11010 E 28th St N, Wichita, Kansas 67226

Getting the Most out of Group Training

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Getting the Most out of Group Training

Many people use group training to exercise on its own or in between their individual/semi-private training sessions. This form of exercise training can be very beneficial for many people and can be used in multiple different ways to help someone meet their goals. We are going to talk about specific tips to help you see progress from workout to workout!

There are many pros to group training! Exercising has been shown to help mental health and brain cognitivity, improve your quality of sleep, help regulate blood sugar/glucose levels, and of course, increase muscle/lose fat. When it comes specifically to the style of group training, the exercises change day to day, week to week, so there is a lot of change and variety within your workouts to help keep you engaged. Although you might not enjoy doing exercises that you may feel you struggle with or may not like, there is a huge benefit to exercising in way that you aren’t used to. Many times, the exercises we hate are the ones that we need the most! In addition, you get to see the many ways our trainers may think differently about programming exercises into a workout, so you aren’t just working with one trainer, you are working with all of us!


With all of these great pros, there are cons with every form of training. When it comes to group training, the biggest con will be the difficulty of tracking progress. When we change the exercises every day, it can be hard to see progress because the weight that is appropriate will change depending on the exercise. Another big component of exercise is the ability of our nervous system to learn the exercise and perform it well. Many times a lot of our strength gains can actually come from just our nervous system becoming more efficient. So the constant change of exercise can actually hinder our progress because we are constantly “starting from scratch”. This is one of the many ways semi-private training/private training can help people see progress faster. 


This being said, there are some different strategies we can use to help us track our progress in little ways. The first thing we need to do is find a way to write our progress down whether it be in our phone or in a notebook. I personally find it easier on my phone. I like to use an app called rep count. The great thing about this app is that you can add custom exercises for it to keep track of, so that means you can track the ipsilateral offset to balance dumbbell seesaw lunge with a slow eccentric that Kelsey decided to add to the group training that day. When you start your next workout, all you have to do is search for the exercise you added and the app will tell you the weight you performed the last time even if it was 2 years ago. We also need to track how long we performed the exercise. The amount of work time should change the weight we use each time we do the exercise. If there are 40 seconds on the clock, then you should use a lighter weight than normal; whereas if there are only 20 seconds, you should be trying to lift heavier than normal. So if we had a dumbbell bench press for 35 seconds x 4 sets, our notebook log should look something like this:


DB bench press: 35sec x 20lbs x 4


The next time we do this exercise, we can increase our weight or lower it if the amount of time is different. 


If all the variations of exercise are cluttering up your notebook or phone or they are feeling overwhelming, there is one more step we can look at to simplify it. In almost every workout we do at GoTime, there are the same movement patterns. If we can at least track the weights we use on these movement patterns then we can be more consistent. These movement patterns are squat, lunge, deadlift, core/abs, horizontal/vertical push, horizontal/vertical pull, and carry. Instead of keeping track of our offset bench press on a stability ball, all we need to keep track of is our horizontal push exercise weight we used. Then, the next time you see that movement pattern, you can pick a weight that is appropriate from the beginning instead of guessing through the first 2 sets.  So, the biggest tip of our guide is to TRACK! Find the best and easiest ways to do so and use this to see progress and also be able to recognize that you can do more weight. If a weight you used was not very challenging by the 4th set, then you know you can go up in weight the next time you see that pattern. Here are some examples of the basic barebones exercises for each movement pattern to help you recognize them:


  • Squat: Goblet Squat

  • Lunge: Split Lunge

  • Core: Plank Variation

  • Deadlift: Kettlebell Deadlift or RDL

  • Horizontal Push: Pushup or Bench Press

  • Vertical Push: Shoulder Press

  • Horizontal Pull: Row

  • Vertical Pull: Pull-up or Band Pulldown

  • Carry: Farmer’s Carry

Another strategy to use to help increase strength and endurance is to start with a heavier weight that you can only do 2-3 sets for the full time with, and then go down in weight on the last sets. This can help you lift heavier but not have to compromise form on the last couple sets. This strategy can also be used within the same set, known as drop sets. This can be done by doing the first half of the time with a heavy weight, then dropping to a lower weight for the last half of the time. 


The next best tip is to allow your body to recover and rest. The general rule is to allow the muscles worked a full day of recovery between the days you train. If you did a group workout on Monday, then you should rest Tuesday, and come in Wednesday again if you would like. Ideally 2-3 days a week with full body workouts is optimal for all the health benefits we seek. This will also help you feel more energized and happy as well as be more consistent. It is incredibly important to be consistent, and if we are pushing our body to the max without proper recovery, we will burn out. 


If we need a full day rest, how do we balance our semi-private workouts with group training? The key to performing multiple workouts like this is to not keep the intensity high the entire time. If you are doing semi-private, work out hard during your SPT sessions, and use group training as a lower intensity, lighter lifting workout session to promote movement, calorie burn, and recovery (if it is between your SPT days). Otherwise, if you are using group training as your primary workouts or it’s on a day far from your other workouts, workout intensely with as best form you can!


In conclusion, to see progress in the gym, we have to track our progress, then try to increase weights slowly over time, and finally be consistent. We can use other strategies such as drop sets to help us get stronger if we aren’t ready to move up in weight for all of the sets in the workout. Get after it, and we hope these tips help you become the best version of yourself!


 near Wichita

Sean Wheeler

B.A. in Exercise Science, CPT ACE

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