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Small Group Training - What Is It All About?

What are the "Small Group Trainings" at PT360? And who are they for?


Fit Over 40 Small Group Training, Jen Farrugia’s signature program, was born out of the idea that it isn’t always ideal to go directly back into group fitness classes right from orthopedic rehabilitation if the patient is not feeling physically and mentally prepared. On the flip side, they no longer have medical needs requiring skilled physical therapy since they have “graduated" so they must be ready.  Or there's the outdoor enthusiast who just graduated from PT for an overuse injury and wants to get back to their sports, but still needs a progressive overload protocol safely return with increased power and strength. Or lastly, where Fit Over 40 was truly born, I was teaching cross-training classes and finding that several adults in each class required modifications for current injuries, past injuries, or lack of experience with weight training.  I decided they needed their own class.  I thought, how do I streamline all of these needs? Where does this leave these individuals if you have a 12-15 person class and they are at a higher risk of injury because they can’t get the attention they need, but perhaps personal training is not affordable? There has been this gap for years and so often we try to “bridge” that gap from beginner or post rehabilitation back into strength training or high level training. I have found that creating Small Group Trainings has been a very successful tool to accomplish this goal and here is why and how it works.


First let’s define SMALL GROUP TRAINING: 8 or less people per class. Simple.


I have created two small group trainings: one for all ages, but geared toward the outdoor enthusiast, and the other strictly for older adults who are post rehabilitation, lack experience, or have never formally strength trained. Generally these programs run in 8-12 week increments.  I ask for the commitment for these longer periods of time for several reasons:

  1. 2x a week model: The two day a week model comes from the world of physical therapy – you attend twice a week just like you were for your sessions. Additionally, to get you into a routine, you can come the same time frame 2x a week which I find is realistic and obtainable.
  2. Intimate group: The small group allows you to build familiarity, seeing the same 7 people each week and getting to share workouts with them, thus building trust and friendship.
  3. Building a relationship with your instructor: This is my favorite part - I get to know you. Seeing you for 8-12 weeks I get to learn more about your functional movement patterns, health history and goals which allows me to make more appropriate substitutions or adjustments to your weekly workouts to help set you up for success.
  4. Cost: $20 per class. This may be more inexpensive or similar to your copay.  Slightly more than a group class, but with limited numbers and you receive more attention. In addition, you get a weekly email with accessory work (see below for more details).
  5. Perks: You get to take class with a Certified Athletic Trainer with ten years of experience. My workouts for Fit Over 40 are essentially a Tedtalk. You will learn more about your body than you likely want to in what we are trying to accomplish each session, but this is because knowledge is power and having a purpose will help create a trusting relationship knowing there is a purpose behind what we are doing and how that feeds into your “why” of showing up in the first place.
  6. Lastly, class format: You may worry “what if I hold the class back?”  This simply will not happen. The design generally will allow participants to increase or decrease difficulty as needed by modifying a movement or increasing the weight.


What are the offerings and differences between the seasonal sports camps and the Fit Over 40?


Sport Specific Camps

These programs were designed for the outdoor enthusiast.  You only need to come to the gym twice a week to reduce your risk of overuse injuries, but can also manage to increase strength gains to enhance your favorite sports, whether that is snow shoeing, mountain biking, running, skiing, or racket ball. You get two in-person or (zoom) classes a week in addition to a weekly email with accessory work to do at home (band work, core work, mobility and stretching, etc.).  If you just are not a gym rat, then you will find that this two day commitment is more realistic and appealing to your daily life, allowing you to decrease your risk of injuries or address compensations all while still being able to maximize your time outdoors!

 Seasonal classes run year around as follows:

  • Ski/Snowboard Fitness: end of September to mid December
  • Winter Maintenance: January - March
  • Running Camp (progressive extensive balance/single leg training on multiple surfaces and increasing plyometric/agility work): March – May
  • Summer Maintenance: June-August

"I really felt that Jen's classes helped with my balance on and off the bike. I noticed a huge difference when clipping in and out of my pedals. My stability with one leg out while clipped in on the other was a huge improvement after all our single leg work especially with longer rides when my legs would fatigue and get shaky. I overall felt that my ankles were so much stronger and my balance had improved tremendously throughout the program." - KD


Fit Over 40

From here, I developed Fit Over 40 for adult strength training for post-rehabilitation needs or for adults looking to incorporate strength work into their weekly routines. As we age, our bodies change and we need to be more aware of the changes, how to adapt, when to pull back, and when it’s okay to push through something.  This is IMPORTANT.

Men and women lose 5-10 pounds of muscle tissue per decade over the age of 30.  Loss of muscle tissue is associated with decreased bone mineral density, physical dysfunction, and a decrease in metabolic function, resulting in fat gain.

Although aging and aspects of aging are inevitable,  “70% of the “normal” decay associated with aging, the weakness, the sore joints, the lousy balance, the feeling crappy – 70 percent of that horror can be forestalled almost until the end. That is a huge difference.” Younger Next Year, Chris Crowley & Henry S Lodge, MD

From ages 40 to 60, we could lose up to 20lb of lean muscle tissue, which is associated with unwanted fat gain resulting in up to a 60% change in body composition,  This grossly affects our ability to carry out daily functional tasks or makes them harder than they need to be. With this comes inherent risk for more serious injuries if we fall or have an accident performing chores around the house.


What strength training can do for you:

Strength training can reduce the risk of:

  • lean tissue loss
  • osteoporosis (decreased bone mineral density)
  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • heart disease
  • low back pain
  • arthritis
  • injury
  • dis-ease (we often gets aches and pains from modern life: TV, desk jobs, sitting prolonged periods, and lack of movement can create DIS-ease within our bodies)

While increasing:

  • physical function
  • independence
  • strength & lean muscle mass
  • confidence
  • ability to complete daily tasks or activities with more ease   

Fit Over 40: Training year-round with changing themes depending on the season.

Intro To Fit Over 40: This series is for beginners – with no strength training experience.  (These run on occasion and can schedule upon request if you have friends/training group that is interested.)


I have been blown away with the progress I have seen from my group and those who said they would never lift more than 5lbs are now lifting 10-15lb weights and report that carrying their suitcases on vacation has gotten easier, or that they can walk up a set of stairs with groceries with more ease, or most importantly, that caring for elderly family members without fear of injuring themselves if they need to assist with moving someone or pushing a wheelchair up a ramp. These are everyday things. Progress does not happen overnight.  It takes commitment and time and realizing and this is part of life to preserve certain aspects of the aging process so we can continue to enjoy life with more confidence. These classes are for everyone.