Why Bootcamp Workouts?

  • Bootcamp workouts are fun. You work out with other people in a challenging, rugged setting. There’s a real sense of accomplishment and camaraderie completing a tough workout with others whether you are competing to be first, encouraging others to keep going, or need the encouragement yourself!
  • Bootcamp workouts are a great workout routine. They involve large functional full body movements that activate a lot of muscle mass. You can get a great aerobic (cardio), anaerobic, and strength training workout all at the same time. You will also burn an average of 10 calories per minute.
  • Bootcamp workouts can be performed virtually anywhere and require very little (if any) work out equipment. You don’t need an expensive gym membership or any fancy machines. Bodyweight exercises are perfect for military style bootcamp workouts.

How to Create a Bootcamp Workout

Step 1: Find a location to workout. One with natural obstacles is perfect. The average public park is excellent.

Look for obstacles such as:

  • Steps
  • Hills
  • Obstacles that can be climbed or jumped over and crawled under. Picnic tables and playground equipment are perfect!


Step 2: Select the boot camp exercises to perform.

Click on the infograph on the right for a free Periodic Table of Bodyweight Exercises. The exercises are arranged horizontally by muscle group and vertically by difficulty.

Pick several exercises for each muscle group and choose a difficulty that will be appropriate. If you aren’t sure how to perform an exercise correctly, click on the image, and you will get free workout videos of Sergeant Volkin demonstrating each exercise.

Step 3: Design your obstacle course. Choose a location for performing each bodyweight exercise and make sure there is an obstacle between locations. For example:

Run up a hill and then do some pushups
Run backwards down the hill. When you get to bottom, do jump squats
Run up the stairs and do vertical crunches
Run down the stairs and do tuck jumps
Do a burpee, climb over the picnic table, do a burpee
Use your imagination, be creative, and take advantage of natural obstacles. Anything that involves moving your body upwards against gravity is potentially a great exercise.

Remember to keep your circuit short enough that everyone will remember the exercises. You can do multiple laps to get the desired workout length.

Step 4: Use a stopwatch. Whether exercising by yourself or with others, competition is very important. Everyone will push themselves harder and gain more from the workout if they are racing the clock.

Step 5: Warm up and go for it! Make sure everyone warms up properly. A great warm up is to have everyone perform a “trial run” of the obstacle course at a slow pace. This makes sure everyone understands the course and exercises at each station. Warm up until you are sweating lightly, and then start the clock and go for it!

Create Bootcamp Workouts with Stack 52

Want an even easier way to design an authentic military bootcamp workout? Use Strength Stack 52 Bodyweight Exercise Cards. Each card is a bodyweight exercise designed by a military fitness expert and actually used by the US military. With Strength Stack 52, designing a bootcamp is as easy as 1, 2, 3:

Step 1: Find a park or outdoors pace with natural obstacles

Step 2: Shuffle the Stack 52 deck and draw as many cards as you need for your bootcamp

Step 3: Place the cards at various stages in your bootcamp location.

Place a few cards on top of a hill. Run up the hill and perform those cards.
Place a few cards at the top and bottom of a flight of stairs. Run up the stars to do a few cards and run down the stairs to do other cards.
Place a few cards behind a picnic table. Climb over (or crawl under) the table and perform those cards.
Place cards a few dozen yards apart. Sprint to the cards, perform the exercises, and then sprint to another group of cards.
Be creative, the possibilities are endless!


Bootcamps can be an awesome way to meet people, build friendships, and encourage and motivate each other to accomplish your fitness goals. Bootcamp workouts are tough, but the feeling of accomplishment stays with you and helps you realize that all challenges in life can be met and vanquished.

Your workout can be fun, effective, and truly enjoyable even though it’s difficult. Fitness is a lifestyle, and the secret to fitness is enjoying the process. Your workout can make you fit, keep you healthy, empower you physically, mentally, and emotionally, and connect you with some amazing friends. My workout is the best part of my day. Yours can be too.


Bootcamp workouts can be strenuous, and you should consult your doctor before starting any exercise program. Inherent risks are present in any physical activity. It is your responsibility to warm up and stretch properly, perform each movement correctly, and ultimately to decide whether or not you are capable of performing the exercise/workout without sustaining injury. It is your responsibility to evaluate your bootcamp workout circuit for safety hazards. Ultimately you are responsible for your own safety.