Good question. It depends on the client and what he/she prefers (if money is not an issue). Private training is always better because the client gets the full attention of the trainer, is personal (as the title Personal Training), gets better instruction and attention to detail. Group training has its benefits as well not only because of the pricing, but mostly because some people perform and feel more comfortable in a group setting (as others prefer private training).
I know from the trainer’s perspective it’s better for them to offer group training because they can make more money per session and reach more people with this format. But, not all trainers can provide the best possible training in terms of quality and instruction in a group setting (even though they think they can). So, my answer to your question is yes.
It really depends on the individual. As Harris said most people will probably get better results in one on one training as the program will be specific to him or her. However, some people may be more motivated (and therefore more likely to continue) if they have the camaraderie of a small group. The social aspect can keep them coming back.
It depends on what you mean by “better.” If you are only results driven, then I would say that 80% of the time they’ll get better results with one on one training. I’ve had a few pairs of clients who are equally matched fitness-wise, however, and their pushing each other makes them both better with great results, so I could argue that a well-matched pair could get close to the same results if not better.
Once we start talking about groups of 4-6 people (my standard group size), the “better” comes into play because of the affordability and the cameraderie.
What I’ve done to get better results for small-group is to combine one on one and small-group so that individuals can see me once a week and do small group once a week so that they learn about themselves, how hard they can work, what modifications they need, etc. during one on one, then they can push harder in small-group.
Personal training is so much different than even working with two people
Working one and one allows the trainer to focus 100% on their client and to customize their workout
Training a small group can be effective, but not as personal. There are so many other variables that come into play with a small group.
I believe the greatest benefit of private training is the flexibility to respond to a client’s changing circumstances. Whether caused by illness or accident, I can always find a way of training a client, and it is my goal to have my clients walk away feeling better about themselves.
While there is great motivation through camaraderie in small group training, it can also lead to disappointment when a person no longer can keep up with the group.