Here we are with the final segment of this series on large group training, . I wish I had a big bang for a finish. Going out with a crescendo is always cool. I have a feeling this is going to be a little underwhelming for you though. However underwhelming it may be, I’m here to tell you that this shit works and it works well!
Keeping things simple is the absolute best way to go. Especially when working with large groups. When I started working with the Faction I saw an opportunity to integrate as much as I can with my team and business model. What came of that is one hell of a simplified programming approach and much happier clients.
Let’s start with the program itself. For the past 2 cycles, I have used the Faction-style programming template almost to the word for my group classes. Essentially, what we are doing is large group training. While we may not be in the same room, we are one large group of diverse goals and obstacles working together to get where we want to go. After I went through a couple cycles of training with Chris’ program, I applied it to my business. I changed some technical aspects to make it appropriate for my clients but the overall template remained the same. With this, I am able to give my clients the autonomy to choose their path while relieving some stress from my coaches because they know the work and that all of our clients will be working appropriate skills. It has been a huge success!
The Faction programming is great for addressing just about every goal the general population will bring with them. Have someone that has a special need or request that isn’t addressed in the current program? Easy peasy. Take a pen and adjust accordingly if possible. If it can’t be fixed that easy, sell them on semi-private or private training. They will be pleased as punch to know that they need a “special” program. I have yet to run into that problem and I have a wide array of clients.
What I do see a lot of is results. Race times have decreased, confidence and competence are growing, chronic aches are disappearing, and belts are being taken in! Yahtzee!
So, what’s left to talk about? Oh yeah! How do we facilitate all these people with limited equipment?! Here’s where your intuition must kick in. Remember, programs are suggestions. Tweaks here and there to accomplish the mission are all good! Here are some ways that I have navigated this problem when it arises:
- Get creative in ways that you can share weights. I’ve found that the majority of my classes just work out when it comes to equipment but when you do run into too many people wanting one implement there are ways to tackle the problem. Use the old I Go You Go format. That’s a great way to cut the room in half. You can also stack clients 3 deep and have people work through the circuit or exercise in succession. With rest periods and whatnot, this has always worked out for me. This is also a great way to get your people to look after one another and do some coaching of their own.
- If appropriate, split the group up and have them start at different points of the workout. Obviously, we are not going to have people doing their power work at the end of the session or put assistance work in front of our focus, but there are certain workouts where you can get away with this. For instance, in our current program you could split the room for Monday’s and Wednesday’s assistance work. Friday, you can jumble that shit up any way you like but try to do it by intensity. It may not be a good idea to have someone going for 20 Zercher squats when they are that much more fatigued so try to keep those taxing and higher risk exercises toward the beginning of everyone’s circuit.
I think the Faction program is a great template for your large group sessions. Nobody knows your clients better than you though so make changes when appropriate but the general idea should do the trick. Remember, nothing is set in stone and everything is a learning experience. So, don’t sweat the small stuff and take notes when things don’t go well. It’s not the end of the world, I promise you that. Keep it safe, stay in control of your groups, and be flexible enough to make changes when you see fit. It’s that easy!
If you have questions feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 773-329-0916. I’d love to hear about your experiences with large group training and help when I can!