August 4

The Ultimate Guide To Bootcamp Warm Ups


Fun bootcamp warm ups are crucial to the success of your group fitness business for many reasons.

Aside from helping to prepare the body for rigorous exercise, as to reduce the risk or injury, the best bootcamp warm ups should unite your class and create a fun and energetic team atmosphere from the get go. 

Fun bootcamp warm ups should include things like breaker drills, team building, partner drills, group fitness games and more. Anything that promotes team cohesion.

In this article, we will look at what makes a good warm up and showcase one of our favourite warm ups to inspire you for your own. 

What Are the Best Bootcamp Warm Ups?

A good warm up can set the tone for an entire session, so it is particularly important that you get it right. When planning your warm up, you need it to address the following:

  • Preparation – the main point of a warm up is to ready your body for the workout to come, you can’t just jump straight in to a high intensity workout without warming up first. Look for ways to slowly increase your intensity from the start of the warm up.
  • Injury Reduction – This goes hand in hand with preparation, warm ups can make a big difference when it comes to injury prevention. Get your class to perform warm ups that will increase mobility in the upper and lower body.
  • Break the Ice – Joining a new boot camp can be a little scary for some people. Luckily, a good warm up can really help to integrate people into a group. Focussing on team building through fun warm ups can help improve the cohesion of your group.

How Long Should My Warm Up Last?

There are many factors that should influence exactly how long your warm up lasts, but the main one is time. How long is your boot camp session? If it is an hour, then you can dedicate ten minutes to the warm up and ten minutes to the cool down.

If your boot camp is only half an hour long, then a 5-7 minute warm up would be better. You could even incorporate your warm up into the boot camp itself.

So long as your warm up is getting progressively more intense as you go, it does not matter if the warm up is too long. Ideally, it will merge seamlessly into the session.

Common Warm Up Mistakes

Fun bootcamp warm ups are fairly simple to program, but there are a few common warm up mistakes that we see time and time again. Here is how to identify and avoid them:

Mistake #1: Bootcamp warm ups are too easy

This is one of the most common mistakes around. It is also an understandable one. You just want to get started with all the awesome drills and exercises you have planned for your boot camp. So instead of dedicating 10 minutes to warming up, you just get your clients to do a few jumping jacks before starting.

There are several problems with this. Firstly, your clients are not going to be sufficiently warmed up meaning that injury is more likely, and they won’t be able to perform at their best.

Secondly, they won’t exactly be motivated or pumped for this workout after such a short and dull warm up.

Mistake #2: Bootcamp warm ups are too difficult

On the other hand, create too brutal a warm up and you will have another problem entirely. It is an easy mistake to make. You want your class to start off with a bang, and you program in a bunch of tough exercises to “really warm them up”.

But actually, all you are doing is throwing them in at the deep end. They would need a warm up for the warm up!

Mistake #3 Warm up involves static stretching

There is a time and a place for static stretching, but the beginning of a boot camp is not it. Even if static stretching were an effective way to warm up your muscles (it is not), it would be difficult to think of a more boring way to begin a class!

Speaking of which …

Mistake #4: Warm up is boring

A boring warm up is going to set the wrong tone for your session, leaving your clients listless and uninterested. You want your warm up to excite and motivate, to get each client salivating at what is to come. Be creative, have fun, get them excited for the session ahead.

Mistake #5 Bad warm up technique when jogging/running

According to road runner sports, the way your foot strikes the ground when running can affect your speed, energy consumption, and even the risk of injury. They wrote a fantastic article about this called, the battle of the foot strike.

Mistake #6: Your Bootcamp warm ups lack variety 

I'm often asked. What is the best warm up for boot camp? The truth is, there are lot's of different things you can do in your warm up, and you should mix it up as much as possible. If you stick with the same warm up every time (like a lot of fitness trainers do), your clients will get bored and so will you. 

How To Find Fun Bootcamp Warm Ups Using The Workout Design Club

The WDC is a bootcamp workout builder that makes planning a breeze. Search for the type of drills that you want, then the search engine will filter through from over 2500 drills to instantly display what you want. You can plan a weeks worth of session in under 20-minutes. Click here for more info

A good warm up should be structured so that you manage to increase heart rate, increase mobility, and warm the body up for the workout. This is the structure that is recommended:

  • Cardio (game): Bootcamp warm up games get people moving in a fun way. They get the heart rate up, and helps warm them up for exercise. Low impact, low to medium intensity.
  • Mobility Drills: Helps to increase range of motion and mobility, a great way to get people to pay attention as you outline the session. Perform 2-3 mobility drills depending on the length of your class.

Simple Bootcamp Warm Ups That Are Fun And Effective

bootcamp warm ups
My best bootcamp warm ups usually start with a progressive cardio drill like the one below, slowly increasing in intensity. 

Let's start with the pulse raiser (cardio). The pulse raiser is the first part of a warm-up and is used to gradually increase the heart rate.

Progressive sprints are a good example because it requires no equipment. Start at a slow pace then turn up the speed after each round.
  • 20m Shuttle sprints at 20% effort for 1-minute
  • 20m Shuttle sprints at 30% effort for 1-minute
  • 20m Shuttle sprints at 40% effort for 1-minute
  • 20m Shuttle sprints at 50% effort for 1-minute
  • 20m Shuttle sprints at 75% effort for 1-minute

You can do the exact same but in reverse for you cool down. 

A great way to continue the warm up is with a game of tag. Depending on the size of the boot camp you can either start with one or two taggers. When someone is tagged, they must perform five reps of an exercise (jumping jacks, squats, push ups etc) before they can become a tagger themselves.

You can swap exercises around to suit different abilities, or you can let the tagger decide what exercise to give.

Once the game has finished get everyone round in a circle, and you can get them to perform 2-3 mobility drills. At least one for the upper body and one for the lower body.

Bootcamp Warm Up Exercises

  • Spiderman Lunge: Take a large lunge forward, place your hands on the ground as if you were about to perform a push up, then push your chest out and raise your head up. Hold the position and then return to the start, swap legs and repeat.
  • Arm Swings: The simplest of mobility drills, stand upright with chest pushed out. Swing both arms up and above your head then rotate your shoulders and bring them back down to your sides so that you have performed a full rotation.
  • Side to Side Squats: These are very similar to lateral lunges, but use the glutes more. Stand upright with feet together and hands held together. Take a large step to the right and then squat down, your left leg should straighten out as you do so. Return to the starting position and then repeat with your right leg.

Best Bootcamp: Final Thoughts

Fun bootcamp warm ups are fairly straight forward. Find a fun cardio-based exercise/drill to start things off. Then go into a few mobility drills that echo what you will be doing in the regular session. Make sure that the ice breaker drill, game or team activity you are using is simple to do (no complex rules) and is not too difficult. 

If you can do that, then your sessions will improve dramatically. No injuries, well warmed-up and happy clients. Perfect! And like I said earlier, the best warm up for bootcamp are the ones packed with fun and variety. 

You can find my entire collect of group fitness ideas over in the Workout Design Club. The WDC is a group fitness search engine that lets you plan your sessions with ease.


bootcamp warm ups

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