The Summer session of Mulligan Fitness Bootcamp has drawn to a close, and I thought this would be a good time to review how it all went down over the past 3 months. I had a blast running it, and I hope everyone that came down to the park learned something new and had a great workout experience. I have written below about a couple of the techniques used during bootcamp, as well as a few lessons I learned.
Rain, rain, GO AWAY
Seriously… I hope it never rains again! Nearly every session in the month of June was threatened by rain, and July was not any better. Going outside is a double edged sword – if you get lucky, the fresh air and grass can make training outdoors an awesome experience. On the other hand, if rain is in the forecast, postponements, mid workout alterations, and even very muddy clothes are all a possibility (and in our case, a REALITY). I ended up having to rescheduled several of the bootcamp sessions, while having to do a rain dance before others. Hopefully, I paid my rain dues, and it stays dry during our fall sessions 😉
Bring the competition!
I felt one of the most successful drills at bootcamp were the ones that incorporated some form of competition. As people are quick to tell me, I am a pretty competitive person. I am keeping score with EVERYTHING, and I want to win. I think that competition brings out the best in everyone, so it is no surprise that I love adding in mini challenges to the workout. Some of my favorite are:
*run to the cone, do the exercise, run back to the start, do the exercise. Each set of the exercise is done with one less rep than the previous set. After that set, run to the next cone, which is a shorter distance away than the previous cone.
Cone 1 (30 yards): 10 body weight squats, 9 body weight squats
Cone 2 (25 yards): 8 body weight squats, 7 body weight squats
Cone 3 (20 yards): 6 body weight squats, 5 body weight squats
Cone 4 (15 yards) : 4 body weight squats, 3 body weight squats
Cone 5 (10 yards): 2 body weight squats, 1 body weight squats
*Split the group up into two, and make the drill a relay race. Whichever team has all of its members finish first, wins.
Agility Ladder Circuit
Exercise 1: Medball slams x5
Exercise 2: Diagonal hops to an agility cone, 5 cones
Exercise 3: Burpees x5
Do three rounds through the circuit.
*Split up the group and make it a race. Whichever team completes all the prescribed rounds first, wins.
Toys are fun
Some bootcamps around the country specialize in body weight only training, and trust me, there are some incredibly difficult movements you can learn to do using just your body weight. Exercises such as the planche pushup, pistol squat and handstand push up are all incredibly challenging exercises. However, advanced movements require mobility and stability that takes years to develop. They are not suited for a fast paced bootcamp session. Basic body weight drills such as squats and push ups are far easier to learn, and I love programming these movements into the bootcamp. However, body weight is frequently just too easy of a resistance for lower level movements. The intensity is just not high enough to obtain a training effect.
What is my go to solution for raising intensity? My Toys. More specifically, chains, sleds, ropes, bands and weights. Many of these tools significantly increase the resistance of an exercise, while allowing clients to challenge an already familiar motor pattern safely. Some of my favorite movements and tools to pair are:
1. Goblet squat with kettlebells
2. Push ups with chains
3. Sled resisted sprinting
4. Med ball throws
I make a conscious effort every training session to prepare each client for the movements of the day. It is so important to do this, because our computer based society virtually guarantees the development of poor posture. In all likelihood, you will NOT be prepared for any movement beyond sitting in front of a computer without intervention. The warmup done is specifically written so all of your restrictions and tightness that will affect your workout are lessened.
Clearly, you get the message that I believe that mobility and warming up in general is vital to a good workout. However, sometimes I can get overzealous and have the warmup go on way too long, or I can just tack on exercises at the end of the warmup because during the session, I thought it would be a great idea to fit it in! This is not a great strategy if I want to have a warmup that is not a chore. I prefer warmups to flow well, with each exercise building on the one before it. By the end of the Summer, I cut the urge to keep adding drills down a bit.
The first season of bootcamp taught me a lot, but the underlying message is that bootcamp is a great way to get outside, do something exciting and defeat mediocrity. Get outside, get moving, and get in shape.
Mulligan Fitness and Hylete.com
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