October 14

The Ultimate Bootcamp Equipment List

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In this article I'll share will you the ultimate bootcamp equipment list and answer the question “What equipment should I buy for my fitness boot camp?”.

We will take a look at the benefits of each piece of equipment, potential drawbacks, some bootcamp exercises that you can perform with each, and whether purchasing said piece of equipment is a good idea for your fitness business.

Do I Need Equipment for My Boot Camp?

Absolutely not! You could run a bodyweight boot camp indefinitely and get amazing results, both for your fitness business and for your clients. Check out the hundreds of bodyweight exercise ideas we offer here The Workout Design Club Group Fitness Search Engine.

Running a boot camp can be done with no money at all, it can be done well, and it is ideal if you need to build up your business from nothing. But that does not mean that fitness equipment isn’t useful.

Why You Should  Consider Purchasing Equipment

Bootcamp equipment list

Purchasing fitness equipment can really help your boot camp stand out from the competition. It can reinvigorate your classes, and massively increase the variety of exercises available to you.

In fact, keeping your fitness classes fresh and fun is one of the best ways to retain your clients and generate referrals.

Boot camps are particularly effective for increasing cardiovascular fitness and burning calories. But what if your members want to build muscle? After a while, body-weight exercises may not be enough. That is why equipment can be so useful!

Adding resistance in the form of kettle-bells, medicine balls, tyres, dumbbells, and barbells can really help your members get stronger.

Then you have other pieces of equipment such as battle ropes, skipping rope, and plyometric boxes that can help improve athleticism as well as making workouts more enjoyable.

None of this bootcamp equipment is needed, and you should not start adding it straight away, but they certainly have their place.

Factors to Consider When Brain Storming Your Bootcamp Equipment List



What bootcamp equipment you get really depends on a number of factors:

  • What space you have available
  • How easy the equipment is to move
  • Your budget
  • What your clients want
  • What you want

What Space Do You Have Available For Your Bootcamp Equipment?

If you have a large indoor space which you can call your own, then you can basically have any piece of equipment you fancy. If you're renting a small room in the local village hall then you may not be able to use anything.

Think about the space you have available, and the practicalities of bringing equipment and using it safely. If your boot camp is outdoors then you may have unlimited space, but what is the suitability for equipment?

If your park or field is very muddy, then a sled or prowler would be hard to operate. If there are no strong trees or posts around, then you won’t be able to use suspension trainers, if your space is 800m from the car park, then how do you plan on bringing a barbell with you?

How Easy is Your Bootcamp

Equipment to Move?

As we touched upon earlier, if your boot camp is part of public land then you will have to bring your bootcamp equipment with you to every session. This may not always be easy to do. A lot of the equipment that is used for boot camps is designed to be heavy!

If you are just one coach, then maybe 10 medicine balls is not a great choice for your class. Same goes for dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, and the like. We have already talked about the problems of carrying tyres around.

Skipping ropes on the other hand, are light and easy to transport, as are suspension trainers. If you own a good quality sled or prowler, then it can be used to transport other pieces of bootcamp equipment!

What is Your Budget For Bootcamp Equipment?

When it comes to fitness equipment, the saying “Buy cheap, buy twice” could not be truer. Good quality fitness equipment is often quite expensive. That does not mean that it is bad value for money though. A cast iron kettlebell will outlive most boot camp members!

But if you are going to purchase some bootcamp equipment you need to make sure that it will provide good value for your investment. There is no point spending $5,000 on equipment if your boot camp only has nine members!

While it is of course your decision as to when to start introducing equipment, we would recommend doing so once your boot camp has a reliable income. Remember, the bootcamp equipment that you purchase is a legitimate taxable expense.

What Bootcamp Equipment Do Your Clients Want?

12 Group Fitness Class Ideas and bootcamp ideas

Before spending your money on fancy bootcamp equipment, it is probably a good idea to make sure that your current clients actually want it! If your clients already love your amazing bodyweight routines then bringing in new equipment and changing your session structure may not go down well. 

Now, most clients won’t have an opinion either way, so only listen if your current clients are dead set against it. If that is the case, then you can always consider setting up a separate boot camp where you use equipment. Then look at attracting new clients, or just catering to the clients who are interested.

