Group Training – Do Circuits Right!

group training1The last few weeks we have discussed:

Today lets talk about how to do circuits right in your group training session. We all use them, but here are my tips to making circuits fun and how to make them work for you and your clients!

When using circuits, be sure to teach them in a timely fashion

When it is time to teach the group the next exercises in the upcoming circuit, be sure to do it quickly and concisely. You don’t want people waiting around watching for too long.

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Quickly demonstrate each of the exercises within the circuit, and point out 2-3 key technique points.  When the exercisers begin their sets, you can fine-tune technique then. Keep in mind in the beginning you may take a bit more time teaching exercises. However, as you get more comfortable with the group and as they begin to master proper technique and execution of movement, the time it takes you to teach a circuit should be greatly reduced. For example, if you’ve done a chest press exercise numerous times in the past with the group, you could literally point to the station and say, “ok group, the chest press is exercise #1. We’ve done it before. I’ll come around and check your technique once we get started…”

Distribute your time equally

Group Training is very different than one-on-one training. You must learn to distribute your time equally among all participants rather than spending too much time on any one person. Learn how to politely explain to a client who may be demanding too much of your time that you must go and help the others to ensure you’ve spent equal time with everybody. Be sure to physically make eye contact and spot each person in your program at least once per session.

When using circuits, be sure to facilitate and manage the session effectively

The biggest obstacle for a trainer who is only well-versed in one-on-one training is how to practically manage sessions with a number of different clients. It takes a very skilled trainer to ensure that a Group Training session is not totally chaotic with one person twiddling his thumbs while another person is getting all the attention. Always be ready. Always know what each client is doing at all times. Always know what’s going to be happening next and what equipment you’ll need. 

Be able to improvise and adjust exercises

You may have designed an exercise within a circuit that is not appropriate for one member of your group.  Be ready and able to make minor adjustments and modifications to any exercise. Be ready and able to think quickly.  You may have a group that is able to move through the lesson plan quickly and you find yourself with 10 extra minutes.  In these situations, be ready to improvise and add in additional exercises to use up the time wisely.  In contrast, you may have a group that moves through the lesson plan more slowly and you have to be ready to condense the workout or skip a particular section to ensure you finish on time.

TIP: give permission

Be sure that your clients know that they can modify an exercise if they do not feel comfortable with it. Instruct them to immediately alert you to any concerns they may have with a particular exercise so it will allow you the opportunity to make an adjustment.

Yours in health, fitness & business,
Sherri McMillan

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