As a personal trainer, sometimes it can be hard to think of new workout ideas for your clients. That is why finding fresh workout sessions is a great way to shake things up and keep your client engaged. Repetitive workouts may be good for some, but like most things in life people tend to like variety. Here is our list of 5 personal training session ideas that are fun, and most importantly effective:
- Circuit training
- HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)
- Bodyweight training (Calisthenics)
- Weight training (Lifting)
- Outdoor exercise
Circuit training is all about quickly moving between exercises, with minimal rest in between. This type of training is great to burn calories, improve cardio, and build strength. Typically, a circuit will include a combination of strength training, and cardio exercises.
The exercises are usually done in a specific order, completing one set before moving onto the next exercise. Also, the amount of reps and sets of each exercise will be different depending on the person’s fitness level.
One key benefit of circuit training is that it encourages working on multiple muscle groups. By focusing on multiple muscle groups, it can help extend the duration of exercise, keep things fresh, and contribute to a well rounded workout.
Circuit training sessions should be tailored to a person’s fitness level and goals. For example, let’s say someone is a beginner with no exercise experience, start with a simple circuit that includes 2-3 exercises with one set of each exercise. While the person improves, you can increase the amount of exercises in the circuit, and the amount of sets.
Circuit training example:
|Beginner||Push ups (5 reps x 1 set)|
Squats (5 reps x 1 set)
Jumping jacks (10 reps x 1 set)
|Intermediate||Push ups (5 reps x 2 sets)|
Squats (5 reps x 2 sets)
Jumping jacks (10 reps x 2 sets)
|Advanced||Push ups (5 reps x 2 sets)|
Squats (5 reps x 2 sets)
Jumping jacks (10 reps x 2 sets)
Mountain climbers (10 reps x 1 set)
Burpees (5 reps x 1 set)
Kettlebell swings (10 reps x 1 set)
HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is intense bursts of activity for a short period of time. Each burst of activity is followed by a quick rest before repeating. This method of exercise focuses on duration instead of reps and sets, and is very efficient due to the afterburn effect.
Afterburn or EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) is when the body continues to burn calories for an amount of time after the exercise movement has stopped. The afterburn effect helps HIIT training burn more calories than steady cardio workouts like jogging, or cycling.
HIIT can be difficult for beginners because it is meant to be intense, and quite challenging. Always check with a doctor before starting a HIIT program, especially if there are health conditions or injuries. It is also important to note that proper form needs to be maintained through the entire workout to help avoid injuries.
A HIIT workout session typically includes a stretch, a warm-up, then multiple rounds of 15 to 30 seconds of a high intensity workout, followed by 30 seconds of rest. You will need to adjust the exercise to rest ratio depending on the fitness level. As progression is made, increase the exercise duration, and minimize the rest duration.
HIIT training example:
|Beginner||15 second sprint – 30 second rest|
15 second mountain climbers – 30 second rest
15 second squats – 30 second rest
|Intermediate||30 second sprint – 30 second rest|
30 second mountain climbers – 30 second rest
30 second squats – 30 second rest
|Advanced||45 second sprint – 30 second rest|
45 second mountain climbers – 30 second rest
45 second squats – 30 second rest
Overall, HIIT training sessions are a great way to burn calories quickly, and improve fitness level. Its versatility makes it applicable for most exercise curriculums – you can use any type of workout in a HIIT session.
Bodyweight Training (Calisthenics)
Bodyweight exercises (or calisthenics) are workouts that use the body’s natural weight as resistance instead of external weight from dumbbells, barbells, or machines. Bodyweight workouts are good for strength building, burning calories, and overall fitness.
A key benefit of bodyweight exercise is that it can be done anytime, and anywhere. This makes it a convenient and accessible form of exercise for all fitness levels. Another main benefit of bodyweight exercise is that it is functional, which means that most bodyweight exercises replicate daily motion like squatting, pulling, and pushing.
Bodyweight exercises can also be put into circuits for a diverse full body workout, as well as HIIT workouts to focus on building particular muscle groups.
Bodyweight exercises can sometimes be challenging for beginners with low fitness levels. Always start with a small number of sets and reps, then gradually increase sets and reps as performance improves.
