While some may prefer to train by themselves this isn’t the case for everyone, which is not a bad thing. Training in a group, whether it be a formal class or just doing your own training but with a group of like minded people, can have many physical and psychosocial benefits.
One of the main benefits of training with a group is external motivation. Not everyone has the internal drive to push themselves to the limit day in and day (which is the majority of us, so don’t feel bad), which make a group/team environment a great way to generate motivation for yourself. You don’t even need to play the same sport or have the same goals to motivate or get motivated by others, this is the great thing about good strength an conditioning, it is universal. If everyone in the gym has the mindset of making themselves better as well everyone around them better than what sport they play doesn’t matter, everyone is there to improve.
Having one workout for everyone in the group is great because everyone in the group can empathise with each other, however, you don’t have to all be doing the same work to get the real benefits of group training. You can still get the positive elements of group training while completing a program that is tailored to you. You can still have an individualized program while also training with a friend or even in a small group. Just working out together or having other people in the gym who are encouraging you is enough to get the benefits of group training. For example; one athlete can be watching another athlete do their set and provide coaching, encouragment or even a spot if needed.
Make it fun!
Another major benefit to training as a group is the banter and having fun. Making something fun gives our brains a flood of endorphines (feel good hormones), the more we get this feeling the more our brains want it and if done frequently enough it can create a craving. We all know about chocolate craving well you can also get that some feeling when it comes to training and making your workouts fun and challenging can be a great way to get your fix. Another way to make training fun is by making it competitive, it doesn’t have to be grand final like competition but enough to push yourself and those around you to get a little bit more work done. You can be competitive, yet celebrate the success of others.
More than just training
The benefits of group training can go beyond just the physical. Everyone wants to have more friends, or at least build strong relationships with different people, which is something small group training can bring to the table. Working out in an environment that’s trying to breed success can have a really positive effect on not only your physical abilities, but also your mental status. A strong group can also help those athletes who are going through an injury which can often be a lonely time, but if they’ve got a group of people around them that can help them through that injury it doesn’t seem as bad. Group training can provide mental focus, if you can see everyone else around you working really that should promote you to work really hard as well. Even if you’re the one who is working really hard and you just want to pick someone else up, that always feels really good. A diverse group can learn off each other, the group might have a lot of people that are from different backgrounds, they do different jobs, they come from different countries, they’ve had different experiences, play different sports, etc. Not only can you learn from each other in a physical sense you can learn about different cultures, different types of work and different types of lifestyles.
It doesn’t matter if you like to train by yourself or in a group. The group setting has a lot of benefits for those who can’t just come into the gym and work out by themselves. Group training can have some really good benefits, not just from a performance perspective, but also from psycho-social perspective as well. If you’re coming to the gym and feeling really good every time you leave, you’re going to want to do it more often. The more consistent you are with your training the better you are going to get over a long period of time.