What Bootcamp Equipment Do You Want?

Don’t bring in bootcamp equipment unless you actually want your boot camp to go in that direction. Remember, you can run an incredibly successful boot camp with absolutely zero equipment, just quality workout ideas and well taught exercises.

Fitness equipment needs to be a smart investment, but it absolutely can be. So, base your decision on the factors mentioned above, and then decide whether you actually want to do it.

What Fitness Equipment Should You Get?

There are lots of different pieces of bootcamp equipment that you can get, many of which suit specific boot camp situations (i.e. a spin bike if you have an indoor studio).

Here, we list ten pieces of bootcamp equipment that you may be interested in bringing to your classes:

  • Battle Ropes
  • Medicine Balls
  • Kettlebells
  • Tyres
  • Dice (giant dice)
  • Playing cards (giant playing cards)
  • Suspension Trainers
  • Farmer’s Walk bars
  • Sleds/Prowler
  • Plyometric Boxes
  • Skipping Ropes
  • Dumbbells/Barbells

We will go through each piece of equipment, give a brief description of what they do, what the pros and cons are, and how you can incorporate it into your workouts.

Should You Add Battle Ropes To Your Bootcamp Equipment List?

Fitness equipment

Battle ropes are really popular with boot camps now, and it is easy to see why. They look really cool, they can be fun to use, they are easily incorporated into circuits, and are relatively cost-effective. Battle ropes can be used for HIIT training and can also be used for tug-of-wars if you have the space available.

Pros:

  • Versatile – there are many exercises that you can do with battle ropes
  • Take up little room when not in use
  • Excellent for HIIT or circuit training
  • Fun to use, and look great (battle ropes will look amazing in promotional videos and photos)
  • Inexpensive – though there is an upfront cost, the ropes can last a long time and are much cheaper than many forms of cardio equipment

Cons:

  • Take up a lot of space when in use
  • Require good technique to be performed, so you will have to teach this to your members before incorporating it into your sessions
  • Difficult, so can’t be used for longer than 30 seconds by most people
  • Need a sturdy pole to wrap the rope around, without that, many battle rope exercises cannot be performed

Five Battle Rope Exercises:

Here are five battle rope exercises that you can perform with battle ropes. We will give a brief description for each:

  • Up & Down Waves – Crouch down into a half squat position with one end of the rope in each hand. Raise both arms up and then bring them down again to create a ripple along the ropes. Try to create large ripples (waves) and perform at a fast pace.
  • Alternating Waves – Same as Up & Down waves, but instead of performing a wave with each hand simultaneously, do it with your left hand then right hand alternating. You can do this faster and create smaller waves.
  • Slams – Stand upright with a rope handle in each hand. Raise both handles up above your head, then slam them down while bending your knees slightly. Raise them back up again and restart.
  • Russian Twist Waves – Sit in a sit up position with a rope handle in each hand, and both hands together in front of your chest. Bring both arms over to your left side, then both arms over to your right side. Keeping your torso straight throughout.
  • Front Raises – Stand upright with a rope in each hand, then raise the ropes so that your arms are parallel, before lowering them back down again. A great way to add a shoulder exercise into your boot camp without using weights.

Should You Use Them?

Battle ropes are something that everyone will want to try. They don’t cost much (compared to most fitness equipment) and they are pretty durable. There are so many variations you can teach, and they fit in with circuit training really well.

The fact that they can be used for tug of war competitions is an added bonus. The only reason not to use them would be a lack of space. Or if you have nowhere to wrap them round (goalposts work well if you are in a field that has them).

As with any equipment, make sure that you have answered the questions raised above before spending money on them.

Should You Add Markers And Cones To Your Bootcamp Equipment List?

fitness marker cones bootcamp equipment

Plastic marker cones should definitely be on your bootcamp equipment list. They can be used for circuit training, to measure distance (I.e. 20m shuttle sprints), for scoring points, playing group games, agility training

Pros:

  • Versatile – there are many different ways you can use marker cones
  • Small, compact and light (take up very little room and easy to transport)
  • Excellent for marking out different circuit training formations
  • Inexpensive and long lasting.

