Fitness boot camps and group workouts are all the rage these days. From the external social motivation to push yourself harder, to the fun of training with group camaraderie, it’s no surprise that exercising with a crowd can get you better results.
Even better, you don’t actually need fancy equipment, or even a gym, to have a good group workout or fitness boot camp. So if you have a group of friends you want to get together for some workouts in a park or backyard, or if you have a group of coworkers who want to get exercising together, or if you’re a personal trainer or group fitness instructor who wants some new boot camp workout ideas, then this episode is for you!
How to Warm-Up for a Group Workout
Having a group around to push you to go harder has both benefits and drawbacks. Sure, you may push yourself more, but you can also increase your risk of injury when you amplify your workout intensity. For this reason, it’s important to begin with a dynamic warm-up. Here’s a great dynamic warm-up routine that can easily be done as a group. Compared to traditional “stretch-and-hold” static stretching, this type of stretching has been shown to actually reduce the risk of injury and enhance performance. Ideally, you can warm the muscles up beforehand with 5-10 minutes of light cardio.
Hold on to a wall, bar or anything else that adds support, then swing one leg out to the side, then swing it back across your body in front of your other leg. Repeat 10 times on each side.
Keeping your back and knees straight, walk forward and lift your legs straight out in front while flexing your toes. For a more advanced version, you can do this with a skipping motion. Walk for 10-20 yards.
Walking Lunges (with Twist)
Step forward using a long stride, keeping the front knee over or just behind your toes. Lower your body into a lunging position by dropping your back knee toward the ground. Then push forward, take a giant step, and repeat for the opposite leg. To make this motion even more effective, twist and look back towards the leg that is behind you once you’re in the lunging position.
Stand with your feet wide apart, extend your arms out to the sides and bend over, touching your right foot with your left hand. When you’re bent, keep your back straight and your shoulder blades pulled back. Then rotate your torso so your right hand touches your left foot. Keep both arms fully extended so that when one hand touches your foot, the other hand is pointing to the sky. Keep rotating like this for 20-30 repetitions.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, and your arms held out in front of your body. Then drop as low as you can, pushing your butt out behind you, keeping your knees behind your toes and swinging your arms back. Stand and bring the arms back to the starting position. Complete 10-15 deep squat repetitions.
After the dynamic warm-up, you can move on to a full body circuit for your exercise group. Here are two sample boot camp-style group workouts for you. For each workout, split your group into 6 smaller groups (for example, a group of 24 people can be split into 6 groups of 4) and then spend 4 minutes doing the exercises at each station.
For several exercises, I’ll include examples for how they can be made more difficult, just in case there are a variety of fitness levels participating in the workout.
Sample Group Workouts #1
- Station 1: Push-Up Position Corkscrew (with option to do side leg raise after each rep)
- Station 2: Turkish Get-Ups (with option to hold cup of water without spilling)
- Station 3: Isometric Lunge (10 seconds up, 10 seconds down)
- Station 4: Front Plank or Front Plank variation like Front Plank taps or Front Plank reaches ith alternating arms.
- Station 5: Opposite Arm/Opposite Leg Extension in crawl position (also known as bird dogs)
- Station 6: Multi-Directional Lunge (lunge to the front, then to the side, then diagonally back, then directly back)
Finish as a group with a high intensity interval set called a “Tabata set” – meaning that for the final 4 minutes of the workout, you do 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off of the mountain climber exercise.
Sample Group Workout #2
- Station 1: Shoulder Wall Slides (like this video)
- Station 2: Russian Twists
- Station 3: Super Slow Push-Ups (10 seconds up, 10 seconds down)
- Station 4: Side plank holds or Side plank rotations
- Station 5: Fire hydrants (external hip rotation in crawl position)
- Station 6: Wall sits (isometric squats)
If you have questions about group workout tips for fitness boot camps, or have your own group workout tips to add, then post them in the comments section of the Get-Fit Guy web site or join the conversation at Facebook.com/GetFitGuy!
All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own health provider. Please consult a licensed health professional for all individual questions and issues.