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Strength and Conditioning Games for Non-Athletes

by NSCA January 5, 2010

Man working out with exercise ball

While most fitness professionals enjoy spending time in the gym working out, often their clients do not share this same enthusiasm. Many times clients get bored or complacent when performing traditional strength and conditioning programs focused on conventional sets, reps, and steady-state activity. As a result individuals may become apathetic toward their training programs and exert less overall effort, thus reducing the physiological benefits. One way to help with this issue is by integrating competitive games into your client’s training sessions. By doing so, the primary emphasis of training shifts from simply trying to reach and maintain specific training intensities to competition and fun.

The following game is an example of a way to introduce variety into your client’s workouts.

Medicine Ball Tennis
This game is best played with 2-4 clients, but can be played one-on-one between a client and their trainer. The same basic rules of tennis apply to this game. This game can be played on a tennis court, or in a gym with a row of cones set up to simulate a net. The object is to throw the medicine ball back and forth over the net using a variety of overhead, underhand and side throws. The receiver must catch the ball before it bounces twice, and return it back over the net. If the medicine ball bounces twice before it is caught, a point is scored by the server. If the medicine ball does not bounce twice, play continues. In order to ensure safety the medicine ball must bounce once prior to being caught. Once the ball is caught the individual may take one-step, but no more, before return the ball over the net. The game is over when a set number of points are scored.

While this method offers a fun adjunct to training, the primary emphasis of a well founded health, fitness and performance program should focus on traditional and functional strength and conditioning methodologies. The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans that suggest muscle-strengthening activities that involve all major muscle groups performed on 2 or more days per week. Traditional and functional training, in conjunction with the integration of games, will yield the best overall fitness improvements.

For more examples and information on conditioning games visit conditioning games and conditioning for field hockey.  

What are some ways you integrate fun into training sessions?


Active Advice


1/11/2010 3:31:16 PM #

So true that people get bored with doing the same physical activity over and over again. Shifting gears to add fun through games and competition does help to reenergize a fitness routine for many people. Also participating in group activities like cycling, hiking and fitness classes can add variety and enjoyment to physical activity.

Karen United States |

2/4/2010 12:56:14 PM #

These are great ideas for conditioning!

As a London based personal trainer I'd be interested to learn more.

Do you have any worksheets or PDF's on this?

Dom (Link Removed)

Dominik Zaerin United Kingdom |

2/20/2010 11:40:25 AM #


More than happy to provide you with some other ideas. Feel free to contact me and I will send you more of my favorite fitness games.

Take Care,


Jay Dawes United States |

2/19/2010 6:37:44 AM #

This is great because, as a personal trainer, I sometimes have clients who are not athletic AT ALL when starting. I think these types of activities are perfect for beginners, and I can't wait to try it next week!

Kara Jackson (Link Removed)

Kara Jackson United States |

9/20/2010 11:36:51 PM #

I love the idea of 'medicine ball tennis".
This will be featured in an upcoming blog post.

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Tim United States |

10/18/2010 12:10:47 PM #

This is great suggestions for beginners. Thanks for posting, will share this with my friends.

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Veronica United States |

10/22/2010 3:20:21 PM #

I prefer to fill the tennis balls with medicine and throw them around. Does this work? I like the medicine tennis ball idea we are always looking for new interesting exercises

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Fil United States |

10/29/2010 9:42:09 AM #

Personally, I like the idea of playing games such as "medicine ball tennis". I really am a non-athlete and it's kind of hard for me to get out of the house in order to exercise.
Thanks for informing me on this opportunity!
Derek, (Link Removed)

Derek United States |

11/24/2010 7:19:51 AM #

Nice information.

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tony United States |

12/5/2010 8:12:02 AM #

great article

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steve United States |

12/14/2010 12:37:43 PM #

Here is a good game, its to play i would say as part of your warm up with a group of people i would say you need 6 or more.


Equipment: soft balls, cones

Make a large square with the cones 8 yrd x 8yrds ish.

1 person on the outside (you) rolls the ball in to the square trying to hit the others, once they are hit the join the outside of the square and start to roll the ball in with you, last person standing wins.

great fun game gets the heart rate up and teaches some great sports movements.  I use it at school and the kids love it.    

JJM Fitness United Kingdom |

12/14/2010 12:42:35 PM #

Another game is called time bomb.

equipment cones & balls

A much larger square this time the group can be any number, they run about inside the square, depending on how many balls you use determines how long and hard the game is.

its like touch, once you have been touched by a person holding the ball (they cant throw it) you are then on it. you as the pt count down from 5 to 0 the people holding the ball are then out of the game, this goes on until you have 1 person left.

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JJM Fitness United Kingdom |

12/16/2010 7:32:25 AM #

The traditional and functional training, and the integration of games that give you the best improvement of overall fitness.
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rechellkerry United States |

7/22/2011 2:12:38 PM #

Nice sharing there... how about computer games such as (Link Removed) (Link Removed) Math Games</a> and (Link Removed) href='(Link Removed) Games</a>? is it any connection with health?

Alfred Tanya United States |

8/31/2011 10:05:26 PM #

Riding your bike to and from work, even at a leisurely pace, is a good way to incorporate some activity into your day regularly.  You won't be able to handle sitting in traffic in a car once you've ridden the same route on your bike a few times without having to stop. (Link Removed) (Link Removed) bike injuries</a> only occur when people are not paying attention and are worse when nobody is wearing a helmet

mark United States |

9/12/2011 10:57:41 AM #

Thanks, its a very good information of sharing and making people know about the activities that are being carried out.I think I can find more useful information here, thanks.

Pirate Boots United States |

11/23/2011 8:36:13 AM #

Thanks for sharing this great article! That is very interesting  I love reading and I am always searching for informative information like this.
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coloring pages United States |

11/24/2011 6:21:15 AM #

Nice Information! I personally really appreciate your article. This is a great website. I will make sure that I stop back again!.  (Link Removed)

coloring pages United States |

11/27/2011 11:15:24 AM #

This is good information. Exercise should be very personal.

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Bob Lewis United States |

12/15/2011 12:42:26 AM #

A lot of people think that a strength and conditioning regimen has to include spending at least an hour at the gym, cutting into their schedule.  However, I've found that I can get in sets of push-ups and sit ups when I get up and when I'm getting ready for bed.  I can also make it a habit to tighten my abs 100 reps each day while sitting at my desk.  Instead of having to get a large gym set, I use exercise bands (like these - (Link Removed) and a set of 35-pound dumb bells.  You really don't need a lot, just a little discipline and desire.

Richard United States |

12/16/2011 1:07:02 PM #

Wow. With these alternative exercises and sports, it will surely help those non athletes to stay fit and have a balanced healthy lifestyle. Thank you for sharing this post.

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David Meyer United States |

3/26/2012 11:22:52 PM #

I'm very glad to have found a website that I guess. So, I subscribe to the news and look forward to reading your best.

Danny Warner United States |

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