Updated guidance on training and coaching in England – 17 July 2020

Numbers for outdoor sessions

  • Group exercise instructors, coaches and personal trainers are now permitted to run outdoor classes in England for up to 30 people, including the instructor.
  • Classes must be delivered in line with the Government’s new guidance for “Organising outdoor sport and physical activity events".
  • In this context, ‘events’ are classed as instructed delivery of physical activity/exercise sessions in a group setting by a qualified and competent instructor. Examples include group exercise classes such as dance fitness, group personal training, HIIT, boot camps, yoga and Pilates.
  • Group outdoor sessions for team sport and other recreational activities should follow the guidance from the relevant NGB in line with the Government’s “Return to recreational team sport framework”.
  • Separate Government guidance is in place for out-of-school activities for children, such as holiday clubs.
  • Outdoor events must take place on public land. Any event taking place in a private dwelling or garden must be no more than six people, including the instructors

Planning for a class

  • Instructors are required to produce a delivery plan for every class they run which has more than six people (including the instructor). For guidance on this, please refer to the section entitled ‘Event delivery plan and guidance’.

Running an outdoor class

Classes should be run within the guidance detailed in the link above, with particular attention to:

  • Operating strictly within government guidance and ensuring their written event delivery plans are COVID secure
  • Communicating clearly and consistently with all participants, and support staff including volunteers
  • Being adaptable to change, for example if a local lockdown were to be necessary.
  • Rules on gatherings, which can be found here, which must not exceed the limit of 30 people, including instructors
  • Test track and trace requirements including recording of participants and officials to facilitate contacting by NHS Test and Trace if needed. Please make sure you keep a register of all attendees for 21 days in case of infection
  • Maintaining physical and personal hygiene – instructors should, where possible, ensure they make available or encourage participants to bring their own alcohol hand gel to use immediately before and after the class. Equipment must not be shared
  • Keeping participants and staff safe by implementing social distancing measure – a distance of 2m should be kept between all class attendees and instructors
  • Instructors should use common sense when choosing an outdoor class venue and conduct a full risk assessment to identify around barriers to and hazards affecting accessibility
  • Instructors must seek permission from the landowner before setting up any outdoor classes

The above is in addition to the existing previous guidance for outdoor training:

  • Appropriate insurance policies should be in place for all activities.
  • Training can take place in a private or public outdoor space (with permission of the owner), while observing the above guidance.
  • A trainer or coach can meet with multiple clients (or groups) per day but should avoid overlapping sessions to prevent congregation of people.
  • Parents can take their children to an outdoor training/coaching session, provided the gathering does not exceed 30 people.
  • Outdoor gyms (defined as “an outdoor space containing exercise fixtures and/or machines”) can open, at the discretion of the owner/operator. Trainers may use them for one-to-one or group sessions, with permission from the owner/operator, provided that social distancing and hygiene rules are observed, and within the guidance outlined above - for specific information on outdoor gyms click here
  • Use of equipment should be kept to a minimum (and only used if stringent hygiene practices can be assured, meaning the thorough cleaning of all equipment before and after use).
  • Sports coaches undertaking sessions should ensure they are complying with relevant National Governing Body Safeguarding Policies and Procedures and conduct a thorough risk assessment before engaging in any sessions. This should include particular consideration for under 18s and vulnerable adults.
  • People who are shielding can take part in one-to-one or group exercise indoors or outdoors, following the above guidance on numbers. Clinically vulnerable people should take extra care to minimise social contact with those outside their household and be diligent about social distancing and hand hygiene.

Tara Dillon (CIMSPA CEO) said:

“We are all looking forward to the safe reopening of indoor facilities on 25 July, but we have also worked hard to ensure that the Government guidance for outdoor training stays in line with relaxations in other areas, including team sports and recreation. Outdoor exercise is an important part of our sector and is a brilliant, safe way for people to stay fit and healthy. We urge everyone to adhere to the guidance to keep themselves and their customers safe, and to check with their insurance provider to ensure appropriate cover is in place. We will continue to work closely with the Government on the further reopening of the sector and to support the people working in it.”

The above guidance is all subject to any local lockdowns or restrictions that may be in place.

CIMSPA has several digital resources available to support the sector during the coronavirus crisis, including:

  • ReOpen - an online hub offering guidance and resources to support the sector in reopening facilities, when permitted.
  • Stronger Together Hub - a range of resources and advice to support businesses and individuals.
  • Stronger Together Facebook Group - an open community for all those working in the sector.


Will insurance cover PTs who are training clients, following the guidelines, whilst the ‘lockdown’/social distancing is still in play?

If you are normally covered for personal training that you are qualified to do, then you should still be covered, but please check with your insurance provider if you have any doubts.

I have seen that some full contact sports have resumed training but haven’t seen anything about my sport, can I train clients?

For full guidance on specific sports clubs and equipment usage please contact your National Governing Body and they will be able to answer your questions on club reopening guidance.


The Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity

CIMSPA's work enhances the career opportunities and professional development of the workforce operating in sport, fitness, exercise, leisure, gym, coaching, health and wellbeing. We achieve this through sector-wide engagement, membership, networking, events, directories and professional standards.

Incorporated by Royal Charter Charity registration number 1144545

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