Fitness Trail: The benefits of smaller training programs |

Fitness Trail: The benefits of smaller training programs

Jackie Wright
The Fitness Trail

There are important differences between small group, semi-private and personal training programs. Small group training (SGT), as defined by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) states that small group training is limited to four to 10 clients, in some cases perhaps six to 12 clients. The key is that the small group is small enough so that the trainer may safely and effectively address their needs as a group and, to the extent feasible, as individuals within the small group. Semi-private training programs usually involve the qualified/certified trainer and partners, or the trainer and two-three friends/co-workers that possess similar fitness goals and would like to share their training program improving their exercise adherence, dividing the program costs and increasing their exercise enjoyment.

Personal training programs, however, imply a one-on-one session(s) between the qualified/certified personal trainer and the client featuring individualized programming. And, while all programs have merit, below are some of the benefits of each which may enable you to decide which would be a better fit for your health and fitness needs. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.

Small Group Training Program Benefits

In a well-designed small group training program, many of the same procedures take place prior to the program beginning that are expected in semi-private and personal training programs. For example, we would anticipate that each of the participants would complete a health history questionnaire and waiver of liability, consult with the trainer to determine if their goals and objectives will align with those offered by the program, and a functional movement screen performed by the trainer to establish a fitness baseline.

Small group training fees may be significantly less than semi-private or personal training program fees as the total program cost is shared equally among the participants.

We would anticipate that most small group training programs would limit the program duration to 4-10 weeks.

Semi-Private Training Program Benefits

The clients share in the cost.

We would anticipate that each of the participants would complete a health history questionnaire and waiver of liability and consult with the trainer individually to determine if their goals/objectives will align with those of their partner or friend/co-worker.

In a semi-private training program the trainer is able to track and progress the clients effectively due to the combination of the individual goals/objectives consultation described above, comprehensive functional movement screen, the small number of clients and their similar fitness levels and exercise goals/objectives.

Personal Training Program Benefits

There is probably not anyone that would not benefit from a well-designed personal training program. However, some populations such as elite/recreational athletes training for specific events/programs may need personal training/coaching sessions to work specifically on their ambitious training goals. Additionally, those in post-rehabilitation from surgery or injury, individuals with progressive diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, and those who are suffering from serious stability/balance issues due to age or injury, may require one-on-one sessions to safely and effectively train.

You will complete a health history questionnaire and waiver of liability. And, the trainer will track and progress your program effectively based upon the combination of an individual goals/objectives consultation and comprehensive functional movement screen.

However, when you opt for a personal training program, the program is specifically designed for you as an individual.

Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Mountain Life Fitness, LLC located in Granby. She may be reached at her website at or email at

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