August 26

7 Creative Bootcamp Ideas For Small Groups


Today I'll be sharing 7 fun bootcamp ideas for small groups, so you can plan more exciting group workouts for your clients. 

First of all, how do you structure a boot camp class?  Well, there are five main components of a group fitness class. We'll cover them all then build a workout as we go. Ready!

  1. Pre-warm-up
  2. Main warm-up
  3. Main Workout
  4. Finisher
  5. Cool down 

The Pre-Warm Up: 

Most group fitness trainers look at the pre warm-up as a chore. A tedious but necessary task to get through as quickly as possible. 

The good news is, with a bit of creativity, you can start your class on a much more positive note as you see in a second. 

The idea of the pre warm-up is to prepare the body for what's to come in the workout, and there are two steps to this process. 

Step 1: Perform some light cardio work to elevate the heart rate and warm the muscles. A simple yet effective drill to achieve this is the Time Keeper.

Time Keeper

Have players complete 1-lap of a circuit for time running at a slow pace. As they cross the finish, call out their times. Start your timer and ask players to run again. 

This time players attempt to complete the lap in exactly the same time. For each second over or under their first time, they complete 2 push-ups. If they get it bang on, they can order the trainer to do 5-push-ups. That was round 1.

Play 3 rounds in total. After each round ask players to increase the pace. It's a fantastic pre-warm-up.   

Step 2: Dynamic stretches: These are active movements where joints and muscles go through a full range of motion. If the muscles are warmed up and able to stretch further, this will increase your range of motion and lower the risk of injury.

Here's a fantastic video from Hasfit demonstrating a dynamic stretching warm-up. I highly recommend subscribing to their awesome YouTube channel because they have some fantastic videos (click the link above). 

Benefits of dynamic stretching 

  • Promotes blood flow to the muscles 
  • Helps prevent injury 
  • Improves overall performance 
  • Improve your ability to do daily activities.
Bootcamp ideas for small groups

Here's a great article that talks about the difference between dynamic stretching and static stretching, and how to combine the two for the best results. 

Dynamic Bootcamp Ideas For Small Groups

After the pre-warm up comes the main warm-up.  

A good bootcamp warm up prepares the body for the main part of the class by increasing blood flow to the muscles. A good warm-up can also...

  • Reduces the risk of injury 
  • Improves performance 
  • Increases flexibility
  • Increases range of motion 
  • Increases muscle stability 

There are lot's of different ways to achieve a good warm-up. What I'm about to show you is the way I like to do it. 

Part 1: Start with a fun running drill for a more thorough warm-up. One of my favourites is beat the clock, a 5-minute challenge that encourages players to work a little harder than they usually would. 

Beat The Clock

The Main Warm Up 1:

Players have 5-minutes to complete 50x 20 metre shuttle sprints. When the time is up, players complete 1 Burpee for each remaining shuttle sprint. I.e, let's say a player completes 40 shuttles in 5-minutes. There are 10 shuttles remaining which means the player completes 10 Burpees. If you have beginners in your group, reduce the distance (for them only) to 10 metres. 

Part 2: Next I'll select mostly exercises that mimic the main part of the class and plug them into another drill. I.e, if it's leg day and I'm doing weighted squats and lunges, I'll warm-up with bodyweight squats and lunges.

However, no matter what day it is, lower, core or upper. You're still using your entire body, so it makes sense to have a full body warm-up and include exercises such as.. 

You can use this next drill as a template. All you have to do is slot in your preferred warm-up exercises. Thats it. Hundreds of boot camp workout ideas at your finger tips

PRS Battle Ready

The Main Warm Up 2:

Creating bootcamp ideas for small groups can be challenging, so take the time to create a workout swipe file. It will help you to create group workouts much faster, and with more variety.

swipe file is a digital or physical folder where you keep all the awesome bootcamp ideas you've created/encountered over the years.

Creating a swipe file is one of the best ways to improve your session planning because it's time efficient and gives you instant access to a wide variety of bootcamp ideas for small groups. Or whatever classes you take. 

Here's how to create a swipe file

Create a folder in Google drive titled, bootcamp ideas for small groups. And within that folder create 5 subfolders for each of the 5 components shown below.

Boocamp ideas for small groups 1 (1)

Over the last 15 years, I have added over 2600 creative bootcamp ideas to my swipe file, aka The Workout Design Club. 

With a few simple clicks, you can plan fun and result-focused group workouts in a fraction of the time it would normally take you. 

Main Bootcamp Ideas For Small Groups

The Main Workout:

So far I've show you three fun bootcamp ideas for small groups. The pre warm -up and the main warm-up. Next comes the main part of the class.

For the main part of the class, I recommend a using 30-minute challenge completed straight through, or 2x 15-minute workouts. 

I have also used a selection of small drills (I.e., 3x 10-minute partner drills) with great success. 

Here are some challenge ideas

  • Tabata 
  • EMOM
  • Supersets 
  • Isometrics 
  • Plyometrics 
  • Accumulator
  • Drop Sets 
  • Partner Drills
  • Fitness Tests
  • Team Building 
  • Circuit Training 
  • Boxing 
  • HIIT
  • Beep Tests 
  • Beat The Clock 
  • Team Challenge 
  • Assault Course 
  • Etc

And let's not forget about themed workouts. 

