Obstacle Course

Resources Needed: A way to keep and record time. Additional items will depend on the obstacle stations you create.

Stations are set up in a circle or could be completed in a straight line depending on space. Idea is for stations to be completed in order one after the other in sequence.

Associated Lesson: This incorporates a multitude of fitness components and should be incorporated further into the programming after your group has become more comfortable with exercising. This activity pairs well with the shorter lesson plans since it takes a bit longer to set up and execute.

FABS Components Incorporated:  All of them


Before incorporating the time factor, you will want to go through each station to ensure that all participants are aware of the expectations and how to safely and effectively complete each obstacle individually.   To do this walk through each station as a group and demonstrate the exercise or activity. Once each station has been discussed you can complete the obstacle course activity.   It may be best to have your participants complete the obstacle course as a relay first without being timed so that they can view others completing the stations and learn from observation. This also promotes a team mentality and participants can encourage and help to coach peers.

This activity is something nice to use on more than one occasion so that over time as the participants become more active they can see how their time decreases and they make improvements which can in turn be an opportunity for goal setting and reward for accomplishment.

Relay Instructions: Choose a participant to start.

That participant (known as starter) completes his/her station and “high fives” the participant at the next station to initiate that participant to start.

That second participant then completes his/her station and “high fives” the next person and so on until you complete the circle and the last person has completed his station. This relay form of activity can be completed in one circle or for better learning effects have the participants complete each of the stations as a part of the relay. This provides for more learning on how to properly complete each station by observing others do the same activity.
Once you have completed one relay for learning and understanding purposes, you may complete the relay again while using a timer. The participants can then try and beat the time their group took to complete all the obstacles in the relay.

Purpose: As each participate completes one station, they can be coached if necessary, and is watched by all the other participants. This gives all the participants continuous training in how to complete the task required at the station.

Alternate Ways to Play:

Participants can complete the course as a relay again and try to beat their previous collective time.

Each participant can complete the course completely on their own and be timed.

Each participant can also complete the course twice to try and beat their initial time.

Overall consideration and rules for play (or directions for the leader)

It is important to remember proper form when timing the completion of the course. Only exercises that are correct and controlled in proper alignment should count.   This helps the participants to not get too overly excited and risk injury by improper form. It is suggested that the leader follow the participants at each station to help direct and coach appropriate technique while the obstacle is being completed.   This also reinforces the importance of demonstrating all the obstacles initially and then following up with a completion of the course without being timed.

Obstacle Course Set up:

Note to Obstacle course creators: Below are the stations created for the obstacle course we developed. You can create your own obstacle course with similar resources that you have available. Always use the “FABS” in your plans. FABS stands for: Flexibility, Aerobics, Balance, and Strength. With those simple guidelines, just be creative!


Balance Beam – I found a small piece of electrical conduit that measured only half an inch from the ground and made a perfect balance beam. You could also use a simple line of masking or duct tape on the floor or even tape down a yard stick or two.   Participants had to walk the balance beam, placing one foot in front of the other. If they stepped off the line we allowed them to continue walking the line to complete the full length of the beam.

Girl Doing Balance Activity Girl Doing Balance Beam Exercise


Noodle Hurdles – I taped foam noodles to the ground and had participants hop, jump, or step over them. There were 6 noodles available so we had 6 hurdles. You could also use cardboard tubes from paper towels or wrapping paper as your hurdles. Anything you can think of that would work as something to secure to the floor with tape that can be stepped over but is soft so that if it is landed on it will not injure the participant.

Girl Doing Noodle Hurdles Woman Doing Noodle Hurdles Exercise


Bicep Curls –Participants had to complete 10 bicep curls with dumbbells. I found 2-5 lb. dumbbells, resistance bands, and even weighted Velcro cuffs for cheap at stores like Walmart, Marshalls, or even TJMaxx. If you don’t have access to dumbbells to use as hand weights you could use the homemade hand weights described here or items like soup cans, jugs with handles like laundry detergent.   To complete one bicep curl the participant holds the hand weight in their hands with palms facing upward and arms fully extended at the sides.   Begin by bending at the elbow and keeping that elbow tight to the body so that only the forearm is moving. Bring the hands all the way up to the shoulders so that the palms are facing the shoulder. Relax the muscle and bring the hand back down to the starting position. This counts as one bicep curl repetition.

