Group Personal Training: Definition, Benefits and Qualifications

small group personal training exercises

Group personal training is a relatively new trend in the fitness world, and it’s one that is revolutionising how personal training sessions are delivered. But what exactly is it, and how can you get involved with lively group PT sessions?

OriGym’s guide is here to answer those questions, as well as helping you to find a group PT class that’s right for both your goals and your budget.

We’ll also explore just how much group personal training prices are different to individual training sessions, as well as exactly where you can get involved with these classes.


Or, if you’re already confident in your fitness capabilities, then perhaps you could make the switch from passion to career, and become a fully qualified personal trainer.

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What Is Group Personal Training?

small group personal training exercises

As you might have expected, group personal training shares many of the same qualities that we find in more traditional personal training sessions - guided practice, professional advice, and bespoke workout plans that are designed to help you achieve your goals and excel in the fitness world.

However, as the name implies, you won’t be working with your trainer on a 1-to-1 basis - you’ll be working alongside others who have similar goals or targets. 

Group personal training is a group of people who work with the same personal trainer on bespoke workout plans that they’ve established in advance. 

This group setting does come with its own unique set of benefits (which we’ll get onto in our next section), but it’s also important to note that it is totally different to group classes (such as Zumba or pilates), as it’s much more intimate. OriGym’s comprehensive case study into the benefits of group exercise explores how these classes can be advantageous, and we'll be looking at how they differ later in this article . 

One important distinction, however, is that with a group personal training class, you won’t necessarily be doing exactly the same exercise as the others in your group. These will have been adjusted by your PT to better fit what you’re aiming for, and what you ultimately want to achieve.

Here’s an example - while one person in your group may be focused on weight loss and be doing abdominal exercises, another may be wanting more definition on their arms, and therefore be doing exercises that activate the biceps and triceps. 

Because these will generally have no crossover (in terms of equipment), they can be done simultaneously, and the trainer can split their attention evenly. 

Average group personal training sessions will usually consist of between 3 and 7 people (usually all with similar goals), meaning you can still have tailored feedback and the specificity that we associate with a PT session, but have others around you to motivate and inspire you.

What Are The Benefits Of Group Personal Training?

#1 - Provides Additional Motivation

small group personal training prices

While it can seem intimidating to exercise in front of others at first, this is arguably the biggest benefit of group personal training.

Because each person involved in these group PT sessions is there for a similar reason, and you’re all under the tutelage of a trained professional, you start to become each others’ motivators.

Working alongside others has scientifically proven merits, too - studies show that working in a group (and in particular smaller group personal training sessions) is not only beneficial for your physical wellbeing, but they also play a big role in how you find motivation and desire to exercise.

By surrounding yourself with people who have similar mindsets, and are there for a similar purpose, you can find inspiration in their successes, and spur yourself on to achieve similar results.

#2 - Costs Less

small group personal training ideas

While prices can be similar when it comes to group training vs personal training, our research has found that group personal training sessions are, on average, slightly cheaper. 

As you’ll be sharing the overall group personal training rates between however many members there are, you’ll generally be paying less than you would if you were working on a 1-to-1 basis. 

Our research uncovered that the average price for a group personal training session is usually around £30 - £35, with significant discounts offered for block bookings of group PT workouts. 

However, group personal training in London may be slightly more, as inner city gyms usually command a premium on top of their regular prices.

Now, this may only seem like a small saving, but as personal training can cost up to £60 per session, we feel this slight price reduction warrants some considerable attention. Our comprehensive insight into personal training costs explores just how much you’ll be paying for a personal trainer’s services.

It’s also worth noting that some group personal training sessions may not require you to have a gym membership, and instead charge a flat rate to use the equipment during your group personal training workouts.

#3 - Gives You The Opportunity To Explore New Workouts

benefits of small group personal training

Group personal training sessions are always, and will always be, focused upon achieving your goals and progressing in your fitness capabilities. 

However, because of the nature of these group personal training sessions, you simply won’t be able to have the same 1-on-1 time with your personal trainer that you would in a private session.

But while this might seem like a disadvantage of group personal training, it actually forms the foundation of one of its greatest strengths.

Offering you the chance to explore different exercises not only pushes you in different ways and accelerates your progress towards your goals, it also helps your personal trainer establish what works well for you, and how best to implement that into future sessions.

It also means that the leader of these group personal training workouts can observe form and posture across multiple different exercises, which can reduce the risk of injury or strain, ensuring you can continue to see the results you’ve become accustomed to, as well as a multitude of benefits of good posture.

What’s The Difference Between Group Personal Training and Fitness Classes?

personal training group sessions

This is one of the more common questions when it comes to group personal training classes, and understandably so - how do you distinguish between regular fitness classes (such as Spin or Zumba) and group personal training?

One of the easiest ways to spot a group personal training session is to look at the number of participants. 

A smaller group personal training session will only have a maximum of 7 people involved, alongside a trainer. On the other hand, an exercise class can have up to 30 people involved, or as many as 50 in larger gyms and fitness centres.

This increase in numbers represents the main difference, but also forms the root cause for other dissimilarities, too. 

