Garage Gyms: How to Run Groups Effectively


I receive a lot of emails asking me how I run effective training in such a small garage gym of only 700 square feet. Like anything, there is a system and some gym awareness that is learned over time. Most emails from coaches seem to all have the same questions. They seem to be confused about how to efficiently group athletes.

The system I have in place is one I've been using since I ran a high school weight room for eight years. When I decided to open up Daman’s Strength Training, the group training was second nature. I understood which athletes worked well together and what ages and skill levels not to group together.

Yeah, that is Tony the Tiger's illegitimate daughter in the background

Running groups inside your facility is basically the same as running a practice during football. You do it as a group and as a team effort. You start with a warm up and then break off into groups to train. The coaches coach the athletes and make sure the groups are running efficiently.

We train from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Our earlier groups always consist of high school to college level athletes because they have access to and from the gym. I usually don’t give them an option because when you start letting athletes choose times, this gets confusing and makes the training and programming difficult. Sports coaches set their times for practice, so this shouldn't be any different for you when it comes to your groups and training. You are the coach. Set the time that will be most effective for the athlete and the group.

As the evening goes on, the groups get younger. The last group of the night is always seventh through ninth grade athletes and new athletes.


All athletes start with the Phase I workout. They will train at these times until they have completed Phase II and Phase III. Once they've completed Phase III, I push them into an earlier group where the athletes are more advanced. When athletes are in Phase I through Phase III, they're being coached in every movement that they perform. These workouts might take longer because of the coaching.

As coaches, we want the athletes to master the basic movements such as squats, lunges, hip hinges, pushes and pulls. Once they master technique in Phase I through Phase III, we move them on to the next phase. This is important because these phases will further determine the rate of success of each athlete.

Group Squats!

Important pointers for effective group training:

  • Coaches set the schedule and set the groups.
  • Review the workout with the athletes before each training session (five minutes).
  • Athletes in phase workouts should train together (enables focused coaching).
  • Coaching should be constant and should focus on technique corrections.

Your coaching facility should be a place where work is accomplished, goals are met, and pride is instilled.