American Fitness Magazine

Not Sure About Small-Group Training? Here's Why (and How) to Give It a Try

Laura Quaglio
Laura Quaglio
| Stay Updated with NASM!


Originally published in the Winter 2020 issue of American Fitness Magazine.

American Fitness Magazine Winter 2020 CoverSome personal trainers are wary of small-group training, says Chris Stevenson, owner of Stevenson Consulting, IHRSA board member and certified master trainer for Technogym®. “They feel it will either compromise their craft or cannibalize their client base,” he says.

Stevenson, however, has seen the opposite when working with groups of four to 12 people. These groups can be a gateway to personal training, allowing fit pros to build trust and relationships that can lead to one-on-one sessions. The format also provides members with extra motivation and accountability, since they feel loyal to their coach and to other members in their group.

See the NASM "Hybrid Training" Bundle to get a discounted price on PT and GPT certifications. 

Perhaps most compelling, though: Small-group training can help trainers grow their business. It lets them assist more people per week and, often, earn a higher hourly rate (depending on the club’s payment structure). Here, Stevenson offers a few tips:


Consider a preformatted program and start with just one small group.


Make sessions either equipment-based (TRX®, indoor cycling), outcome-based (weight loss, Spartan® Sprint) or skill-based (self-defense, Pilates).


Point out the perks related to a session’s theme or modality, and emphasize that small-group participants enjoy individualized attention (for a lower cost than personal training).


This is especially important when offering a free week or free session—which Stevenson recommends clubs do two or three times a year.


These are club members who are reliable, enthusiastic community builders. Ask for their feedback and consider offering them a discount if they post on social media about their experience.

To learn how to individualize group training experiences for each client’s goals, obtain NASM’s Group Personal Training Specialization (NASM-GPTS).

Incorporate Corrective Exercise

As this NASM video shows you, you can apply Corrective Exercise to Small Group Training and guarantee a safe and effective workout.

Watch the video below for more information. 

The Author

Laura Quaglio

Laura Quaglio

Laura Quaglio has more than 18 years' experience as a writer and editor for magazines, books, and websites, frequently on health, fitness, and nutrition topics. She enjoys researching a wide range of topics to bring readers surprising insights and expert advice. Laura is also a second degree black belt and spends her spare time costuming for high school theatre and attending her two kids' concerts and performances.


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