Cons:

  • Can be difficult to clean if you use a permanent marker 
  • Can deform and damage easily if you buy a cheap set
  • They make good dog toys (as I found out), so keep them safe.

Five Ways To Use Fitness Marker Cones

Here are five exercises that you can perform with battle ropes. We will give a brief description for each:

  • Agility Drills – Line 20 markers out with a 1 metre gap between each. One at a time have players weave in and out as fast as they can until they reach the top marker.
  • Circuits – Write eight exercises on eight separate cones and lay out an eight-station circuit. Divide the group onto the circuit so all stations are covered. Players complete each exercise for 1 minute each moving clockwise around the circuit x 3 rounds without stopping. That’s a tough 24 minute circuit training routine.
  • Shuttle sprints– Mark out a 20m distance with 2 markers and have players complete a 4-minute sprint Tabata. 20 seconds sprint, 10 seconds brisk walk x 8 sets.
  • Bootcamp Games – The cone game. See video below.

Should You Use Them?

Fitness marker cones have so many uses, and they don’t cost much compared to most fitness equipment. In fact, if I could only use one piece of fitness equipment, it would be a stack of fitness markers.

Top tip: If you purchase multi-coloured training cones, you can be far more creative when designing things like bootcamp games and team challenges.  

Should You Add Medicine Balls To Your Bootcamp Equipment List?

Boot camp challenges slam ball

We’ve talked in-depth about medicine balls in our article on the subject but it is worth revisiting. Medicine balls are great value for money and are easy to incorporate into a boot camp.

They can either be used as a simple way to increase difficulty to certain exercises (hold them during squats for example) or they can be used for specific medicine ball exercises such as med ball slams.

There are different types of medicine balls, that can be used for different exercises. Rubber or leather, small, medium, or large. Check out the medicine ball article to make sure that you’re buying the right ball for the exercises you want to do.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to add to your boot camp
  • Don’t take up much space when stored or in use
  • Can be used by multiple people at once (throwing to each other etc)

Cons:

  • May need to use several at a time
  • Somebody will definitely get hit in the face by a medicine ball at least once per session
  • Transportation from your car to the field can be difficult

Five Medicine Ball Exercises:

The following five exercises all come from the medicine ball article we linked to above, check it out for more detailed descriptions of each exercise.

  • Medicine Ball Goblet Squats – Hold a medicine ball in two hands in front of your chest. Get into a squat position and perform a squat as normal. This is a great way to increase the difficulty of a common bodyweight exercise using a medicine ball.
  • Medicine Ball Squat Throws – Performed exactly the same as a medicine ball goblet squat, but as you rise up you throw the medicine ball up in the air, catch it, and then return to the squat.
  • Medicine Ball Slams – Use a heavy leather medicine ball for this or you are going to hit yourself in the face! Hold the ball in two hands above your head, and then slam it to the ground. Pick it up and repeat.
  • Medicine Ball Relays – Using a heavy medicine ball, get your members to shuttle run/walk with it. It’s simple yet very effective. Lots of fun too!
  • Medicine Ball Chest Pass – A well-known plyometric movement, but it does require members to be able to throw and catch (not always guaranteed). Alternatively, a member can throw the ball against a wall. Or throw the ball into space and then run to pick it up.

Should You Use Them?

Yes, medicine balls may not be as attention grabbing as some of the other pieces of kit on our bootcamp equipment list. But they are inexpensive, amazing value for money, easy to teach, versatile, and take up little space. If you are planning on purchasing some equipment, medicine balls should be first on your list.

Should You Add Farmers Walk Bars To Your Bootcamp Equipment List?

kettlebells workouts bootcamp equipment

We’ve talked about kettlebells before, check out our article for an in-depth look. They are massively popular in gyms and classes right now, and with good reason. They are fun to use, easy to teach, versatile, and help to burn calories, improve fitness, and increase strength. A great all-rounder.

