Group Training Programming Model: A Format to Follow
Programming for the General Population: A Format to Follow
I’m often asked how I program my large group training model to maximize client results while accommodating 15-25 and even 30 + per session. The thing most people fail to realize is that the system you use for 2-5 or 4-8 size groups can and should translate over without too much difference. Once I was able to wrap my head around this, it all fell into place.
Range of Motion – Let’s face it, 98% of the clients we see have some type of dysfunction and this dysfunction is predicated by overtension (the fact they are missing range of motion) and open circuit faults or how they move in bad positions daily. The only way to improve range-of-motion is to improve postural distortions and movement flaws with constant attention to the stiffness and movement faults. For improved range of motion we’ll use self-myofascial techniques both intermediate and advanced as well as corrective exercise that can also include corrective stretching.
I look at it this way, our clients don’t stretch enough, even if we teach them to do it on their own. They don’t progress their “foam rolling” or self-myofascial release like they should and we need them to take a progressive manner to improve their overtension. So we place it in their warm-up and make them do it with us. We make sure we choose those that they will feel them. It’s amazing how far a few lacrosse balls and softballs can take your clients. Start teaching them how to progress their self-myofascial release and improve their range of motion.
Activation – We have a saying at TEF, the majority of our clients do not know who to activate their glutes. This goes much further than just here. Clients have a hard time learning how to “brace” and how to properly engage upper back muscles and the like. So, once again, we teach them. Floor Bridges, Planks, Band Pull Aparts, Scap Push-ups are all exercises we’ll implement to teach our clients how to activate underutilized muscles.
Movement Prep – Clients love to “feel” themselves using muscles but they also love to feel their body temperature increase and movement preparation does just that. This is where we place the exercises that are all encompassing like a “World’s Greatest Stretch” or Inchworm but we also will place movements like Seal Jacks or Squats here to continue the warm-up process.
Core Training / General Physical Preparedness
Core Training – Our clients lack basic core strength and if we haven’t included it at the end of the warm-up, we’ll place it immediately following the warm-up. Anti-extension, anti-flexion, anti-lateral flexion and all those that we can include as integrated core movements are placed here to fire up activation of the core.
General Physical Preparedness – Clients are walking in off the street even more deconditioned then in past years and we need to do something about it. The implementation of “extra” work whether it be loaded carry variations or long cycle swings combinations, we need to help our clients develop their “gas tank” to endure what the majority of the programs entail.
Hybrids / Combos / O-Lifts
These movements are highly technical or in the most simplistic form, very demanding. So we program these in early on in a training program to maximize a clients technique and effort. These can be exercises that incorporate two or three movements into one hybrid or combination lift. We utilize movements like Goblet squats with horizontal presses, squat and presses, kettlebell clean and presses and eventually integrate Olympic lifts with kettlebells, Sandbags and barbells (in smaller groups) for the clients who have progressed efficiently.
Strength Training / Metabolic Conditioning
Strength training is the standard for allowing our clients to maintain and build lean muscle while losing body fat. They gain strength and move better when they are stronger. For your general population client, you need to keep them safe, while providing ample progressions and regressions to accommodate different fitness levels in a given training environment.
METABOLIC STRENGTH – Sample
- Hip or Quad Dominant
METABOLIC CONDITIONING – Sample
- Hybrid / Combination
- Core / Combo / Locomotion
- Core / Combo / Locomotion
These are sample templates that I’ve used with great success in Large, Small and Semi Private settings. Feel free to adapt these to your standards.
Energy System Development
I’m not sure about your clients, but mine love the stuff that makes them huff and puff. What you and I call ESD, they refer to as “Finishers.” These finishers can be strength and metabolic based or combinations there off.
Strength Finishers – Clients love the feeling of their muscles working, so implementing a push-up/inverted row superset finisher of 2 minutes AMRAP of 5 push-ups and 10 inverted rows can not only become a strength finisher but can ramp up a clients cardiovascular system making it metabolic in feel.
Metabolic Finishers – “They want the huff and puff, but the need the muscle pump.” Or something like that. Is what I’ve said in the past. You know the client, they want to move, move and keep moving. So give them the extra.
One of my favorite finishers is to combine sled work or prowler work with a movement that has a strong power carry over and a core movement. I work with 80% women and they love to sweat, work their abs and feel powerful. So we’ll throw do a triset of something like med ball overhead throws for 5, kettlebell swings for 5-10 or even sled pushes topped off with hanging knee raises or slow-controlled banded mt. climbers. The variations and combinations are endless, but you get the point.
Program design does not need to be boring or feel tedious, you should enjoy programming as much as your clients love training with you. If you place joy in the programs you develop, your clients will enjoy training with you even that more. This is an easy to follow format, that can make for some life-changing training sessions your next time with your clients. Give it a go.
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