Girl Lifting Weights Girl Doing Bicep Curl Exercise


Get the Pedometer to 50 – Participants placed a pedometer onto their waistband just above the hip flexor muscle and on the inside of the hipbone. They then had to step/jog quickly in place to get the number counter on the pedometer to 50. This was great to really get some good heart pumping aerobic activity. If you don’t have a pedometer you could do high knees, jumping jacks, or marching in place for a certain amount of elapsed time or a certain number of repetitions.

Participants Cheering Each Other On Boy Doing Pedometer Exercise


Hunger Games Press – I obtained a circle shaped resistance band (at Wall Mart, Target, etc.). These bands are wide and have various levels of difficulty to their stretch. It is always best to begin with the beginner or easiest level of the bands. Instead of a band you could also hold hand held weights. Hold arms out straight directly with palms facing inward toward each other. Next, pull one hand straight back towards the shoulder until the heel of the hand touches the armpit. This works the arms and the back muscles. It is good to think about the motion of rotating the shoulder to pull back the hand and feeling the muscles around the shoulder blade contract. Return the hand to the starting position for one count. To complete this activity, participants pull equal amounts on each side of the band. Participants completed 8 presses on each arm, for a total of 16 repetitions. We came up with the name of this activity by playing off the movie Hunger Games as the main character is skilled in archery with her bow and arrow and it looked like participants were drawing back on an arrow they were ready to launch when completing the exercise.

Man Doing Hunger Games Press Girl Doing Hunger Games Press


Sit to Stands – The HealthMatters curriculum explains Sit to Stands in the fitness measurement procedures for lower body muscular endurance in Appendix E on page 376-377. Resources needed for this exercise station consist of one to ten sturdy chairs without arm rests. Participants begin by siting in the chair and then stand without using their hands. By keeping their shoulders back directly over the hips and spine straight, this engages the lower body for muscular endurance and also works a bit on balance while working the large muscles of the legs results in an aerobic activity bonus.   You can use one chair and have a certain number of repetitions or for more fun, have several chairs that can be set up straight in a row or in a zig-zag fashion. If using more than one chair you can set the station so that participants travel from one chair to the next to complete the station.

Boy Doing Sit to Stands Man Doing Stationary Sit to Stands Girl Doing Zig Zag Sit to Stands


Lateral Raises – If using a resistance band, participants should stand on the middle of the band and hold the handles with palms facing down. If you are not using a resistance band, you could instead use hand weights, just make sure that the palms are facing the body so that when the arms are extended out the palms of the hands are facing the floor. Make sure that the participants are using straight arms and locked wrists. Begin by lifting both arms that are extended out straight to shoulder height and make the letter ‘T’ with the body. Make certain not to squeeze the shoulders into the ears and keep those shoulders down instead. Return arms to starting position at sides without dropping quickly and making sure to contract the muscles in the arms, shoulders, and core on the way down. Once the arms have been lifted and returned to starting position, this counts as one repetition. We did 10 repetitions of lateral raises. Breathing in on the raise and out on the release.

Girl Doing Lateral Raises Boy Doing Lateral Raises


Zig Zag Around the Cones – Set up a zig-zag course of cones that the participants navigate in order to get to the finish. This was our last obstacle so I drew a clear finish line at the end of the cones. This was so when the participant reached that finish line, I would stop the clock. Alternative options: You could use cups placed upside down if you don’t have cones or even tape a path on the floor leading up to the finish line. You could also have participants serve as time keepers and serve as the finish line by standing waiting to be high fived and once the other participant reaches the finish line and gives the high five they can notify the time keeper to stop the timer.

Boy Running Through Cones Boy Doing Zig Zag Around the Cones Exercise


Any Questions? Please e mail me at lcpowe5@uky.edu.

Send me your great ideas so I can know what you used to make this event a success and add your unique obstacle course stations to the website!