There are plenty of options in the way of group fitness for people. A lot of classes out there usually involve following an instructor on a stage with no individual coaching or individual encouragement. Old school aerobics classes were modelled this way and have since been emulated by other groups.
People come to your bootcamp because they want something different. They want to feel part of a team, they want other people to lift them up and encourage them.
I believe that is a reason why ‘mud races’ have become so damn popular. It’s not just about reaching the finish line; it’s about getting your team and even complete strangers there too.
You should be aiming to create that feeling weekly in your bootcamps. This is where team challenges come in.
You don’t need a lot of people in your bootcamp to run team challenges. Simply pairing people up is enough to inspire a bit of camaraderie.
I like to tell my campers to pair up with someone they don’t know. Or I get them to pair up and then swap partners with another pair. Then I the first thing I do is have them introduce each other.
Tip: If you are planning on creating a long term group of clients, it’s not only important that you know their names; they need to know each other’s names too. How else can they cheer each other on and get to know each other. Build a community, not just a bootcamp. It will bring a unity and friendliness to your group that new members will notice straight away.
Pair up people of similar fitness levels when you want them to work hard. Handicap (a fit person with a less fit person) when you are doing a drill which you want all the pairs to finish the drill around the same time.
If you have a bigger bootcamp group try splitting your group into teams of 3 to 5 or even just split the whole group in two. Big teams breed more team spirit then smaller ones.
Types Of Challenges
There is a whole range of challenges you can throw at your teams. Using a score based or first team to finish method usually works best.
As it sounds, this type of workout is all about keeping score. You can include many different methods earn a point such as completing a circuit, a drill or an exercise set.
I have clients keep score by marking a whiteboard or by collecting a cone.
If you are using cones, make your clients work for them. Set a stack of cones around 30-50m away from the main exercise area. When a team earns a point they must run out to the stack of cones to collect one. Add up the cones at the end of the round for the total score.
Make the decision when planning your workout whether you are going to keep adding to the score each round or reset it for a fresh start.
Chipper or Countdown
Team or individual chipper workouts put the training back into your clients hands. A chipper or countdown workout involves a series of exercises that must all be completed for a set number of reps. Exercises can be completed in any order and you don’t necessarily need to complete all of the reps on an exercise before moving onto the next one.
In a team chipper workout you set a higher number of reps per exercise, but the reps are split up over the team. It is a good opportunity to put less fit clients with fitter clients. The fitter clients may help the less fit clients by doing a larger portion of the reps.
Example: In teams of six complete 300 reps TOTAL on EACH exercise. The exercises are push ups, squats and crunches.
The example above means that each client could do roughly 50 reps on each exercise or someone who likes squats might pitch in 100 squats towards the total of 300 or whatever they feel like. Their goal is to simply complete the repetitions and be the first team of six to finish.
You can actually combine this method with the one above and hold small chipper rounds with a point scored at the end of round.
First To Finish
While both methods above encourage finishing first, some workouts are so big that one round will take up the entire workout. In this case the overall goal is simply to be the first team back.
When running bootcamps like this I like to group up clients of similar fitness levels.
For example: If there is a lot of running in your workout, put the fast runners in one group, the mid-level runners in another group and the slower runners in a third group (even if the groups are uneven in size).
Edit the workout so that the fitter runners have to do more running. This will help balance your workout while also challenging all fitness levels. I’ve found that handicapping groups too often can lead to frustrating fitter clients.
Team AMRAP Drill
Split your group into teams of 4 or 5. Set up the kettlebells in one area, and a stack of cones around 40 metres away.
Teams work together to accumulate as many points as possible in 10 minutes. A point is scored every time a camper completes the circuit.
- 15x KB Goblet Squat
- 5x Divebomber Push Ups
- 15x Bent Over Double KB Row
- Run to cones and score a point by collecting a cone, bringing it back and add it to the team pile.
Note: All campers on the team go at once. The do not take turns.
Set out a 8 stations (see below). In 30 minutes your entire group must work together at one team to complete 1,000 reps on each exercise.
This works best with a group of 10 or more. With less than 10 you might do a 500 rep challenge.
- Push Ups
- Prisoner Squats
- Exercise Band Rows
- Forward Lunges (L+R=2)
- Plank with forward reach (L+R=2)
- Glute Bridge Marches (L+R=2)
- Sea Turtles
- Mountain Climbers (L+R=1)
Have a sheet of paper at each station for keeping track of how many reps have been completed.
Campers chose which exercise they want to work on themselves and change once they get tired. When they change exercises they add their reps to the total on the sheet.
Once the 1,000 reps has been reached put a big cross through the sheet, it is complete!
First To Finish
Split your group into 3 teams: beginners, intermediates and advanced.
Each team must complete each of the following drills 4 times (without ever repeating the same drill back to back). The first team to finish all four drill, 4 times, wins.
Tyre Haul – Run with a tyre around the loop.
Distance: Beginners: 100m loop. Intermediates: 200m loop. Advanced: 400m loop.
Medball Madness – Complete the following circuit once:
- Medball Slams
- Medball Chops (Right)
- Medball Chops (Left)
- Medball Squat Press
Reps: Beginners: 10 ea. Intermediates: 15 ea. Advanced: 20 ea.
Walking Lunges – Walking lunge as a team the following distance.
Distance: Beginners: 30m. Intermediates: 40m. Advanced: 50m.
Sandbag Smash – Complete the following circuit once without putting the Sandbag down:
- 15x Sandbag Clean
- 15x Sandbag Press
- 15x Sandbag Front Squat
- 15x Sandbag Bent Row
Weight: Beginners: 10kg. Intermediates: 15kg. Advanced: 20kg.
The above is a chapter taken from my ebook The Little Bootcamp Book of Workouts plus I added the example drills in just for you.
I’m in the process of putting together version 2 and after reading this part I really wanted to share it with you for free.
You can buy a copy of the original full version here. All purchasers of the original version will automatically get the new version for free as well as the future updates I have planned for it. That means free updates for life.
Of course, no pressure, only buy it if you feel like it will help you.
P.S. The weekly emails will always be free.
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.