GROUP TRAINING: THERE’S STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

There are many benefits to training with a group. Group exercise isn’t a new concept, but it has taken off over the last twenty years as we’ve seen an increase in various types of group exercise among the many are cycle, aerobics, dance, and strength training, including the explosion of boutique gyms with their tribe like mentality.

So why the attraction to group training? Is it the camaraderie that comes with group training? Is it the variety? Is it the Kohler effect? Is it because it can be the best bang for your buck? I believe it is all of the above and then some.

Group training develops camaraderie; with camaraderie comes accountability and motivation. Working out with a group improves consistency because it involves commitment. You are less likely to hit the snooze button when you know there are others expecting you. The group notices an absence from a workout and that positive peer pressure can help reduce the urge to skip a workout.

Exercising with a group can also help increase motivation. Seeing others of different ages and abilities work hard and support one another is very motivating. You may find yourself working harder when you see a fellow group member giving their all. A genuine bond develops when people sweat and grind through a workout together. They experience the challenge of pushing themselves to be their best. Some workout days are very satisfying, and others can be just plain hard. No matter the challenge, the external motivation of someone cheering you on when you’re dragging reminds you of your strengths and ability. This is when you realize you are not alone in your journey.

Group training also helps to prevent boredom and adds variety to your workout routine. Different trainers have different coaching styles, which allows you a safe and effective workout that isn’t always the same.

Do we perform better in a group or team environment? According to the Kohler Effect, we do. This phenomenon occurs when a less skilled/trained individual performs better on a difficult task in a group environment than expected based on their current skill set. In other words, no one wants to be the weakest link in their group, so they may put forth extra effort than they would if they were on their own. (this rings true for me!) A study published in the Journal of Sport and Medicine Psychology found that individuals who were matched with a partner (whose performance was always manipulated to be better) performed 24 percent better in a series of planks than when planking alone. They found that working with a partner increased their motivation and resulted in holding their plank for a longer period of time.  

Another benefit to group training is it can be a more economical approach to your fitness routine, giving you more bang for your buck. Private training is specifically designed for one individual and may be cost-prohibitive to some. Exercise classes are designed for the masses and may not benefit all fitness and ability levels, as many exercises require a basic knowledge of performance to ensure safety and effectiveness.   Group training, however, is the best of both worlds. It allows for more personalized training with a certified professional than exercise classes and is more budget-friendly than private training. 

Whether you are a lifelong gym rat or a newcomer, an introvert or extrovert, young or old, space is held for everyone who wants to improve their overall health and fitness. Group training proves that there is STRENGTH IN NUMBERS and so much more! 

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