Pros:

  • Durable, buy once and never have to buy again
  • Excellent way to build fitness and muscle
  • Incredible marketing tool
  • Don’t take up much space

Cons:

  • Expensive if you have a big class and need to buy lot's
  • Need to teach kettlebell technique separately before adding to a class
  • If dropped, you’re going to need a new floor/foot

Five Kettlebell Exercises

We’ve picked some of these exercises from our article on kettlebells, so check that out if you want a more in-depth description.

  • Kettlebell Deadlifts – A fantastic introduction to deadlifting, kettlebell deadlifts are easier to perform than the barbell version, and the weight is easier to manage. Place a kettlebell between your legs (shoulder width apart). Crouch down and place both hands on the bell. Push your chest out and flatten your back. Pick the kettlebell up, pushing your hips forward as you rise. Stop when you are fully upright with hips pushed right into the bell. Pause, and then return to starting position.
  • Kettlebell Swings – The most well-known kettlebell exercise. Deadlift the kettlebell up (see above), then push hips back and forward, with the kettlebell beginning to swing. Push your hips forward powerfully and use the momentum to swing the kettlebell forward until your arms are parallel with the ground. Return the bell and push your hips backwards. Repeat.
  • Kettlebell Farmer’s Carries – Probably the best exercise for large boot camps. Hold a kettlebell in each hand, push your chest out, and then walk forward at a decent pace.
  • Kettlebell Push Press – Great shoulder exercise, hold a kettlebell at shoulder height, bend your knees and then drive upwards pushing the bell straight up in the air. Swap hands after performing the required reps.
  • Kettlebell Goblet Squats – As with the medicine ball squats mentioned earlier, a kettlebell goblet squat is just a simple way to increase the difficulty of a bodyweight squat. Hold a kettlebell in both hands just in front of your chest. Squat as normal.

Should You Use Them?

This is a difficult question to answer. Kettlebells are fantastic tools, and they can really help your boot camp to stand out from the crowd. Clients love them, coaches love them, and they can garner fantastic results.

So why are we hesitating?

Because kettlebells require proper teaching, they can also completely change the direction that a boot camp is heading in. Do you want a boot camp that is smaller in size, with more structured workouts?

If so, then go for it. You can charge more per person, get better results, and reinvest that profit into growing your business.

If not? Then stick to high quality bodyweight workouts using well-designed programs.

Alternatively, you could take the third option. Keep your bodyweight workouts, and then offer a separate kettlebell boot camp session once or twice per week. Giving you the best of both worlds.

Should You Add Tyres To Your Bootcamp Equipment List?

We wrote an entire article on whether or not you should use tyres in your boot camp or not, check it out here [INSERT LINK TO TYRES ARTICLE HERE]. They have many benefits, but as with kettlebells, they can force your boot camp down a path you may not want to go. Anyway, here are the pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Cheap or even free, depending on where you get them
  • Lots of fun for clients and coaches
  • Make your boot camps look more enjoyable and hardcore
  • Versatile, can be used for numerous drills and workouts

Cons:

  • Difficult to transport (yes, we know they are literally designed for transportation)
  • Take up a lot of space
  • Free tires can vary in quality
  • Storage can be an issue

Five Tyre Exercises

The following tyre exercises can be found (plus several more) in our article on tyres. The following exercises are based around you owning a tractor tyre (very big and heavy), rather than a smaller one.

  • Tyre Flips – You will need to teach your clients how to deadlift first, as the movements are similar. Grab the tyre from the bottom, push your chest out and flatten your back. Drive the tyre up and forward as you push your hips forward until the tyre flips. Push it over, walk forward, and restart.
  • Depth Jumps – Stand on top of the tyre, take a two-footed jump off it. When you land, jump straight up in the air. This is a plyometric exercise and is fantastic for building explosive power. The exercise is also good for improving fitness and burning calories. You can edit the exercise, so people jump forward rather than straight up.
  • Step Ups – Stand in front of the tyre with one foot raised up on top of it. Keeping your hands by your sides, lift your other leg up onto the tyre and stand upright. Return the same leg to the ground and repeat for 10 reps. Swap legs.
  • Push Ups – A great way to get multiple people performing push ups at the same time. Either place your hands on the tyre (to make it easier) or your feet (to make it more difficult) and then perform a regular push up.
  • Plank – Exactly the same as the push ups, you can either place your forearms on the tyre, or your feet. Hold the plank position as you would normally. To make it more difficult, switch to plank-get-ups.

