Wright: Training in an outdoor boot camp
If you have access to a public open space with paths, trails or courts, an outdoor boot camp may be a fantastic addition to your macro indoor exercise program. In general, boot camp formats are complete physical fitness formats which include all five components of physical fitness, and these formats tend to feature high intensity interval training (HIIT) with explosive/power-oriented skills and drills. There are a few guidelines to consider which are highlighted this week to keep you safe and to ensure that the workout is effective. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
Guideline #1 — Scope out the space creating a boot camp design which will be free of potential unsafe obstacles. Look for obscure tree stumps, tree roots which extend well beyond the base of the tree, and if you intend to utilize any of the equipment that may be available in a city park environment, check to make certain it is in good working order.
Guideline #2 — Once you have determined that the space you are considering is safe, then it is time to ascertain what you may be able to utilize as “outdoor props” to create variety, intensity and challenge within the boot camp program. Within city parks, you may have access to pull up bars, push up bars and benches, all of which may be used to perform pull ups (trains the latissimus dorsi/deltoids/biceps and nose to toes core), pushups (trains the pectorals/deltoids/triceps and nose to toes core) and benches which may be utilized to perform step ups/alternating squats/stationary lunges (trains the quadriceps/hamstrings/glutes and nose to toes core), box jumps (plyometrics training for power), and triceps dips. If you do not have access to these type of outdoor props, then consider standing trees for pushups, strong branches for pull ups (test this first!), high/visible tree stumps and boulders for step ups/squats, etc. And, many open space areas offer paths, trails or courts which may be used for sprints, speed drills/skills, jumping, leaping, hopping and bounding.
Guideline #3 — Creating the format is now possible since you know the space is safe and you have a good feel for the outdoor props that you have at your disposal. A circuit format works well with this type of boot camp and you will apply exertion and recovery intervals within the circuit format. For example, choose a circuit of ten stations and know where those are located in sequence so you are progressing forward through the circuit. A good place to begin would be with the trail/path/court and perform HIIT sprints (i.e. 15 seconds all out/45 seconds of active recovery). Then, move on to a squat station followed by an upper body station such as pull ups or pushups. Add in another HIIT station such as jumping/leaping/bounding which may be easily accomplished on a trail and then perhaps lunges.
Guideline #4 — Stick to the format once created and repeat the circuit two to three times through. All HIIT stations should make you winded (including plyo/power stations) and on all other stations you should strive to achieve momentary muscle failure in the final two reps of a 12 repetition set.
Guideline #5 — Begin the boot camp with a dynamic warm-up and end it with a cool down stretch!
Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Mountain Life Fitness, LLC located in Granby, Colorado. She may be reached at her website at http://www.mtnlifefitness.com, her email at email@example.com and her Facebook page at Mountain Life Fitness.
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