Fitness continues to evolve as research unveils new and efficient ways to train for health and wellness. This is great news, because people benefit from having plenty of choice. But choice can be confusing for consumers intimidated by the mere thought of walking into a group fitness studio. For newbies, an abundance of choice can trigger questions: Where do I start? What type of fitness is best?

Sometimes, the answer is not either-or, but both. One class idea does not have to trump another. Our bodies adapt quickly (which is why it is important to cross-train), and the push to go beyond adaptation has had an interesting result: fusion classes. The trend started innocently enough—with simple strength and cardio combinations—but now has grown to epic proportions. Some fusion classes combine similar elements (think yoga and Pilates), while others meld methods that seem to be opposites (such as high-intensity interval training and tai chi). Fusion is a two-for-one deal!

The following mind-body warm-up for a boot camp class provides relaxation, dynamic stretching and mindfulness in order to ease participants into an intense and balanced workout. The sequence includes the yoga-inspired sun salutation. While mind-body oriented, this exercise is a tad “hard core,” which is fitting because the boot camp itself is challenging. The warm-up also moves at a faster-than-typical pace, with a recommended tempo of 132–135 beats per minute.

Some additional notes

  • Extend the warm-up to 10–15 minutes.
  • Modify moves when necessary.
  • Make the warm-up fun, safe and effective so that participants feel empowered, accomplished and excited to come back for more.

Mind-Body Warm-Up for Boot Camp

Begin with these moves:

  • Stand in mountain pose.
  • Breathe deeply and inhale; exhale into forward fold.
  • Hold forward fold for about 4 beats.
  • Walk hands out to plank position.
  • Push up halfway.
  • Immediately transition to upward-facing dog and then to downward-facing dog.
  • Walk feet to hands.
  • Perform reverse hip-hinge to return to mountain pose.

Tailor Your Next Moves

Customize the warm-up from this point, based on the exercises you selected for class. Here are some examples:

  • Side-step squats: Squat into chair pose, step wide into sumo squat, step back into chair, and then step wide to opposite-side sumo squat; repeat 8x.
  • Reverse lunges or walking lunges, if space permits.
  • Modified burpees: Instead of jumping through the exercise, walk through it (squat, hands down, one foot back, other foot back, push up, one foot forward, other foot forward and stand).
  • Modified teasers: From burpee or plank position, transition to supine and do modified teaser (also called boat pose).
  • Pilates roll-ups.
  • Inchworms: From plank, walk feet to hands and then walk hands out to plank and repeat.
  • Sumo squats: From chair position, do slow walking-jack to sumo squat, arms by ears.

Mix It Up

Repeat the sun salutation with fun additions:

  • From plank, do half push-up to side plank.
  • From downward-facing dog, lift right leg, swing through into forward lunge and then reverse lunge 4x; repeat from start, opposite side.
  • Return to downward-facing dog, walking hands to feet this time.
  • Do reverse swan dive to standing and then jump rope in place to begin the workout.

Debra Orringer, MS

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