Should You Use Them?

We love tyres, and they are such great value for money (particularly if you get them for free). If you can work out transportation and storage, then we would say definitely get one (or more). Unlike kettlebells, you can teach certain tyre exercise to anyone. Step ups, box squats, push ups, and exercises such as mountain climbers can all be taught to beginners.

Tyre flips require a little skill, and you will need some space, but they are a fantastic exercise, and are a lot of fun. If you can get a tyre, do so.

Should You Add Suspension Trainers To Your Bootcamp Equipment List?

Bootcamp equipment list

Suspension trainers such as the TRX (or whatever knock-off version you can find) are beloved by personal trainers operating out of small studios or crowded big box gyms. But can they be successfully added to boot camps?

Check out our article on suspension trainers here for a more in-depth answer.

With suspension trainers it really does depend on your location. They need a sturdy pole, beam, or equivalent to be attached to. If you train people indoors then this is probably not going to be a problem. Particularly if your boot camp is situated in a studio.

Outside though? If you’ve got goalposts or children’s play equipment you can use them. Other than that, maybe a tree (just don’t damage them).

Pros:

  • Good value for money, provided you avoid the designer labels!
  • Storage and transportation are extremely easy
  • Lots of exercises you do with them

Cons:

  • You NEED to be able to secure them to a frame to use them
  • Many exercises need to be fully coached, which can take time

Five Suspension Training Exercises

These five exercises are all designed to be easy enough for beginners to grasp, but each will have numerous variations that you can implement to increase the difficulty for your more advanced members.

  • Squats – Suspension trainers are fantastic for teaching proper squat technique. If you have a member who struggles with the movement then a suspension trainer is perfect. Grab a handle in each hand, step backwards so that the handles are taught, and get into a squat position. Squat down, pulling the handles tight throughout, pause, and then return to the start.
  • One Legged Squats – Performed the same as the squats (above) but with one leg raised in front of you. Perform ten with one leg, then swap over to the other.
  • Rows – A great solution to the lack of upper back exercises that you can do in a boot camp. Grab a handle in each hand, set your feet close together, and then lean backwards. Your arms should be fully extended, then use your back and biceps to pull yourself towards the handles, before slowly returning.
  • Push Ups – Place your feet, one in each handle, then get into the push up position. Perform a regular push up with feet raised in the suspension trainer.
  • Chest Press – Stand facing outwards with a hand in each handle and arms straight out in front of you. Bring the handles backwards and wide as you push your chest through the middle. A great chest and tricep exercise.

Should You Use Them?

If you have a way to securely set them up properly, then you should definitely consider it. But don’t get too worked up about it. There are other pieces of equipment that are easier to set up and don’t require access to a large pole or beam.

Should You Add Farmers Walk Bars To Your Bootcamp Equipment List?

farmers walk bootcamp equipment

Now we’re getting into the realm of the serious weightlifting boot camp, Farmer’s Walk bars are proper strongman/woman pieces of kit. But that does not mean they can’t be incorporated into a boot camp for regular people.

There are lots of different variations of Farmer’s Walk bars, some look like barbell briefcases, while others are just a handle for you to put weights on. They are limited to just the one exercise (Farmer’s walk obviously) which is great for burning calories, improving grip and upper back strength, as well as improving fitness.

Pros:

  • Amazing for relay racing – can get the whole class involved
  • Excellent for improving fitness
  • Look really cool, which is great for marketing and for helping your boot camp stand out

Cons:

  • Difficult to store/transport
  • Single-use, not versatile
  • May put some people off
  • Very niche exercise

Five Farmers Walk Exercises?

Sadly, unlike the other pieces of fitness equipment on this list, we cannot describe five different exercises for this, as there is only one exercise available: The Farmer’s Walk.

  • Farmer’s Walk – Hold one bar in each hand with chest pushed out and shoulders pulled back. Keeping your back straight and arms straight, walk forward at a fast and steady pace. Squeeze the bar throughout.

