No equipment, no problem. PE teachers can choose from endless PE activities without equipment. We share six examples of fitness-focused pe activities without equipment and provide a downloadable PDF of even more lessons for your physical education class.
Benefits of PE Activities Without Equipment
Whether you have an endless closet of equipment or limited equipment, there are still benefits of incorporating pe activities without equipment.
First and foremost, PE activities without equipment can teach students lifelong fitness skills they can do anywhere and anytime. Outside of school, many students will not have access to equipment for exercise. By teaching PE activities without equipment, students can learn different exercise and workout routines that they can do at home, outside, at a park, or anywhere there is space.
Secondly, equipment in class requires set up and clean up. If you are on a time crunch for physical education class, pe activities without equipment can let you get right to work and spend more time moving and active.
Lastly, you might have a large class and not enough equipment for everyone. Many teachers will consider splitting the class into two more manageable small groups. One group does a pe activity with equipment, while the other does an activity without equipment. This is an excellent strategy for managing a large class size that we know many PE teachers face!
Fitness-Focused PE Activities Without Equipment
As more schools transition from a games to a fitness-focused curriculum model, questions circulate around what equipment is needed. While things like jump ropes, dumbbells, med balls, barbells, cardio equipment, and machines are nice to have, they are not need to haves for physical activity and fitness.
There are endless hours of simple, fun fitness workouts that can be achieved without any equipment. Different topics and units for fitness-focused pe activities without equipment, include:
6 Examples of PE Activities Without Equipment
Drawing from the examples above, let’s check out 6 sample pe activities without equipment. All of the lessons and activities come from the PLT4M library. PLT4M has over 30 different modules with hundreds of lesson plans. Teachers can tap into programs that require no equipment, limited equipment, or a full weight room from this wide variety of lessons. No matter what your space or situation, PLT4M has you covered!
1) Foundational Fitness
While we are often eager to get students into a fitness center or weight room, there is so much to learn with just bodyweight exercises. In foundational fitness lessons, students can develop fundamental movement patterns like the squat, lunge, hinge, press, and pull.
Here in this lesson, there is a lot to accomplish! The goals of this lesson include:
- Introduce the Foundational “Squat” pattern through a bodyweight “Air Squat”
- Introduce the Hip “Hinge” movement pattern through a bodyweight “Good Morning”
- Introduce the concept of “Supersets”
- Practice Movement Patterns & Develop Work Capacity
All of these goals can be accomplish in any space or place. Students spend a great deal of time learning and developing bodyweight movement patterns before ever wanting or need equipment.
2) Fitness Anywhere
After students have developed the foundational skills of fitness, they might be eager to tackle more challenging workouts. If you cannot get into a weight room or fitness center, but want to keep challenging students, fitness anywhere lessons offer a great next step for students to keep building their skills.
Each of these workouts has been programmed with the intention of being something ANYONE could complete ANYWHERE – aka without any sort of equipment at hand. We will at times recommend the use of household objects like sofas and chairs, or suggest trying to get outside to run, but for the most part everything is doable in the comfort of your own home, the gymnasium, or really anywhere with some space.
Often students will want to explore different types of fitness and exercise. One of the most popular non-equipment options is yoga. Of course, it would be ideal to have some sort of yoga mat or towel, but yoga workouts can also be completed on any soft surface like a gym floor or outside.
Each yoga session begins with a guided warm up and an opportunity for students to check-in mentally and physically to the day’s lesson. Each lesson will follow a traditional yoga flow and move throughout an entire 30-minute workout. Lessons will also introduce 2-3 movement/pose variations embedded directly within the longer flows.
Although boxing workouts often incorporate a punching bag, this is another option when looking for PE activities without equipment.
Each workout is a total body workout! Odd rounds (1,3,5,7) consist of boxing exercises. Students will be instructed to practice different combinations and can practice at their own pace or follow along with Sean, our instructor. Even rounds (2,4,6,8) consist of bodyweight circuits. The 8th round wraps up with a core cashout. We occasionally switch up the format (boxing/fitness) of the rounds but always follow an 8-round workout.
What better way to get moving and exercise than dance? So don’t leave this one out of your catalog when looking for PE activities without equipment.
Dance fitness is for everyone! Dance is an excellent type of exercise for any student, regardless of dance experience or fitness level. Whether you feel like you have two left feet or want to take your talents to Broadway, you will enjoy these upbeat training sessions. If you feel a little silly dancing, no worries, just move and groove!
In each lesson, you can expect some of the same consistent things. In each workout, we will warm up for roughly 5 minutes of dynamic movements! After that, we will learn our moves in sequential order, building one new move on top of the other until we have learned all eight moves. Following a short break, we will dive into the total cardio effort to groove through all eight moves in order. Lastly, we will cool down through more static stretching that will allow us to bring our heart rate down and get ready to move on with our day.
6) Stretching & Mobility
PE activities without equipment don’t all have to be high intensity workouts. Like yoga earlier, stretching and mobility lessons are a great way to introduce students to a form of low-impact exercise and movement.
In these lessons, we aim to improve our flexibility through the use of static stretching. Why? Muscles all have a set length, but for a myriad of reasons like injury or poor posture, they often lose the ability to stretch to full length. This program aims to take the first step toward improving joint mobility by ensuring that our muscles can stretch to their functional limits.
But What About PE Games With No Equipment?
Although we have spent most of this article focusing on fitness-focused activities, there are also endless PE games with no equipment. Just because schools are transitioning to a fitness-focused curriculum doesn’t mean students at every grade level don’t want to play some of their favorite games. There are all sorts of different versions of fun games that physical education can include throughout the school year.
For younger students, physical education teachers might prioritize more games. But for older students, PE games might be a reward for hard work throughout the week, IE: “Fun Fridays.”
Whether you are looking to put a fun twist on a classic game like “Fishy Fishy Cross My Ocean” or want to try a new fun game with your group, check out the list of some of the very best articles highlight PE games with no equipment:
Key Takeaways on PE Activities Without Equipment
Don’t let a lack of equipment get in the way of a great PE class. Whether you never have equipment or lose your gym space because of other school activities throughout the school year, there are plenty of PE activities without equipment.
As you start using different PE activities without equipment, consider small additions that can go a long way. Getting equipment like PVC pipes, yoga mats, jump ropes, and med balls can be a low-cost, high return investment. Better yet, many different grants for physical education to help purchase these various items.
Not sure where to start? Reach out to PLT4M, and we will provide a free consultation on how to maximize your PE class no matter what amount of equipment, space, or budget you have!