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Breakthrough Fitness

What is Semi-Private Training

The concept of personal training has changed a lot over the years. Between the years 1992-2009 I attended gyms. From 92-97 I attended Physiques Unlimited in Pompano Beach. Physiques was roughly a 3,000 square foot facility, filled with lots of stuff and mostly self-motivated people. The only personal trainer at this gym would move his clients from machine to machine, counting repetitions, giving a ‘good job’ occasionally. This was basically personal training in the mid-90’s. It didn’t seem like he did much, but the people he trained needed help. They needed an appointment and someone to dictate what they were going to do. They benefited from the movement and strength.

In 1999, I did my internship with a gentleman named Juan Carlos (JC) Santana in Boca Raton. JC was my first mentor and he opened my eyes to a whole new style of training and coaching. He took training concepts that were being used in sports and rehabilitation and was one of the first few trainers who made ‘functional training’ mainstream.

During my internship, I helped JC train multiple clients at once. I remember throwing medicine balls with a client who had a brain injury and handicaps that made us think outside the box for his training. After throwing medicine balls with him, I would be coaching a 50 year old client on deadlifts, always having my eye on a third client doing her training program. We were doing semi-private training, but we just called it training.

I also had the opportunity to be JC’s assistant during functional training seminars for the National Strength and Conditioning Association, as well as visit a few collegiate strength and conditioning programs.

During the seminars, we coached dozens of aspiring fitness professionals in groups, teaching them functional training techniques using stability balls and other tools new to them.

In collegiate strength rooms, the team trained together.

When I finally made the decision to pursue personal training as a career in 2008 I had a vision of how I thought training should be done. My vision was shaped by my past experiences…

  • Training was always more fun and rewarding when I had a partner(s)
  • The body is one piece.
  • Free weights the majority of the time.
  • Majority of training done standing

That year I met my next mentor, Alwyn Cosgrove at a Perform Better conference.

Alywn and his wife Rachel have been running a successful facility in Santa Clarita, California that was my exact vision – A personal training facility that provided clients with customized training programs, but coached them in a “semi-private” setting.

Fact – It’s more fun to work out with other people. This can be a friend or people you are in the same boat with. People looking to build strength and improve their fitness just like you.

A semi-private training approach is much more cost-effective for the client, while still providing the individualized program and personal attention.

Here’s how this might look in a 4-person session with clients at different stages of their fitness journey:

Client 1 is experienced with weightlifting and proficient with her movement, so she’s following a program that includes barbell deadlifts and a high-intensity finisher.

Client 2 is similar to Client 1, but he has lower back issues. A trap bar deadlift is a safer option for him, and he’ll finish his session with some mobility and flexibility work to support his lower back.

Clients 3 and 4 are a couple who just recently started training, so they’ll be doing a circuit of bodyweight, resistance band and TRX exercises, with some core and corrective exercise to help build a strong foundation of quality movement.

All four of these people can enjoy training together (safely distanced here at BTF), and they can execute all the foundational movement patterns that should be included in an intelligently designed workout … but with exercises that are appropriate and safe for them.

Yes, personal training has changed … and I’d argue, for the better.

Keep moving,

Coach Dom Lucibello