Small Group Training Vs Team Training

What You Need To Know

By Zach Columbia B.S. NASM. FPT


At Pulse, we have two distinct training programs. There’s small group training and large group team training, but do you know why? Do you know the difference or how each can help you achieve your fitness goals? Well I’m here to break it all down for you.

First, let me give you a quick overview of training variations. There are: traditional training methods, circuits, drop sets, supersets, tri-sets, complexes, pyramids, horizontal, vertical, metabolic resistance training, high intensity interval training, cardio, etc. Then you have: set variations, rep variations, tempo variations, rest intervals, training volume and frequency. Let’s not forget about phases: stability, hypertrophy, strength, strength endurance, power, power endurance, loading vs unloading, and recovery. The list goes on and on, and is summarized under the term, “strength and conditioning.”

As you can see, the programming variations can be endless and determining how to get you the best results really requires a lot of thought and due diligence. Your body hates when things are difficult, so it adapts as quickly as possible to make things less difficult. In other words, what works, only works for a short-period of time. The good news is that those adaptations are what we call results! This is exactly why, unless you are going to spend hours and hours every month studying exercise science, it’s wise to invest in a great coaching team to take the thought process out of it and maximize your results.

Side note; there isn’t really such a thing as a “fat loss” workout program. What I mean by that is, fat loss is the result of working out and eating right. Regardless of whether you’re doing pure strength training, metabolic conditioning, or training to add muscle, all should positively affect fat loss… as long as your program is consistently changing. For any long-term training program to be effective, it must be consistent, but consistently diverse. That means performing the same exercises with slight variations consistently, but continually changing the workout format to prevent the body from either breaking down and/or becoming so efficient at a specific training method that it doesn’t cause positive adaptation (AKA RESULTS).

Now back to small group training vs. team training. Team training or boot camp is designed with two specific goals in mind: increase metabolic function, and fun! It provides a fun team environment, with the goal of creating that “metabolic burn,” otherwise known as the conditioning part of “strength and conditioning.” While the workouts and exercises vary, the training does not vary much from a programming perspective. For this reason, boot camp style training is great for getting drastic short-term results, but not great as a stand-alone, long-term training program, because your body will quickly adapt.

Small group training on the other hand is very interchangeable and diverse. As a whole, we at Pulse try to take our small group training clients through a series of training phases to provide variety and enhance results. For instance, our programming goes through the hypertrophy phase with the goal of building muscle. Then, the strength phase to increase maximal strength. Next there is the power phase, designed to increase efficiency in quick movements. This is followed by an endurance phase, and then a recovery phase before cycling back through to the beginning. Each training phase includes and metabolic element and a flexibility/stability element. Remember, there is no such thing as a “fat loss” workout program. As you can see, the goal of each one of these phases is not designed around fat loss. However, because each phase is different, the variation keeps the body in a constant state of adaptation, which directly impacts muscle growth and body fat reduction. (Results vary, based on DIET).

So, small group training vs team training. What do you need to know? Team training does not carry enough flexibility and diversity to be a long-term, stand-alone program, as results will diminish. Team training is awesome for short-term results or as a metabolic aspect of a long-term. Small group training on the other hand varies often and can be a stand-alone, long-term training solution for continued results. A combination of both team training and small group training can also be an effective long-term approach as it will contain both aspects of strength and conditioning.

If you’re not sure your program best matches your goals, talk to one of your coaches or contact us.