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Boot camp: all you need to know

Kelsey Kerridge Sports Centre offers various memberships & pay-as-you-go usage plans.

Boot camps have been around for a while but for many people they are still a mysterious, slightly intimidating exercise class. With some help from the health and fitness website The Mayo Clinic , we are going to look at some of the benefits of boot camp as well as some things that you should be aware of when undertaking this form of exercise.

First of all, what exactly is boot camp?

Boot camps vary wildly form one instructor or class to the next but generally they contain fairly intense mix of strength work and aerobic exercise. Most boot camps will use body weight exercises, such as push ups, pull-ups, burpees and squats, but they might also employ a few pieces of equipment, such as medicine balls, tyres, ropes or sacks.

The camps will also tend towards an interval-style of training – short bursts of high energy exercise followed by lighter recovery time activities. The aerobic part of the session could involve running, jumping jacks, jumping, hopping, sprints etc.

A session generally involves a circuit of intense exercises strung together with a few seconds break between exercises.

The benefits of boot camp

A boot camp aims to give a varied, all-body workout using old style military exercises. With variations one of the key factors in motivation, the variety offered by boot camps is a big plus.

A boot camp session is relatively easy to set-up. There is minimal equipment and all the instructor and participants need is an area to exercise in – this could be a park, a clearing in woodlands or a class room or space in a gym/sports centre.

There is also the sense of ‘we are in this together’ and camaraderie that you get from a boot camp.

Fans of boot camp training point to improved overall strength and conditioning and a high calorie-burn fact. Certainly a well-structure boot camp class can help meet the recommendations for physical activity in healthy adults. It provides both aerobic and strength training and combines moderate and vigorous exercise.

What to be aware of

While boot camp might be great for most people, it should also be approached with caution if you are out of condition, pregnant, haven’t exercised for a while or have any underlying health issues, such as arthritis, cardio vascular problems etc. It is certainly worth checking with your doctor before you embark on this type of training.

It is also important to have confidence in your instructor. He or she should always ensure the entire group is both happy with the level of intensity and has mastered the movements. The instructors should also check everyone’s health status before commencing to the exercises. If the movements are new to you, or if you are feeling fatigued or tired to the point your technique is suffering, then slow down. This will help you avoid setbacks such as injuries or a loss of confidence.

While boot camp might not be for everyone, there is no doubt that it is an energetic and social way to get fit. Try boot camp at Kelsey Kerridge, our fitness instructors will be able to guide and help with any exercises that are new to you.