The fitness center where I work is really starting to push two-on-one training (two clients to a trainer). My sessions have been going ok, but I would like to know if there are guidelines to follow when conducting a two-on-one training session.
In efforts to maximize the profitability of personal training sessions, clubs are indeed experimenting with all sorts of group-based training systems. It is interesting to see that this development is occurring simultaneous to an industry-wide growth in awareness of the importance of INDIVIDUALIZED training programs. So we have a paradox. Clubs pushing for group training. Standards pushing for client-specific, individualized training. The truth is that both are probably important to the survival of many trainers (and clubs), so the key is to proceed with clarity of purpose.
There are some great motivational benefits to training with two or more people (especially if you have two people who are relatively compatible in terms of physical ability), but we must not forget that the two people that you are training together are in fact INDIVIDUALS and need individual attention. They must be assessed individually, and their programs must be specified for them as individuals. It helps tremendously if both people are in the same fitness realm and have similar fitness goals to start. That way, you can have a base program that is similar between the two, and then variables can change for each of them as needed throughout the session. The key is to spend enough time with each individual in each session to accurately monitor their developments. This is obviously not as easy as a one-on-one situation, but you need to do the best you can.
Setting up miniature circuits in each phase of training can be a helpful way to separate the clients enough to watch them each when necessary. For example, let's say you're doing a balance training session, and while one of your clients is good with ball work but not so good with one-legged floor work, the other client is the opposite. Configure the circuit so that only one of the clients is doing his "weak" exercise at a time (the other one doing his strong exercise), so that you can take turns giving your full attention to each one when needed. In the case of this example, that would mean that you would have both clients doing ball work and floor work at the same time, and your primary focus would be on the client who needs the most help in each respective exercise. Divide your priorities and split your time in a way that gives each client a fair share of your focused attention. Train as a group, but make sure you train the group AS INDIVIDUALS.
For examples of partner exercises, please search the PTN Exercise Library under Equipment -> Partner.