The boot camp trend has taken over the fitness world in recent years. It seems any woman who has shed a few extra pounds or toned up says the secret is boot camp. These group classes blend military-style drills with exercises designed to improve athletic performance. The workout is typically straight forward, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t intense.
Boot Camp Basics
Boot camp exercise classes has come to stand for an outdoor fitness program done in a group or with a team. The term "boot camp" comes from military training and that intensity transcends to this style of working out. The workout routine usually focuses on weight-bearing exercises, such as pushups, sit-ups and pull-ups, mixed with calisthenics, running and obstacle-course work.
With a boot camp, it is all about being simple, mobile and versatile. The equipment used during these workouts reflects this. Many exercises use your own body weight, park benches and playground equipment to do dozens of strength training moves that tone all your major muscle groups and push your body through multiple planes of motions. Some classes do include a few pieces of equipment to expand upon the exercises. A few items you may see are jump ropes, yoga mats, athletic cones and tubing bands.
In addition to a military-style drill leader encouraging you to push harder, boot camps you also provide you with a social atmosphere. Exercising with others transforms your basic routine into a social and fun form of exercise. The social aspect provides a sense of camaraderie and accountability that may help you tackle exercises that you wouldn’t if you were all alone. A study published in the journal “Public Health” in 2004 showed that working out in a group enhanced overall life satisfaction for women.
During a boot camp workout, you are not only torching calories, but building lean muscle mass as well. The average exerciser burns 9.8 calories per minute during a typical boot camp workout, which equals nearly 600 calories in an hour, according to the American Council on Exercise. Each boot camp workout is different; some are heavy on cardio while others focus on muscle conditioning or martial arts inspired movements. A few exercises you can anticipate are jumping jacks, mountain climbers, push-ups, high knee jogging, squats, lunges, medicine ball chest passes and planks.
- IDEAFit.com: How to Succeed At the Business of Boot Camp
- IDEAFit.com: Injury Prevention: Boot Camp
- American Council of Exercise: Benefits of Group Exercise
- American Council on Exercise: Drop and Give Me 20!
- University of Texas: Boot Camp Sample Classes
- Public Health: The Effects of a 12-Week Group Exercise Programme on Physiological and Psychological Variables and Function in Overweight Women
- Mike Powell/Digital Vision/Getty Images