BUILDING BOOT CAMP BRILLIANCE
Calling all personal trainers and boot camp specialists!
So you've secured some clients, and you're ready to start whipping them into shape through a functional boot camp. Boot camp training is a common and brilliant way to start with clients once you've graduated from your fitness academy, allowing you to test your knowledge of high-intensity exercise, circuit training and motivational skills within a group dynamic. For your clients, they'll get the gains as long as you set up the environment and exercises correctly.
So have you got what it takes to build a well-rounded boot camp, that tests the whole body, builds endurance and functionality and keeps your clients engaged?
We've got a few tips and exercises that will help you start building the perfect boot camp. You know the one, where your clients groan and moan throughout, chuck you a high-five at the end, and always return for more pain at the next session. Yep, that one.
Firstly, boot camps originated from the military and were aimed to mentally and physically test recruits AND to build a sense of comradery within the ranks. Let's keep this in mind as we build out our boot camp.
Motivational Ingredient: Competition
Split your group into two teams and have them compete against each other for the whole boot camp. A competitive spirit is going to make your clients work harder, and being accountable to a team is always going to reduce their chances of slacking off. Competition is also a brilliant builder of comradery amongst a team, so encourage supportive cheers and banter amongst the group.
Let's start the competitive spirit here and play a game of tag for 5-10 minutes. Keep the boundaries small enough to encourage everyone to keep moving and participating and work up a preliminary sweat.
Dynamic stretching is meant to get the body moving. It prepares your body for the type of exercise it is about to undertake by using the same muscles in repetitive movements.
Use some sports cones to set 2 x 15-metre stretches. Have your clients move through, completing four 15-metre stretches of skips with high arms, bum-kicks, hip flexes, lunges with upper body twist and high-knees. Once they have completed one stretch, they then run back and return to the back of the line.
CIRCUIT BOOT CAMP
Set the competition and split your group into two teams. For the sake of friendly competition and group morale, divide your group of clients up evenly. For each exercise of the circuit, place a pile of cones for each team. Disperse the teams equally amongst the course to race against each other. Time each exercise for 2 minutes, and encourage every member to complete as many sets as possible, without compromising form. Each time a person completes a round, they will need to pick up a cone and run it back to a starting point to add to their teams' collection. By the end of the circuit, the team with the most cones wins and gets to administer a fitness punishment for the other side (think the plank, 10 push-ups etc.). Complete the Upper Body Burner twice, then complete the Leg Shred twice.
Upper Body Burner Circuit
Add more sports cones to your 15-metre stretches in two zig-zags, with the cones dispersed approximately 1.5 metres apart. Two people will race at a time, jumping from one cone to the next, keeping feet shoulder-width apart. The aim here is speed and agility. The deep glute burn will come later.
With legs wide and back strong, have two people complete 15 x reps, swinging the kettlebell with one hand between their legs, and then back over their head. After each set, they run back to the starting point with a cone and repeat using the other hand. It's a good idea to have an array of kettlebell weights here, to allow for the different strength levels.
Holding the slam ball overhead with stretched arms and legs shoulder-width apart and bent at the knees, have your clients throw the slam balls down hard to the ground, using the force through their arms and the power in their legs. They need to pick it up and lift it back up over their heads, keeping a straight back and bending at the knees. One set is 15 x reps before they can run a cone back for their team. Again, you should have an array of weighted balls here to cater to differing strengths.
Using a heavyweight, or a park bench to wrap the battle ropes around, have your clients bend their knees into a sitting position and race the ropes using the strength of their arms for 30 beats before running back with a cone.
So, who had the most cones at the end of the circuit? Allow the teams to administer a fitness punishment and then rerun the course for a chance at redemption.
Using the same 15-metre stretch as above, have your clients make large jumps forward out of a squat position (bent knees, legs one foot wider than should width apart). When they land, they need to pulse low in the squat for 4 counts, before taking the next jump forward. Once they reach the end of the stretch, have them run back with a cone.
- BLOCK JUMPS
Using two-block jumps, have two people step up, bing their knee up to their chest and then step back down to the ground in one big motion. Alternate sides until they have completed 15 x reps on each side before running a cone back.
Keep the groans coming with this high-intensity exercise, whole-body crowd favourite. Starting with an upwards jump, lifting their hands into the air, have your clients land with bent knees, lean forward and plant their hands shoulder width in front of them. With a quick transition, have them jump their feet back into a push-up position, and complete the push-up. Repeat for 15 x reps, before running back with a cone.
- RESISTANCE BAND SIDE SQUATS
Using the resistance band stretched tight between the two calves, have two people squat sideways through another 15-metre stretch, keeping their knees bent the whole time to maintain the tension in the resistance bands. At the end of the 15-metre stretch, they can run back with a cone.
Who won this round? Reapply the punishment and then rerun the course for extra impact.
By this point, your clients are going to be pretty tired, but reinforcing their gains with one last high-intensity boxing session will keep their muscles burning for longer. Drop the competition here, and use this as an opportunity to bring back the comradery within the whole group.
In pairs, using the boxing gloves and pads, time 4 x 1-minute blocks. The beat is 10 undercut hits, followed by a cross-body punch on each side. Have the clients alternate after two rounds to avoid changing gloves and pads twice.
COOL DOWN AND STATIC STRETCHING
Bring the group back together with some static stretching to release any muscle tension. Use this as an opportunity to chat with your clients and continue team comradery for the next boot camp session.
So, how do you feel about your boot camp? If you've got any questions or want to vet your own boot camp plan through, give us a shout.
- Dan Smith