Boot camp-style workouts are all the rage because they are highly intense, target all your muscle groups, require little or no equipment, and burn a ton of calories. Boot camps are inspired by military training techniques meant to build active duty members into tactical athletes, able to withstand any obstacles they may face. This means they must be proficient in all areas of fitness. They need to have the strength to lift heavy objects and the endurance to carry them long distances with little to no breaks, agility to navigate uneven terrain, power to jump and move quickly, speed to take them from one location to another as fast as possible, and core strength and balance to move efficiently and injury free.
Ideally, an exercise boot camp incorporates all these areas of fitness in a single session. Mimicking these types of scenarios will ensure you get the best workout possible. Not everyone has access to group boot camps in their area, while others may prefer to work out alone. Here is a list of military-inspired exercises you can do with minimal equipment on a field, park, or playground to ensure you get a full-body, all-encompassing workout. Note: Some exercises/equipment may not be available to everyone, so just do your best and modify the workout to fit your needs.
The Dynamic Warm-Up: Find a 5- to 10-yard space (15 minutes)
5-minute jog (outdoors or treadmill)
Using the 10-yard space, travel back and forth while performing the following exercises:
- 10-yard straight-leg kicks (stretching hamstrings)
- 10-yard walking quad stretch (grab your foot behind you and hold for a count, then step forward)
- 10-yard walking lunge (take giant steps and keep back leg straight to emphasize hip-flexor stretch)
- 10-yard side lunges (turn around at the 5-yard mark to get both legs)
- 10-yard side shuffle (both directions)
- 10-yard carioca (both directions)
- 10 arm circles forward/10 arm circles backward
- 25 jumping jacks
- 25 mountain climbers
- 15 stationary squats
- 15 push-ups
The Workout – 40 minutes
Power – 5 Minutes
Perform 30 seconds of each exercise followed by 30 seconds of rest.
- Plyos – Squat Jumps (jump as high as you can)
- Plyos - Tuck Jumps (jump and bring knees to chest and stick the landing)
- Plyos - Broad Jumps (jump for distance and stick the landing)
- Plyos - Push-ups (start from knees and try to get air during your push-ups)
- Ski jumps (jump side to side, from right leg to left and back again, focusing on sticking the landing)
Speed – 5 minutes - Sprints
- Do five 20-second sprints, followed by 40 seconds of rest
Strength – 10 minutes
Have dumbbells or resistance bands handy – Perform each exercise for 45 seconds then rest for 15 seconds before moving on.
- Squat to shoulder press
- Push-up to back row (alternate lifting your hands if you do not have dumbbells available)
- Lateral to frontal raise
- Reverse lunges
- Bent-over reverse flys
- Spiderman push-ups
- Jumping lunges (switch legs in the air)
- Step-ups onto bench (face forward and/or sideways and hold dumbbells)
- Inverted push-ups (place feet on bench or table)
- Pull-ups/assisted pull-ups, or lat pull-downs with a resistance band
Agility – 5 minutes
Use small cones or any object to mark spaces.
Place 6 cones in a zigzag pattern, equally spaced, approximately 10 feet apart.
- Sprint forward to each cone, and touch each cone before moving to the next; repeat three times.
- Skip to each cone, touching each one before moving on to the next. Get as high as possible in your skips; repeat three times.
Place cones in a square, with each side measuring approximately 20 feet
- Run forward to first cone, side shuffle left to second cone, run backward to third cone, and side shuffle right to cone where you started. Repeat three times. You can also skip and carioca sideways for variety.
Endurance – 10 minutes
Set up four cones in a straight line, each about 10 feet from the next.
- Shuttle run forward – Start at first cone. Jog forward and touch second cone, then run backward to first cone. Jog forward to touch third cone, then run backward to starting cone and then jog forward to fourth cone. Repeat and continue for four minutes non-stop. Rest for one minute when finished.
- Shuttle run sideways – Keep cones set up and follow same pattern as above, but this time do a side shuffle toward the second, third and fourth cones; sprint forward to return to the starting cone. Do two minutes facing one direction, rest for one minute, and then do two minutes facing the other direction.
Core – 5 minutes
Do 45 seconds of each exercise, followed by 15 seconds rest.
- Straight leg raises with hip lift
- Bicycle crunches
- Seated abdominal twists
- Side plank (20 seconds each side) with a hip dip
Stretch and Cool Down – 10 minutes
Spend 10 minutes stretching each muscle group, holding each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds or until you feel some tension release. Focus on your hamstrings, quads, calves, chest and back.