Today’s post is an excerpt from the new version of the little bootcamp book of Workouts.
How To Plan A Workout
Once you have got your general idea or goal for a workout it’s now just a matter of fleshing it out into a one hour or 45 minute session.
I know most of your reading this book run one hour sessions so I’m going to run you through how I plan out a session for that time length.
The general order of events for one of my workouts is:
- Warm Up
- Main Drill
How long each of those parts will take all depends on how long the main drill of that day is.
Sometimes it’s a big strength drill challenge that takes 40 minutes leaving me just time for a warm up and cooldown. Othertimes it’s a high intensity 20 minute long drill which means that we will spend more time mobilizing and playing games that day.
One thing you will struggle with if you are just starting with group training planning is approximating how long it will take your group to complete a drill.
This is one of those things that will come over time with experience. You will also find it will vary depending on the group your are training. I can offer some advice though to help you out.
My biggest tip is to allow time for explaining the exercises and drills in your plan. The more exercises you have included the more time you will have to spend properly demonstrating each one. So try keep the number of different exercises low if you can so that your clients can spend more time exercising and less time watching you.
When you are just beginning, overplan your sessions and then cut back on the fly during the session. Save the stuff you didn’t get to for another workout, don’t try and cram it all in. It’s better to have too much and have to scrap some stuff than to try and come up with half a workout during the middle of the workout.
If you are feeling unsure about trying to guess the timing then time everything out in your workout.
A very simple example:
An 8 station circuit with 50 seconds of exercise on each exercise (with 10 seconds to change stations) will take 8 minutes to complete. If you allow 2 minutes rest between each round of the circuit they can do 3 rounds and it will take 30 minutes.
Add 5 minutes to the start to demonstrate the 8 stations at the beginning and you are left with 25 minutes to fill with a warm up, game/finisher and cooldown.
General rules of planning
Sometimes when I’m planning a workout I just throw all the rules out. However, here are a few rules that I do follow most of the time.
10 minutes minimum for warm up.
No matter how long my total workout is, I always devote at least 10 minutes of it to warming up. Clients that are warmed up are less likely to get injured. Injured clients can’t come to sessions and therefore can’t pay you. Or if they do come to sessions still injured they are a pain in the butt to plan for.
Be proactive, warm them up properly and avoid injuring them. Simple stuff but I still see way to many trainers skimp on a good warm up.
Alternate games and finishers.
You won’t often have time for a finisher AND a game in your workout so alternate them session to session. ie. on Monday do a game then on Wednesday do a finisher then Friday do a game again.
This helps keep your sessions varied and gives the campers who like games some games and the campers who like to finish a workout feeling they are about to puke some of the stuff they like too.
Just do one main drill.
A common mistake I see a lot of new trainers make is trying to fit too many different drills in their workout.
While is may seem like including more drills adds more variety, all you end up doing is making your clients stand around a lot while you demonstrate yet another drill.
Instead of variety inside one workout, focus on variety session to session. That is why we plan out a month at a time.
Pick just one drill to focus on for the session. Make it bigger or longer if you need and then use games and/or a finisher to make up any remaining time.
Keep a timeline next to your plan.
Next to each drill or section in your workout write down how long (or how long you think) it will take to complete.
Keep a running total so you can make sure you are staying under 60 minutes.
Use these estimates when you run the workout to make sure you are staying on schedule.
Traditional bootcamp workouts have come a long way since the days of circuits and shuttle runs. We are now catering to a huge range of people, from hardcore lifetime exercisers to weight loss clients to general fitness maintainers to women-only bootcamps to sporting teams and even to our aging population.
Quite often you will have a complete mix of the above groups in one class. Therefore your workouts need to be flexible enough that you can swap out an exercise or drill on the spot if need be. Creating a rigid or overcomplicated routine can leave you in a really tough spot.
So keep 9 out of 10 workouts you deliver as simple as possible. Reserve that more complicated workout for when you are training long time clients or running a special event.
I’ve been working on a huge update to The Little Bootcamp Book of Workouts and you just read one of the new chapters on planning from it.
It’s actually here!
It’s got an additional 30 workouts, including a book 19 workouts you can do with a small space, like indoors or undercover. There are HEAPS of new ideas for you to keep things fresh for your clients.
There is also a collection of my favourite warm ups and finishers which I know you are always looking for new ideas on.
Finally the guide book to creating unlimited workouts has gotten an update.
I don’t expect you to want to buy before trying, so if you haven’t already, pop your email in on the right to get a PDF sample of 3 workouts from the indoor collection.
Kyle Wood created Bootcamp Ideas in 2010 when he was hunting around on the internet for workout ideas. He ran a successful bootcamp in Victoria, Australia and spends his spare time managing this site, adventuring (or lazying) with his wife and find new ways to make bootcamps even better.