Fitness Training Workshop


The aim of this workshop is to provide a basic level of knowledge and some practical ideas for the leading of fitness training sessions, for those staff involved in the PSYV programme. This is not a formal course, and as such no qualification is gained from attendance.


On completion PSYV's will:

  • Develop physical skills

  • Raise awareness of types of fitness workouts

  • Work on improving personal fitness (to a level appropriate to the individual)


Hazard free area (either indoors or outdoors). An indoor area should be well ventilated and of an ambient temperature. If the session is to take place outside, the ground underfoot should be risk assessed for suitability and consideration given to traffic, for example high visibility clothing.


Regular physical inputs work well for building levels of fitness. For example 20 minutes is a good amount of time to dedicate to this.


Instruction & Delivery

Instruction and delivery of circuit training

  • Check students for illness and injury

  • Include warm up and cool down

  • Ensure room temp is good

  • Check equipment is safe

  • Ensure the circuit is designed for the fitness level of the group

  • Remove jewellery etc.

  • Check venue floor for safety

  • Know your injury procedures and first aid location

  • Check correct technique

  • Plan your session in advance

Manner: Be enthusiastic.

Voice: Be clear and loud.

Visual Instruction: Do demonstrations of each technique and highlight dangers.

Position: Position yourself so you can see the whole group.

Observation: Observe technique, safety and fatigue level of students.

Activity 1: Preparation

Type of Session

Decide what you are trying to achieve from the session and plan specifically to that. For example, if you want to emphasis cardiovascular fitness then activities such as running will be most suitable as it maintains an elevated heart and respiratory rate. If muscular endurance is the aim, then general circuit exercises would be most appropriate. Introducing some level of team working into sessions may be helpful if that is an aim also.

Considerations and Contraindications A group of under 18’s require to be treated differently from an adult group. An adolescent body is not fully developed so the adding of an external load, such as barbells, dumb-bells, kettle bells may be inappropriate and lead to potential problems. It is therefore recommended that the exercises selected do not require the use of weights.

Activity 2: Warm Up

The use of appropriate warm-up and cool-down periods is still considered best practice for all athletic or physical activities. The principle goals of any warm-up are for physiological and psychological preparation, and the reduced risk of injury, with the main goal of cool-downs being physiological recovery and the reduction of post-exercise stiffness.

Static stretches can also play a major part in a comprehensive cool-down.

At its most basic level, a warm-up should gradually raise the core and muscular temperature. A thorough warm-up prepares the body for exercise by initiating the exercisers energy systems, and as such will help with the athletic performance to follow. Furthermore, research suggests that performing a warm-up has a beneficial psychological effect on the exerciser, preparing them for competition or training.

Performing light rhythmical exercise (jogging, cycling, rowing), incremental in its intensity, will gradually raise the heart rate, producing an increased stroke volume, which in turn allows additional oxygen to be delivered to the working muscles.

Effects of a Warm-up

  • The heart rate safely arrives at a workable rate for beginning exercise.

  • Greater economy of movement because of the lowered viscous resistance within warmed muscles.

  • Increased speed of contraction/relaxation of warmed muscles.

  • Greater elasticity of muscles, making them less susceptible to injury.

Warm-ups – Best Practice

Warm-ups should be gradually increased in intensity throughout the period of the warm up. It should be light in intensity, gradually increasing to the point of mild exertion. 5 minutes should suffice for most activities but the more intense, or specific (such as sprinting) the training, the longer and more specific the warm-up should be.

Warm-ups can be made specific to the training/event. This can include some multidirectional movements and changes of speed for example. Note:—A standard warm-up should always precede the introduction of advanced techniques such as this.

Mobility exercises, which are controlled movements of the joints (ankles, knees, hips, elbows and shoulders) can be utilised initially, should the main activity require it. Manoeuvring a joint around its natural plane of movement in a controlled fashion will release synovial fluid into the joint capsules. This fluid acts as a natural lubricant within the joint and makes movement easier. This requires no longer than a couple of minutes.

The main section of the warm-up could be 3-5 minutes of jogging for example. This may be sufficient, although up to 15 minutes may well be appropriate in some circumstances. By the end of the warm-up the individual should be at the point of mild exertion.

If the pulse lowers to near resting levels following a warm-up, a ‘re-warm’ or ‘pulse raiser’ could be utilised at this stage. Again, nothing more than a few minutes of jogging, or equivalent is necessary for the general population. In the event of warming-up for a sport then this would be the ideal circumstance to bring in some sports related movements such as jumping, turning or changes of speed.

Note:—Dynamic warm-ups

Dynamic stretching incorporates movements that mimic a specific sport or exercise in an exaggerated yet controlled manner; and are often included during the warm-up or in preparation for a sports event. Such warm-up routines are advanced in nature and as such are only recommended for athletes who are highly conditioned.

Here you will find examples of dynamic stretching for young people.

Try these simple warm-ups from just do it.

Activity 3: Circuit Training

Circuit Training is an excellent training system designed to develop a number of fitness components including Cardiovascular Endurance (CVE), Muscular Endurance (ME), Power and Anaerobic Endurance.

Predominantly circuits use very little or no equipment and allows for a great amount of work to be achieved within a relatively short period of time and is an excellent use of space, if planned correctly. It is a versatile training method that can be adapted to suit different populations and can been used at anytime of year over various types of venues. They are usually designed in a circle but can be zig zag shape, V shape, a square, a line or a star and can give you an opportunity to be creative.

Consideration must always be given to the fitness levels, training experience and overall stage of development of the group. Circuits tend to be generalised in nature, so the leader must know how to adapt exercises, timings and rest periods to suit all within the group.

