6 Motivating Fitness Ideas for PE – Part 2

Motivating students and guiding them on a path of lifelong fitness has become a top priority for physical education teachers all over the world.  We provide unique opportunities for students to learn about the benefits of exercise and implement movement activities which are challenging, varied, and ultimately FUN.  Through trial and error, research, and creative minds, my team and I discovered numerous routines that have been proven successful for our students who range from first grade through 6th grade.  In a previous post called PE -Top 5 Motivating Exercise Routines for Students, I described five different activities I regularly do with my students.  I would like to share six more ideas as a follow-up, which you can hopefully put into effect with equal success.

1. Partner Sprinting Points Challenge

I love this activity because it gives students a chance to work cooperatively with a partner while developing a strategy for success. The workout consists of two rounds each two minutes.  There is a one-minute recovery between each round.

Set up four rows of cones.  Each row has a different point value.  Row one equals 1 point, row two equals 2 points, row three equals 3 points, and row four equals 4 points (you can increase the value of each row depending on the grade level).

Students spread out with their partners along the start line.  Partner 1 is the leader for the first 2 minutes.  Whichever row of cones he sprints to, his partner then has to sprint to the same row.  So if he selects row 2, then the partner must run to row 2 as well.  This goes on for 2 minutes.  Partners add their points together as they accumulate them.  After 2 minutes, the partners recover (1 minute) and discuss their strategy for the next round. Specifically, what could they do differently to increase their total score during the next 2 minutes when the other partner becomes the leader?

2. Partner Interval Sprints

This is one of my favorite routines for my students.  It can be done on a track, in a gym, or around a circle of cones on a field.

Each set of partners spreads out around the perimeter of the running area so they’re standing next to each other but away from the other sets of partners.  For four minutes, each partner takes turns sprinting for 10 seconds (sometimes we do 20-second intervals). On the whistle, partner one sprints first.  On the next whistle, partner one stops to recover while partner two immediately begins sprinting for the next 10 seconds.  This continues for four minutes.

3. Simple AMRAPs (as many rounds as possible) with Obstacles

We use AMRAPs as both instant activities and as a main fitness routine.  Below is a simple example of one of the many AMRAPs we use.  The objective is for the students to try and complete as many rounds as possible in a given amount of time.  Our students are further motivated by the addition of obstacles to the lap.  Thanks to my colleague Jedd Austin (@jeddaustin) for the idea.


4. Steppers and/or Line Interval Training

Using steps in my PE classes has become a staple.  I’m fortunate to have enough steps for each student.  However, prior to having steps, my students would do similar workouts using the lines on the gym floor.  Below are a couple interval training workouts using steps and/or lines.  They are two examples of the unlimited possibilities for this type of workout. For any interval workouts, I use the Tabata Timer Application on my Ipad and phone.



Speaking of steppers!  Give students a chance to create their own exercises.

5. 30 Second Elimination Tag

If you’re going to play tag games, they should almost always be a non-elimination tag game.  If a student gets tagged then there should be a way for her to get back into the game.  However, 30-second elimination tag is an exception.

Divide the class into groups of four or five.  Each group takes turns being the taggers. For 30 seconds the first group attempts to tag as many students as possible.  When tagged, students walk around the perimeter of the play area until 30 seconds is up.  After 30 seconds, students have a chance to recover.  During this time we count up the number of students who were tagged.  This is the score for group number one.  Group two becomes the taggers for the next 30 seconds.  The game continues until each group has a chance to be taggers.  This is an incredible workout for every fitness level and athletic ability.  Thank you Brian Balocki (@brianbalocki), my colleague, for the idea.

6. Hula Hoop Fitness Timer

This is one of my favorite fitness activities for any grade level.  Students simply spin their hula hoop and perform an exercise until the hoop stops spinning.  For younger grade levels, I post different exercises on a whiteboard for students to choose.  Sometimes I give the students a chance to work with a partner.  They alternate spinning the hoop and choosing the exercise.  I can also assess upper-grade level students’ knowledge of muscle groups by asking them to choose exercises targeting specific muscle groups. Thank you, Coach Laura (@PECoachLaura), my colleague, for this idea.


As stated in previous posts, finding creative ways to motivate our students is an ongoing challenge.  We need to work together to share ideas.  Now I’d like to learn about yours.  Please post your motivating exercise routines in the comments section!  Let’s work together to keep our students motivated and fit!

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5 Comments on “6 Motivating Fitness Ideas for PE – Part 2

  1. Pingback: PE – Top 5 Motivating Exercise Routines for Students – Keeping Kids in Motion

  2. Pingback: The PE Playbook – November 2016 Edition – drowningintheshallow

  3. I have ten squares taped to the wall around the gym, equally spaced out. Kids come in and get on teams of 2-3. I actually time them how fast they can do it. Then they take turns running around the gym. They get a point every lap they make. They also get a small dodgeball used like a baton, that they bring with them. As they run around they are allowed to throw the ball at another runners back to get a point. After one song is done they add up their points.

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