Should You Use Them?

Most boot camp users do not need a Farmer’s walk bar. Instead, you can use a kettlebell in each hand, or a dumbbell. Farmer’s walk bars are better suited to boot camps that are aimed at men looking to build strength.

They are really cool to use, and would suit a circuit well, but considering the price and the lack of variety, they are definitely an unnecessary purchase for most boot camp owners. If you get offered one for free then definitely grab it, but otherwise spend your money elsewhere.

Should You Add Sleds And Prowlers To Your Bootcamp Equipment List?

group fitness workouts sled

Sleds and prowlers are different pieces of bootcamp equipment, yet we’ve combined them into one section here because they are similar in a number of ways. Sleds are usually smaller than prowlers, and are better on grass, while prowlers are better on concrete. Other than that, they are basically identical.

If you have an outdoor boot camp in a field or park then a sled would be the better choice. If you have an indoor boot camp or a boot camp on concrete then a prowler might be better. But if you buy the wrong one, you’ll still be able to use it!

For the rest of this article we will treat prowlers and sleds as if they are the same thing.

Pros:

  • You can use them to transport other equipment from car to boot camp location
  • Can be pushed or pulled
  • Aerobic and anaerobic workouts possible
  • Fun, tough, and exciting (at least until you’re halfway through a set)
  • Look amazing in promotional videos and photos
  • Great for teamwork and bonding
  • You can attach other equipment such as battle ropes or suspension trainers to them

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Storage can be tricky
  • Require a lot of space

Five Prowler Exercises 

For some of these exercises you will need to get the rope attachment (if it doesn’t already come with one) or you can use your battle ropes.

  • Prowler Chest Push – Get into the sprinting position with hands at shoulder height gripping the handles. Take a deep breath and push the prowler as far forward as you can in one explosive movement.
  • Prowler Pull – With a battle rope attached, get into a squatting position (but lean forward slightly) and pull the prowler towards you as fast and as smooth as you can. You can make it more difficult either by increasing the length of rope to pull, or by increasing the weight.
  • Prowler Run – Get into the Prowler chest push position, but instead of explosively pushing the prowler away from you, keep hold of the handles and sprint/run forward with it.
  • Prowler Walking Pull – Like the prowler pull mentioned above, but instead of standing still and pulling the prowler towards you with a rope, you hold the handles and walk/jog backwards with it.
  • Prowler Crab Walk – Get into a low squat position and grab the narrow handles, now walk backwards (like a crab) while holding on to the handles.

Should You Use Them?

Provided you have the space to use them, a prowler or sled is a fantastic investment for your boot camp. They are superb for burning calories, improving your fitness, and building muscle.

The ability to attach equipment to them, make them a sort of mobile gym. If you have enough space to operate them, a prowler or a sled should definately be on your bootcamp equipment list. 

Should You Add Plyometric Boxes To Your Bootcamp Equipment List?

Bootcamp-equipment-list-box-jumps-plyometrics-.jpg

Plyometric boxes are immensely popular with boot camps, and with good reason. They provide a superb cardio workout, and plyometrics is an excellent specialist form of exercise. Herein lies the problem, plyometrics should not just be chucked into a program for regular gym goers, it could do a lot of damage!

If you are going to add plyometric exercises into your sessions, then you really need to teach these exercises correctly and program them properly. If you are doing box jumps for example, then you don’t want to be doing loads of squats, lunges, or prowler runs, as your members are likely to injure themselves.

Plyometrics is one of those forms of exercise that people underestimate. But it is designed for athletes. Keep that in mind if you want to go down the plyometrics route and buy yourself a plyo box. If you do, then keep reading!

Pros:

  • Can be used for many different plyometric exercises
  • Can also be used for regular bodyweight exercises such as step ups
  • Durable and inexpensive – great value for money
  • Easy to transport and store between classes
  • Great for marketing videos and photos

Cons:

  • Plyometrics is a highly technical and difficult form of training
  • Most people do not need to do it
  • High risk of injury if performed incorrectly

Five Exercises

For this section, we are going to look at five plyometric exercises that you can perform on a plyo box. As we mentioned before, these are technical and intense exercises (even if they may not appear to be), so be careful if you are going to add them into your training.

