Group Training Program Layout
Group Training Program Design: Setting Up your Clients for Success (Part 2)
This is a 3-part series on Group Training to help ensure your (and your clients) long-term success.
- Part 1: The Foundation of Group Training
- Part 2: [YOU ARE HERE] Group Training Program Layout
- Part 3: The fun stuff
In Part 1 of this 3-part series we discussed the training principles and variables that you need to consider when programming your Group Training workouts. It’s critical that you understand those variables and principles before moving on to this post, so if you haven’t read it please head up to the link above and take a few minutes to review.
In this post we will talk about the best Group Training Program layout for your clients.
Group Training Program Layout
Over the course of 8 years I have laid these out a million different ways and I have always found it to be dependent on the a trainers strengths and the culture of the gym.
When I was at Force Fitness I ran a fast warm up and mobility section of my programs because I wanted clients to get right to work. That was my style, I still don’t actually like doing mobility work (I do though…so all of you corrective maniacs out there can take a chill pill).
However, we had a coach come in that had a background in some corrective work and movement prep knowledge that molded the way we programmed it in to the workouts. When he took over as our Director of Coaching he had a bigger influence on the program design and you saw a focus on that type of work come into play.
I don’t think one system is better than the other, but they are different.
You can have a safe and effective training program without spending 30 minutes mobilizing and activating one of those small muscles in your inner thigh to help correct a 3 degree external rotation of your right tibia.
Okay, I might have been overly sarcastic in that comment, but I have seen it happen.
There are lots of people I respect in this industry that have a solid background in corrective work and getting people to move better without taking it to an extreme.
If you need some resources check out:
There are others I am sure I missed but those came to mind as I was writing this article. When programming a warm up or movement prep you should focus on two primary objectives…
- Objective #1: Focus on correcting any movement issues
- Objective #2: preparing the client for the workout they will be doing
The first objective is where guys like SGT, Evan Osar and Dean Somerset come into play, that’s their wheel house.
The second objective is often neglected and people are taken through a generic warm up session. During a great movement prep or warm up session you should have clients focusing on movement patterns they will be doing in the workout and preparing their body to train hard once the workout starts.
This is especially true in a group training environment when the loads aren’t quite as heavy and you are working with a limited time frame. During your movement prep hit the basic movement patterns – push, pull, squat, hinge, possibly a single leg variations, hit a bit of core and then get their body temperature up. It’s pretty simple. Using movements that tackle two or more of those in one movement gets you bonus points!
I also recommend spending some extra time, if you have it, on the upper back and hips. Those are the biggest problem areas for most clients and they deserve the most attention. The goal of the warm up is to utilize 20% of the movements that cover 80% of your clients needs.
Now, let’s get back to the fun stuff…actual training (…kidding again…)
At one point my group training programs looked like this:
- Foam Rolling on your own
- 10 min warm up
- 5 min explanation/demo of the workout
- 20-30 min workout
- 5-10 min finisher
- Peace out!
For those of you keeping score at home that’s 40-55 minutes in total for the workout.
During this time I favored undulating periodization in the workouts, which I still do, but there were a few clients that always seemed to miss power days or schedule around them.
So, I improved it to this:
- 3 minutes foam rolling
- 8 minutes mobility/activation
- 5-10 minutes power/core Training
- 5 minutes demo workout
- 15-20 minutes Strength Training
- 3-5 minutes finisher
- 3-5 minutes recovery
Keeping score still? That’s 42-56 minutes of total time. That gives you a bit of flex time for a 60 minute workout. It would also be easy to lower the power/core section to 5 minutes if you wanted and alternate what you trained on each day.
Typically during this type of a workout everything rolled on time and people got used to the flow.
25 seconds of rolling and 5 seconds to transition for 6 total areas of the body that are needed for the workout and based on previous training and the majority of the clients’ needs.
25 seconds of mobility work with 5 seconds of transition time for 16 total movements. That includes movements that require you to do each side so that you spend 25s on each side of the body.
The core and power training was done as a superset most of the time training a power based movement to prime the nervous system for 5-10s and then moving to a core based movement or exercise for 10-30s with recovery in between the supersets. You could get in up to 10 sets like this or you can reduce the time based on the needs of your clients.
The strength training portion of the session used undulating periodization to focusing on Strength, Hypertrophy and Endurance. In a phase of training I would want to favor more Hypertrophy, both FHT and SHT (review Part 1 of this series if you don’t recognize the acronyms) over Strength and Endurance.
Here’s an example 3-month daily undulating periodization schedule
- Workout A – Strength
- Workout B – FHT
- Workout C- Endurance
- Workout C – SHT
- Workout A – SHT
- Workout B – Strength
- Workout C – FHT
- Workout D – Endurance
- Workout A – Endurance
- Workout B – SHT
- Workout C – Strength
- Workout D – FHT
Movements and work periods would be changed each month using this daily undulating system. Using this method you will keep training fresh and exciting and over the 3 month period you make sure that a client won’t neglect any of the training effects due to their schedule. For 90% of your clients this method will cover their training needs.
That wraps up Part 2 of Group Training Program Design. In part 3 of this series we will take a look at specific considerations and all of the other variables that can go into your group training program design.
Keep Reading –> Part 3: The fun stuff
In the meantime grab your free group training templates by clicking the image below…