11 Creative Warm Up Ideas For Fitness Classes

fitness class warm up

Are you a fitness instructor looking for ways to make your classes more exciting? Want some fitness class warm up ideas that are a little outside the box?

Well, look no further! We’ve compiled a list of the best warm up ideas for fitness classes to give you all the inspiration you need. 

If you’re already a fitness instructor, why not take your career to the next level and become a qualified Level 3 personal trainer with OriGym

Enquire today, or download our free course prospectus here for more information about the range of courses we offer. 


Fitness Class Warm Up Idea #1 - Skipping

Starting our list of the best warm up ideas for fitness classes is skipping. 

This is perhaps one of the most accessible warm up ideas, as it’s suitable for all levels of fitness and it’s easy for you to teach as an instructor.

In fact, you may find that many participants are already familiar with skipping which can help to reduce time running through instructions. 

There are several ways that you could introduce this to your class, but an ideal way is to skip along to a high-energy song. This is a surefire way of getting your participants' heart rates up and energy levels high!

Alternatively, you could lead the skipping warm up by instructing your class through different movements. For example:

  • Regular skipping
  • Fast skipping
  • High knees skipping
  • Double jump skipping

There are many health benefits of skipping, since it works a wide range of muscles in the body, including: 

  • Calves
  • Quads
  • Hamstrings
  • Biceps/triceps
  • Abs

While you’ll need to purchase the equipment yourself, good quality skipping ropes are highly durable and so they’ll provide you with ample use across countless sessions.

Check out our list of the best skipping ropes to make sure you’re getting a good quality product!

Fitness Class Warm Up Idea #2 - Alternating Marching and Jogging 

Another one of the top fitness class warm up ideas is to alternate marching and jogging. 

The march aspect involves standing in place and alternating high knees. This is done for 30 seconds before moving on to jogging in place for another 30 seconds. 

Alternating these movements for just 3 minutes at the beginning of a class is a great way to elevate the heart rate and prepare the muscles for the session ahead. 

However, if you wanted to make this warm up more challenging, you could add an extra jog around the space to bring your class members’ heart rates up even more. 

This fitness class warm up provides a range of great benefits for your students, including:

  • Improved cardiovascular fitness
  • Improved circulation
  • Promotes weight loss through increased metabolic rate
  • Strengthening the leg muscles
  • Strengthening the core

Switching between marching and jogging also provides an effective, full-body warm up ahead of an intensive class. 

Fitness Class Warm Up Idea #3 - Blast Off 

Blast Off is a unique and versatile fitness class warm up that is both beneficial for your students and quick and easy for you to implement.

So, what is ‘Blast Off’? 

To perform this fitness class warm up, one exercise is completed for 10 reps. Then, a different exercise is performed for 9 reps, then again for 8 reps, counting down until just 1 rep is left. 

This provides the opportunity to work various areas of the body through different exercises, and is a good way to keep your students engaged and interested. 

Here’s an example structure of Blast Off to inspire your next session:

10 x Bodyweight squats

9 x Arm circles

8 x High knees

7 x Forward static lunges

6 x Star jumps

5 x Hip circles

4 x Broad jumps

3 x Side squats

2 x Lunge curtseys

1 x Burpee 

Since there are a lot of movements to instruct, it is a good idea to write a list of exercises before beginning so that you know exactly what you’re going to perform and when.

Then, once you’ve conducted Blast Off a couple of times, you’ll feel more confident leading it.

This is arguably one of the best fitness class warm up ideas for fitness instructors wanting to offer versatile warm ups that immediately gets students engaged. 

It also boosts the chance of participants coming back for future sessions- which is always a bonus! 

Fitness Class Warm Up Idea #4 - Swinging Movements

fitness class warm up 12

If you teach resistance training fitness classes, this is a good fitness class warm up idea for you! 

As you may be able to tell from the name, this warm up involves swinging movements to loosen up the muscles and joints. This not only promotes flexibility, but also reduces the risk of injury during the class itself, particularly if you are using heavy weights. 

Here are some examples of swinging movements that you could introduce to your next class:

  • Arm circles: Extend the arms so that they’re parallel to the floor. Create small circles before progressively increasing until you can feel a stretch in the triceps. Do this for 30-seconds before reversing the direction.
  • Standing leg swings: With the support of a chair or wall, swing one leg forward while keeping it straight. Swing the leg backwards and repeat 10 times before changing legs. 
  • Side leg raises: With the support of a chair or wall, extend one leg out to the side as far as it will go before bringing it back to the body. Repeat 10 times before changing legs. 


