Fitness boot camp workouts are inspired by the intense physical fitness training required of all recruits to qualify to serve in a branch of the military. Fitness boot camps are popular among people who enjoy a high-intensity workout. Most fitness boot camps focus on intense cardiovascular exercises that get your heart pumping hard followed by strength training. The most effective boot camp fitness programs offer a balance of cardio workouts with strength training.
The warm-up is a critical element of a boot camp workout routine. Prepare for the high-intensity interval training of fitness boot camp by doing some brisk walking or jogging for 10 minutes. Loosen up your muscles to prepare for a vigorous workout by doing some calisthenics, such as jumping jacks and some pushups. End your warm-up session by jumping rope for three to five minutes and a quick sprint. Once your heart rate increases and you just begin to sweat, you should be warmed up and ready to engage in a strenuous boot camp workout.
You can expect a vigorous workout that not only gets your heart pumping for a heart-strengthening aerobic workout, but also strengthens and tones your muscles. Body-weight exercises use the weight of your own body against gravity to strengthen muscles. Pushups, squats, the plank exercise and lunges are often employed in fitness boot camp programs to strengthen the legs, arms, chest and core muscles. Exercises that strengthen muscles and increase your heart rate include pullups, crunches and sometimes weightlifting.
Aerobic Interval Exercise
Running is a key feature of many fitness boot camps. Running is one of the most effective forms of aerobic exercise to improve heart health and burn fat. Explosive plyometric exercises, including jumping, bounding and leaping, get your heart pumping and burn fat. Boot camps sometimes employ high-intensity aerobic interval training. Interval training consists of high-intensity exercise for three to five minutes followed by two to three minutes of less intense exercise.
Every workout should include about 10 minutes of cool-down exercises to help slow down your heart rate and allow your muscles to recover. Boot camp fitness cool-down exercises might include mild-intensity stretches or walking. Group participants in fitness boot camp may toss a medicine ball back and forth as part of the cool down to help bring your heart rate slowly back to normal.
Robin Reichert is a certified nutrition consultant, certified personal trainer and professional writer. She has been studying health and fitness issues for more than 10 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health from Clayton College.