Group Training Ideas: Fun Workouts for All Levels!

Key Points

  • Group fitness involves exercising with others.

  • Spin, yoga, boot camp, kickboxing, pilates, Zumba, and barre are among the most popular group training ideas.

  • Quality instructors and great group training ideas allow different fitness levels to work out together. 

Trainers: Are you searching for group training ideas that are fun, challenging, and achievable for all fitness levels? 

Fitness fanatics: Do you secretly dream of becoming an instructor someday but aren’t sure where to start? 

“None of the above” readers: Do you struggle with feeling motivated to workout consistently? 

If you answered “yes” at any point, keep reading to learn about group training ideas that are enjoyable, rewarding, motivating, and — most importantly — get people excited to exercise habitually. 

What Is Group Fitness?

Led by a personal trainer or certified instructor, group fitness is an exercise activity you perform with others. In-person classes typically range from 2-50 participants, while virtual classes support a much larger amount of people.

Most gyms offer a full schedule of group exercise classes that vary by category, duration, difficulty level, and intensity. No matter your fitness goals or preferences, there’s a perfect option out there for you.

Can’t find something you love at your local gym? Try out a boutique studio!

Boutique studios specialize in one specific workout type such as barre, indoor cycling, and pilates. This provides you with a much higher quality experience doubled with rockstar instructors who leave you hungry for more. 

What Are the Benefits of Group Fitness?

Exercising in a group setting delivers the same benefits as personal training — minus the massive dent to your bank account. Not only is group fitness way cheaper, but it also fosters motivation and accountability through a supportive community that starts to feel like family in no time. 

Do you find it hard to wake up early to workout? For evening athletes, do you ever feel tempted to justify skipping the gym altogether because you had a long, grueling day?

Group fitness is a magical solution! Whether you attend class with your besties or make new friends along the way, you quickly become accountable to more than just yourself. You’re also obligated to other people who count on you to show up for them.

The fear of letting someone down is a powerful motivator, even when you don’t feel like doing something.

The hardest part is showing up. Once you're blasted with a sweet rush of endorphins and euphoria, you’re insanely happy that you did. You never regret a workout, especially when it’s paired with unmatched camaraderie.

There’s a strong competitive element to group fitness as well, which causes you to work harder than you do when training solo. 

The best part? You no longer dread feeling self-conscious about hogging a machine for too long at the gym — not to mention the fear that you’re using the machine incorrectly.

Say goodbye to the stress of creating your own workout plan, which leaves you mentally zapped before you even start exercising! 

With group exercise, all you do is show up, workout, and go home. Your instructor always comes prepared with exercise routines guaranteed to make you sweat, smile, and feel the burn.

Group fitness classes feel like a total party. You might even temporarily forget you’re working out! 

What Are the Most Popular Group Fitness Workouts?

Effective workouts integrate at least two of the four exercise types: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. On top of being effective, the most popular group fitness workouts are unique, fun, achievable, and seriously addicting. 

Indoor Cycling

With the rise of Instagram-worthy companies like Peloton and SoulCycle, indoor cycling has stolen many hearts. Spin classes are fun, rigorous, low-impact, and incredibly gratifying. Instructors take participants through periods of high intensity followed by bouts of active rest, mimicking the progression of HIIT workouts. 

Cycling isn't just a leg workout, it’s a full-body workout. Spin activates your core, arms, shoulders, back, glutes, and legs as you ride to the beat of the music. It grants you instant joy, stress relief, friendship, and music to make your soul sing.

Yes, riding a bike that goes nowhere is surprisingly awesome!

Duration: 45 to 60 minutes

Yoga

Yoga is by far the most beloved form of group exercise. It relaxes your mind, invites you to rejuvenate, reduces anxiety, and heals you from the inside out. Yoga binds the mind, body, and spirit through a stimulating combination of poses, breathing techniques, and meditation. 

This invigorating activity stretches and tones your muscles. It's also great for recovery and welcomes all fitness levels. Yoga has 20 different styles, however, vinyasa yoga, hatha yoga and hot yoga are among the top picks. 

Vinyasa and hatha yoga are recommended for beginner participants, while hot yoga is renowned for its hot, humid temperatures that lead to — you guessed it — excessive amounts of sweating!

Duration: 30 to 90 minutes

Boot Camp and Circuit Training

Boot camps combine a variety of exercise types and alternate between higher and lower intensities to hit every muscle group. Circuit training workouts are designed to push your limits in extremely rewarding ways, making every moment of struggle worth it.

For those with hectic schedules who often barely manage to squeeze a workout in,  Camp Gladiator (CG) is an all-inclusive boot camp program that changes your life and your ability to enjoy exercise. 

CG instructors devotedly take members through a five-week rotation that incorporates endurance, strength and agility, and interval training into a 30- to 60-minute workout.

Are you the type that gets bored easily? Not anymore! You do something different every week.

Camp Gladiator offers both in-person and virtual classes via Zoom from 4 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. CST. They also have an on-demand library of training videos. There’s an option for every lifestyle.

To make sure you fall in love with their program before pulling out your wallet, CG lets you try one week free before purchasing an online membership for $24 per month.

Duration: 30 to 60 minutes

Strength Training

Also known as resistance training, strength training primarily involves weight lifting, bodyweight exercises, and isometrics. It sounds intimidating at first, but all you need is consistency, patience, and determination to gradually build your strength.

Pursuing balanced strength — improving all muscle groups equally — is key. It helps prevent your weaker muscles from overcompensating during workouts or strenuous daily activities, which leads to injury. 

