Themed Training Sessions

Featured Image Themed Training

Themed training sessions provide a refreshing way to manage training sessions. Essentially, leg day is a theme, but this is totally different approach. It changes the routine to shake it up a bit. While it is a fun, creative way to work out, it can also be effective. Choose a theme monthly, quarterly or whenever you think it’s time to add some oomph to the workouts. Themes included here are animals, heights, nature, and old school, but there are many more.

Supplement the themed sessions in two ways:

1. Plan ahead to offer awards for completing the workouts. Suggestions are noted (*) in each section. Print your own certificates or shop at discount stores for inexpensive medals or ribbons and fill-in-the-blank certificates.
2. Consider making playlists that support the theme of the training sessions. One suggestion is included with (**) for each theme.

Here are a few ways to add themed training and exercises to your sessions.


This is a great one for a client who is an animal lover. Use animal-named exercises and poses throughout the session. It can be used for the entire session or just part of it. Some animal-related exercises include:
• cobra pose
• bear hold and/or bear crawl
• bird dogs
• donkey kicks
• eagle arms
• flying dog
• downward dog
• cat and camel
• monkey bars
• calf raises
These provide a well-rounded workout for flexibility, strength, and balance.

*If the workout is intense, consider awarding a Beast certificate as recognition of your client’s efforts.

** “Dance Monkey” by Tones and I is an upbeat song to include with the monkey bars or really any part of this workout.


Take your training to new heights literally with:
• mountain climbers
• bridge pose (many variations)
• hill sprints
• stair climbs
• pull-ups
• ladders
• climbing wall (if available)

Most of these are intermediate or advanced moves. Hill sprints have to be executed outside, but the others can be taken inside or out depending on equipment and space. Ladder workouts are ideal for strength conditioning and can be adjusted for various fitness levels.

*This one might warrant a Best Sweat Attitude certificate or medal for completing this list.

**”The Climb” by Miley Cyrus is a good one to play during the climbs.


Outdoorsy clients will appreciate this one. Nature exercises can certainly be done indoors, but this theme is even better outside. Nature exercises to work into a workout:
• walk-outs (inchworms)
• dead bug
• scorpion
• spider walk
• tree pose
• lotus pose
• fly
• locust pose

*An award for this one could be The Exterminator because of all the insect-related moves.

**“I Would Walk 500 Miles” by Desmond Bale is appropriate for the walking sections of this workout.


Think about elementary school and the fun on playgrounds. So many of the ways we played as kids can be exercise as adults. This is another theme that works well outside. A few ideas include:
• jumping rope
• skipping
• windmills
• tug-of-war
• hula hoop
• hopscotch
• monkey bars
• skaters

Don’t discount the advantages of these “playground” exercises. Jumping rope, skaters and skipping are serious cardio. The aerobic exercises burn calories, help with bone density and improve coordination. Windmills help with flexibility. The hula hoop is a fun way to get the abs moving and it always brings laughter to the sessions. Tug-of war and monkey bars build strength. Hopscotch works coordination and balance.

*Depending on your budget, rewards for this theme could be a package of sidewalk chalk, a new jump rope or a hula hoop.

**”Jump” by Van Halen is a song to include in the playlist for the jumping and skipping.

Exercise is never monotonous to those of us who are gym-rats and fit pros. However, some clients are less enthusiastic. A little change in the game with themed training sessions could be an excellent motivator.



Kim Becknell Williams is a freelance writer with more than ten years of personal training experience. Certified through NFPT, she is a Functional Training Specialist and holds a Master Trainer level certificate for resistance, endurance and sports nutrition. Kim has written two books including Gym Etiquette 101. She enjoys writing a variety of lifestyle articles and fitness blogs.