Explore Boot camp Exercise

boot camp workout
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Boot Camp Workout

Ahh, bootcamp fitness shows. If you’ve ever watched a fitness weight loss show, then you know they are like a soap opera! There’s the BIG weigh-in, the dramatic before and after reveals, calorie counting and tons of endurance challenges. The trainers and coaches work their magic to transform a person with a sedentary lifestyle into a lean, mean, endurance machine. And, the good news is boot camp workouts are available online or at your local gym.

But, is a bootcamp workout right for you? And what makes it better than the gym, Pilates or yoga? Get ready for strength training that can transform your daily drab into fab-ulous!

boot camp workout
Image credits: Freepik

What is a Bootcamp Workout?

Bootcamp workouts are intense circuit training with lots of burpees, lunges, squats and other exercises. To find the right boot camp for you, start with a beginner class from different instructors until you find the ones you enjoy. The high-energy workouts should be challenging but not so overwhelming where you’re too sore to complain or text an Uber home.

Bootcamp workouts should have:

  • A qualified instructor (with great reviews) that pushes you AND lets you go at your own pace.
  • Strength training and aerobics that line up with your fitness goals. Start with beginner classes to build your stamina and flexibility.
  • People exercising at different levels (beginner, experienced) or in different weight classes. Hence, you can complain about the instructor together.
  • A timer or countdown, upbeat music and other classes to try.
Image credits: Freepik

Who Should NOT Take a Boot Camp Workout?

Boot camps are ideal if you are active. However, if you are sedentary, have an injury, are over 40, are pregnant or have a pre-existing condition, consult a physician. You can also speak to the instructor or coach about the class.

Image credits: Freepik

Best Bootcamp Workout Ideas

Below are different bootcamp examples. Click the link for the video and tips. Stretch before and after each workout and drink water.

Circuit Training Boot Camp Workout At Home

A circuit training boot camp workout exercises your upper and lower body. Benefits include you don’t need a gym or equipment. A drawback is you won’t have an instructor to correct your posture so use a mirror to monitor your form (or see yourself crying during sets, no that’s sweat).

Warm-up with a 5-10 minute walk to get your heart rate up and do the bootcamp exercise one after the next. Stop after the circuits for shorter workouts or repeat them. Stop immediately if you feel discomfort or pain.

Circuit 1:

Windmill Arms and Side Lunges

This warm-up improves your coordination and balance and works the lower and upper body:

  • Stand and spread your legs. Put your arms straight down at your sides.
  • Bend your right knee by lunging to the right. Bring your left arm toward your right foot.
  • Then, do the same move on the other side.
  • Repeat this for 2-3 minutes.

Burpees

Burpees can improve your cardiovascular endurance and stamina as they work the entire body:

  • Start in a squat with your hands touching the floor.
  • Push your feet back and do a push-up.
  • Bring your feet forward and stand up. Do this for 15-16 reps.
  • Beginners: Instead of jumping, walk your feet back and forth. Pros: Add a jump as you complete each set.

Forward and Reverse Lunges

Lunges exercise the thighs, glutes and hamstrings. For added resistance, do this while holding weights:

  • Stand with your feet together and take a big step forward where your thigh is parallel with the floor (90-degrees).
  • Next, stand back up and take a step back into a squat where your back knee is almost touching the floor.
  • Stand up again and repeat this 10-12 times.
  • An alternate option is to do one side for 10-12 reps and then the other.

Tricep Dips

Tricep dips work your shoulders, arms and other upper body muscles. Use a chair or table that won’t move:

  • While seated, balance your weight on your arms.
  • Keep your hips slightly above the chair.
  • Start to bend your elbows and bring your body weight down.
  •  Then, push up again and repeat this 20-25 times.

Side Planks with One Leg

One-legged planks can improve your coordination and balance. Press in with your forearm and don’t let your shoulder collapse:

  • On a towel or mat, lift your upper body onto your left elbow/forearm and bend your knees.
  • Raise your right hand up and put it on your right hip for support and balance.
  • Press your weight into your left elbow/forearm and lift your butt and hips up. While doing this, lift your right leg a few inches. You should feel the tension in your right thigh. Who are we kidding? You’ll feel it everywhere! Hold this for 2-3 seconds and then return to the original position.
  • Repeat as many times as you can for 30-seconds and then change sides.

Circuit 2:

Ready for the next set? If you’re short on time, repeat the first set.

Kick Squats

This squat-jump-kick technique takes time. Keep your abs and core tight when you squat to exercise your lower legs:

  • Put your hands in a boxing position for added balance and start from a squatting position on the floor.
  • Lean forward slightly to stand up.
  • As you come up, kick with your right leg. Then, do the other side.
  • Alternate sides and do as many as you can for 60-seconds. Finish strong, grasshopper!

Chair Squats

Keep your head and chest up and your core and abs engaged (you’ve got this):

  • Stand in front of a chair and start to squat toward the chair.
  • Once you reach it, do 5 pulsating squats but only come up halfway.
  • Next, stand up and repeat this 15-times.
  • One rep is a single chair squat and 5 pulses. 

Rear Delt Flies and Pulses

These exercise your upper back muscles and shoulders:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and bend slightly forward until you’re parallel to the ground. Engage your core and abs.
  • Bring your arms straight out to your sides (shoulder level) and palms vertical (thumbs up). Lift your arms a few inches to squeeze your shoulders.
  • Bring your arms back down to exercise the rear deltoid muscles.
  • Repeat this for 15 pulses, then rest and repeat. 

