Originally a military training program, boot camp now indicates an intense exercise program. Boot camp classes challenge every muscle group and energy system in your body. In a motivating group environment, these programs use body weight and calisthenics for a challenging, total-body workout. Regardless of whether you want to lose weight, increase your strength, tone your muscles or improve your health, a boot camp program can help you.
Cardiovascular exercise fits into a boot camp in small, short intervals. Exercises such as jumping jacks, jogging, running, squat thrusts, mountain climbers, line hops and burpees challenge the cardiovascular system. Burpees start from a standing position. Bend down and place your hands on the ground by your feet. Jump your legs back into a push-up position. Quickly return your feet back to the starting position, and stand all the way up. Mountain climbers start in a push-up position with one knee near the chest. Quickly alternate knees coming toward the chest. Try performing each for 30 seconds to one minute, and mix with strength exercises.
Upper-body strength exercises typically found in boot camp class use mostly compound movements where several muscle groups work together with each exercise. This allows for more caloric burn with minimal equipment. Push-ups, pull-ups, planks and dips make great body-weight exercises. If you have dumbbells or resistance tubing, incorporate a rowing motion for the upper back and a shoulder press for the arms. Although a plank typically falls under core work, in addition to the abdominals, the exercise uses the chest and arms.
The largest muscle groups in the body are found in the legs. When looking at weight loss or decreasing your body fat, use these large muscles as much as possible. Squats, lunges, deadlifts and step-ups make great body-weight exercises using the lower body. Once these movements become easy on two feet, progress to using one leg at a time for a new challenge. For all lower-body exercises, balance your body weight through your entire foot to allow safe movement.
About this Author
Lisa Martin holds a B.S. from the University of Maryland in dietetics, personal training certification through AFAA and is CSCS certified through NSCA. As the owner of Wellness Evolution, she has more than 10 years of experience in the industry, writing a monthly newsletter, blog and articles for various local newspapers.