Quick Physical Challenges

Team building activities for teens

These quick physical challenges are ideal for proving a point or filling in time between sessions spent sitting down listening. They appeal particularly to teenagers because youth cannot resist testing themselves and rising to any challenge that is laid down before them. However, if you present it as a task or activity, you probably won’t get much engagement.
The simplest form of physical challenge relate to demonstrating physical ability. This can be unfair when a team has a vastly differing ability. Those who are less able can feel ostracised and excluded from such comparisons.
The way around this is to use quick physical challenges that require problem solving, skill or team cooperation. The following challenges can easily be tailored to suit your timeframe and equipment you hav to hand.

Quick Physical Challenge Ideas

Human Pyramids and Towers

How high can the team build a human pyramid or tower? Make sure you have a way to measure the height and how long the tower lasts for. You can give the team a focus by seeing if they can reach an object suspended from a rope.

Folding up a Pop Up Tent, With One Hand

This may not be quick! You can buy pop up tents that unfold and are up in sconds. However, it can be quite a challenge to fold it up again. Challenge the teams to see how quickly they can fold the tents up and get it back in its bag.
Once they have master that, get them to work in pairs, where each person is only allowed to use one hand. The pair now has to work together and communicate well to fold up that tent. Much hilarity wil follow.

Egg Tossing

What is the furthest distance pairs of players can throw a raw egg to each other and successfully catch it?

Water Balloon Launchers

How far can the team launch a water balloon or other projectile using a bungee launcher? For added difficulty, give them a target to aim for.

Multi-Legged Race

How many people can you have in a multi-legged running race and still have a reasonable chance of finishing? The teams can create a graph showing the number of people tied together vs the time taken to complete a given course.

Obstacle Course Races

These can be as quick as you like. Weaving around chairs and going over or under tables is an easy way to set up an obstacle course. The more equipment you have, the more complex the course but also it will take more time to set up.

Sitting Against the Wall

This quick physical challenge is a great display of physical ability and determination. The members of the team have to stand with their backs against a wall and then slide down until they are in a sitting position (but without any chair). They are then timed to see how long they can hold that position. It tests leg strength, but a key apsect to lasting longer is motivation and determination.

If you arrange everyone present into their teams, then get them to compete as a team. The time recorded is for the last person in the team who remains up against the wall. This encourages team members to support each other by yelling support and motivation.

You can adapt the rules depending on the people you have. You could make it that the time is recorded for how long all of the team stay against the wall at the same time. As soon as one drops, the whole team is out. This will motivate weaker members, but may also bring scorn from other team members who feel they have been let down, so beware.

Rope climb

How far up a rope can team members climb, or how quick can they get to the top? You could also suspend a rope between two posts and see how quickly they casn get across. You could also use a slack line.

Team Skipping

Team building skipping together
Group skipping team building – Photo credit: Luigi Mengato

How many consecutive skips can the team complete. Or you could find out how many team members can skip at once using a long skiping rope.


Using a bucket and bean bags, how far away can you stand and still get be able to throw the bean bag into the bucket?
You can adapt this quick physical challenge to be any form of target or thing to throw.

Brick Balance

How many people can you get to balance on a single house brick?

Car Crush

How many people can you get into a small car and close the doors?

Bike Balance

How many people can ride on a bike at once? Think about safety with this one.

Circle Lap Sit

Work out how to get everyone to sit on someone else’s lap at the same time. Start off by everyone standing in a circle. Then eveyone turns to face the person to their left. Then at the same time, everyone sits on the lap of the person behind them. You end up with everyone sitting in a circle.

Human Knots

As a team, stand in a circle. Cross your arms and then hold the hands of the people standing to either side of you. The challenge is to rearrange yourselves so that you no longer have your arms crossed, but you musn’t let go of the hands you are hlding while you do it. There is a technique.

First Aid Lifts

There are a few ways to carry a patient for first aid rescue. There is the fireman’s lift over the shoulders, the two handed seat, or the four handed seat. Using one of these lift techniques, carry a casualty around a course racing against another team.

Big Blow Football

Using drinking straws and a table tennis ball, have a game of blow football.

More Physical Team Building Challenges and Activities

If you want more ideas for physical challenges but don’t need them to be quick, you’ll find some good ideas in the page on physical team building activities.