Fitness Class Warm Up Idea #5 - Cone Wars

Next on our list of warm up ideas for fitness classes is Cone Wars. This is a fun, easy to organise game that is suitable for all abilities. 

Cone Wars involves dividing your class into two teams. One team will be responsible for turning the cones upside down and the other half will turn them upwards.

You should set a timer for 90-seconds, in which time teams should flip as many cones as possible. Once the time is up, whichever team has the most cones in their direction wins!

There are many reasons why this is one of the greatest fitness class warm up ideas, such as it:

  • Gets participants’ heart rate pumping
  • Improves cardiovascular fitness
  • Easily adapts for all fitness abilities
  • Requires minimal equipment
  • Functions as a good ice breaker
  • Can be conducted in all environments (gym studios, parks, sports halls, etc.)

Plus, if you want to up the difficulty with Cone Wars, simply include more cones, distance them further apart, or increase the duration. 

Games like this are a great way to make warm ups more exciting whilst also introducing a sense of healthy competition. 

This is a great way to keep your members engaged and motivated, making them ready for the class ahead! 

Enjoying this article so far? Here’s 3 more that we think you’ll love:

Fitness Class Warm Up Idea #6 - Red Light, Green Light

You may remember this game from school, but it is actually a great fitness class warm up idea to use with people of all ages!

To play Red Light, Green Light, class members are marked as ‘vehicles’. As the instructor, you will be the ‘traffic controller’, dictating when the vehicles can move. 

There must be a start and finish line (use cones to show this) of approximately 30 metres. 

You will choose an exercise for the vehicles to perform. For example, you could choose to have class members perform:

  • Side steps
  • Lunges
  • Broad jumps
  • High knees

When the traffic controller shouts “green light”, vehicles are free to move but when “red light” is shouted, vehicles must stop. 

If vehicles are caught moving after the red light has been signalled, they must run back to the starting point and begin over again. 

This is one of the best fitness class warm up ideas as it elevates the heart rate whilst also working various areas of the body with different exercises. 

A game of Red Light, Green Light is relatively short, so we’d recommend repeating the game 3 times so that each member’s muscles are adequately warmed up for your class. 

Fitness Class Warm Up Idea #7 - High Energy Dance Steps

Next up is another stimulating warm up idea for fitness classes! 

High energy dance steps simply involve teaching a selection of dance-based moves to upbeat music. Some examples of these moves are:

  • Jumping side steps
  • Box steps
  • Heel digs
  • Crab walks

You should do this for approximately 5 minutes to get your class members' heart rates up, muscles warm, and to create a positive atmosphere to carry through the rest of the class. 

However, this type of warm up requires some pre-planning before implementing it into your class as you must choreograph each exercise carefully.

You should also ensure that each move is performed in time to the music and that you’re confident providing quick, informative cues to participants. 

Additionally, high energy music will help to increase morale. We recommend choosing music that your participants are likely to be familiar with to enhance positivity and motivation. 

Whilst this is one of the best warm up ideas for fitness classes, it’s also one that requires some practice time before bringing it to your class.

If you find that you enjoy teaching this kind of exercise, why not become an exercise to music instructor and get qualified to teach a wide range of dance-based fitness classes? 

Fitness Class Warm Up Idea #8 - Use Fitness Dice 

If you’re a fitness instructor looking for some unique warm up ideas to mix up your classes, using a fitness dice could be a great solution. 

Fitness dice usually come in packs of 2. One dice will have different exercises on each face while the other will detail durations and repetition numbers. 

Check out our list of the best fitness dice here for our top picks! 

Examples of exercises included on fitness dice include:

  • Squat
  • Burpee
  • High knees
  • Star jumps

So, how can you incorporate a fitness dice into a class warmup? 

  1. You could stand at the front of the class, roll the dice, and command the class to perform whatever the dice reveal. The amount of times you do this is dependent on the class ability. 
  2. Alternatively, you could have your participants standing in a circle and each takes a turn rolling the dice. Whoever is rolling must announce the exercise before passing the dice on to the next member. 
  3. A final option is to divide the group into two teams and have each team roll the dice between 5-10 times. Whichever team finishes their warm-up  first wins. 