For instance, because of the larger class sizes, there’s a lack of relationship and rapport building, meaning that the teacher in these classes won’t necessarily understand individual fitness needs on the same level as a personal trainer who specialises in group personal training sessions.

While there’s still elements of camaraderie in any group class, they do lack the level of intimacy and personal connections that smaller group personal training can have, as there isn’t guaranteed to be a consistent group of people in each class.

One crucial point to note, though, is that group personal training is something that will always come with an additional cost, whereas classes (such as Zumba) will often be included as part of even the most basic gym memberships. 

This can be a deciding factor if you’re on a shoestring budget, and, even though we’re firm advocates in favour of group personal training, it’s always important to prioritise your personal finances, and only opt for fitness solutions that are in your price range.


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How Can I Include Group Personal Training in My Schedule?

outdoor group personal training

As An Exerciser

Group personal training will often coincide with your regularly scheduled PT sessions, if you’re already a client, meaning you can easily interchange these sessions, and continue to work under a personal trainer.

Our recommendation would be to aim to do one or two group personal training sessions per week, as this is usually what you would be doing in a 1-to-1 session, and strikes the right balance between cost and engaging in meaningful, results-driven exercise. 

However, if you’re determined to reach a specific milestone, and all of your small personal training group are of a similar mindset, you can increase this to 3 sessions per week. This would, of course, incur extra cost, and is only advisable if you’re able to budget for this extra expenditure.

It’s also a great idea to take advantage of any block booking services that your group personal trainer offers, as not only will this save you money, but you’ll also be able to better organise other events or commitments around your sessions. 

As A Personal Trainer

This can be a little tricky, especially if your schedule is already stretched thin, or you simply don’t have a client base that wants to be involved with group personal training sessions.

However, we would argue, especially from a business perspective, it’s a fantastic idea to include group PT sessions as part of your weekly or biweekly scheduling. 

Not only are you able to train multiple clients simultaneously, but you’ll also be able to attract an entirely new demographic, and one that could continue to generate revenue whilst you continue to still work in 1-to-1 sessions with your current clients.

It could also teach you to better apportion your time and manage your resources to be able to help multiple clients at once. While this may seem inconsequential, it’s an ideal skill to add to your repertoire, and is a fantastic way to ensure you continue to motivate your personal training clients.

Are There Other Qualifications Needed For Teaching Group PT Sessions?

group outdoor personal training

This is a question that seems to have quite a simple answer - no, you technically don’t need anything on top of your usual Level 2 & Level 3 personal training qualifications (necessary to become a qualified personal trainer).

However, where it can get a little tricky is that there are multiple professional development courses that you can undertake to augment your group personal training workouts and sessions, and that can teach you vital skills to enable you to manage, organise, and thrive in a group personal training environment.

The primary amongst these is the formally accredited group exercise instructor course (offered by OriGym), which not only teaches you critical skills - such as where best to position yourself to ensure you can keep an eye on everyone while they’re performing their exercises - but also dispenses practical advice that you can use to revolutionise your group PT sessions.

group personal training rates

What we mean by this is that group personal training presents dangers that simply don’t occur in 1-to-1 sessions. 

For instance, the group exercise CPD course provides usable advice on how to avoid scenarios where two clients are performing potentially harmful exercises at the same time, as well as how to apportion time and resources so that sessions can flow smoothly. 

Smaller group personal training exercises need meticulous planning, too, which is often more demanding and time consuming than planning for a workout with a single client. You not only need to ensure that your workouts are doable without your intervention, but that they’re tailored to each individual.

This is another area where the group exercise instructor offered by OriGym provides substantial, actionable advice on how to recognise exactly when someone may need additional assistance, and how best to accommodate those who may not be as familiar with some of the exercises you’re including in your group personal training ideas.

Finally, it may seem simple, but it’s important to remember that you’ll be working with multiple people who will all have different personalities and learning styles, which, no matter what you’re doing, can be very difficult to manage and organise.

Ensuring you’re adept at managing your group personal training workouts is vital to maintaining good client rapport, and developing relationships with those who are new to a group PT environment, as well as long-standing fitness enthusiasts who are looking to you to provide guidance and expertise.

As experts in personal training, and the personal training industry, we’re always abridge of how personal training (and, by extension, group personal training) is evolving, and what clients are looking for in their PT.

We’d always recommend developing your knowledge, either through research of your own, or achieving formal accreditation. We’ve done this searching for you, and compiled a comprehensive report on the best types of professional development for personal trainers

Doing so will ensure you can keep ahead of the curve, and provide the services clients want before others in the business do. 


What Should I Look For In A Group PT Session?

small group personal training workouts

Your answer to this question does depend on quite a few different factors, such as how fit you consider yourself to be, or whether or not you’ve visited a personal trainer before.

We’ve broken them down into categories so you can make an informed decision on what personal training group is right for you.

Groups That Are Fitness-Level Appropriate

This is arguably the most important area to consider when you’re looking for your first group personal training session. 

If you’re looking to be pushed and challenged, it might be worth seeking out a personal trainer that’s well equipped to take you to your limits, and continue to challenge you with every exercise. 

