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Semi-Private Personal Training: 5 Benefits (+ 2 Drawbacks)

What is Semi-Private Personal Training?

Semi-private personal training means one coach providing individualized guidance and training programs for 2 to 4 people at a time instead of a single client. It’s essentially a middle ground between 1:1 personal training and group classes.

The personal trainer examines everyone’s form, keeps trainees accountable, and monitors everyone’s progress.

5 Reasons to Consider Semi-Private Training

1. There’s Less Pressure on Each Trainee

Fitness professionals rarely think about it, but working with a personal trainer can be a nerve-racking experience for clients, especially those new to fitness. Folks are anxious because they don’t know what they are doing, the activities feel foreign and awkward, and they lack the strength to do anything impressive.

So, whether you’re working with a single client, coaching two to four people at a time, or leading a whole group, keep that in mind and be patient.

The beauty of semi-private training sessions is each person feels more at ease, especially if it’s a group of friends. Clients get personal attention, but they are not the sole focus of the session, which leaves them more room to breathe, think, and do things at their own pace.

2. It’s a Great Way to Keep People Motivated

Providing a customized training program, keeping your clients accountable, and helping them every step of the way are all great. However, something’s missing: competition.

Sure, one-on-one training is excellent, and many clients will stay motivated if they feel like they are getting closer to their fitness goals. But, as humans, we inherently like to compete and generally do best when surrounded by like-minded individuals. 

The ideal scenario is where people feed off each other’s energy and create an environment of synergy, encouragement, and hard work. When that happens, the workout no longer feels like a mandatory task we need to check off our list but as something inherently fulfilling.

It’s interesting to watch how a group setting brings out the best in people and gets them to work harder than usual.

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3. Coach People More Efficiently and Earn More Money

A personal trainer working with a single client can typically charge up to $100 per session, but that relies on location, demand, the trainer’s reputation, and more. New trainers might start with $45 to 60 per session.

However, a personal trainer working with two, three, or four people can earn more for each hour of work. For example, even if a trainer charges $50 per person, that would still be $100 to $200 for an hour of work, which is alright.

The great thing about semi-private sessions is that the trainer can use their time more efficiently while giving each client the necessary attention. Of course, doing so can be more demanding, but more on that later.

Group coaching can also work for online personal trainers. For instance, trainers using an online platform like Hevy Coach can group their clients or assign one program to multiple people with similar goals.

4. It’s Also More Affordable for Clients

In addition to being more profitable for coaches, semi-private training services are also cheaper for clients. Rather than one person paying for a trainer’s services, two, three, or four split a slightly larger amount evenly and get the guidance they need.

For example, if you ask for $75 for one-on-one sessions and charge individuals $40 for semi private coaching, your clients will pay about 45 percent less.

5. It Provides More Opportunities for Clients to Learn

Picture this: 

You hit the gym floor with a small group of four clients. They are similarly experienced, but you provide each with a customized training program to account for individual differences, goals, training preferences, etc. 

All of them are practicing strength training, but they are doing different things. One person might be doing deadlifts; another might be mastering the front squat; the third might be doing accessory work for hypertrophy; and the last person could be running a program to improve their bench press or squat.

When training together and learning from one coach (you), these people invariably learn things that don’t necessarily apply to them at that particular time.

For example, the person running a bench program might learn important cues for safe and effective deadlifts. Similarly, the one working on their front squat could get ideas for accessory exercises to build muscle.

In a way, semi-private coaching creates synergy and allows people to learn a broader range of things they could later apply to their workouts.

2 Things to Keep in Mind Before You Dive Into Semi-Private Coaching

1. It’s Not Easy

The prospect of earning more per hour of work can be alluring. After all, which would earn you more money:

  • Coaching four clients together and charging each $40 per session
  • Coaching one client at a time and charging $60-70 per session

Yes, the former option is more lucrative. In fact, you can earn more than twice the amount of money for the same duration of sessions.

However, while there is potential for more efficient and profitable work, semi-private personal training is not easy and certainly not for inexperienced trainers. Simply put, I would not recommend the semi-private model for coaches uncomfortable working with one client.

It takes time to get used to coaching and experience to streamline the process. Trying to learn the basics while working with four people would likely overwhelm you and leave clients unhappy.

Even when you get comfortable coaching one person, you shouldn’t immediately try the semi-private model with four people. Instead, start with two to see how it feels and what the dynamic is like. Then, once you have some experience, add a third person to the mix and then a fourth. The process must be gradual.

It’s also important to note that semi-private coaching is more draining than one-on-one sessions, even for experienced trainers. You don’t get a minute of rest, and you must often solve issues one after the other, sometimes having one client wait while you help another.

To understand the difference better, imagine driving on a highway with little traffic. Sure, it takes some mental effort, but it’s mostly cruising, enjoying good music, and even conversing with other people in the car.

However, get that same car in the middle of a busy urban setting, and the same task (driving) becomes far more demanding. You have to pay attention to far more things; even short distances can lead to mental fatigue.

2. All Clients Need Attention

Coaching more than one person at a time comes with the risk of neglecting someone, so you must be mindful of how much time you dedicate to each client.

For example, let’s say that you’re trying to teach one client to deadlift, but the task proves to be too challenging, and you must go over specific cues several times. Before you know it, 15 minutes have passed, and the other clients are waiting for you to give them some attention. 

To avoid that, I recommend teaching complex things (like how to deadlift) during one-on-one sessions and having some introductory workouts with clients interested in semi-private coaching.


That way, your clients are better prepared for each workout, and you don’t have to spend a lot of time with a single person.

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Final Words

Semi-private personal training is an excellent way to earn more from each session, keep clients motivated, encourage healthy competition, and provide more opportunities for people to learn.

Plus, this coaching model places less pressure on individual clients and allows them to purchase your services for a more affordable price.

The semi-private coaching model requires more experience and could be draining because you rarely get time to rest during sessions. Plus, you must be mindful of how you manage your time to give each client the attention they deserve.


If you want to elevate your coaching practice and gain experience monitoring your clients more closely, check out Hevy Coach. Our all-in-one platform allows you to create routines, assign them to clients, make adjustments when necessary, and track everyone’s workout progress from a single dashboard.

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