We are all used to traditional PE warm-ups where we run in a circle or to a line and back, completing various movements and exercises as we go. Below you will find a list of workout warm-ups that you can use as a warm-up, as an interlude between activities, or that you can combine to make one big workout. Some of them are pretty tough, so modify them to challenge your class. Thanks to Kevin Spicer for some of the ideas!
1. Pyramid Drill
Start with one of each exercise, then 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, then down 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 (35 total of each exercise). Exercise examples include plank-up and down, squat with kick, supine hip lifts, and jumping jacks.
2. Pyramid Drill II
Choose an exercise (ex. push-up) and a set distance (gym length, half a field, etc.). Do one push-up, run, 2 push-ups, run, 3 push-ups, etc. If you go up to 10, it totals 55 reps.
3. Pyramid Drill III
80-70-60-50-40-30-20-10 seconds. Pick an activity and do it for that time (ex. 80 seconds of jogging), then pick another activity for the next time limit (ex. 70 seconds of sit-ups), and so on.
4. Exercise Relay
Stand one behind the other in a line of four. First person runs across the gym/field and back, second person holds a right side plank, third person holds a left side plank, fourth person hold a wall sit. When runner gets back they go to the back of the line and everyone moves up a spot. Continue until everyone gets to their original spot, or until they go through each exercise twice.
5. “Bring Sally Up”
Play “Flower” by Moby. Go up when the song says “bring sally up” and down when the song says “bring sally down”. You can use any exercise where there is an up and down motion – ex. pushups, sit-ups, and squats.
6. Card Flip Game
Make four even-sized teams. Each team has a stack of cards. Spades = Push-Ups, Hearts = Squats, Diamonds = Crunches, Clubs = Burpees. The number on the card indicates the number of exercises (face cards are 10). Ex. 8 of Hearts = 8 Squats. The team must go through the exercises together and cannot flip over the next card until everyone has completed the previous card. First team finished wins and gets to make the other teams do an extra exercise. * Make sure each team has an equal deck of cards – ex. if you add them up they would all have to do 20 burpees.
7. 54 Card Pick-Up
Similar to the card flip game, except the entire class does it together and goes through an entire deck of cards (with the jokers). Do not move on to the next card until everyone has performed the exercise. The goal is to see how fast you can get through the deck. Do this warm-up once a week or once a month to see how the class has improved. As above, 1-9 is the number shown and face cards are 10. Spades = Push-ups (spiderman push-ups for more difficulty), Hearts = Squats, Diamonds = Crunches, Clubs = Cross country skier, Joker = run a lap.
8. Builders and Bulldozers
Place cones within the playing area – half upright, half upside down. Divide the class into two teams: the Builders and the Bulldozers. On the teacher’s signal, the Builders’ job is to turn over any upside down cone. The Bulldozers job is to turn over any upright cones. Students can only touch one cone at a time. If there are more cones set upright than knocked over at the end of the round, the Builders win. If there are more cones knocked over than are upright, the Bulldozers win. Each round lasts 1 minute. Let the team strategize and play again.
9. Gross Motor Bingo
Make groups and give each group a bingo sheet. Call out the actions and the groups will perform them. First group to get a line (or two, or whatever you choose), calls “Bingo!” They can have the other teams do extra exercises if you like – ex. 10 jumping jacks.
10. Fitness Mystery Game
This game is similar to the board game Clue. Split the class into four or so teams – this is also a good warm-up for larger group. Have someone (teacher, TA, injured student, etc.) stand in each corner of the gym – they will know an answer to one of the sections. Give each group a handout. They will run to a corner, that person will give them an exercise – ex. 5 burpees. Once they have all completed the exercise, they can ask a question – ex. “Was the team colour red?”. If the person in the corner does not know the answer (maybe they know the team name), they will say “I don’t know”. If they know the answer they will say “Yes” or “No”. The group then runs to another corner, does the designated exercise, and then asks a question. Continue until they know all four answers. You can make many variations, but some examples are below. * The clue version only has three (not four) categories.
Pick an exercise and perform it for 20 seconds, followed by a 10 second break. Repeat eight times (totaling four minutes per exercise). Examples of exercises include bootstrappers, burpees, mountain climbers, sumo jacks, side shuffles, and Russian twists.
12. Beep Test/Multistage Fitness Test
Mark a space that is 20m in length (gym, field, etc.). You will need access to audio to play the Beep Test Recording. Students must run the 20m length before the “beep”. If they don’t make it, they have to run and touch the line and then make the next one – you are out if you miss two beeps in a row. The beeps get faster with each level. Encourage students to start slow and time it so that they get to the line with the beep. I usually tell students that they must walk along the sidelines when they are “out” until a certain level, or until the last person is done. You can also have students do this in partners. Choose a partner of similar fitness – one partner will run there and back while the other gets a rest, then switch.
13. Group Huddle
Have students make groups and stand in a circle – groups can be any size. Each student will pick an exercise (ex. jumping jacks, push-ups, squats, lunges, etc.) and the entire group will do it for 10 reps. Go around the circle until every student has chosen an exercise or until a specified time is up.
Do you have any warm-ups that you would like to share? Please comment or email if you do! For some fun warm-up ideas check out Fun Warm-Ups.