Personal trainers like this will generally attract that kind of clientele, and therefore their group personal training classes are likely to be more intensive, and drive you on to your next milestone. Many will also refer to themselves as master personal trainers, which means they’ve achieved a multitude of qualifications and certifications.

Similarly, if you’re not confident in your fitness abilities, or this is the first time you’ve used a personal trainer, we’d recommend looking for a personal training group that caters more towards those who are just beginning their fitness journey.

Groups That Are Conveniently Located

We’ve already touched upon how location can affect the price of your group personal training (in that group PT in smaller towns and cities will, as a general rule, be much cheaper than group personal training in London).

This gulf in price naturally also affects which personal trainer group you attend, especially if you’re looking to attend but are on a tight budget, or can only afford to attend once per week. 

In this scenario, we’d recommend searching your local area and the surrounding gyms and fitness centres so that you can find the right option for you. We’ve compiled a few tips on how best to find a group personal training session in our next section.

Many personal trainers who operate in a gym may not charge a premium (usually because they don’t need to purchase their own suite of essential personal training equipment), but you may find more PTs who are more tailored to your specific fitness needs by looking independently.

Location also applies to where you’ll complete your training sessions, too. It may seem simplistic, but if you’re specifically seeking outdoor group personal training sessions, it’s important to ensure that there’s an area nearby (such as a park or a playing field) where you’ll be able to complete your sessions.

Exercise in the fresh air - whether that’s a post-work jog, or a fully fledged group outdoor personal training session - has its own set of benefits, which we’ve fully explored in our comprehensive guide to outdoor training.

The Qualifications The Personal Trainer Possesses

group pt

As with any decision relating to exercise classes, it’s always important to know how well qualified your instructor is, and whether they have any additional training they can use to tailor their training to your specific needs.

Just to recap, all personal trainers (whether they solely run group personal training sessions, or just work on a 1-to-1 basis) will have attained a Level 2 (gym instructing) and a Level 3 (personal training) accreditation.

However, additional qualifications (such as the group exercise instructor certification we’ve just examined) can make a decisive difference when it comes to choosing the right personal training group sessions for you. 

Our recommendation would be to find a group personal trainer who has completed courses, or has a registered specialism in, any area that you’re looking to develop, or that you’ve got a keen interest in.

For instance, your new group personal trainer may have completed a course in weight loss and weight management, and therefore be formally qualified to dispense advice on how to lose weight, as well as have new and interesting personal training group session ideas.

Or, they may be experts in using kettlebells or medicine balls as part of their group personal training exercises, and can tailor these workouts to activate and challenge specific muscle groups.

As always, though, it’s important to find a personal training group that caters to your fitness needs, and offers services or specifics that can allow you to achieve your goals and continue to progress on your journey.

How Do I Find A Group Personal Training Session?

group personal training

So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and dive into the world of group personal training. You’ve made a checklist of what you’ll be looking for in your ideal PT, all that remains is to find that dream trainer.

There are a few ways in which you can do this, and we’ll discuss each in detail, so you can find not only the right PT, but also the right personal training group.

We’d recommend searching for personal trainers in your local area (you can do this through a search engine, such as Google). This will generally give you the largest amount of results and information, so you can narrow down your results to encompass everything you want.

This also comes with another benefit, in that it allows you to view reviews and client feedback before you opt for any particular group PT sessions.

You can also get in contact with personal trainers at your current gym or fitness centre. Most mainstream gyms will have onsite trainers that will train you, and some may offer group personal training sessions, or already be running a group that you’ll be able to join. They’ll also have complete use of the gym’s equipment, as well as any useful personal training software they need.

Again, as with any of our recommendations, ensuring that your group personal training is ideal for meeting your requirements, and facilitating your fitness journey, is vital, as it ultimately determines how much you can get out of it, and whether you’ll be able to continue progressing.

Before You Go!

Group personal training, as we’ve just explored, is an ideal option if you feel you’re a competitive person and find motivation in the victories of others, or you simply want to share your experiences and successes with others. 

Not to mention that  group personal training prices are comparatively lower than 1-to-1 training, and they’re always offered by a fully qualified professional, meaning you’ll always be receiving expert advice and training. 

But if you’re ready to progress to the next level, then a career in fitness could be your calling.

OriGym offer market-leading, CIMSPA accredited personal training courses, with the lowest price amongst its competitors, unlimited career support, and guaranteed post-course interviews at partner gyms. 

If that sounds ideal, our comprehensive FREE course prospectus outlines everything we offer, and how it could be right for you.


Enquire to Become a Personal Trainer

Make an enquiry today to get your fitness career off the ground! 

Written by Chris Allsobrook


Chris is a former English teacher, turned content editor. He holds a first-class honours degree in English Language and Creative Writing from the University of Central Lancashire, before going on to complete his teacher training, and obtain a PGCE at Liverpool John Moore’s.

Chris is a keen runner and is currently undertaking both his fitness instructing and personal training qualifications here at OriGym. 

Outside of fitness, you’ll often find him gaming, watching the football, cooking, or spending time with his family.

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