I’ve since put together a new article on equipment. It includes bootcamp equipment kits for three different price points, depending on where you are currently at with your group fitness business. Check it out: The Complete Guide To Bootcamp Equipment – Budget, Established and Dream Kits
The next two months are shopping and sales crazy.
Personally, I like to avoid it all. Two minutes in a crowd like that with people acting like a**holes over a $10 discount is enough to send me into an apocalyptic rage. Just picture Looney Tunes’ Tasmanian Devil.
However, with a lot of companies offering online stores now, you can dip your toe into the mix and pick up some pretty good deals on exercise equipment to add to your arsenal for bootcamp. Especially if you don’t mind waiting for long shipping times.
Excluding items that you may already have (like disc cones) or things like tyres which you can always get for free, here are my 6 favourite that you might want to consider adding.
I love supplementing bodyweight workouts with bands. They allow you to add important pull movements and some vertical pressing to the upper body.
You can also use them to add resistance to most of your regular bootcamp movement.
Of course you can do this with kettlebells and dumbbells too, but bands have the added bonus of being lightweight, inexpensive and portable. This makes them great when your are just starting out.
My favourite use is to use them in running workouts. Each client can easily run with one draped around their neck. Then periodically you can stop and perform exercises with the bands before moving on.
Buy from: Hart Sport in Australia or Amazon in the US
Medicine balls are great versatile and interesting pieces of equipment for your workout. For bootcamps though, I like dead balls (sometimes called slam balls).
You can do everything with a dead ball that you can do with a medicine ball. Except bounce them.
Now seeing as you probably don’t have any walls to bounce balls off and are probably working on grass a lot too which doesn’t bounce things very well either, the dead weight of a dead ball makes it ideal.
A ball slam suddenly turns into a clean and press, much more taxing. Throwing the ball becomes less dangerous because if it falls, it doesn’t bounce anywhere, it just rolls quickly to a stop. Dead balls also come in some heavy a** weight. Iron Edge stock them in weights up to 85kg. Great for your advanced clients.
My favourite thing to do with them is slam them. Fast.
Buy from: Iron Edge in Australia or Amazon in the US
Gymboss Interval Timer
I know a lot of trainers use apps on their phones to run timed drills at bootcamp.
Maybe I’m old fashioned (I am the ripe old age of 26 after all) but there is something about someone using their phone that just looks bad to me as an outsider. As a passerby in the park I can’t tell if you are looking at your phone to set an interval or if you are updating your Facebook status instead of watching your clients.
At the start of my workout, my phone goes into my bag and doesn’t come out until all of my clients have left.
Instead, I recommend getting a Gymboss. They are pretty inexpensive and on the new models you can pre-program your intervals into the system. That way you can just get it out, hit start, clip it to your shirt and focus on coaching people rather then watching the time or holding a phone.
I realise I sound like a salesman about this, and yes I am an affiliate for them, but I really love their product as a better alternative to a smartphone app.
Buy from: Gymboss
Battling ropes are a pretty big ticket item for your bootcamp, one of these will set you back usually over $100. And you probably want at least two.
If you can get these on sale then, that’s awesome.
I like using ropes for team drills and circuits (carrying the rope together) and conditioning work like rope sprints and various undulations and slams.
Buy from: Rope Galore in Australia or Amazon in the US
I like kettlebells for two reasons.
They are heavy and they have handles.
Handles make kettlebells easy for you to transport and easy for clients to pick up. Important when you have to transport all of your gear to the park each session and also important for clients who
I am Level 2 Kettlebell certified but I prefer not to teach my clients traditional kettlebell moves. They are too technical for the timeframe and size of the group and are really unnecessary for the general population.
I would even argue that Swings are too technical for most people to learn in a group setting. If you are going to teach swings you better dedicate an entire session to it and walk the group through all of the regressions. Most people just don’t have the glute activation or proprioception to do it properly and being such a dynamic exercise the risk for injury is much higher.
I like to use 12kg+ ‘bells for exercises that clients are usually pretty strong at like Goblet Squats. You can also get clients deadlifting them, an exercise that is hard to mimic without some solid weight.
Buy from: I’ve always used Iron Edge in Australia but there are cheaper options out there. Shipping on Kettlebells can add up, however if you are an Amazon Prime member you can get these in the US.
Sick of having to remind clients again and again and again what exercise comes next?
Get a whiteboard (or dry erase board for some of you).
Not one of those huge one’s that you see in a classroom (unless you operate indoors), instead get a smaller portable option that’s just big enough to write down a circuit or chipper or finisher drill.
You can also get magnetic wiper so you don’t lose it as you transport the board in and out of your car.
Buy from: Any office supply store
There is my 6 favourite. Well 8 really when you include tyres and cones.
Oh, and I really like just a deck of playing cards too.
The point is, invest in this stuff as it will add that extra element to your bootcamp and give you much more versatility in your session planning.
This time of year is a good time to buy with the holiday sales on. End of financial year sales are also a great time to get bargains.
Now how about you.
What is your favourite piece of equipment? Are you planning on picking up anything while the sales are on?
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.
Elizabeth Santos says
How long does it take you to give all the instructions to a big group of people when giving a bootcamp class?
Kyle Wood says
That really depends on the drill Elizabeth. I would try and plan your workouts so it take no more than 5 minutes at a time.
If it’s taking longer then that then your are probably trying to introduce too many new exercises in that session or there is too much going on. Try to simplify or bring in a new set of exercises over a few weeks one or two at a time.
Tarah Smigun says
Sandbags are probably one of my favorite pieces of equipment. I ran to Home Depot and picked up empty plastic sandbags and blue duct tape and pink duct tape. Then I went to a sand and gravel lot and filled them. I brought a scale so I could have them the weight I wanted. I filled them and duct taped the entire thing nice and tight. The blue tape represented a heavier bag and the pink a lighter. Enjoy!
-Tarah (from Seattle, WA USA)
Kyle Wood says
Simple! If you lived near a beach that would become even more cost effective. Do you use them kind of like medicine balls then?
Claire Donahoe says
One of my favs is Hyperwear Sandbells! http://www.hyperwear.com/sandbells.html
They are awesome!! And easy to travel with. Plus you don’t have to worry about sand falling out of them from homemade ones (which i used to do!).
Another fav is PKB’s (Portable Kettlebell sandbags: http://www.kettlebellsandbags.com)…say what?! (tell John Rarity that I referred you & I’m sure he’ll hook you up with a discount too)
Yes you heard me right! lol What’s really cool about the PKB’s is that you can bring them empty to wherever you teach and just fill them up with whatever is on hand at that site….sand, clay, pebbles, rocks, etc. And they have a water belly option too for putting water in them.
Kyle Wood says
Thanks Claire. they both look awesome! Love those Sandbells.
Claire Donahoe says
Yes they are great!! The PKB’s are really awesome too and they are much more portable (easier to carry when empty). Glad you liked the suggestions! Love your stuff…Keep up the great work! 🙂
Kyle Wood says
Do you get your clients to fill them up at the start of a workout? Or do you take some time to fill them?
Claire Donahoe says
I honestly never thought about having my clients fill them up. Lol But I used to typically have mine filled already and sitting in the back of my car (back when I taught camps). Now when I do off-site big community workout events, I’ll bring them empty and just find stuff to fill them with on site so it ends up being a mix of weights. But I always arrive plenty early to fill them myself.