Do you only train one-on-one or do you also offer small group training sessions? Here are a few pros and cons to consider when deciding to incorporate tandem or small group training options to your clients.

Pros for Small Group Training

More Money

As a trainer, you maximize your time with small group training. If you have two or more clients, the standard rate of pay might be reduced from an individual session for each paying client. Even so, you will make much more money with two or more instead of one while saving each client some cash.

More Motivation

The buddy system can work well. Two people or a small group can encourage each other. They are more likely to keep training appointments, making sure not to disappoint their workout partner. They are held accountable. Hopefully, they will do extra exercise together outside of the training sessions.

More Involvement

Small group training sessions are popular in gyms. The sessions are a way to get more gym-goers involved. If they get more involved, the probability is that they will keep their membership.

More Confidence

Some new clients are intimidated with one-on-one sessions and feel more confident in a group setting. This is especially true for clients who are big into taking classes. They are used to be surrounded by others while working out.

Pros for Individual Training

More Personalization

Training one-on-one customizes each session to personalize the benefits to the client. If the client has an injury or medical situation, you can be cognizant of it during the workouts to ensure the safest environment.

More Attention Paid

 One-on-one training allows you to ensure proper form. Because one client has your undivided attention, you can monitor how hard to push your client and when to pull back. A huge benefit of one-on-one training is that you can adjust as needed.

More Candor 

An individual client might be more comfortable asking questions in an individual session. Oftentimes, a client will not speak up in front of others.

The Cons of Group Training

Less Tailoring

No two people are at the same fitness level. Needs are going to be different, so it is difficult to tailor the workout to each individual while group training.

Potential Incompatibility

Their motivations could be different. I trained two college professors who taught a heavy load of classes. They had limited time and resources with busy schedules, so asked if I would train them both at the same time. Their fitness levels were vastly different, and one was much more motivated. I found it a struggle to balance the two in sessions. If you have one client who struggles and three or four who are getting the routine, it is going to throw off the group.

More Comparison

Clients may compare themselves to the other members, which could possibly reap negative results. No one wants to feel like they are not measuring up.

The Cons of Individual Sessions

Less Income

One client for one hour pays one rate, unlike training multiple paying clients at once. You do the math!

Less Inspiration

An unmotivated client will not have the encouragement of group comradery – no buddy system! Although there will always be a contingent that prefers to work alone, you can gauge if your individual client is getting the most out of their private sessions or might benefit from the motivation of a buddy.

More Effort

By holding individual sessions, you will have more planning to do for each individual client, instead of a planning session for a group. When someone has a very specific goal in mind they expect you to put the time and effort into helping them achieve that. However, in a group setting, the expectations will probably be lower that each person is receiving a tailored plan. You can even likely use the same group workout plan several times in the course of a work day across groups with similar needs and fitness levels.

Which is Better?

Since every client is an individual with unique characters and needs, what works for one may not work for the other. You might find it an ideal situation to plan one-on-one sessions for some clients, while group instruction can be much more beneficial for others (and you).

Every trainer has their own style. Some prefer to work one-on-one exclusively. Others prefer a group setting. You might do both to meet your clients’ needs.

Bear in mind the potential of crossover: many group session participants convert to individual clients, which grows your business. In fact, you could suggest the idea when it is appropriate to do so, even if you have two clients who don’t know each other but you feel could work well together.

There is not a clear “winner” here since it is not about which is better overall, but about what works best for you and your clients.


Kim Becknell Williams

Kim Becknell Williams is a freelance writer with more than ten years of personal training experience. Certified through NFPT, she is a Functional Training Specialist and holds a Master Trainer level certificate for resistance, endurance and sports nutrition. Kim has written two books including Gym Etiquette 101. She enjoys writing a variety of lifestyle articles and fitness blogs.