Boot camp classes are a great way to add variety, style and intensity to your schedule. Members love this format; they can work at their own pace without feeling that they are out of step with the music or other participants. Classes are easy and fun to teach, and you don’t need a lot of equipment. And almost all the exercises are modifiable, so you can increase or decrease the challenge to match various abilities.
Athletic Boot Camp Details
Format: boot camp with athletic drills
Total Time: approximately 45 minutes
Equipment Needed: kettlebells, step platforms with risers, a TRX Suspension Trainer, Gliding™ discs and a CorePole® or a way to anchor resistance tubing at a level slightly higher than participants’ shoulders. If you don’t have kettlebells, try the exercises with dumbbells for a similar effect. If you don’t have a TRX Suspension Trainer, do the alternative exercises provided.
Music: upbeat, motivating music in a beats-per-minute range of 135–145. Since the class is not choreographed, the music is used strictly as background.
Class Setup: This circuit’s stations are set up around the perimeter of the room, allowing space in the middle for a group warm-up, drills that require a lot of space, and a group cool-down (see diagram). Depending on class size, you may set up more than one of each station. Certain drills, such as straddle runs and side crawls, can accommodate several people at a time without extra setup or equipment.
Warm-Up (5–8 minutes)
Start with basic spine stretches to increase mobility and release the low back. Use simple athletic movements to elevate core temperature and prepare the joints. Work from simple movements to complex, gross motor skills to fine, and high numbers of repetitions to low numbers.
Standing Cat/Cow. Stand with feet shoulder width apart, hands resting on thighs. Keep shoulders relaxed, and flex and extend your spine.
Lateral Lunges. Keeping feet shoulder width apart or slightly wider, begin lunging side to side. Add arm patterns: arms across body, elbows at shoulder height, and elbows pulled back to open the chest and shoulders.
Lateral Lunge With Lift. Increase intensity of lateral lunge by pushing off lunging leg, abducting opposite leg and holding it. Land softly with bent knee and repeat. Perform desired reps and switch sides.
Squats and Jump Squats. Stand with feet apart and perform squats in a variety of rhythm patterns (e.g., 1 down, 3 up). Finish with jump squats, holding squat’s “down” phase for 3 counts, then explosively extending hips and knees as you jump and land on count 4.
Work Phase (25–27 minutes)
The circuit includes 10 stations, with 1 minute per exercise and 15–20 seconds in between to change stations. Complete the circuit twice. If a station offers a unilateral movement, participants will work the opposite side on the second trip.
Straddle Runs. Set up step platforms in one long line, end to end. Starting at one end, straddle steps and run with high knees to end of line; jog backward to starting point (along side of steps). Repeat.
Modified Get-Ups. Start supine on 8-inch step with knees bent and feet flat on floor. Raise kettlebell straight up, so arm is perpendicular to floor. With elbow extended, stand up, keeping kettlebell over head; arm remains straight. Bend knees and begin journey back down to starting position, again keeping arm straight.
Fast-Feet Step-Ups. Stand facing 4-inch step platform. Step up, up, down, down, as fast as you can.
Side Crawls to Opposite Arm/Leg Plank. Begin on hands and feet in plank position. Take several small “steps” right. Raise and hold opposite hand and foot off ground. Hold for 10 counts, then lower and side-crawl back to start.
TRX Single-Leg Squat With Row. Face TRX system. Grasp handles, palms facing, and step back far enough so that you can raise arms to front and keep them straight. Keep breastbone lifted and shoulders down, raise one leg to front, and squat with other leg. As you come up, bend elbows and perform a row.
Alternate Exercise. If you don’t have a TRX Suspension Trainer, try a single-leg dead lift with row. Stand with feet hip width apart and a dumbbell in each hand, chest up and spine long. Without rounding your back, hinge at hips and bend over so your body is almost parallel to floor. As you bend, lift one leg behind you, keeping it in line with upper body. With arms hanging straight down, perform double-arm row. Return to start and switch sides.
Tubing Wood Chop With Reverse Lunge. Stand facing sideways to CorePole or to resistance tubing attached high on wall. Hold tubing in hand closer to attachment. Step into rear/reverse lunge and bring tubing across and down body in diagonal pattern. Return to starting position and repeat.
TRX Suspended Push-Up and Crunch. Begin in push-up position, feet suspended in foot cradles. Perform one push-up, then bend knees and draw them toward chest, abdominals in. Keep torso stable as you extend hips and straighten legs.
Alternate Exercise. Begin in push-up position with feet on top of stability ball and hands on floor. Perform push-up, then bend knees and roll ball toward chest. Extend legs back to starting position.
Kettlebells Swings. Stand with feet at least shoulder width apart, holding kettlebell with both hands. Swing kettlebell between legs, bending knees, with back in neutral alignment. As kettlebell swings back toward front, drive through heels and “snap” hips in order to transfer energy into kettlebell. Project kettlebell to a point roughly at head level. At top of swing, pinch shoulder blades and brace abdominals, forming a solid “platform” for the swing.
Jump-Overs. Stand at end of 8- to 10-inch step. Bend over and grasp sides of step. Jump both feet off to one side and immediately jump over to other side, keeping tempo steady.
Gliding Disc Side Lunges With Abduction. Stand with one foot on floor and ball of other foot on Gliding disc. Press down and slide disc away from body to side, bending support knee as you go. At end point, abduct leg, raise foot off disc and hold, then lower foot back to disc and slide back toward midline as you straighten support leg.
Cool-Down (8–10 minutes)
Choose interactive cool-down activities, such as partner ball toss patterns, to bring heart rates down, encourage socialization and develop eye-hand coordination. Transition into simple, athletic-style stretches for all major muscle groups to complete the workout.
Leigh Crews is the founder of Dynalife Inc., a company that provides innovative continuing education for fitness professionals. She has written, performed and provided creative and professional consultation for numerous media outlets.
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