Strength In Numbers – Establishing A Successful Large PT Program

As always, many clubs, studios and trainers are looking to establish new profit centres. Some look to expand their current 1-on-1 training offering.

Others go the way of small-group PT, while another increasingly popular option is larger group “Team Training”. Another option that can prove to be extremely profitable, but is often overlooked, and even more often misrepresented, is Larger-Group Personal Training (LGPT).

The first thing you need to understand about LGPT is how it differs from both group fitness and/ or team training.

Chief Brabon - The Transformation CoachMost fitness professionals understand it, “Personal Training” is when a program has been designed to achieve a client’s specific goals while taking into account not only their current fitness/ability, but also their mental, physical and often emotional limitations. The program is then presented in a way that ensures continued improvement by adapting to client feedback.

So it stands to reason that there are key elements that need to be implemented in order to offer a personal training experience to your clients:

Understand their goals and motivation:

If you don’t know what your clients hope to achieve, how can you be sure you are pushing them in the right direction. Have your clients complete a pre-training questionnaire. The first thing you must do is decide which program offering best suits their goals.

Pre-training assessment:

If you don’t know where your clients are starting, how can you plot a course (or write a program) that will lead to their goals. The assessment should be designed in a way that it provides the programmer/ trainer with enough information that they can address any physical or mental restrictions, while ensuring that they are being challenged enough to achieve physiological adaption.

Grouping or grading program members:

One of the most efficient ways for a trainer to ensure that individuals are being trained at an appropriate intensity is to use the pre-training assessment to grade the group from most conditioned to least conditioned, and to them group them together into smaller, more manageable units.

Establishing a consistent training schedule:

One of the biggest differences between Team Training (TT) and LGPT is the that with most TT programs participants have a range of classes they can pick and choose from. Many of the programs offer “unlimited” sessions per week. The problem with this is that you can’t offer any kind of periodisation if you don’t know when or where a client is training next.


One of the absolute core attributes of any successful personal training program is periodisation. A program needs to take into account work and rest ratios plus, skill acquisition, and progressive overload.

Exercise correction & skill acquisition:

One of the most common reasons people sign up for personal training of any kind is to learn how to perform exercises correctly. They want to know they are doing exercises safely, and with the best form to achieve their goals.

Regular Re-assessment and Adjustment:

Everybody reacts differently to training.

It is important to re-asses clients regularly in order to adjust the program, grading and grouping to ensure continue to improve.

For more than 25yrs, my wife and business partner Emilie and I have offered Large Group PT through our company ORIGINAL BOOTCAMP. Despite conducting sessions with between 50 and 65 clients (or Recruits) on each course we have managed to achieve results for our clients as good, if not better than those achieved through 1-on-1 training. These results have been so dramatic that they have been featured on the covers of Men’s Fitness (6 times), GQ Champion (6 times), as well as on the covers of Shape and UltraFIT Magazines.

Here’s how we did it based on the same key elements listed above:

[dropcap]1.[/dropcap] Emilie speaks to every new Recruit personally, to understand just what they want to achieve and why.

[dropcap]2.[/dropcap] Participants are locked into a specific time-slots, on specific days, known as Platoons. This way they always train alongside the same individuals, and are coached by the same Instructors.

[dropcap]3.[/dropcap] On Day One all new & current Recruits undergo our specially designed Benchmark Workout. Not only do the Instructors take note of individual scores, we also take notes on form, focus and motivation.

[dropcap]4.[/dropcap] Based on their results, and additional input from the Instructors Emilie creates a “Roll Call” that grades participants in order of ability. She then groups individuals of a similar fitness level together into smaller groups, or Sections.

[dropcap]5.[/dropcap] Each Platoon is coached by a team of Instructors, ensuring that we maintain a maximum participant to instructor ratio of 16:1.

[dropcap]6.[/dropcap] We only allow new participants to start on Day One of each 4 week cycle.

By offering all the benefits of personal training within a team training environment, you can create a stand alone profit centre that is not only highly profitable, but is self-promoting, based on the amazing results your clients are achieving.

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Article written by Chief Brabon for the What’s New in Fitness Magazine – Autumn 2019 Edition.

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