As a personal trainer, group exercise instructor or other fitness professional there can come a point when you feel your sessions are becoming slightly stale or predictable. You may have been working with these clients, either 1:1 or as a group, for a while now and have tried the standard progression and adaptation fitness techniques, included various different pieces of equipment and alternated between training styles. All of that is great and IS what you should be doing as a fitness professional…. but regardless you may feel like you need to add something new and different to keep the spark in each session! If this is you…don’t worry it happens to a lot of us at some point, at least you have identified it!
I personally experienced this with my circuit training class; I had all the functional and effective exercises in there and everyone did enjoy them. I alternated exercises each week and used various styles and formats. However, after 5 years of running the same type of class I started to feel I needed few fun ideas every so often to keep everyone engaged…including myself.
Here are 3 fun idea’s which I have used and believe can provide a fun twist to your training without having to buy expensive equipment and still includes all fitness abilities.
1 . Set Repetition Challenges
Setting repetition challenges is a great way to encourage focus and motivation in a fun atmosphere. You can choose which ever repetition range you like, as you need to ensure it is suitable for your client or group. You can choose to stick with the 10-12 repetitions your clients might be used to, but to add a different slant you organise it like a mini circuit routine with less rest in between each exercise. Or you could do a time challenge based on these exercises and aim to beat it in future sets or sessions.
Alternatively, you could set a target repetition number you want each person to achieve i.e. 50 repetitions (pick your exercises appropriately). The best way to start achieving this target is by selecting a group of exercises and getting the participants to complete 30 reptitions of each exercise – then take a few minutes rest before completing 20 repetitions of each exercise, followed by the final 10 reptitions. This will help build up their stamina. Depending on the time you have available and the number of people you are working with you can wait until everyone has completed the repetitions and have some extension activities for those that complete it faster. Or, and I recommend this one, set a time duration and see how far the participant can get and this is then a fun personal challenge and they can see progression and goal achievements when they get further in future sessions.
Tip: Due to the high repetition number and the different speeds that people exercise at (applicable to group exercise) it is best to use exercises which require minimal equipment and use large compound muscle groups. Remember people are likely to catch up or overtake others so there needs to be an easy flow to the session.
2. Leave the decisions to the cards
You may have seen this exercise idea before, but since it is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to add variety to your training, I wanted to bring it to your attention.
There are many different ways you can run this exercise but here are a few ideas. As there are 4 suits in a deck of cards, you can either choose to select 4 exercises for your clients to perform i.e.
3. Bicep Curl
4. Tricep Dips
Once these are determined you can either select every fifth card, for example, and perform the exercise related to that suit. Another option can be to ask the clients to pick a card from the deck. Or, you could even half the deck of cards and use the suit on the bottom of the split card.
Now remember that you don’t know the order that the suits will come in so ensure your exercises are suitable and the group will be able to perform them multiple times. It is best practice to perform this game for a set period of time before changing the 4 exercises.
Alternatively, you can choose an exercise category per suit and as the instructor you then choose the individual exercise. For example,
1. CV Exercise
2. Body Weight Exercise
3. Dumbbell Exercise
4. Abs Exercise.
This method ensures that a muscle group isn’t being worked consecutively and there is some variance between the exercises. It is essential that you plan the options effectively for safety.
Remember, that it is your professional responsibility to ensure exercise is safe and effective; ensure the exercises can be performed without causing exhaustion and increasing the liklihood of injury. Large compound exercises and cardiovascular exercises are recommended.
3. Roll the Dice
This is the third fun idea which you can integrate into your training. In this case you can again choose to write exercises on the side of a large dice and get the clients to perform those which the dice lands on. Or, you can set 10 exercises ensuring they work the whole body and roll the dice to determine how many reptitions should be performed. I would recommend performing the 10 exercise 2-3 times before changing the exercise. To increase the intensity, use 2-3 dice and add the numbers up!
These exercises are great to add into 1:1 or group sessions every now and again. As a fitness professional, you should be exactly that – professional. As long as you use these ideas with the right audience and in a safe environment then your clients will love them. Christmas and New Year are good times to trial them as people may start to lose their motivation slightly and this offers a refreshing change.
If you have tried any of these ideas before then we would like to know your thoughts and tips. If you are going away to try them, then please come back and let us know how it went using the comment box below 🙂
Hope you found this useful?