The exercises listed below are examples of common exercises and are certainly not exhaustive.

Upper Body

  • Press Ups (Standard, Incline, Decline, Static, One Arm, Narrow, Split Level)

  • Tricep Dips

  • Pull Ups ( Wide, Narrow, One Arm)

Core (Abdominals and Lower Back) • Crunches • Planks • Back Extensions • Climbers

Lower Body • Squats (Static, One Leg, Jumps) • Lunges (Single Leg, Walking, Side, Diagonal) • Calf Raises

Total Body (incorporating exercise considered as Cardiovascular) • Running (Shuttles, High Knees, Laps, Drills) • Lie Down; Stand-ups • Squat Thrusts (Single Leg, Double Leg) • Burpees (controlled technique) • Star Jumps

Types of Circuit sessions Cardiovascular Endurance: Ability to utilise oxygen during exercise. Muscular Endurance: Ability to repeatedly exert a force at a sub-maximal level. Anaerobic endurance: Ability to sustain repeated bouts of high intensity exercise without oxygen. Strength (not recommended for under 18’s): Maximum Force a muscle or group of muscles can produce. Power (not recommended for under 18’s): The rate at which work can be done. It is the speed at which strength can be applied or the rate at which force can be developed.

Activity 4: Example Circuits

Muscular Endurance Circuit

  • Top, middle, bottom exercises (prevents fatigue and injury)

  • Work front and back of body, e.g. lunge

  • Up and down movements, e.g. step-up

  • Right and left movements, e.g. side lunges

Cardiovascular Endurance Circuit

  • Dynamic actions using large muscle groups

  • Include on the spot and on the move exercises

  • Include high and low intensity

  • Include change in direction

  • Keep an active rest, e.g. walking

Combination Circuit

For a Cardiovascular and Muscular Endurance circuit; just alternate between both, or emphasise one more than the other depending on the goal.

  • For Muscular Endurance: use compound multi joint exercises where possible

  • For Cardiovascular Endurance: avoid doing static floor work e.g. sit ups and back extensions, as the heart rate reduces. These exercises could be done at the end of the session.


You can also have a look at this example from Club Sport

Or try this high intesity 7 minute circuit 7 Minute High Intensity Circuit (by MedicalDaily)

Activity 5: Progressive Overload & Variation

Progressive overload and variation

According to Williams (1993:18), the principle of overload indicates “your body must be stressed beyond their normal levels of activity if they are to improve.”

Key things to consider: Intensity, Duration, Time.

Options for progressive overload

  • Increase repetitions

  • Increase time on each exercise

  • Increase number of circuits

  • Increase difficulty

  • Decrease time off/rest

  • Decrease recovery between circuits

  • Make recovery time more active

  • Increase resistance e.g. medicine balls

Activity 5: Stretching

Stretching – A new perspective

Over the past few years, sports science has altered its thinking on static stretching as part of warm-up sessions. Studies are largely conclusive that stretching as part of a warm-up can be counter-productive to the performance to come and that it does not, as previously believed, reduce the risk of injury.

Taking a muscle to its end range of movement and holding tension can impair strength and speed. The University of Zagreb found that stretching reduced muscular strength by as much as 8.3%, especially during weight bearing activities (e.g. squats, press-ups, running).

As previously stated however, following a stretching programme post exercise, can result in significant gains in flexibility, which in turn leaves one less susceptible to injury and can improve athletic performance.

Stretching is an important part of any exercise routine. It helps increase flexibility and is thought to reduce the chance of injury. Stretching should take place after exercise.

Stretches should be performed when the muscles are warm as they hold elastic properties. Muscles can be thought of in the similar way to elastic bands: when cold they won’t stretch far but if heated up the flexibility is greatly increased.

Following exercise, and as part of a cool-down period;

● Stretches for all the main muscle groups should be performed, paying particular attention to the muscles that were active during the activity.

● Each stretch should be performed for 15-30 seconds.

● Ballistic movements (bouncing) should be avoided during a stretch. Tension should be held statically at the end range of movement.

Note:—For flexibility training, a programme of stretches can be followed. In this instance each stretch should be repeated up to 3 times, with each stretch being held for 15-30 seconds.

Cool Down

In effect a cool-down is just a warm-up in reverse. Any light exercise such as jogging or walking, which reduces in intensity throughout its duration, will allow the body to gradually reduce the heart rate and blood pressure from an elevated state to a resting, or near resting state. Cool-downs help to remove waste products such as lactic acid from the muscles. Furthermore, the body releases hormones that counter the effects of adrenaline and helps with rest and sleep after exercise.

A cool-down should last for 5-10 minutes, with incremental decreases in intensity. Static stretches should be performed at the conclusion of the cool-down as they help muscles to relax, realign muscle fibres and re-establish their normal range of movement.

These stretches should be held for approximately 15-30 seconds each.

Contrary to popular belief, a cool-down does not appear to reduce Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).

An appropriate cool down will:

● Aid in the dissipation of waste products; including lactic acid.

● Reduce the chances of dizziness or fainting caused by the blood pooling.

● Reduce the level of adrenaline in the blood, due to the release of hormones to counter the elevated levels.

● Allow the heart rate and blood pressure to return towards resting rates, although both of these will be likely to remain slightly higher than normal for up to an hour after exercise.

Injury Management

It is recommended that staff who are involved in fitness training sessions are suitably qualified in first aid. At least one member of staff at the venue should hold a First Aid at Work certificate and access to an appropriate first aid box/bag should be arranged. Local arrangements should be in place for the recording of accidents under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.


Once you have delivered this session, complete this review.

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