Physical Education Weight Training Lesson Plan

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

This lesson plan will teach your students about weight training in physical education classes. They will learn about the major muscle groups to train and related safety, and even participate in some actual beneficial exercises.

Learning Objectives

After studying this lesson, your students will be able to:

  • Explain some of the terms associated with weight training and safety
  • Identify some of the major muscles of the human body
  • Properly execute several actual weight training exercises


1 - 1.5 Hours


  • Chart of the muscles of the human body (Internet)
  • Free weights and weight machines (optional)
  • Internet access
  • Two preprinted worksheets, one with 12 muscles, and one with the corresponding 12 body parts, but not in the correct order

Key Vocabulary

  • Free weights
  • Lunges
  • Pushups
  • Safety tips
  • Situps
  • Squats
  • Weight machines

Curriculum Standards

Please note that each state has different standards for physical education. Please consult your state's standards to ensure proper alignment.

Instructions and Activities

  • Inform your students they are going to be learning about weight training.
  • Ask them if anyone is familiar with the subject, or has actually trained with weights.
  • Review the key vocabulary terms.

Activity One

  • Inform your students they are going to be participating in a competition to learn some of the muscles of the human body they will be training.
  • Divide your students into pairs.
  • Hand out two preprinted worksheets, one with the following 12 muscles of the human body, and one with the 12 matching body parts, but in mixed order.

1) Lattisimus dorsi (lats) - side of middle back

2) Trapezius (traps) - upper back and neck

3) Deltoid (delts) - shoulders

4) Hamstrings (hams) - back of leg

5) Quadriceps (quads) - thighs

6) Gastrocnemius - calf top muscle

7) Soleus - calf bottom muscle

8) Biceps - front of upper arm

9) Triceps - back of upper arm

10) Sartorius - long, thin thigh muscle

11) Pectoralis (pecs) - chest

12) Rhomboids - upper back

  • Tell your students:
    • The first pair to correctly answer all the questions wins a small prize. Don't guess, because if even one answer is wrong, your pair can't receive the prize, although you must amend any incorrect answers.
  • Grade the worksheets as they are turned in, return any incorrect answers, hand out the small prize, and ask if there are any final questions or comments.

Activity Two

  • Explain to your students they will be learning about some weight training terms and safety tips.
  • Keep your students in pairs.
  • Ask your students the following questions to research on the Internet:
    • How many muscles are in the human body? (about 640, or about 320 pairs)
    • What is the largest muscle in the human body? (gluteus maximus)
    • What is the smallest muscle in the human body? (stapedius)
    • What does a 'spotter' do in weight training? (stands by in case a person needs help raising the bench press bar)
    • What fitness guru invented three pieces of equipment used in gyms across the world? (Jack LaLanne)
    • What group of people used free weights as far back as the 2nd century? (Ancient Greeks)
    • What famous brand of weight machines was invented by Arthur Jones in the 1970s? (Nautilus)
    • What is the proper way to breathe when lifting weights? (don't hold your breath, and don't breathe in and out too fast to avoid hyperventilating)
    • What should the student do if pain is felt while lifting? (stop immediately)
    • What does 'cheating' on a lift mean? (using improper form to lift a weight that is too heavy)
  • Lastly, have the students utilize the Internet to find a chart of the muscles of the human body.
  • Have them study the chart for five minutes. Ask them:
    • Do you have any final questions or thoughts?

Activity Three

  • Let your students know they will be performing some actual weight training exercises, but with no equipment.
  • Have your students remain in pairs.
  • Don't worry if your school does not have free weights or weight machines. Fortunately there exist plenty of weight training exercises performed by professional athletes. They simply use the resistance of the human body against the force of gravity.

A) Pushups and Situps - These have been utilized by athletes for many years.

To do a proper pushup:

  • Sit on the ground on your knees.
  • Reach forward with the arms and spread them out to shoulder width or slightly wider.
  • Put the feet close together.
  • Stretch out the entire body and support it with just the extended arms and the toes.
  • Slowly lower the entire body until the chest brushes against the floor.
  • Raise the body back up to the original position. This entire sequence counts as one pushup.
  • Repeat the process.

To do a proper situp:

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