How to Set Up the Perfect Group Workout

An ideal group workout will accommodate each athlete's personal goals while building relationships within the team.

In this day and age, randomized group classes at boot camps are a dying breed. They are  being discontinued in favor of more educated, customized, structured programs and methodology through small group training.

RELATED: 4 Rules for Effective Group Workouts

Since everyone has specific goals, wants and needs, regardless of the setting, programs should accommodate them. We all move differently and respond differently to certain stimuli, so each program in a group environment should accommodate those differences.

Many prefer small group customized training because participants can more easily afford it, receive quality expert coaching and instruction, and build relationships in a hardworking fun community.

No two professional athletes follow the exact same program. Their bodies, needs, structural alignment and history are all different. Why would the general population be any different? For instance, during last year's NFL Combine Draft Prep, I worked with a running back who had suffered ACL injuries hadn't squatted since high school—not because he couldn't, but because squatting was no longer good for his body.

RELATED: 4 Strategies for Individualizing Workouts in Group Settings

Did we force him to back squat? No. Instead, we found other ways to build his strength, explosiveness and power output. He did Safety Bar Squats, Sled Marches, Bulgarian Split Squats, Clean Pulls and Sled Drives, all while working beside other athletes until he was ready. It worked; he ran a blistering 40-Yard Dash and was selected in the NFL Draft.

Could this have been done if he did what everyone else did? Not at all. Customization is key.

Within a small group of 3 to 8 people, things can be regressed and progressed, and a true community/team can be built.

Here is what a typical training session for 3 athletes could look like. They would be training in a group, but still attacking their own goals accordingly.

RELATED: Benefits of Small Group Training for Athletes

Group Workout Example

Dynamic Warm-Up

Generally, dynamic activation can be based on the same patterns, yet still have regressions and progressions. Do this for three rounds.

  • Knee Hug to Lunge - x 5 each
  • Lateral Band Walk - x 10 each
  • Bird Dogs - x 5 each
  • Frontal/Backward Band Walks - x 20 each
  • PVC Overhead Squat - x 5
  • Lateral Lunges - x5

Next, I like to focus on quality and get athletes through the workout in a timely fashion. I break the workouts into three phases, each with a specific purpose and duration. As you will see, each section has three exercise options, ordered from most advanced to least advanced. This is to show the opportunities to have athletes of different strength and experience levels go through the same workout by adjusting the difficulty of the exercises.

Phase 1 - Explosive Power (20 minute)

1a) Hang Clean/Clean Pull/Plyo Jump - x3

1b) Box Squat/Kettlebll Goblet Squat/Front Squat - x10

1c) Banded Hip Flexion/Banded Hip Extension/Calf Raise - x10

Phase 2 - Strength (15 minutes)

2a) Split Lunge/Reverse Lunge/Step-Up - x 8

2b) Kettlebell Swing/Kettlebell Hinge/Banded Pull-Through - x15

2c) Reverse Hyper/Glute Ham Raise/Hip Thrust - x10

Phase 3 - Correctives (10 minutes)

3a) TRX Feet Suspended Plank/Swiss Ball Plank/Plank - x 20 seconds

3b) Half- Kneeling High to Low Woodchop/Banded or Cable Mid Chop/Pallof Press - x15

3c) Weighted Superman Hold/Superman Opposite Arm, Opposite Leg/Superman Hold - x 10 reps or 20 seconds

I've given the different levels because each day athletes feel different. But as long as they stay on the path, the work will be done. Timed phases allow them to see how their conditioning overall has changed as weights and rounds go up or they progress exercise selection levels.

This template can be used in many ways—from upper body/lower body, push day/pull day to full body. Customization for each keeps that personal feel even when the athletes spot each other on different exercises. Keeping the intent high shows the athletes their progressions over time, since they share results with their partners every day. It also elevates intensity because each week is a week to get better.

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