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Bootcamp Fitness for Training Professionals

Posted in: Articles by ProSource, Training Articles
By John Davies - Chat with Coach Davies on the ProSource Fitness Forum | Sep 5, 2008

The " bootcamp" exercise class over the last decade has become one of the sexy new marketing tags in the health and exercise industry. While the notion of a "bootcamp" is rock-solid and born from military origins, the version that the mainstream public is exposed to is not only heavy on the "sizzle" and very light on "substance," but it is often operated in a dangerous and unprofessional manner.

From the aspect of marketing image, the exercise industry is somewhat of a victim of the mainstream media presentation of the " typical bootcamp." In an effort to spice up content, the image consists of a supposed "trainer" in bad cargo pants and tribal ink, best left in the 90's, yelling and screaming at middle-aged people. The public's image of what a "trainer" is and what constitutes a " professional trainer" is shaped by these concepts. Unfortunately the industry is debased by this type of buffoonery.

The broad fitness industry is not completely innocent of all charges because truthfully beyond the scope of image, the barriers to enter the field are deplorably low. While it is a debatable point, quite possibly the worst area in the training business is in "bootcamp" fitness groups where poor-grade trainers and bad training methodologies seem to be the norm. Because standard operating procedure is built upon teaching bad training protocols (and lawsuits abound from injuries sustained in this area), the public needs to understand how these classes should be operated and professional trainers need to learn how to run them.

First and foremost, let me dispel the notion of a professional trainer yelling and screaming at their clients. Motivating a client to achieve their best needs to be done through positive re-enforcement and not through attacks upon suspect areas of poor self-esteem. While the image of a trainer in cargo pants and a bull-horn barking out instructions might make for "good content" in a poor media source, it downgrades the training business and pushes it far away from a "profession." Exhort your clients to be their absolute best but do so with positive imagery and make sure at the end of the class they feel empowered by achievement through hard work. One of the major goals of all training is to improve the quality of the incumbent's life and negative commentary or attitude has no place in a professional trainer's delivery.

Within the physical aspect of training protocols, most bootcamp classes I have seen need to virtually wipe the slate clean and start over. With that in-mind, a careful reminder of the Renegade Concepts of Training™ should be firmly implanted in the development of the class:

  • Movements trained, not musculature

  • Efficiencies of movement reinforced

  • Motor patterning and grafting of movement

  • Postural alignment is emphasized and perfected

  • Stabilization in the most destabilized training environments

  • Force developed such that it can be projected, accepted and redirected at maximal levels
The structure of a
boot-camp class needs to follow the similar classic lines of all Renegade Training sessions, which utilize six-minute training blocks. By maintaining this structure, exercises can be worked through on an orderly and programmable manner that allows for variation and avoids monotony. This is critical as most workouts are horribly lacking in structure and erroneously table training blocks in the incorrect sequence.

Given each class will consume eight to nine training blocks for a training session slightly under one hour, the structure of a training program should be considered:

Training Block Structure

Training Block Section
1 '" 2 General Warm-up
3, 4 & 5 "Focus" section
6 & 7 "Supplemental" section
8 & 9 Range of Motion

Sections Protocols

General Warm-up (block 1-2): elevate heart rate, activate core musculature and loosen hips and shoulder girdle. This area is critical to the success of the balance of the workout given that

Focus section (block 3, 4 & 5) and Supplemental section (block 6 & 7): this should mimic
classic Renegade Training™ sections with the use of "Focus" lifts within blocks 3-5 and "Supplemental" lifts in blocks 6-7 but in a "complex" style, whereby a lift is executed in prescribed reps ranges and then followed by a explosive bodyweight exercise (i.e. burpee's, frog-jumps etc). Exercises can be equally "circuited" but only within prescribed choices per training block. To increase work threshold, additional fitness work can and should be used between each set and this can vary depending upon environment and levels of fitness. One of the best managed approaches in this area is the use of bodyweight calisthenics or rope skip. This allows for compliance ease in a stationary environment, making it easy for the professional to accommodate thirty plus individuals per class. Naturally exercise mediums can and should change to avoid adaptation to one area and to keep the workouts fun and exciting. It should be explicitly understood that at no time should work be done with poor technique and bad posture.

Range of Motion (block 8 & 9):
this training area is of critical importance at the end of each section to facilitate recovery from exercises as well as building endurance muscle and improving range of motion. Core postural holds should equally be used at this time.

Part two of our series "
Bootcamp Fitness for Training Professionals" will go over precise exercise choices and keys to managing classes. 


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Disclaimer: The articles featured herein are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Specific medical advice should only be obtained from a licensed health care professional. No liability is assumed by ProSource for any information herein.

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