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While many trainers are familiar with the activity “Human Knot,” we demonstrate just how useful “Human Knot” is as a springboard to an effective meeting – particularly when you see how it can be debriefed.  See how Human Knot is explained in the book, below, and watch our video of “Human Knot” to see how the book will enable you to get the most from this exercise. 

Human Knot

Goal Group problem solving, Surfacing group dynamics
Time 10-15 minutes (not including processing)
Physical contact Extensive
Physical challenges Must be able to move, twist, and turn
Number of participants 8-20 people
Space requirements Open floor space
Materials needed None
Preparation None

Note: This exercise and all of its variations are high-risk due to the level of physical contact involved. Observe carefully to ensure that people are respectful of each other’s bodies.


line drawing

Processing suggestions

Variation: The Human Knot Director

Additional goal: Leadership
Number of participants: 8-10


  1. Select someone or ask for a volunteer to be the Director. Ask the Director to leave the room.
  2. Have the rest of the group get themselves into a human knot. They can do this by the method described above, or they can stand holding hands in a circle and create the knot by stepping over and ducking under each other’s arms.
  3. Once the knot is formed, the group calls for the Director, who comes back into the room and tries to undo the knot. The rest of the group should just follow the Director’s instructions and not try to untangle themselves.

Additional processing suggestions