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Boot camp workouts, originally the preferred sweat seshes of the armed forces, are now some of the most popular classes at big gyms and boutique fitness studios nationwide. How come? They’re all-but guaranteed to whip you into shape quick.
In most boot camp workouts, you’ll cycle through a variety of moves to challenge every muscle in your bod—including your heart. Sure, they’re great for burning calories, but a good boot camp workout also helps you build strength, endurance, balance, and coordination, too.
Many of the movements in boot camp workouts are explosive, forcing your muscles to exert maximum effort for short intervals of time and spiking your heart rate like no other.
The result: You’ve got a scalable, adaptable workout (you can train boot-camp-style with or without equipment) that’ll leave you breathless and well on your way to feeling (and looking!) faster, stronger, and all-around fitter.
To reap all the sweaty benefits, keep your core engaged (pull your belly button toward your spine) throughout every movement, always land from jumping moves with slightly bent knees, your feet under your hips, toes pointing forward, ankles flexed, and maintain a neutral (not overly-arched) back.
Though boot camp workouts that use equipment require some set-up (like arranging stations with the equipment you’ll need for each move around your workout space), all you need to tackle this equipment-free sesh is a timer.
Time: 18–24 minutes
Good for: total-body and cardio
Instructions: Pick four of the following exercises. Using a clock or timer, perform each move for one minute and then rest for 30 seconds before moving onto the next. Continue until you’ve completed three to four rounds of all four moves. Incorporate this workout at least three times per week.
1. Bear Crawls
How to: Get on all fours with shoulders over wrists and hip directly above knees. Engage lats (the muscles on back below armpit) and maintain a flat back. Then, lift knees off floor to bring hips level with shoulders. This is your starting position. Next, while keeping hips parallel to the floor and maintaining a neutral spine, move left hand and right knee slightly forward. Bring the other hand and knee forward to meet them. Do this three times total on each side, then reverse the movement to return to start. That’s one rep.
2. Tuck Jumps
How to: Start standing with feet under hips and elbows bent so hands are straight in front of chest, palms facing down. Engage core, squat down slightly, and push off the floor with both feet to jump upwards, lifting knees to tap hands at the top of the movement. Land softly with a slight bend in knees. That’s one rep.
3. Oblique Sit-Up
How to: Start lying on back with legs extended on the floor and hands behind head, elbows wide. Engage abs and sit all the way up, rotating shoulders towards the left, while pulling rightknee in towards chest. Touch left elbow to right knee and then reverse the movement to lie back down. Repeat on the other side. That’s one rep.
4. Roll-Up Jump
How to: Start seated with knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and arms extended at sides just behind butt with palms pressed into mat, fingertips facing forward. Then, roll back onto shoulders, lift hips up off the mat, and extend legs straight up in the air. Using momentum, roll forward, bending legs and returning feet to the floor, and pushing through soles to stand and jump straight up into the air, keeping arms extended at sides. Land with bent knees. That’s one rep.
5. Squat Thrusts
How to: Start in a plank position with wrists and elbows beneath shoulders, core tight, and legs straight. Bend knees to jump feet forward outside hands then lift chest up and bring hands together in front of body, coming into a low squat. Reverse the movement to return to start. That’s one rep.
6. Crab Toe Reaches
How to: Start in a reverse table-top position with knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and arms extended slightly behind body so butt is lifted a few inches in the air, palms pressed into mat fingertips facing glutes. Bend elbows straight back to lower butt to tap the floor, then straighten arms while lifting right arm and left leg off floor, straightening both, and reaching right hand for left foot. Reverse the movement to return to start and repeat on the other side. That’s one rep.
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