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The Best Bootcamp Exercises

Boot camp classes are high-intensity, military-inspired workouts. The best boot camp exercises are ones that help you burn calories and that can be done safely by the majority of participants. The best exercises should emphasize the fundamental boot camp principles of agility, cardio and strength, notes Christopher Mohr, Ph.D., R.D., owner of Mohr Results Adventure Boot Camp for Women in Louisville, Kentucky, in a May 2010 article in Women’s Health Magazine.

Bodyweight Exercises

Part of the allure of boot camps is that they use little equipment. Some of the best boot camp exercises are classic calisthenics like jumping jacks, squats, push-ups, crunches and lunges. Mohr notes these are ideal for boot camps because they target multiple muscle groups unlike isolation exercises. These exercises can be modified for most fitness levels by performing low impact versions of jacks, squatting only slightly, performing push-ups on the knees, performing a plank instead of crunches and keeping the lunges high.

Group Moves

The best boot camp exercises engender camaraderie. Boot camps are fun because working out as part of a group makes you more accountable and inspires energy. The best buddy exercises do not create competition, but foster relationships. IDEA Health and Fitness Association expert Eve Fleck recommends a four corner drill. Divide participants up into four groups and send each one to a different corner of the workout space. Each corner is then assigned a different move to perform, such as high knees, squat thrusts, speed skaters or squat jumps. Have the groups go at full intensity for 15 to 20 seconds and then jog to the next station--repeat the entire circuit up to three times. This drill is one of the best because each group works hard together, but each person ultimately exercises individually and can easily modify in a way that matches their physical needs.

Outdoor Exercises

The best exercises for outdoor boot camps utilize the terrain to inspire exercises. Try to stage your boot camp at a park with a few hills and a playground. Hill runs are one of the best methods of training to improve aerobic conditioning, power and threshold for fatigue writes running coach, Rick Morris, on the Running Planet website. People who cannot run can power walk up the hills and still achieve a quality workout. The playground offers a space to perform the ideal body weight exercises previously mentioned. While less conditioned members may execute basic versions of these exercises, more advanced exercisers can do their lunges onto a park bench or perform decline push-ups with their feet on a swing.

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About the Author

Andrea Cespedes has been in the fitness industry for more than 20 years. A personal trainer, run coach, group fitness instructor and master yoga teacher, she also holds certifications in holistic and fitness nutrition.

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