Strength training classes begin with a series of functional exercises. These replicate tasks you perform in the real world such as lifting heavy objects, carrying groceries inside, and squatting to get into your car. 

The eight basic strength training exercises are:

  • Squats 

  • Deadlifts

  • Glute bridges

  • Push-ups

  • Bent-over rows

  • Lunges

  • High and low planks

  • Hollow holds

Optional materials that enhance strength training sessions are kettlebells, medicine balls, free weights, and resistance bands.

Duration: 30 to 60 minutes

Kickboxing

Modeled after martial arts, kickboxing consists of punching and kicking variations that are empowering and therapeutic. You relieve tension, practice coordination, and take your aggression out on a weighted bag instead of, well, the person causing it! 

Kickboxing expertly blends cardio and strength training and pumps your adrenaline, helping you burn some serious calories. As long as you follow the instructor’s cues and execute proper form, kickboxing is also a safe way to achieve fast fitness results

Most studios lead a fun partner drill segment toward the end of class. It’s not exactly a boxing ring, but a close (and way less terrifying) second. After pairing up with someone, each of you takes turns holding your specialty gloves up firmly and away from your face to block a given combination of punches. 

Duration: 45 to 60 minutes

Pilates

Pilates is similar to yoga but places more emphasis on core strength and stability. This activity uses small, repetitive movements that target both isolated muscle groups and your full body. You’re encouraged to focus on each physical sensation while simultaneously integrating relaxation and breath control. 

Good form and alignment are essential to a positive Pilates experience, especially since you’re strapped to a reformer machine that moves with resistance pulleys and springs.

Pilates classes are generally smaller in size, so expect to receive lots of attention and assistance from the instructor.

Duration: 45 to 60 minutes

Dance Fitness

From hip-hop music and pop jams to spicy salsa mixes infused with a Latin flare, dance fitness lets you sing and dance in unison with others.

Zumba classes have upbeat, energetic dance routines that are easy to follow. It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional dancer or have two left feet, you'll still have a total blast! 

Dancing away the stress leaves you happy, sweaty, and sore. What could be better?

Duration: 60 minutes

Barre

This ballet-inspired activity blends dance, pilates, and yoga into a notably rigorous workout. Barre sculpts and tones your glutes, hamstrings, calves, core, and arms and requires you to push until failure. You don't stop until you absolutely have to.

Once you get more comfortable, the instructor grants freedom to increase your workout intensity. This happens through dumbbells and small weighted balls or by testing out more challenging movements.

Duration: 45 to 60 minutes

How Do You Make Group Fitness Fun?

An organic type of fun happens when you exercise with others. However, there’s always room for improvement, especially because working out is uncomfortable.

Discomfort is inevitable and also brutally unpleasant at times. This detracts from the fun of a workout. Pleasant distraction, encouragement, community, and emotional engagement are powerful antidotes to the fear of discomfort.

To make group fitness fun for attendees, choose exhilarating music. Take their minds off of the temporary pain by strategically throwing in a joke or an anecdote. By making them laugh, smile, or get in their feels — this happens a lot in spin classes — you give them a worthwhile reason to not only be present in the moment but to continue coming back for more.

Offer encouragement during class through verbal cues. Remind beginners that it’s okay to take breaks, rest when needed, and modify a movement that feels strained or uncomfortable. Give shoutouts to hard-working participants and invite the room to cheer them on!

In both cases, this significantly strengthens someone’s self-confidence as well as the likelihood that they’ll return and bring friends with them next time.

How can you get different fitness levels to work together? Teach to the middle. Read your room and structure your class to be engaging for everyone.

After that, give participants autonomy to “choose their hard” so that beginners and advanced athletes alike feel challenged and successful.  

Make It Meaningful and Memorable

Create a memorable and meaningful experience for your classmates by making it personal. Get to know the people you teach and exercise with. Play songs and artists they love in class. Take note of the specific choreography, workout routines, and exercises they respond well to and implement them often.

If your Monday group vibes with Rihanna, then host a Rihanna-themed class! 

Arrive early to class and greet everyone individually. Always be warm, welcoming, and approachable the moment someone enters a room. Learn — and remember — people’s names to make them feel special and important. Offer a genuine smile, hug, high-five, or kind compliment to connect with your clients and foster a positive relationship. 

Highlight an individual's accomplishments. Did they complete a specific number of workouts, hit a personal record, or reach a membership anniversary?

Whichever the case, celebrate it! This constantly gives participants something exciting to look forward to and cultivates an atmosphere people can’t help but share with others.

Social media is free marketing! Record hype-filled moments during class, take pictures with people and drop little sneak peeks of upcoming classes to boost attendance.

Give existing and future clients the hope and promise of improved health, fitness, confidence, and relationships.

With a place to sweat and joyfully engage with others, people no longer have to choose between “going out” and “working out.” Group fitness provides the absolute best of both worlds! 

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work!

"Group training is a great way to find motivation and actually enjoy your workouts," says John Gardner, a certified personal trainer and founder of the Kickoff remote training platform.

What transforms a good group fitness workout into an extraordinary experience? 

Providing a supportive and inclusive environment, exuding a natural enthusiasm for fitness, and genuinely loving people are the foundation. Preparing a variety of exercises that offer alternating intensities, playing great music, celebrating milestones, and regularly reminding people of their why come next.

These elements inspire trust, connection, gratification, and excitement as well as create faithful attendees.

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