If you’re teaching freestyle group fitness classes, it’s easy to always fall back on familiar formats such as circuits, HIIT, and Tabata. These approaches are all great, but if they are all you are doing, your classes may start to feel repetitive. There are ways you can incorporate more variety, for example, adding different exercises or altering the intervals in your HIIT sessions. But, is that enough to create new challenges for your class-goers? Here, we will cover three novel group fitness workout structures that are completely different from each other and the aforementioned group fitness formats.

Three Novel Group Fitness Structures


AMRAP stands for “As Many Rounds As Possible” and involves performing a sequence of exercises, each for a set number of reps, as many rounds as possible for the prescribed duration.

As an instructor you would:

  1. Select 5-6 different exercises
  2. Select a rep range for the exercises
  3. Select the duration of the workout

Participants would perform the workout “As Many Rounds As Possible” in the time frame.


20-minute AMRAP workout

  • 20 squats
  • 20 lunges
  • 20 hip thrusts
  • 20 push-ups
  • 20 bent-over rows

Repeat as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes.

There are plenty of ways to get creative with AMRAP protocols utilizing different intensities, equipment, and rep ranges.

The Accumulator

 Similar to the AMRAP, he Accumulator involves timing the entire workout and doing a sequence of exercises in rounds. The main difference, however, is that the number of reps for each exercise progressively increases throughout the workout, making each round more intense than the last.

As an instructor, you would

  1. Select 5-6 different exercises
  2. Select what the “accumulation will be”
  3. Select the duration of the workout

Participants would perform the workout and try and ‘accumulate’ as much as possible.


20-minute Accumulator workout

3 squats, 3 lunges (each leg), 3 hip thrusts, 3 push-ups, 3 bent over rows (each arm)

6 squats, 6 lunges (each leg), 6 hip thrusts, 6 push-ups, 6 bent-over rows (each arm)

9 squats, 9 lunges (each leg), 9 hip thrusts, 9 push-ups, 9 bent-over rows (each arm)


Participants will continue to “accumulate” in this fashion for 20 minutes.


The “10 to 1”

The 10 to 1 is akin to the Accumulator in reverse. Instead of each round increasing in reps, they will decrease instead.

As an instructor all you would:

  1. select 5-6 different exercises
  2. select the starting rep range, bearing in mind how long it should complete each exercise (A nice round number like 10) Participants start by completing 10 reps of each exercise, followed by 9 reps, 8 reps, 7 reps, etc until they have completed 1 rep of every exercise.
  3. participants will finish in different times, creating a sense of competition as well.


10 to 1 workout

10 squats, 10 lunges (each leg), 10 hip thrusts, 10 push-ups, 10 bent-over rows (each arm)

9 squats, 9 lunges (each leg), 9 hip thrusts, 9 push-ups, 9 bent-over rows (each arm)

Etc, decreasing down to 1:

1 squat, 1 lunge (each leg), 1 hip thrust, 1 push-up, 1 bent-over row (each arm)

The workout ends once the first participant has completed the “1 rep” round.


General Suggestions for Programming Novel Group Fitness Structures

Regardless of the workout structure, some good general programming suggestions include

  • Work in multiple planes (sagittal, frontal, and transverse)
  • Work in multiple chains (anterior and posterior, open and closed)
  • Work in multiple positions (standing, seated, prone, supine)

You may not be able to always work in every plane, chain, and position but just be sure to incorporate enough variety so that every workout isn’t exclusively sagittal plane, anterior chain, and standing exercises, for instance.

In the examples above, similar exercises are listed for simplicity’s sake, however in a more realistic scenario – each workout format should consist of completely different exercises.

If you like the styles above, you may also want to look into other formats such as “Matrix Workout”, “100 Club”, “12 Cones”, and “Phone Number Workout”.

Feel free to check out Fitness Education Online for more fitness class ideas.

Jono Petrohilos

Jono is the Co Founder and Director at Fitness Education Online, one of the largest providers of online CEC courses for Fitness Professionals. Jono has been in the industry since 2009 and also a best selling author, a podcast host and a winner of the Fitness Australia Educator of The Year Award.. Fitness Education Online also have one of the largest Facebook Groups in the world for Fitness Professionals with over 15,000 members click here to join.