Palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy.
My very first session with my brand new bootcamp. 20 unfamiliar faces looking at me expectantly. Waiting for me to tell them what to do first.
I wish I could say that the session was perfect and that I knew instinctively what to do. But… that was not what happened.
It was not through lack of effort though. For a few months I had been studying other instructors who were sharing their sessions online. So I used their sessions as inspiration for my own creations. After all, they knew what they were doing right?
However, at the end of the first week of bootcamp my friend (and long-time experienced trainer) who had been attending asked me, ‘Can I give you some feedback?’
I nodded and then awkwardly they continued, ‘I think you’re overcomplicating things.’
She went on to explain that while the workouts I planned were interesting and had lots of new and innovative ideas, there was a lot standing around while I explained things and then often confusion once we got underway. Seeing how confused I was that these amazing workouts weren’t working she then emailed me a bunch of super simple drills to try out.
As new instructors, when we copy what we find on Instagram or even a website like Bootcamp Ideas, we don’t take into consideration the experience of the instructor and the group. If a group is already familiar with a certain style of drill it’s easy to teach them a similiar yet more complicated version. The same goes with exercises too.
The problem I’d had was that my group was just as new to bootcamps as I was. Your brand new group of clients might be the same.
So just like my kind friend Maree sent me some simple drills to use as a new trainer, I’d love to do the same for you.
Here are 4 basic bootcamp drills to familiarise yourself with and perfect before using the more advanced drills you see on here and BootCraft with your campers. I’ve also included links to 12 drills for you to use to create your own simple bootcamp workouts.
1. The Chipper
Workouts don’t get any simpler than Chipper workouts. A Chipper is simply a list of exercises that clients do at their own pace. Each drill has a set number of reps. Campers begin at the top of the list, completing all the reps of each exercise before moving on to the next one.
Some clients just don’t like workouts where they have to team up or where they are under the pressure of a timer. Chipper workouts are awesome for them. They are also perfecting for those wet weather days when you’re all crammed undercover and need everyone to workout in a small space.
- Make the chipper harder by using more advanced/complicated exercises (a gold star sticker for you if you plan an advanced, intermediate and beginner version).
- You can also add variety by having clients work in teams or pairs to work towards a team total of reps for each exercise.
- Let campers complete the reps in any order, supersetting or circuiting the exercises until all reps are complete.
Example Group Fitness Chipper Workouts:
We can’t not include the circuit. It’s the staple of every instructor just starting out. Most campers can quickly grasp the concept and you only need a small amount of equipment to have a wide variety of exercises.
The basic circuit involves a set of stations, each with a different exercise, and a timer. I recommend starting out with a simple timing interval of 45 seconds of work and 15 seconds of rest to change stations. Have campers complete the circuit 2-3 times before finishing.
- Timekeeper: Instead of using a timer, one station has a set number of reps. When the camper on that station is finished everyone changes stations. A great way to mix up time under tension and keep your eyes off the timer and on your clients.
- AMRAP: Instead of using a timer, each station has a set number of reps. Campers complete the circuit at their own pace aiming to complete as many rounds of the circuit as possible in a set time.
Bootcamp Circuit Examples:
BootCraft bonus: BootCraft members can download our guide to circuits here.
Underused, often forgotten about, but totally epic. The EMOM is simple but has a ton of versatility and is one you should add to your training toolkit early.
If you’re not familiar with it, EMOM stands for Every Minute On the Minute. Campers complete one or more exercises for reps every minute. The faster they complete the reps the more rest they get before the next minute begins.
The trick here is finding the right number of reps so that campers are getting some rest but not too much that they get bored.
Advanced EMOM Drills:
- Try out E2MOM and E3MOM where you start the exercises every 2nd or 3rd minute. You’ll need more exercises, more reps and/or a bigger drill to keep campers working hard.
- Alternate or cycle through different exercises/drills each minute instead of doing the same thing each round.
- Throw it in on top of another workout. For example you might be doing a regular circuit or chipper workout, but then E3MOM (every 3 minutes on the minute) all campers have to stop what they’re doing and do 5 burpees.
EMOM Example Drills:
4. I Go You Go
When you’re feeling confident with chippers, circuits and EMOMs you might want to start experimenting with partner workouts. Partner workouts are an awesome way to build connection and community amongst your campers which is crucial if you plan to be around a long time.
The simplest way to implement a partner workout is by using a simple IGOUGO. workout. IGOUGO means ‘I go then you go’. One partner does the exercise or drill while the other rests, then they swap roles.
Sometimes the partner resting is doing something active like running or holding a static exercise.
Advanced I Go You Go Partner Drills:
- To keep pairs working in sync you can use a timer. 30 seconds work then 30 seconds rest works really well. Have the resting partner encourage and motivate the working partner.
- Beat each other’s reps. Using the timer method have partners of similar fitness level try to beat their partners reps each round.
- Work in 3s for lower intensity (great for stuff like burpees or warm ups where the intensity is lower).
I Go You Go Examples:
If you’d like to learn about more terms and techniques to use in your sessions, check out this free resource we put together for new instructors.
For those of you who’ve been doing this training thing for a few years, I have a question for you:
What type of drills would you recommend to an instructor just starting out? Share below.
Kyle Wood created Bootcamp Ideas in 2010 when he was hunting around on the internet for workout ideas. He ran a successful bootcamp in Victoria, Australia and spends his spare time managing this site, adventuring (or lazying) with his wife and find new ways to make bootcamps even better.