By The FIRM Master Instructor Alison Davis-McLain
Bootcamp-style workouts not only bring on the sweat — they can also turn up the fear factor! You might think bootcamp workouts are only for advanced exercisers. But even novices can do a bootcamp workout and reap its total-body benefits.
While some fitness trends fade and surge, others endure because of their effectiveness. Bootcamp is a theme of recent craze that’s held its own in the fitness industry over the past few years. According to The American Council on Exercise (ACE), bootcamp-style workouts were named the most popular workout in 2008 and will remain on top of fitness trends for 2009. Gyms and home workout DVDs promote this type of training because it offers significant results and life-changing benefits.
Why all the buzz about bootcamp workouts?
Participants and trainers alike are attracted to bootcamp-style training by name alone — but bootcamp workouts remain extremely popular because they provide a total-body workout incorporating upper and lower body sculpting exercises with old-school calisthenics, plyometrics and other simple cardio moves. The combination creates a fun yet challenging workout that’s remarkably effective for weight loss. ACE notes that a single bootcamp session can burn up to 600 calories.
This video clip shows how one bootcamp workout, The FIRM Bootcamp: Maximum Calorie Burn, combines upper and lower body sculpting with plyometrics that are targeted to really “burn” out the muscles you just worked.
A typical series begins with a move like lunges with biceps curl, followed by single arm lat row to work the back, and then a set of plyometric lunges. The cardio segments are designed to alternate low- and high-impact moves, like a “cone touch” followed by a plyometric jump. These intensity bursts are an effective way to train your muscular and cardiovascular systems, and it gives you the feel of a tough workout.
What makes bootcamp workouts so effective can also make them sound intimidating! But you can bootcamp with the best of them even if you’re a beginner.
3 good reasons not to be intimidated by the word ‘bootcamp’!
1. No fancy equipment required.
Bootcamp is all about exercises that use your body’s own weight as resistance or rely on simple tools like steps or platforms, cones, weighted balls, dumbbells, ropes and props that are easy to use and can be found anywhere. Many bootcamp workouts are held outdoors with the environment as your only fitness tool.
2. No fancy footwork required!
Bootcamp isn’t about intricate steps or dance moves. The drills can look intimidating, but they are simple to learn. You won’t waste a minute trying to catch on.
3. You get lots of breathers.
Anticipate the valley! My favorite thing about running up hills is the downward slope afterwards. You only have to push yourself for a short stint of time in bootcamp workouts — and then you get a breather. Use those hills as a chance to really amp up the calorie burn; then use the valleys to catch your breath and prepare for your next challenge. You’ll see amazing results from this type of interval training.
The FIRM Master Instructor Team blog is shared courtesy of The FIRM Believers Club, an online community that helps you reach your fitness goals. With maximum-efficiency home workouts, support and motivation from The FIRM Master Instructors, daily tips, personalized workout rotation calendars, and access to other members through discussion boards, The FIRM Believers Club provides all the tools you need to get in the shape you want.