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Sample Class: Sneaker Camp

Boot camp meets traditional group fitness in this challenging and fun workout.

Indoor sneaker camp

Indoor boot camp–style classes have exploded in popularity recently because they offer a fun, demanding atmosphere that generates results. Often, members or clients who want tough cardio workouts can be found in the indoor cycling room or at outdoor boot camps, leaving the group exercise studio for the choreography lovers. Not anymore! Sneaker Camp takes the best of both worlds and allows you to provide heart-pumping, sweat-dripping workouts without all the yelling, while keeping the creature comforts of music and air conditioning! Of course, following group exercise protocol, there are modifications so that all levels feel welcome and successful. Everyone is challenged at his or her own level, has fun and sees results. No camo required!

Sneaker Camp Details

Format: cardio and strength intervals, boot camp–style

Total Time: 60 minutes

Equipment needed: none, except for the cleanup drill

Music: High-energy, mid-tempo music works great (130–145 beats per minute). Pitch it up or down for various exercises.

Warm-Up (8–10 Minutes)

An extended warm-up is crucial to prepare for high-intensity interval workouts. Keep the athletic style, and don’t overchoreograph. If you can’t visualize doing a move outside at the park (grapevine, anyone?), then don’t do it. As a warm-up, try jogging—around and through different rooms at the gym, up and down stairs, or even outside if conditions permit. You can also jog around the perimeter of your group exercise room; just be sure to switch directions halfway through. Offer power walking as an option for nonrunners. Add in some shuffling, backpedaling, skipping, brief sprints and a few push-ups for a well-rounded warm-up. Tired yet?

Cardio Intervals (25–35 Minutes)

Offer lower-impact alternatives and provide brief recovery times between intervals. As a general rule, the harder an interval is, the longer the recovery time should be. Hint: don’t choreograph the recovery; if participants want choreography, they didn’t push the interval hard enough!

Interval #1: Side Leap With Block Jump

Begin with a step-touch. Add a squat at the end of each step-touch. Change the squat to a jump, extending arms overhead like a volleyball middle blocker. Change the step-touch to a leap. Regression: omit the jump and the leap. Repeat until
fatigued (30–60 seconds). Rest and repeat.

Interval #2: Forward Jumps

Move students toward the back of the room. Jump forward with both feet four times, landing in a squat position each time. Use eight counts to jog backward into position to jump again. Regression: step forward and squat four times, at a fast pace, then walk backward into position. Continue until fatigued (30–45 seconds). Rest and repeat.

Interval #3: Jogging Patterns

Jog in place with knees up in front. Progress to doubles, two on each foot; then to fours; then to three-and-ones: three on right (R) foot, one on left (L), and vice versa. Continue until tired (about 30 seconds). Return to fours, and then twos, and finish with singles. Regression: lift alternate knees, pulling arms down vigorously from overhead. Rest and repeat.

Interval #4: Knee With Lunge

Reduce music speed. Start by alternating knees as if on a step platform. Then lift L knee only (tap R toe behind you in a step-knee, step-tap pattern). Begin to reach R toe farther behind you, dropping left hip down to knee level, leaning chest forward over L thigh, touching hand to the floor if possible. Stand and lift L knee again, and repeat the pattern. Regression: lower hip only within the comfort zone. Continue until L leg is exhausted (about 1 minute). Repeat on other leg.

Interval #5: Side Leaps Across Floor

Begin with a step-touch. Progress to a leap side to side. Change to two in each direction, then four, then eight, so you are moving across the floor. Try to cover as much space as possible on each leap. Regression: perform step-touches with maximum range of motion. Continue until tired (about 1 minute). Rest and repeat.

Interval #6: Jog With Tuck-Jump

Jog in place with feet wide. After three jogs on R foot, perform one tuck-jump, bringing knees toward chest while in the air. Do not allow chest to fold forward over thighs. Tap hands on thighs and land softly, returning to the wide jog. Repeat until
fatigued (about 30 seconds), then finish with eight continuous tuck-jumps. Regression: instead of doing tuck-jump, practice dropping into squat. Rest and repeat.

Interval #7: Fast Feet With Push-Ups

On your toes with knees bent, in a slightly hinged-forward position, run in place as quickly as possible, leaving feet very close to the floor (Flashdance-style). A tight core will facilitate this move. Then drop down to the ground for four quick push-ups. Before you know it, you’re back up for the next round of fast feet. Regression: bend knees for push-ups or perform them against a wall. Perform 4–8 rounds.

Interval #8: Plunges (Plyometric + Lunge)

Stand with R leg forward and L leg back, feet hip distance apart. Bend both knees and pulse three times, straightening legs on the fourth count. Progress to four pulses with a quick up-and-down movement in between. The quick up-and-down movement then becomes a jump (do not switch legs). Progress to pulsing twice with a jump, then to singles. Regression: leave out the jump. Continue until R leg is fatigued (about 30 seconds). Repeat on L leg.

Drills & Games (5–8 Minutes)

Choose one to round out the class:

Four Corners. Divide participants equally into the four corners of the room. Give each group a different high-intensity move to perform (e.g., high-knee jog, tuck-jumps, side leaps, squat-jumps). Groups perform their exercises at full intensity for 15 seconds, then run clockwise to the next corner/move. Continue around the circuit two or three times. Rest briefly while assigning new exercises, or have participants come up with their own.

Clean-Up. Make a mess in the studio by spreading equipment on the floor. Dumbbells, Gliding discs and medicine balls are great for this. Then divide the class into two groups. One group squats with their backs against the wall, knees
at hip height, while the other group quickly—but safely—returns the (heavy!) equipment to its proper place. The squatters can help encourage the cleaners to work fast. Then make the mess again and switch groups.

Allow time for participants to cool down as they get water and retrieve a mat for the floor-work.

Floor-Work and Stretch (5–8 Minutes)

Transition to the floor by holding plank and side plank positions for 15–60 seconds each, progressing and regressing these exercises by adjusting leg positions. Emphasize core activation and neutral spine. Finish with a few challenging
abdominal exercises (Russian twist, reverse curl, etc.) and a relaxing full-body stretch. Reward your exhausted students with a few minutes of well-earned relaxation and stretching.

Eve Fleck, MS

Eve Fleck, MS, has a master's degree in exercise physiology and is the owner of Gym Without Walls in the Los Angeles area. She teaches exercise physiology at California State University, Northridge, and is a co-author of Growth and Development Across the Lifespan. Eve was a finalist for the 2018 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year.

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