, SGT offers an encouraging learning environment with plenty of support and feedback. 

Consider the Environment

Is each session taking place in a studio, in the middle of the facility, or even outdoors? The type of equipment and programming are largely dependent on the setting of the training. Large areas allow for versatility and a combination of equipment like a SYNRGY360 system and cardio units. A smaller area might require more creative programming. 

It’s essential to keep in mind that an SGT area can create an energetic focal point in the middle of your facility, only if your members are comfortable using it while on full display.

Get Creative with Your Equipment

You can create an effective SGT space with equipment as simple as floor mats and kettlebells. But variety is essential to adding to the motivation and fun of group training. If you don’t have a small group training station, mix it up with cardio equipment, dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls and varying bodyweight exercises.

Balance ‘The What’ and ‘The How’

The right balance of content (the what) and context (the how) is vital, if SGT is going to be successful. The how is key to the member experience. The how is the teaching, the interaction between the teacher and each member. Is the trainer adding to the member experience? Does the trainer bring individuals together as a group? Does the trainer have the skills to motivate? Does the trainer deliver feedback to the individual in a manner that enhances the experience?



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