Incorporating Rolling Patterns Into Your Group Training

Rolling patterns seem to be tricky, and many strength coaches and trainers neglect this important pattern due to the lack of knowledge with rolling.  I’m not going to go into the importance and benefits of rolling in this article; However, if you want to read a good article on rolling, check out a post made by Charlie Weingroff awhile back.  Great stuff here, and this article should give you enough reason to start using this primitive pattern in your group training.

Check it out here:

So how did we incorporate rolling patterns into our group training models?  It took some time, but the time and effort has been well worth it.  It’s really helping us take our programming to the next level, and hopefully we can help you get up to speed with rolling patterns being done in group format.

Here is a good step-by-step approach to incorporating rolling into your program:

1. Educate Yourself & Practice Rolling:

Learn everything you can about the movement and practice it yourself.  Get good at rolling yourself before asking your clients to do this.  A good portion of you are going to struggle with this yourself, so practice, practice, practice.

2. Clear Mobility:

Hopefully you’re already using the FMS or another method of assessing your clients when they come in for training.  Use your assessment to make sure all mobility issues are cleared before going here.  If mobility issues are present, rolling patterns are not where you should be. Following the FMS heirarchy will solve this for you and tell you what you should be working on.  Just follow the system 🙂

3. Give Handouts or Link to Demonstrations of Rolling Being Performed:

The FMS has done an awesome job with growing their exercise library, and the best part about it is….IT’S FREE!  You Can go to and go to their exercise library to have printouts and videos of all the rolling patterns.  Getting your clients information and live demonstrations will help improve your ability to incorporate into your program.

4. Provide a Specific Time for Clients to Perform “Corrective” Work…DAILY:

We incorporate corrective exercises in every session.  Doesn’t matter if we’re working in a one-on-one, semi-private, small group, or large group format.  Everyone gets their own specific time for performing correctives.  We usually incorporate our rolling patterns very early in the session.  Following the system provided in Smart Group Training will give you specific details on how we do this each and everyday.  There are a couple methods we have tested (both work well, just a preference thing), and Smart Group Training will show you both methods we’ve tested with great success.

5. Coach, Coach, Coach

This ties back in with step #1.  You will need to know some ways to give yourself and your clients some assistance while learning these patterns.  Performing these properly can sometimes be very difficult to do, so learning some methods of assisting the movement is vital to the success of incorporating this effectively into your program.  Using bands for some core pre-activation, kicking the heel of the long leg, propping the body up using half foam rolls, towels, etc…to limit ROM, and giving assistance with the roll itself are some of the methods we use, but knowing several methods of providing assistance IS A MUST.  Start taking away the assistance until the roll can be performed flawlessly with each rolling progression.

6. Step Away & Let Them Learn

The system works, but it’s going to take a little longer to get success with rolling in large group format vs. personal training (sometimes).  Find the method that works the best for each client and let them start to learn the movement.  This is all about feel.  Give them time to work with this and use your coaching skills to ensure your clients are successful.

There you have it…a 6 step approach to incorporating rolling into your large group training.  If you’re already familiar with rolling and the methods used to provide assistance, than this should be a breeze.  If you’re not familiar with rolling patterns, you need to take the time and begin to learn this pattern.  Improving rolling patterns will help improve your results as a coach and trainer.  Don’t let them scare you.  The power of rolling is well worth the effort.  Hopefully this will help make the process less scary.  Make sure to leave a comment below or ask any questions you may have about how to incorporate rolling into your programming.  Good Luck!


Top 5 Website You Should Know About

We hope you love the content we are bringing you so far.  We are very excited to be reaching out to trainers in subject matter that me know and love, group training.  We can only put out great content so fast, so we want to share some great resources that you NEED to be reading.  These websites are sites that we frequently visit and love. –  The is the home page for the FMS.  Learn about FMS philosophies, hop on the forum, or check out the exercise demo’s.  You can also receive an in home FMS Level 1 Certification from this site. – The best forum on the internet by far.  Great articles and the home of the strength coach podcast.  This on cost $10 per month, but is totally worth it. – Mike Robertson is responsible for teaching us a lot on the topic of corrective exercise.  Mike is all about the details and that is the biggest thing we have picked up from him.  He has on the most interesting and popular blogs on the internet and it’s a must read. – The Titleist Performance Institute is the on the cutting edge of golf performance training.  If you are interested in the topic at all than you need to be frequenting this website.  It’s a FREE website and has tons of articles, exercises, and more.  This is the beast of golf performance websites.  Check it out. – The premier kettlebell website.  Forums, videos, articles, and more.  This site is stacked.  This site is for the strongest of the strong comrades, enjoy.


This is just the tip of the iceberg.  We could list about 100 sites here, but we will share our all of our favorite websites over time.  In the meantime, if you’re not currently reading all of these sites above, you have some reading to do.  THANK YOU SO MUCH for reading our blog.  We can’t thank you enough for your

“Red Lighting” Exercises In Group Fitness and Sports Training

Red Lighting exercises is one of the most important aspects of Smart Group Training.  Doing screens or assesments, giving people corrective exercises, and better programing are great, but none of that makes a difference at all if people are doing exercises that causing them more harm than good or reversing all of the good you did with your corrective exercises.

So what exactly is “Red Lighting”?  

It’s very simple. Red Lighting exercises means ensuring that your group training clients don’t do exercises they should’t be doing. Pretty easy concept in theory, but how do you make sure it is happening?

So how do you incorporate proper Red Lighting into your group training? 

First things first, you have to make sure you have properly screened the client.  We use the FMS screen because it’s easy to run in a group and sets a standard that we can use to make sure we are properly progressing and red lighting our clients.

Second you have to have a system to make sure you know what limitation your clients have when you are training them in a group.  In some situations you will know all of your clients and you will know what they should and shouldn’t be doing by heart, but what happens when you get over 100-200+ clients with multiple trainers working with the same people?  You need a system, and the FMS and Smart Group Training can help you develop your system.  In fact, just use ours!

What we do

Like I mentioned above, the FMS screen is the first thing we do.  Each person is screened on intake before doing anything.  With the FMS screen, we find the major limitations that each client may have and relate those back to training.  From there we we have a Red Light Poster in our studio that we made which has each movement and some examples of exercises that are red lighted for people with 1’s on that part of the FMS screen.  We decided recently to take that a step further and color code each movement in the screen.  If the client scores a 1 on any of the movements they receive a colored bracelet that corresponds to that movement.  Each exercise listed for that day has a color next to it if it’s red lighted and if you have that color bracelet you do the alternate or corrective exercise instead.  This really makes it easy for the trainers to know if the clients have any 1’s on the FMS screen, by quickly glancing at their wrist.

Here’s an easy example…..

A client scores a 1 on the shoulder mobility screen

They receive a yellow bracelet

Tall kneeling shoulder press is a selected exercise in the group training session

Tall kneeling shoulder press has a yellow square next to it on the workout card indicating its Red Lighted for Shoulder Mobility 1’s

The client does a shoulder mobility corrective like reach backs or wall slides during the time for shoulder press

All that they have to do is look at their wrist to see what is Red Lighted and the trainers can quickly see if they made a mistake or were sneaky

That’s a pretty good summary of how to Red Light certain exercises in group training.  If you have any questions about Red Lighting please feel free to post in the comments section and we will be glad to help!