Group Fitness

Is Small Group Training Right for You?

Jacqueline Kaminski
Jacqueline Kaminski
| Stay Updated with NASM!

Personal training is always a great way to get individualized attention, but sometimes it can be a bit pricey. However, classes are too generalized and rarely allow time for the instructor to correct your form or provide positive feedback. So, does a middle ground exist? In fact, one does! It is called small group training.

Here, we break down what small group training is and how it can benefit your workout goals when it comes to wanting some change in your routine.

What is Small Group Training?

Small group training should not be confused with traditional exercise classes. Trainers in small group training do not participate in the class, they are personalized instructors for everyone who is participating. Small group training generally has a focus and long-term commitment in mind. Classes are traditionally never more than 10 people, and on average are about 4-6 weeks in length (sometimes they can extend to be about 8-10 weeks).

The focus for small group training can vary depending on the type of skill the group is trying to learn. For example, small group training can be beneficial for preparation for a marathon or spartan race or help develop more skilled focus movements like Olympic weightlifting and advanced yoga. 

The Benefits of Small Group Training

Outside of sport specific training opportunities, what other benefits does small group training provide? 

1. IT PUTS MORE DOLLARS BACK IN YOUR POCKET. Personal one-on-one training can get costly, especially if you want to work with someone more experienced. With small group training, you can save a lot more money while still getting enough one-on-one attention you’re looking for. While personal trainers can charge $60-$120 per hour (maybe even more), small group training might only cost you $15-$45 per session.

2. You still get personalized attention. With the limited number of participants per group, the instructor still has time to correct form, give you more challenging exercises if you’re progressing quickly, and chat with you to create the best friend bond everyone wants with their personal trainers! 

3. The workout never gets boring. With small group classes, there is generally a focus in mind and the class continues to change and progress as everyone in the class becomes more advanced. This way you aren’t always attending the same class and getting familiar with the routine. Your mind and body is constantly being challenged!

4. You have a built-in support system. Everyone in your small group class has the same goal in mind, so everyone can support each other along the journey. You have people to constantly cheer you on, inspire you when you’re lacking motivation, and bring about friendly competition to push you beyond what you originally thought capable of. 

5. Guarantees results and adherence. Research shows that members involved in programs with other members are more likely to stick to it. Also, long term adherence essentially guarantees results. 

From Training to Teaching

So, what if you are not looking to participate in small group training, but instruct one? If your gym doesn’t already have a small group training program, these quick stats might incentivize you to start one:

- According to the 2018 IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report, a small group class is twice as popular personal training. 

- IHRSA Fitness Training Report found that small group training is the leading money maker in most clubs. 

- Retention rates on average for members in small group training was found to be 88%. 

Organizing a small group training is not as daunting as it may sound. And a small yet major first step would be to survey your current clientele to see what they might be interested in. Understanding your client’s skill level and interest will help you develop a much more effective program and long-term adherence. 

Secondly, find a designated area to conduct your class and plan. If you’ve surveyed your group and understand their goals, you can create a 4–6-week program with weekly progressions which will make it easier to track everyone’s progress all at once. You also won’t be scrambling to come up with exercises since you have an end goal in mind… you’ll know exactly what to do each class. 

Trainings can be equipment based, skill-based, or outcome based. The tools you’ll need will vary depending on the type of class you are creating. Remember, start small! Cap your class to 10 people max. 

Thirdly, figure out the right price point. Small group training tends to be less expensive than one-on-one, however, you don’t want to undersell your services. Building a tier of price points for your gym might be the best method to get more individuals to sign up for small group training. Additionally, providing referral bonuses or discounts might incentivize your members to tell more people about your small group class and increase revenue. 

How to Market Your Group Training Classes

For starters, your current members are going to be your best salespeople. Offering referral benefits and asking your current clientele to reach out to their network can be very helpful for spreading the word about your new small group training program. Getting involved in your local community, setting up booths, and posting flyers can also be very helpful to spread the word! 

Current trends suggest Millennials and Generation Z make up the largest demographic interested and participating in group training. That said, a helpful marketing strategy would be to build an online presence. Showcasing your group classes online, having a site or social media platform where new clients can register, and perhaps offering a free intro class can be great ways to generate interest. 

Instagram is the primary app utilized by Millennials and Generation Z. Current trends are demonstrating that this demographic prefers to join small classes or work with trainers that they can relate with. That said, adding genuine personality to your page will gain a much more authentic following and attract members to join your classes. Adding a link of your class schedule in your bio will be an easy way for new members to register. And as with any social media platform, frequent posting is key to market your new small group training program! 

However, with such a saturated market (especially on the Internet), it is crucial to create a niche. When it comes to marketing, advertising a specialization will be helpful to differentiate you from others attempting to do the same thing. This will also allow you to develop a more focused message to your customers and find your ideal target audience. 

Additionally, bundling your group classes as a package or membership is an effective way to guarantee adherence but also cash flow. 


Small group training seems to be the latest trend in fitness! You get all the benefits of personal one-on-one training, but get additional benefits of a small, supportive team to motivate you, get to save some money, still have plenty of variation so you never get bored, and have a higher chance of long-term success.

With the affordability to still work with high level fitness professionals, small group training seems to be a very attractive option for individuals — especially the younger generation. Fitness studios and gyms alike seem to be experiencing much success with small group training programs.



The Author

Jacqueline Kaminski

Jacqueline Kaminski

Jackie Kaminski is a registered dietitian/ nutritionist with a Master's degree in Exercise Physiology & Sports Nutrition from Florida State University. Her first introduction to working with professional athletes was back in 2017 when she worked at the UFC performance institute in Las Vegas, Nevada. Since then, Jackie has worked with various professional fighters and other clientele and now operates under her company she started back in March, The Fight Nutritionist LLC. The Fight Nutritionist is dedicated to providing the most effective nutrition plans to ensure her athletes are performance at their absolute best. All of her plans are individualized to the athlete and are backed by the latest research to ensure complete safety and efficacy. Jackie is also a member of the international society of sports nutrition, where she often participates in different research projects and data collection with other ISSN members from Nova University. When Jackie isn’t working, you can find her at Combat Club where she trains kickboxing and Muy Thai. As a sports dietitian, Jackie’s aim is to provide her athletes with the necessary fuel to excel in training and provide the proper education to ensure her athletes are engaging in the safest health practices (as they relate to combat sports). You can find her on LinkedIn here.


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