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small group
Andrea Bickford looks at the growth of small group training on the gym floor
mall group personal training classes to combat workouts. Each Firstly, she explains, the sessions are
is an emerging trend, its instructor is set the target of training at fun for both instructors and members:
popularity growing not least least 40 members a shift. “The other day I walked into the Wigan
due to cost – people like the “Members are engaged immediately,” club and found a group of six ladies, over
idea of personal training but can’t always says Steven Sykes, customer solutions the age of 70, wearing boxing gloves
afford it. But it’s not just small group manager for Escape Fitness. “They’re and sparring – albeit in hysterics. That’s
personal training on the rise: what we’re trying something new, fun and effective, what it’s all about. We must remember
also beginning to see is a move towards and because they’re so motivated they that fi tness clubs are more than places
small group training on the gym floor, see results quickly.” of exercise: they’re meeting places, and
not as a secondary revenue stream group exercise classes harness the social
but as something that’s included in the driving loyalty element for members.”
membership as a way of engaging more “It doesn’t matter if the member is male Secondly, people achieve their goals
members, making the gym floor more or female – if you can get them involved more quickly – they’re more interested
dynamic and boosting member loyalty. in group exercise, they’ll stay with you and therefore more motivated. Beale
This concept has been developed for longer,” says Rob Beale, group health agrees: “Members want to exercise on
by DW Sports Fitness over the past and fitness manager for David Lloyd equipment that looks and feels different
two years, working in conjunction with Leisure. As a result, the chain has from the norm, and they want quicker
Escape Fitness, and today the chain’s expanded its group exercise offering results. Group training provides this.”
main focus is on small group training and beyond the studio, creating a series of Finally, group training creates a real
education. Each new and refurbished small group sessions on the gym floor sense of belonging. “A buzz is created
club has a functional training area – using Power Plate, kettlebells, Keiser’s on the gym fl oor, with members
offering an array of equipment from TRX Strider, circuit training, TRX and so on. engaging with each other and with our
suspension training systems and bodycore “This makes the gym floor more coaches,” Beale continues. Greg Sellar
functional training platforms to wobble energetic and interactive, boosts of GRAVITY agrees: “People enjoy that
boards, medicine balls and steps. participation in group exercise and gives sense of ‘group’, rather than feeling
This zone lies at the heart of a new members the confidence to use the they’re alone in their training goals.”
training culture in DW clubs (see equipment when training on their own.” Like DW Sports, the idea behind LA
also HCM Jan 10, p34). Workshops – According to Elaine Coulthard, Fitness’ small group training sessions is to
covering techniques including kettlebells, national fi tness manager for DW Sports make them interesting, fun and different.
TRX, vibration training and SAQ – are Fitness, small group training succeeds Following successful pilot schemes, the
offered every hour, as are circuit training because it replicates the three key chain has rolled out Crew Classes and
sessions. Meanwhile, small group loyalty-driving elements of studio class Workshops across all its clubs. Crew
sessions crop up on an ad hoc basis attendance, which she sums up using the Classes typically involve six to eight
all over the gym fl oor – from crewing ‘FAB (fun, achieve, belong) Principle’. members completing 10- to 15-minute
Multi-purpose A functional training zone at DW Sports Fitness (left), and (right) a GRAVITY small group training session
56 Read Health Club Management online march 2010 © cybertrek 2010
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