Options 2 and 3 are great for making participants feel more involved in a class rather than just simply following commands from the instructor. 

They are also a good opportunity for participants to get to know one another better which can create a more positive atmosphere for the rest of the class.


Fitness Class Warm Up Idea #9 - The Bleep Test

Also known as a Multistage Fitness Test, The Bleep Test is a great fitness class warm up idea if you are teaching a longer or more advanced fitness class.

The Bleep Test is a 20-minute activity, but it can be easily shortened and adapted as a challenging warm up before your fitness class.

Put simply, it involves running continuously between 2 points that are 15 metres apart.

Participants must run between the points before the ‘bleep’ and if they don’t reach the other side in time, they will be eliminated. 

To begin with, participants have longer to reach the other side, yet bursts get gradually shorter causing participants to speed up. 

The warm up version takes just over 13 minutes to complete which is why we recommend reserving this warm up for more advanced fitness levels. 

This is not suitable for beginner fitness levels, as it could simply tire them out before the main body of the class has even begun! 

Fitness Class Warm Up Idea #10 - Medicine Ball Exercises 

Medicine balls are a great tool to use in any kind of workout or fitness class, including in the warm up! 

Here are some of the best ways to use a medicine ball in a fitness class warm up:

  • Under/Over Ball Pass. First off, the Under/Over Ball Pass is a great way to get class members ready for the class ahead. 

It involves dividing the group into teams of 4 and having them stand in a vertical line approximately 1 metre from one another.

The front player will pass the ball over their head for the behind player to receive and pass underneath their legs. Once the ball reaches the back player, they must run to the front to repeat the sequence.

The first team to complete the sequence 3 times wins. 

  • Medicine Ball Chase. This next activity also involves splitting your group into teams of 4. You must designate a start and finish point of approximately 30 metres. 

The first player will chest pass the medicine ball forward and chase after it before repeating until they cross the finish line. 

They must then run back to the group and pass the ball to the next player who will do the same. The first team to complete the sequence once each wins. 

Both of these activities are great since they introduce some healthy competition to the warm up which can help to boost motivation levels for the session ahead. 

Plus, medicine balls are fantastic for helping to improve muscular strength, and the short bursts of running will improve cardiovascular fitness! 

Fitness Class Warm Up Idea #11 - A Mini HIIT Session

Finishing up our list of ways you can warm up your fitness class members is leading a mini HIIT session. 

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training, and involves short bursts of intense activity, followed by a low-intensity period of recovery. 

There are lots of benefits of HIIT, particularly as a way to warm up a fitness class, including:

  • Increase heart rate
  • Warm up muscles
  • Increase energy levels

But since you will be doing a HIIT as a warm up, we recommend keeping it relatively short to prevent tiring members out too much. 

Given the intensity of this kind of exercise, we would also recommend using this warm up idea for fitness classes with more advanced participants with an already strong level of fitness. 

With this in mind, here’s an example template of a mini HIIT to inspire your next class:

  • 40 seconds of star jumps, 20 second break
  • 40 seconds of squat jumps, 20 second break
  • 40 seconds of quick fire punches, 20 second break
  • 40 seconds of mountain climbers, 20 second break
  • 40 seconds of heel flicks - finished!

In total, this will take just under 5 minutes which is a good amount of time for a warm up. 

You can make it easier by exercising for 30 seconds followed by a 30 second break, or add an additional challenge by increasing the duration of the warm up. You could even incorporate some light weights. 


Before You Go! 

So, we hope our list of the best warm up ideas for fitness classes has given you the inspiration you need for your next class! 

Feeling inspired? Take the next step in your career in the fitness industry by taking a personal training qualification with OriGym! Enquire today, or browse the full range of classes we offer by downloading our free course prospectus here.


Take your fitness career to the next level

Become a personal trainer with OriGym today!

Written by Emily Evans

Content Writer & Fitness Enthusiast

Emily studied English Language and Literature at the University of Sheffield, graduating in 2021 with a 2:1 BA honours degree. Alongside her degree, she also gained experience in student publication as Forge Press’ Lifestyle Editor and Deputy Editor for Post-Production. This is where her love for content writing stemmed from, which also led her to OriGym. Outside of her work, Emily will either be found on a long hike, at the gym or making a mess trying new healthy recipes in her kitchen!

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