Pushups, lunges, crunches, sprints, jumping jacks, planks—what sounds
like a military drill is just an average workout for fans of boot camp
“There are several reasons why boot camps are so popular,” says
Afshin Arianjam, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and orthopedic sports medicine physician at
St. Mary High Desert Medical Group. “These are high-intensity workouts that not only target all major
muscle groups but also burn a lot of calories. They are truly total body
workouts. They also don’t require special equipment—your body
weight does the work for you in most boot camp exercises. Plus, boot camps
are often held outdoors, which offers a nice change of scenery from the
Most boot camps are a mix of strength and aerobic training. A workout starts
with a warm-up, then launches into a fast-paced blend of moves such as
squat jumps, bicep curls, shoulder presses, burpees, leg lifts, mountain
climbers and jump rope intervals, capped off with a cool down.
“The idea is to perform the exercises in short bursts of high intensity,
say for about 30 to 45 seconds, alternated with brief periods of rest,
anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds,” Dr. Arianjam says. “This
type of interval training can build up aerobic stamina and lead to greater
calorie burn during a workout.” In addition to overall conditioning,
Dr. Arianjam adds that boot camp workouts also build up agility and endurance.
Dr. Arianjam cautions that new recruits shouldn’t just jump straight
into boot camp. “This is an intense workout with high-impact movement,”
he says, “so you should talk with your doctor before starting a
boot camp exercise program.”
While you can make a do-it-yourself boot camp in your own backyard, Dr.
Arianjam advises beginners to seek out group programs led by trainers.
He adds, “You can talk with the group leader before the workout
and let her know any physical or health problems you have so she can show
you possible modifications to the exercises if needed. Group boot camp
programs are also a good idea when you’re starting out so you can
get an idea of the proper form for the moves, which can reduce the risk
of injury and ensure that you get maximum results from the workout.”
Have you had fitness success with a boot camp workout? Share a comment below.
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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical
care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.