Bodyweight training example:
|Beginner||Pull ups (5 reps x 4 sets)|
Push ups (5 reps x 4 sets)
Crunches (5 reps x 4 sets)
Squats (5 reps x 4 sets)
|Intermediate||Pull ups (10 reps x 4 sets)|
Push ups (10 reps x 4 sets)
Crunches (10 reps x 4 sets)
Squats (10 reps x 4 sets)
|Advanced||Pull ups (20 reps x 4 sets)|
Push ups (20 reps x 4 sets)
Crunches (20 reps x 4 sets)
Squats (20 reps x 4 sets)
With each body weight exercise, a modified version can be used until strength is built up for a proper rep. For example push ups can be done on the knees at first until progressing to a full push up. Pull ups can also be assisted with resistance bands until an unassisted pull up can be completed.
Weight Training (Lifting)
Weight training, also known as weightlifting, is the use of external weight from dumbbells, barbells, or machines to create resistance and build muscle. The primary goal of weight training is to improve strength, power, and overall mass for a particular muscle or muscle group. Weight training is a very effective way to increase fitness levels, and is regularly used by athletes, celebrities, and bodybuilders to enhance performance and improve physique.
The most known benefit of weightlifting is that it increases muscle mass. Some people want muscle mass for their body composition, while others want muscle mass for strength and power. Increasing muscle mass can boost metabolism, which helps burn more calories.
In addition, a bonus benefits of weight training include increased bone density, which can lower the risk of osteoporosis (a condition where bones become weak to the point of breaking easily). It also helps to improve endurance, coordination, and the ability to perform daily activities.
Like all things in the world of exercise, weight training can be challenging for beginners. It is important to know the person’s current fitness level and build a training session that is engaging and achievable. Start with a manageable weight, and slowly increase the weight as performance improves.
When it comes to weight training, technique is most important. Especially as the weight being lifted increases, with improper technique an injury can often occur. It is recommended to tailor the training session to individual fitness levels, needs and goals.
Weight training example:
|Beginner||Dumbbell deadlift (5 reps x 4 sets)|
Dumbbell side lateral raise (5 reps x 4 sets)
Barbell overhead press (5 reps x 4 sets)
Barbell bench press (5 reps x 4 sets)
Cable lat pulldown (5 reps x 4 sets)
Cable kickback (5 reps x 4 sets)
|Intermediate||Dumbbell deadlift (10 reps x 4 sets)|
Dumbbell side lateral raise (10 reps x 4 sets)
Barbell overhead press (10 reps x 4 sets)
Barbell bench press (10 reps x 4 sets)
Cable lat pulldown (10 reps x 4 sets)
Cable kickback (10 reps x 4 sets)
|Advanced||Dumbbell deadlift (20 reps x 4 sets)|
Dumbbell side lateral raise (20 reps x 4 sets)
Barbell overhead press (20 reps x 4 sets)
Barbell bench press (20 reps x 4 sets)
Cable lat pulldown (20 reps x 4 sets)
Cable kickback (20 reps x 4 sets)
Outdoor exercise is an exciting and fresh way to get in shape. Not only do you get to improve your health and fitness, but you get to enjoy the beauty and nature of the outdoors. There are so many options to choose from when you want to get some outdoor exercise. You can go hiking, swimming, running, cycling, or play sports.
The main benefit of outdoor active exercise is that it is fun and enjoyable! A person’s fitness journey is never ending, and to break up the regular workout sessions, going outside can be an amazing change. Being in nature is known to reduce stress and improve mental health, it also makes working out feel less like a chore and more like a hobby. Don’t forget about the vitamin D factor. The sunshine vitamin is critical for bone health, immune systems, and overall well being.
Depending on the outdoor activity you choose, you will be working different muscle groups. Additionally, if you can incorporate different outdoor activities in a single day, it can be a very fun way to get a full body workout.
Although outdoor activities are very fun, safety must always be a top priority. Wearing the right footwear, clothing, and equipment can be the difference between a great day, and an avoidable injury. Also pay attention to the weather, and take steps to make sure your outing is comfortable.
Outdoor exercise examples:
- Walking / Jogging / Running
- Rock Climbing / Mountain Climbing
- Sports (soccer, basketball, hockey, football, tennis, squash)
- Ice Skating
- Cross Country Skiing
Did you like our 5 personal training session ideas?
Remember, it’s good to switch up training sessions and try new things. Doing so will help keep the body challenged, and most importantly prevent boredom. That is why you should consider injecting a little creativity, you can create training sessions that are effective, engaging, and enjoyable.
If you are in Toronto and need a place to train with your clients, check out our personal training studio. When you are ready to check us out, come in for a tour, and see if we are a place made for you.
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