Small group training (SGT) allows members to get the benefits and motivation of a one-on-one trainer, and the sense of community and competition of a Group X class.
The YMCA of Bucks County offers SGT classes in their Functional Fitness Center at their Fairless Hills branch. This consists of a SYNRGY360 by Life Fitness, which has battle ropes, a rebounder, plyo platform, cable station, heavy bag, dip bar, pull up station and landmine.
“Our class formats vary on the class goal and the instructor,” said Andrea Brown, the director of healthy living at the Bucks County Y. “Some classes run as a circuit style with participants rotating around the room at set time intervals, while others are done more of ‘every minute on the minute’ (EMOM) training.”
According to Brown, SGT classes boost member engagement at their Y. She loves SGT because members get the personalized attention of a one-on-one session with a trainer, and the energy and encouragement of community in a group setting. “Our small group training participants all form bonds and I’ve seen so many new friendships happen in these classes,” she said.
The key to getting members engaged and participating in SGT classes is through proper marketing. The Bucks County Y markets their classes internally to members through flyers and scheduled promotions. They offer the first class free for anyone who would like to try a class to see if it is a good fit for them. In order to reach non-members, they also market on their website, social media and through email communication.
In order to execute a successful SGT program, Brown said it is vital to be flexible, and listen to your participants and what they are looking for in scheduling and programming. “I am always looking at class numbers, what classes are performing well and which are not, and making adjustments accordingly,” she explained.
Brown explained when they first launched their SGT schedule, their most popular and well-attended classes were daytime classes at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. After two years, she saw a shift in class attendees where their 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. classes started to grow while the daytime classes dropped off — so they adapted the schedule as needed.
Lastly, the instructor plays a big influence on the success of a class. According to Brown, instructors need to be skilled and knowledgeable, but they also have to have the right personality and be able to create excitement. If an instructor can be encouraging, and is able to work one-on-one and tailor an exercise to an individual’s needs, your SGT programming will be off to the right start.