SGPT vs Team Training

Small Group PT is a fast growing trend. But how does it sit alongside more traditional large group classes? And how can we leverage them both to make our timetable and client experience as effective as possible?


Small group PT is the bread and butter of the Modern Training Gym approach. It allows us to charge a premium rate because the model gets great results, bringing high yield per member, low attrition rates, and a high customer lifetime value.

But where your space allows, adding large group classes is often a good decision. 

They allow you to offer more capacity at peak times and complement your SGPT timetable, giving clients more variety and flexibility (and affordability).

Keep in mind that SGPT and Team Training are two very different beasts – when it comes to programming, coaching, and your overall business approach. 

If you’re offering both (which many gyms do successfully) you need to make sure that they’re very clearly defined. If you don’t, you may find that the blurred line between them ends up with one cannibalizing the other – often at your financial expense.

Here are the differences.

  • Numbers

SGPT will range from 3-8 people. Team Training looks for around 12-15 members plus, depending on the size and market of your gym.

  • Market

SGPT often appeals to a slightly older market, around 35-55 year-olds. These members may have had substandard experiences in gyms before and are looking for something tailored to their specific needs. They’re looking for quality, not just to “go hard and go home”; they may have past injuries, live sedentary lifestyles, be more out of shape, or simply be more motivated to learn about how their body works as an investment for the future.

Team Training often appeals to a younger market, say 25-35 year-olds. These guys want to get in, empty the tank, and get out. They’re already in pretty good shape or aren’t far off it.

“SGPT focuses on the long view: movement reeducation and skill”

  • Content

SGPT is about focusing on the long view. It slows down movements and coaches them in a personalised way that’s individual to each participant, modifying where necessary. It’s often based around movement reeducation, and is skill-focused.

Team Training is built on this same foundation, but takes a much more generic approach. The sessions are faster, more cardio-based, and done to time rather than reps. Each participant follows along with whatever they’ve got.

  • Skill/risk

One major difference between the two is the level of skill and risk. Because the coaching is less intensive and focused on the individual for team training, it’s a good idea to reduce the level of skill required to take part. This reduces the amount of risk involved. We take out heavy weights and complex movements to account for the fact that people are more likely to go fast and furious than steady and careful.

“Team Training scratches a certain itch”

SGPT and Team Training aren’t mutually exclusive – members can enjoy both. But they play a different role in developing someone’s strength and fitness, and feel like a different experience from the client’s perspective.

On its own, TT won’t be enough for complete movement re-education or science-based technique instruction, but it scratches a certain itch effectively.

A member can add one or two TT classes per week to their more intensively coached SGPT sessions to add some variety in a larger group setting – or some basic movement re-education.

The key to good TT sessions is to have enough variety to keep people engaged week after week, with a strong sense of community and a coach who excels at working with larger groups. Keep it fairly low skill and low risk, but still with a strong foundation of core movements that get results and sit in line with your Training Manifesto.

As with your SGPT programme, creating a system for your TT workouts gives you a blueprint for continuity and success. Without this structure, it becomes difficult to control the quality; and delivery may deviate from the business’ training ethos.

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