Personal Training 2.0 – Training in small groups and yet individual

Personal training in a one-on-one format is the classical from of individualized fitness coaching. Recently, there is another training concept establishing itself alongside the well-tried personal system – small group coaching which is also called semi-private personal training.

What is semi-private training?

Semi-private is a new concept that makes personal training possible for more than one trainee at the same time. A complex training system ensures individuality and goal-orientation just like you have with one-on-one coaching.
In small groups of up to four trainees there is sweating, working, cursing, and laughing, individually but together.

semi-private training in small groups

For whom is semi-private training suitable?

Athletes that have realized that they can get more out of their training and achieve their goals faster and more sustainable if they train with professional help and professional equipment in an elaborated system are the target audience for a semi-private training.

  • trainees that want to produce fast and guaranteed success in a professional training program with systematically designed training plans
  • training beginners that have already optimized movement patterns in a one-on-one coaching and can confidently execute basic exercises
  • advanced trainees that want to break up old training rhythms with a system to steadily increase their improvement
  • people that can’t afford a personal coaching in a one-on-one situation: due to the group system the training is less expensive for each of the participants

What these people need for achieving their goals is an elaborated training concept. As with personal training an individually designed and goal-oriented training plan makes previously vague goals finally realizable. A professional coach that knows how and when to give the right corrections and the commitment to a schedule complete the concept.

Features of a good semi-private concept

1. Individuality

Obviously, group training is not a new concept. Semi-private, however, is more than just the simple ‘we are doing all the same exercises at the same time’. In contrast to the group fitness courses you can find in every gym, semi-private training is centered on the individual needs and goals. Everybody does what they can in their intensity and raises the intensity when they are ready.
Training in small groups should be preceded by a phase in which the personal trainer gets to know the trainee in order to assess the trainee’s fitness level and mobility and to introduce the semi-private concept. Every trainee gets his or her own individual training plan for the semi-private training. Thus, no participant has the same exercises in the same intensities but everyone has their own requirements based on their individual performance level.

2. Small group size

The smaller the group, the more the group training resembles individual coaching. A semi-private concept that follows personal training demands is built upon small groups to ensure quality and high mentoring intensity. If you want to develop you have to improve – and the best way to achieve that is with a personal and direct movement coaching.

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3. Schedule

Coordinating several trainees in one appointed day and time is not easy. That is why semi-private units are organized like courses. This means that there are predetermined training hours to which the participants can register for. In comparison to a one-on-one personal training fixed schedules are, of course, more rigid.
A good semi-private provider should make sure that the registration process to the units is quick and uncomplicated for the participants as well as the coaches (e.g. online registration). The more hours are provided the more flexibility and spontaneity will be added to the training schedule of each trainee.

4. Group dynamics

Meeting in a group with other trainees for a training session has pros and cons. In a semi-private training the coach divides his or her attention by the number of trainees in order to purposefully support each participant in their weaknesses.
Trainees that have trouble concentrating on a decent form, need certain adjustments depending on their daily form, or have certain limitations because of chronic illnesses may require a more personal coaching in a one-on-one situation.
For every other trainee the additional participants can mean an enrichment for their training. Since people are creatures of habit it is often the same people that come together for a certain session. They get to know each other, get into small talk, make appointments for an after-workout coffee, cheer each other on, and compete for the highest training load or the biggest weight loss. This creates additional benefits that surpass the pure training when co-trainees become motivation drivers and even friends.

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5. The course of a session

The course of a semi-private unit depends on a good system. Having up to four trainees training at the same time with a different training plan but with the same coach can get messy if there is no reasonable underlying structure.
Behind every real system there is an intelligently designed training plan that enables both uniformity and individuality. Clear rules and procedures dictate the training unit. The moment a trainee stands there and doesn’t know what to do next precious and effective training time is wasted.

6. Coaches

Finally, the coach, the person that impersonates the concept, is an important factor when deciding whether I like a certain sport or not. In addition to the social factor of interpersonal relationships it is mainly the scientific training skills that make or break a successful coach: timely identification and correction of bad form during training and keeping up a tight sequence during the session without eliminating the fun. A good coach can do all that without the trainee actively noticing it. The participant comes to training, has a small chat with other participants, gets their training schedule from the coach, and can start training without any further considerations. They are sympathetically corrected and motivated at the correct time during a challenging and tight session. Exhausted to their individual training limit they finish the session, exchange their experiences with the other trainees, and give the coach a high five, ‘see you next time’!

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In Cologne it’s funcFIT that offers the semi-private concept in a systematized and conceptual program.

Give it a try and work on your goals with a system, with coaching – and not alone!

Author: Stefanie Brehmen

Steffi Brehmen is certified Personal Trainer in Cologne. Originally, she is from a nice town called Aachen. She studied in Trier where she collected a lot of experience in several institutions. In her new home town she is the co-founder of the funcFIT training- and treatment concept. A long list of educations and trainings complete her profile. Click here to visit Steffis homepage and here to follow her on Facebook.

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