Beginner Boot Camp Exercises

by Paula Evans
(Granbury TX)

Can you suggest any boot camp exercises that will challenge beginners but not kill them? I am leading a beginner boot camp in a couple of weeks. It will be outdoors 3 times a week. Iíve done regular bootcamps, but this will be my first beginner camp. Any suggestions are welcome!

ACSM Certified PT

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Beginner Boot Camp Exercises

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Bootcamp Fitness for Beginners
by: Monica

Hey Paula

Great question. There are all types of beginners including those with natural athletic ability and those who learn movement skill quickly and then there are beginners of very limited ability (that's the way they were born) but who can improve what they were born with if they are willing to do the work of learning new skills.

The best thing to do is make the first class a physical assessment and test them in 7 basic areas:

lower body strength
hip stability
upper body strength
core stability
shoulder/lat mobility
low back/hamstring mobility

You can use my bootcamp assessment as a guide.

Once you find out their strengths and limitations it will be easier for you to design a workout plan that includes 10-12 boot camp exercises that focus on correcting imbalances and strengthing weak areas.

My favorite exercises for beginners are:

leg swings
arm circles
jumping jacks
running in place
modified pushups (incline or from knees)
plank walk outs
planks (all types and never use weights)
squats (wall, sumo, plie, with slams)
lunges that boost mobility (valslide, forearm to instep, warrior style lunges)
resistance band pulls, chops, rows
bodyweight rows
lateral walk, hops, shuffles
supine hip extensions
stair or step runs (not sprints)
dynamic flexibility (downdog, pigeon, cobra, scorpion, etc.)

About the only equipment I use with beginners are bands, trx, valslides a ball or sandbell and a an interval timer (1-2/workout). My video below shows examples of boot camp exercises you can do with beginners indoors or outdoors. Always offer 3 version of each exercises so people can work at their level.

Stick to 30-45 seconds of work or low reps and more sets 5 sets of 6 vs. 3 sets of 20. Beginners learn faster when you expose them to exercises in small chunks or break them down then into manageable pieces then combine. i.e. 5 reverse lunges 5 overhead presses repeat then combine 5 reverse lunges w/5 overhead presses.

Exercises most beginners can't handle include:

jumping lunges
regular pushups
pushups with rotations
regular burpees
medicine ball throws
hindu pushups and dive bombers
box jumps
suicide runs
jump rope

Let me know how it goes once you get started.

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