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To be a successful Group Exercise Instructor, you need to be able to innovate and improvise on the spot. You never know when you might have a class that exceeds your equipment limits, or newcomers who aren’t ready for the equipment you have, and having an array of group exercises that don’t require much equipment is extremely valuable.

Be prepared to give every class the best workout experience possible with these 11 group workouts that don’t rely on lots of equipment.

Suitcase Squat

Holding the dumbbell in one hand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-length apart, lower into a deep squat and place the dumbbell on the floor. Return to a standing position and repeat, picking up the dumbbell on the next rep.

Chest Fly & Deadlift

Two options for weight-training with a single dumbbell are to lie on your back and raise a dumbbell with one arm, and to stand up and deadlift the dumbbell to a 90° angle. For the chest fly, give your customers more of a challenge by telling them to lift their feet off the floor.

Unilateral Quadruped Row

Start on your hands and knees (quadruped position) with the dumbbell in one hand. Raise your elbow towards the ceiling, and return to your starting position. To give this one a bit more intensity, lift your opposite leg until your thigh is parallel to the floor.

Weighted Squat & Lunge

Simple exercises can gain more efficacy with the addition of a dumbbell or other weight. Hold the weight to your chest while lunging or squatting for better results.



Most of us know what burpees are, and including a medicine ball adds a lot to the effectiveness of this exercise. Start by holding the medicine ball to your chest; squat and bring the ball to the floor; jump into plank position while holding the ball; jump forward into a wide squat; jump up, reaching the ball overhead; and repeat.


Raise the medicine ball overhead, before slamming it to the ground while bending your knees and hips. Rinse and repeat.

Squat Chop

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding the ball overhead with two hands. Lower into a squat while rotating your spine and pulling the ball down towards your left knee. Return to standing, and repeat on the right-hand side.

Air Swimming

Lie on your stomach with your arms extended overhead. Lift your chest, arms and legs off the floor, squeezing your glutes. Move your arms and legs up and down, keeping them off the floor, for around 15 seconds per set.

Bulgarian Split Squat

While not technically a no-equipment exercise, this only requires a chair or similar-height platform. Stand with your back foot on the chair, facing downwards. Place your hands behind your head and bend your knees, lowering into a split squat, before returning to an upright position. Repeat with both sides. To add to this exercise, go to a decline push-up at the bottom of your split squat.

Single-Leg Tricep Dip

Sit on the ground with your feet flat on the floor and your hand behind you, with your fingers pointing forwards. Shift your weight onto your hands and lift one leg towards the ceiling. With your leg raised, bend your arms until you almost touch the ground, and raise yourself back to the starting position.

Runner’s Crunch

Lie flat on your back with your hand behind your head. Sit up while bringing one knee to your chest, with the opposite elbow meeting it. Keep your alternate leg stretched straight out, hovering above the floor. Return to the starting position, and repeat on the other side.

Not having enough or the right equipment doesn’t have to stop you from teaching your best classes! Experiment with innovative exercises and variety, and your customers will leave just as satisfied as if they had spent an hour on the latest exercise machine.