Push Up Side Curls (Ski Ab Squats)

Use a stable surface like the floor where you won’t slip. If you add a mat, ensure it won’t move:

  • Start from a plank position or push-up (and don’t fall asleep).
  • Pull your feet up in a jump toward your left side. Move your feet back to the first position and then do your right.
  • Continue these jumps from left to right for 60-seconds.
  • Beginners: Walk their feet over until you build up the muscle mass. Pros: Jump up and do a burpee after each one (if you want to feel that burn).

Circuit 3:

Decisions, decisions. Will you go back and repeat Circuit 2 or continue for a few new challenges? Go for it!

Plyo Jacks

Plyo jacks are like jumping jacks but slower. It takes lower muscle strength from your glutes, quads and legs to push yourself into these jumps:

  • Start with your feet together and then jump up with your arms circled.
  • As you come down, get into a squat.
  • Jump again with your feet together and bring your arms in.
  • Do as many as you can for a minute (Ready to give up? Go back to Circuit 2). 

One-Leg Bent Squats

Targeting the hips and glutes, to do this move, stabilize and engage your core and torso:

  • Bend slightly forward with your hands clasped behind your back.
  • As you bend, lift your right leg out 45-degrees.
  • Next, draw your leg back and get in the original position.
  • Repeat this 15-times and then change sides.

Dive Bomber (Downward Facing Dog) Push-Ups

This floor move can improve your upper body strength (so keep going):

  • Bend over in a V-shape with your back up high and your hands on the floor.
  • Bend your elbows slowly as you bring your upper body down.
  • Bring your upper body back up (Upward Dog) as your feet rest on your toes.
  • Get back into the starting position and repeat 10-12 times.

One Arm Lift and Sweep

Like a partial sit up where you stretch your arms to the sides, it works the obliques and tightens your core:

  • Sit back like you are going to do a situp. Keep the knees bent and back straight.
  • Lean back where you feel your abs starting to contract but don’t strain.
  • Straighten your right arm and sweep it behind you in a half-circle (like you’re reaching for something on the floor).
  • Do this 20-times and then repeat with the left arm.

Circuit 4:

Ready for more? Or are you going for a repeat of Circuit 3? You’re almost there. Finish strong!

Plyometric Lunges

This jump, ballet move and reverse lunge requires careful coordination and balance:

  • Start in a basic lunge position.
  • Jump up and switch your feet around.
  • Land with the other foot facing forward.
  • Repeat this for 60-seconds and then rest and do the other side.
boot camp workout
Image credits: Freepik

Around the World or Forward and Reverse Lunges

This thigh workout requires careful balance and coordination as it tones the lower body. Keep your abs and torso upright and engaged:

  • Start in a lunge position and step forward with your left foot.
  • Immediately step into a side lunge before doing a reverse lunge (back).
  • Return to the first position.
  • Repeat this 8 times before switching sides.
boot camp workout
Image credits: Freepik

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Push-Ups

A great upper body workout, you can do this on your knees until you build more muscles:

  • Lie on your belly and put your upper body weight on your hands.
  • Lift your upper body off the floor and stop when you reach a 90-degree angle.
  • Next, lower yourself back down. Repeat this 20-times.
  • Beginners: Practice on your knees (partial body weight-bearing). Pros: Do this with your legs extended and weight only on your hands and toes/feet (full body-weight).
boot camp workout
Image credits: Freepik

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Push-Up Side Planks

This position increases your upper body strength. Use a mirror for the proper posture as you work the obliques and shoulders:

  • In a push-up position (hands/knees or hands/toes), leaning on your left arm, rotate your body to the left.
  • As you lift up, raise your right hand toward the ceiling.
  • Come back to the original pose.
  • Repeat this 20-times before switching to the right side.
boot camp workout
Image credits: Freepik

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Applause, Please!

Whew! What a workout, and to think, you did all of this at home and didn’t even make it to the gym. Go ahead and reward yourself (if your arms aren’t too exhausted!). Job well done!

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FAQ

What is a typical boot camp workout?

While the trainers and coaches are different, expect to see a lot of pushups, burpees, squats, sprints, crunches, drills and lunges.

How long should a boot camp workout be?

A boot camp workout can vary in length depending on the location or online class for which you sign up. Generally, they are shorter classes ranging from about 30-minutes each. You can make them shorter or longer by repeating the sets or only doing a few circuits.

How do you do the bootcamp exercise?

Your instructor or coach will focus on speed elements, military-like drill sequences, non-stop workouts, aerobics-type sessions and calisthenics.

As these resistance training classes build up your strength and aerobic capacity, they’re often compared to other types of intense workout regimens. These might include P90X, Insanity, Tough Mudder and Billy Blanks.

What is the benefit of doing bootcamp workouts?

Increased agility, better balance, faster coordination, improved stamina. What’s not to like? Bootcamps lower your blood and heart rate, and can reduce stress and depressive thoughts. They increase endorphins, dopamine, adrenaline, cortisol and serotonin.

A bootcamp style workout can reduce your risk of developing certain diseases (diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, some cancers). They also give you a regimen that doesn’t require a gym or equipment. But hit the gym if you’re bored and bring your best buds!

Is a bootcamp better than the gym?

Yes, with in-person classes because you have someone pushing you and helping you progress and work on your form.

Each bootcamp should include:
– 150-minutes of aerobic activity each week, 75-minutes if it’s moderate exercise.
– Include aerobics and strength training in your routines.
– Aerobics, which are heart-healthy and weight training to build muscle and reduce fat.