This was posted over in our Unique Bootcamp Workouts workout sharing community on Facebook by group Trainer Tina. 

Although this challenge was created as a Halloween workout, you can change the name and using whenever you like. 

Tina said..

Bootcamp ideas for small groups.

"Halloween workout!

Clients run out to a bucket & pick a candy of their choice. Once they come back they choose a random exercise from a bag.

  • Calorie = number of REPS of exercise they must perform
  • Sugars = number of burpee they must perform
  • Fats = number of sprints they must perform

We play the whole hour & they can keep they candy they earned! Great way to make them “think before they mindlessly eat” over Halloween!

"My Top Tip For Creating Unique bootcamp ideas for small groups That Will Help You Stand Out From The Crowd"

Here's a little-known secret that will help you get more creative with your session planning, so you can plan more enjoyable workouts for your clients. 

When you choose a workout format to build your class around (I.e., tabata, amrap, emom, supersets, etc. Instead of using the format as it is, use it as a foundation for something better. 

Let me give you an example using the AMRAP format.

I have taken the AMRAP format and created a fun partner challenge that encourages players to work harder than they usually would.

I love this type of drill because it incorporates an element of friendly competition. 


The Main Workout:

Split the group into teams of two then list 6 exercises on your whiteboard set at 10 reps each (completing 10 reps of each exercise equals one round). Player one completes a round while player two either jogs clockwise around and circuit or completes shuttle sprints.

Once finished players switch roles. So this time player two completes a round while player one runs. They have now completed two rounds between them. Repeat for 30-minutes. 

When the time is up, the team that scored the most rounds between them are the winners. Just make sure that one player in each team is counting the round.  

To make things even more interesting, pair weaker players with stronger players where possible.

This type of drill is designed to get players working hard. It's a bit of friendly competition (team building) and it works well. 

Fun Group Workout Finishers

So far we've had the pre warm-up, the main warm-up and the main part of the class. Now let's look at fun group workout finishers. 

One thing to remember when crafting fun group workout finishers is that you want your clients to leave your class on a positive note. 

Therefore, although the finisher should be challenging, it should also be fun so your clients look forward to the next class. 

There are many different types of fun group workout finishers that you can use. In fact, you're only limited by your imagination. 

  • Metabolic finishers
  • Partner finishers
  • Core finishers 
  • WOD Finishers
  • Bodyweight finishers
  • Kettlebell finishers
  • Team game finishers 
  • Running drills
  • Isometric finishers
  • Beat the trainer 
  • Team chipper finishers
  • Song Finishers
  • And so on. 

Here is I prepared earlier 


Fun Workout Finishers 1

Target Tabata is a gamified HIIT workout using the Tabata protocol 

Show the group a big compound exercise. For this example let's go with Burpees. Set your interval timer for a 4-minute Tabata which is 8 rounds of 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest. 

In round 1 players complete as many Burpees as they can at a steady pace. The number of reps they complete is the target for rounds 2-8. 

For example. Let's say a player completes 6 Burpees in round 1. The goal would be to complete 6 Burpees in rounds 2-8. 

When the challenge is over, players who hit their target in each round are safe. Players that did not complete 20 Push-ups, or an exercise of your choice. 

I love this challenge because it encourages your clients to work harder than they usually would, on their terms.


Fun Group Workout Finishers 2

As shown in the list above, there's a huge variety of different workout finishers you can deploy to keep your classes fresh and fun. And some should be more intense than others. 

As a rule of thumb. If you've had a really tough class, it's best to finish with something less intense and more fun, like a team game. 

On the other hand, if you've had a less intense class (perhaps it was more team-based), then it's best to finish with something a bit harder (like the drill above) so clients don't leave unfulfilled.  

The best thing to do is to have a selection of fun workout finishers handy at the end of your classes. That way you have a few choices. 

Or, you can just ask your clients and have a vote. "Do you want something more fun today, or do you want something a little harder?".  

If they opt for something more fun, use a team game. If they opt for something harder, use a harder drill. Simples! 

Here's a fun bootcamp game I have used with great success. It's called British Bull Dog and its lots of fun.

Note: This game also works well if you plan boot camp activities for youths or beach bootcamp ideas). 

The Cool Down

Here's my go-to cool-down that works every time.

Phase 1: As soon as the finisher ends, ask players to find a partner and walk clockwise around a circuit for 3-minutes so they can unwind and have a chat. 

Phase 2: Take your clients through a series of static stretches and make sure you cover the entire body. I love to mix in Yoga stretches because they're a bit more interesting.  

I have attended classes that completed a 3-minute guided meditated after the stretch off. It works really well. So thats an option too. 


Taking the time to craft fun, unique and result-focused bootcamp ideas for small groups (any size group really) is one of the best way to stand out and attract more clients.  

The problem is, where do you find enough creative ideas to keep your classes consistently amazing? I'm glad you asked. 

It's called the Workout Design Club.

With over 2600 creative outdoor bootcamp ideas (and indoor bootcamp ideas) to choose from (new ideas added weekly), you'll always have a fun class that keeps your clients happy and engaged.

Bootcamp ideas


Bootcamp Ideas For Small Groups

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