FOUR BENEFITS OF ONE-ON-ONES AND SMALL GROUP TRAINING
Break through physical barriers with focused workouts that are all about you.
The energy and motivation group fitness classes incite is unmatched. According to a study by the University of Oxford in 2015, group exercise typically leads to bonds among class goers that boosts exercise performance and fosters friendly competition. Friendly competition within classes is shown to serve as an even stronger motivator. A drawback to group classes, however, is the potential for bad alignment and other habits to take root, promote disproportionate muscle development and potentially lead to chronic injuries and pain. Though instructors do their best to educate, demonstrate and fix misalignments through verbal cues and hands-on adjustments, it’s not always possible to help everyone in class, especially classes with high attendance.
Studio Manager Tami Bliss recently launched one-on-one and small-group sessions taught by a select group of master instructors to help members get tailored workouts and the needed attention to remedy these issues. Members can take private lessons on any and all methods or bring in a friend or two to keep the energy and motivation up. We’ve also seen members use small groups as an opportunity to socialize and celebrate special occasions with a group of friends. Instructor Jenny Worthington weighs in on her experiences and approach with members in these settings.
“I really enjoy working one-on-one and with small group training, because I can focus on the client’s goals and form to get the most out of every workout safely,” Worthington says. “Many of my clients have postural imbalances from repeated actions with incorrect form, from day to day poor posture habits, and previous surgeries. After assessments, I design a program with functional training to correct such imbalances to achieve optimal movements. It is amazing how correcting small joint alignments creates the proper muscle activation to achieve the proper change. This is when the magic happens as muscles start to grow with the confidence of the client during future workouts.”
Whether choosing one-on-ones or small groups, there are many clear benefits to focused attention from fitness experts—here are four.
Injury Rehabilitation and Pain Management
One of the most critical reasons to work with an instructor one on one or in a focused setting is to proactively promote safety when rehabbing an injury or dealing with pain. Injuries from workouts result from improper form and muscle usage during class and other activities often exacerbating poor posture and muscle imbalances. In group class settings, it’s mostly up to the injured to modify and work around these issues which is easier said than done. Even when instructors do provide pointed cues or hands-on adjustments in group classes, there is often a disconnect from understanding and consistently implementing corrections. Member Ken Bronx weighs in after one-on-one HIT sessions with Worthington.
“Instructors have often told me when they saw problems in my form. ‘Put your butt down!’ ‘Don’t look at your feet,'” Bronx recalls. “They would tell me what I needed to improve on, but there was never time to show me exactly what I needed to do consistently to change the habits that cause the problems in the first place.”
To Bronx’s point, one on one’s are a great opportunity to talk through everything that’s causing issues from minor aches and pains to larger past and current injuries and get specific in order to ensure form is corrected and muscles surrounding problem areas are properly activated and strengthened. It often takes much more than hearing a verbal cue once or even one session focusing on the correction for the new way of physically approaching an exercise and embodying the change to stick.
Instructors are typically a wealth of knowledge when it comes to understanding the body with certifications that include injury prevention and an experiential understanding of anatomy. During private sessions, corrections can look like an instructor ensuring you don’t round your back at the low end of a squat and that your knees are tracking over your toes. With consistency, these improvements can aid in recovering from an injury and mitigating or even clearing up chronic pain.
Positive challenges pop up when get- ting a private tailored workout where all of the focus is on you and your physical habits. For one, there aren’t as many opportunities to hide in the back of the room or take breaks and pull back when the class gets difficult. Instructors might also safely push you past those walls in order to help you reach the goals you have in mind. Additionally, while form is being corrected and weaker areas are getting targeted, the right muscles that were either not working as hard or turned off will become activated. As muscles start to turn on and work properly, you will most likely experience soreness later. For these reasons, one on one sessions tend to present new challenges while also increasing stamina.
In order to face these challenges optimally, make sure you’re setting yourself up for success with a balanced diet, hydration and enough sleep. Though instructors remain attentive, don’t be afraid to speak up when the challenges feel like too much.
Another benefit to working with an expert in movement is gaining a deeper understanding of anatomy as it relates to your body and in-the-moment exercises. These private sessions are meant to and will educate you on what’s going on with your body while you exercise so that you can apply that knowledge outside of the session. Body awareness is a key component to creating long-term health and preventing most injuries and can transfer into everything that you do. Though it may seem repetitive, instructors are trained to call out bad form as it’s happening as a method to correct the habit so that healthier ways of moving takeover. With enough repetition, it’s hard not to be aware of the way your knees fall in relation to your toes as you’re bending over to pick up a bag of groceries or how you’re sitting at your work desk.
More specifically, Worthington learns her client’s daily habits while teaching body awareness. Training in a physical therapy setting for two years, Worthington has a deep understanding of the body and transfers that knowledge to her clients.
“I learned so much about the body in general and mine specifically. It was so beneficial to learn how corrective exercises realign the body from daily, repetitive movements that can cause pain or injury,” Worthington notes. “Now I’m more aware of which muscles need to be activated to create stability and to move safely and efficiently during exercise and daily movements. This information is invaluable not only for myself but as I train others.”
Improved Technique and Muscle Development
With this newfound awareness and targeted activation of weaker areas, muscle development and improved technique is a promising and exciting inevitability. After several weeks of small group Pilates sessions, Member Lei Johnson is reaping the benefits.
“I was needing help with technique and posture and it was amazing to have the extra attention,” Lei says. “Having her [Worthington] correct my form was so beneficial and I definitely saw improvement in everything.”