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Group Training Gains Steam on Personal Training

SAN DIEGO -- One-on-one personal training is still the most frequently offered type of training, but group training is growing, according to the IDEA Personal Training Programs & Equipment Survey of 926 personal trainers conducted by the IDEA Health & Fitness Association. Ninety-nine percent of respondents offer one-on-one personal training, and 84 percent of respondents offer group training.

This year’s survey reveals that a variety of training formats and methodologies are being introduced to meet diverse client needs, says Kathie Davis, co-founder and executive director of the IDEA Health & Fitness Association, a membership organization of health, wellness and fitness professionals worldwide with more than 23,000 members in more than 80 countries.

“Group training sessions and functional resistance training are on the upswing as are fitness assessments and the continuing adoption of small, portable pieces of equipment,” she says. “Personal trainers realize their clientele have a vast spectrum of requirements, and the survey results show trainers are doing all they can to meet these differing demands while inspiring their clients to make active, healthy lifestyle choices.”

The average cost of a professional personal training session is $58.

The survey’s respondents report that 85 percent of their clients stay with the business for one year or longer. Trainers are adopting new techniques to retain clients.

Less than 50 percent of the respondents said that growth in personal training for youths is strong. However, 65 percent of the respondents offer classes for youths 18 years old or younger, and 36 percent provide personal training for youths in small groups.

During typical sessions, 54 percent of the time is spent on resistance training; 22 percent is spent on cardio respiratory exercise; and the rest of the time is split between flexibility and other training methods.

Strength training (97 percent) and functional resistance training (96 percent) top the list as the most common resistance training methods trainers use. Body-weight-only training (76 percent) and plyometrics (67 percent) also were popular.

Among cardio respiratory training techniques, interval training (85 percent) is used slightly more than other methods, with circuit (79 percent), cardio respiratory endurance (79 percent) and cross-training (75 percent) following closely behind. Trainers also include specialized options such as balance training (96 percent) and speed, agility and quickness conditioning (69 percent).

Small, portable pieces of exercise equipment continue to be the most popularly used equipment in personal training sessions. Overall, survey respondents said they use a variety of equipment to meet clients’ diverse needs.

Resistance tubing or bands (97 percent), stability balls (97 percent), barbells and dumbbells (95 percent) and medicine balls (91 percent) rank as the most frequently available equipment. Balance gear was cited by the highest percentage of personal trainers (73 percent) as most likely to grow.

Pulley equipment and treadmills are the only large pieces of exercise equipment to make the top 10 most frequently offered gear. Strength equipment, such as selectorized (pin-selected) and plate-loaded machines are being offered by 66 percent and 65 percent of the survey respondents, respectively.

The majority of the respondents also offer cardio equipment, including elliptical trainers (72 percent), recumbent cycles (66 percent) and upright cycles (62 percent).

This year’s survey data was gathered from 926 IDEA personal trainer members who offer personal training in their clients’ homes, their own homes as well as at multipurpose health clubs and personal training gyms. The focus within the private session time typically includes strength training, stretching, balance and functional resistance training. While the clientele of the personal trainers surveyed was quite diverse, the respondents served a predominantly female client base (72 percent) with the most common age ranges being 35-44 years (22 percent), 45-54 years (28 percent) and 55-64 years (22 percent).

For more information on this survey, go to

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