  • Box Jumps – Stand in front of your plyo box, bend your knees and swing your arms back so you are in a skier’s position. Swing your arms forward as you jump lightly onto the box. You want to land silently like a cat. Once you land CLIMB off the box. Do not jump off and jump back on again, this is a common mistake. Reset, and perform again. Quality over quantity.
  • Depth Jumps – We have already covered depth jumps during the tyres section, it’s exactly the same. Jump off the box, land, and then jump straight up in the air again. You want it to be a small jump really, so use the lowest plyo box you have.
  • Depth Jump into Sprint – Perform the depth jump as mentioned below, drop off box, jump in air, but when you land immediately embark on a short sprint.
  • Box Squats – Compared to the other exercises on this list, the box squat is much easier. This is perfect for clients who are really struggling to squat properly. Just get them to stand in front of the box, and slowly squat down until they are sitting on the box. This teaches them the importance of keeping their heels flat on the ground.
  • Step Ups - Stand in front of the box with one foot raised up on top of it. Keeping your hands by your sides, lift your other leg up onto the box and stand upright. Return the same leg to the ground and repeat for 10 reps. Swap legs.

Should You Use Them?

There are some circumstances where plyometric exercises are appropriate. If you have a small dedicated boot camp made up of strong, supple men and women. They will be able to handle the pressure and intensity of this type of exercise.

Please do not underestimate how challenging plyometrics is on the joints! This is not for regular boot camp attendees.

That being said, anyone can be taught how to perform these exercises safely, and once they’ve built up the strength and fitness (through your boot camp) you can definitely introduce them to it.

We’re not trying to sound patronising here, most of you reading this will be fantastic coaches. But we’re tired of seeing box jumps being misused in boot camps. They are not designed for HIIT or circuits, they are designed for athletes who are looking to increase their explosive power.

Should You Add Skipping Ropes To Your Bootcamp Equipment List?

skipping rope bootcamp equipment

After the many exciting and almost controversial fitness equipment choices we looked at above, skipping ropes are going to look a bit tame! But they have a lot going for them. Skipping ropes are inexpensive, can improve cardio, don’t take up too much space, and are easy to pick up and learn.

The chances of injury are low, and if they don’t turn out to fit your boot camp, they are hardly going to bankrupt you. Skipping ropes could be one of the first investments you make.

Pros:

  • Ridiculously cheap, so you can buy enough for everyone
  • Most people already know how to skip, so not much time spent coaching
  • Easy to store and transport between classes
  • Fun and interesting to use
  • Lots of variations available to make them easier or more difficult

Cons:

  • Can be a little boring
  • Some people struggle to master the technique and may require an alternative exercise

Five Skipping Rope Exercises?

As with the Farmer’s Walk Bar section, we don’t really see the point in naming five different skipping exercises. There are many different skipping techniques, but for 90% of boot camps regular skipping will be enough. It’s also hard to describe!

Should You Use Them?

It’s an interesting decision either way. The arguments for would be that skipping ropes are inexpensive, and can provide a great cardio workout. The arguments against would be that skipping ropes are a bit boring, and that there are better bodyweight exercises that you can perform instead. 

Using skipping ropes may make you look a little boring or uninspired, worst case it may give off the impression of laziness. You’re not really coaching people here, they may as well be on a treadmill.

That being said, skipping rope as a warm up is well established as effective, and as a circuit station it is quite useful as it takes up little space, and is easy for people to pick up and go. 

Should You Add Dumbbells And Barbells To Your Bootcamp Equipment List?

Needless to say, if you are running an outdoor boot camp then dumbbells and barbells are not a great idea. You would find it difficult to transport them, you would need a variety of weights for different people, and you would need to teach people how to perform each exercise with flawless technique.

However, if your boot camp is indoors, dumbbells or barbells certainly have their place. Look at CrossFit, which is basically a fancy boot camp when you strip away all the hype. They use barbells all the time.

