LadyGuide: Start a Home Boot Camp Class

I’ve been to so many workout classes and been trained by so many people that almost no type of exercise or workout is new to me anymore. Even so, I like to get my butt kicked by someone else every once in a while.

This month, I signed up for a twice weekly boot camp class. I went to two classes and immediately decided it wasn’t worth my time or money. The instructor wasn’t so interested in making sure participants were getting a good workout (or checking anyone’s form at all!), and the whole class just fell flat, from the music to the moves to the participants. I kept thinking, “I could lead a better boot camp class for sure.”

And then I wondered – Why don’t I lead my own boot camp class for friends? It would help keep me accountable, provide a free way for my friends to work out together, and be a million times better/more fun than the class I paid money to take.

Well, for starters, I don’t have a big enough area in my house. I have enough space to work out myself, but inviting other people would make things tight.

But then I realized that the weather is perfect for outdoor workouts right now. 50-60 degree temps are just right to exercise outside. I have a small backyard, and there’s a park down the street.

Boot Camp

I was also worried about equipment. One thing the class had that I don’t have is plenty of dumbbells, kettle bells, and mats. But all you really need to get a good workout is a set of dumbbells and maybe a mat. Most people have those items, and I have a few extras.

With nothing else in my way, I invited a few friends to come over and planned the workout. If you want to create your own home boot camp class for your friends, click through to see what I recommend. I’m also sharing the specific workout we did so you can use it to get started with friends or on your own!

  • Set a date and time, ideally once a week. My goal is to hold class 1-2x weekly. Pick a time that tends to work for most people (after work is best, but before it gets dark).
  • Make sure you have at least one set of medium-weight dumbbells for each person and a mat. I own three pairs of varying weight dumbbells myself (5, 10, and 12 lbs), but I asked participants to bring a pair if they had them, along with a mat. You can always use towels if there aren’t enough mats to go around.
  • Create a motivating playlist.Honestly, I just used Pandora and played it from my laptop. But make sure you have an hour’s worth of booty-shaking music and a way to play it. It really makes all the difference!
  • PLAN THE WORKOUT. Don’t try to make it up as you go, and don’t include any moves you don’t know how to do properly. If you’re unsure of form, look up a video on a trusted website. I recommend a circuit-style workout combining cardio and strength moves. I used a format of two strength moves, then a couple minutes of cardio moves, then strength, then cardio (and maybe another repeat, for a total of 8-10 short moves per circuit). I planned a lower body circuit, an upper body circuit, and a core circuit to make sure we hit all muscle groups. See the example below to get ideas!
  • Give instructions before and during the workout. Make sure to let your participants know that they should rest when necessary, drink plenty of water, and choose form over speed. You’ll also need to keep an eye on everyone to make sure their form is correct! If you’re going to be the instructor, you can get a good workout, but it has to be a priority to make sure your friends are getting a good (safe) workout too.
  • Motivate! The key to being a good instructor is letting participants know how much longer they have for a certain move and motivating them in the meantime. It’s such a bummer when an instructor is totally quiet during the workout. I’ll say things like, “10 more seconds!” “You got this!” “Let’s GO!” You know, the usual stuff.

Here’s what our first workout looked like:

Warm up

  • Jog around the block (twice if necessary)

Lower Body

  • Walking lunges ““ 4x half a block and back
  • Squats with optional shoulder press ““ 20-30
  • Front kicks ““ 30 secs
  • Tire runs ““ 30 secs
  • Static lunge with pulse ““ 30 seconds on each side
  • Plie squat with calf raise ““ 20-30
  • Jumping jacks ““ 30 secs
  • Jump lunge ““ 10


Upper Body

  • Dumbbell press in bridge position ““ 20-30
  • Push-ups ““ 10
  • Weighted shadow-boxing with optional kick ““ 30 secs
  • 1 block of relay-style running ““ 2 mins
  • Hammer curls in static squat ““ 20-30
  • Tricep kickbacks ““ 20-30
  • High knees ““ 30 secs
  • Jump rope ““ 30 secs
  • Upright row ““ 20-30
  • Tricep extensions ““ 20-30
  • 7-7-7 biceps
  • Jog around the block



  • 30 seconds plank
  • REST
  • 30 seconds plank
  • REST
  • Mountain climbers ““ 30 secs
  • Bicycle crunches ““ 20-30
  • “¨”¨Slow crunches with weight ““ 20-30
  • Squat thrusts ““ 30 secs
  • 30 seconds plank
  • REST
  • Jog around the block


I’ll try to share our weekly boot camp workouts with you all, so you can virtually participate even if you can’t hold your own class!

*Disclaimer: I’m not a certified personal trainer, but if the guy who taught me boot camp can teach professional, I feel entirely confident that I’m qualified to lead a workout class for my friends. These instructions aren’t meant to be applied toward boot camp classes for the general public or paid boot camp classes!

This post originally appeared on the blog YourHealthista.

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