What’s your favourite warm-up exercise?

Benjamin P. Taylor
3 min readAug 22, 2022


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Warm-up exercises? Often a huuuge waste of time, punishing the introverts and creating nothing relevant to the event you’re doing…

As face-to-face training and workshops are (partly, slowly) coming back, here’s a very simple and effective way to do it, which touches on team-building, teamwork, building cooperation, problem solving , #leadership, and #decisionmaking -making skills.

It also uses competition to make people less self-conscious, and give people a purpose for mingling, and puts them in groups as a bonus!

You need a group of ten or more people, and a deck of cards — the jumb-sized ones can be more fun, but not required.

Simple rules:

Everyone gets one card, face down.

You can’t look at your card until the game starts.

The aim of the game is to put together the best three or five card poker hand (depending on the group size). If there aren’t even threes or fives, the facilitator can play, or you can give the table or a chair or a whiteboard a card.

There are different poker rules, so be clear about that (unless you want to create that kind of debate!) — hand out the winning hands or put up on a flipchart or whiteboard.

Set a time limit — one to three minutes (or even longer for huge groups), and off you go.

The winning team gets a meal at the location of their choice! (See image at bottom).

This is genuinely fun as a game, and you can come up with a lot of variants (two cards per person, swapping rules). But it gets people out of their seats, thinking and comparing, dealing with complex rules in a simple way.

After the games you can review leadership, teamwork, negotiating, and decision making under pressure — and of course award the prize. But you have people up and out of seats and ready to go!

What’s your favourite warm-up activity?