If you are going to go down that route, you will need to coach your members individually to perform barbell complexes, deadlifts, and perhaps even Olympic lifts. This could be a fantastic way to expand your business and earn more per client.

But as we mentioned earlier, it will take you further away from your original boot camp. You need to make the decision whether this is what you want or not.

Pros:

  • Unlimited number of exercises and variations for you to incorporate into your boot camp
  • Burn lots of calories, build muscle, increase fitness
  • Members will LOVE your boot camp once they know how to perform the exercises correctly
  • Opportunity to expand your business and earn more per member

Cons:

  • Equipment cannot be easily transported or stored
  • Adding these to your bootcamp ideas list is expensive
  • You need to properly coach every member so that they can avoid injury
  • Takes up a lot of space

Five Dumbell And Barbell Exercises

We’ll stick to just barbell exercises for this section because it is difficult enough boiling down 500+ exercises into just five! Here are five barbell exercises that you can add into your boot camp:

  • Push Press – Hold a barbell using an overhand grip so that it is resting at shoulder height. Bend your knees slightly and then drive the barbell up and over your head. As the bar passes your head, you can bring it backwards slightly so that it finishes directly above the centre of your head. Pause, and then lower the barbell back down, ensuring you move the bar so that it avoids your head.
  • Barbell Deadlift – This is a controversial exercise for a boot camp, as deadlifts really shouldn’t be done for reps. However, it is important to teach, as many exercises require you to pick the barbell up. Deadlifting the bar up is by far the safest option. Set your feet shoulder width apart and turn your feet out slightly. Your shoelaces should be directly under the bar. Bend your knees forward until your shins are rubbing against the bar. Then grab the bar with both hands. Push your chest out and flatten your back. Now lift the bar off the ground, pushing your hips forward as you do so. Stop when you are fully upright with your hips pushed into the bar. Lower the bar back down and push your hips back as you do so.
  • Walking Lunges – Stand upright with the barbell resting on your shoulders. Take a large step forward with your left foot. As you do so, raise your right heel off the ground and drop your right knee. Pause, and then bring your right foot forward while simultaneously raising your left heel off the floor.
  • Barbell Squat – Stand with a barbell resting on your upper back and hands grabbing the bar hard using an overhand grip. Feet should be shoulder width apart. Push your chest out then squat down until your thighs are just past parallel. Pushing your glutes out as you lower yourself. Pause, and then drive back upwards.
  • Barbell Bicep Curl – Stand upright while holding a barbell in an underhand grip with arms hanging straight down and elbows tucked in to your side. Push your chest out and take a deep breath, now curl the barbell up to shoulder height while breathing out. Pause at the top and squeeze those biceps, before SLOWLY lowering the barbell back down to the starting position.

Should You Use Them?

As with many of the items on this bootcamp equipment list, it is a tough decision to make. If you have an indoor boot camp and a way of storing the equipment between classes then you would be crazy not to at least consider it.

However, how often is that the case? Usually boot camps are performed in rented halls, or in parks and fields. If this is the case for you, then dumbbells and barbells are impractical.

In any case, adding these to your bootcamp equimment list can prove costly, and does tend to open up a can of worms. You NEED to teach these exercises properly, and therefore your classes need to be small. If you want a huge boot camp, then stick to bodyweight exercises.

What Will You Include In Your Bootcamp Equipment List?

circuit training

We’ve looked at ten different types of fitness equipment, and hopefully given you a good idea of how to implement each into your boot camp (if you choose to do so).

As you’ve probably worked out, the biggest decision you need to make is how you want your boot camp to be run now and in the future.

There is no doubt that bootcamp equipment can be fun and help you to stand out from the crowd. It makes you look more professional to the untrained eye, and it can massively increase your earning potential.

On the other hand, why spend money on all this equipment when you can build a huge business with bodyweight exercises? It’s what most people want from a boot camp, it saves you a fortune, and it means that you can teach more and more people per session.

Whatever option you take, there are huge benefits and a massive potential for growth. So please don’t worry! Nothing is set in stone either, in a few years you can change direction, or you can even start a second boot camp and have the best of both worlds.

The choice is yours.

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Bootcamp Equipment


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