10 Top Training Tools for Fitness Boot Camp Instructors
How much equipment do you really need to run an outdoor fitness business?
What is the best equipment to buy?
One huge advantage we have as personal trainers is that you can start an outdoor fitness business with literally no equipment and just acquire it as your client base grows.
By starting small at first and setting aside 10% of your income each week for investing in equipment, you will have all you need to run a very profitable, full-scale outdoor fitness business in just a few months.
“Bootcamp Equipment Do’s & Don’ts” [Click to Tweet]
“Equipment You Need To Start a Fitness Bootcamp” [Click to Tweet]
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1. What Do You Really Need To Get Started?
Investment: a few bucks
Markers / Cones / Witches hats
If I had to choose only one piece of equipment to run bootcamps , I would choose these cheap little plastic hats. They are so versatile. I use them as stations in circuits, markers for agility drills, score counters, relay batons, currency(!) and even as team mascots!
Knowledge about bodyweight training
You will need to understand exactly how to use gravity and bodyweight to increase and decrease the resistance for fundamental bodyweight exercises such as push ups, pulls and squats. Dragon Door publish the best books available on this subject.
You’ll also need access to a library of functional exercises that will add variety and fun to your training.
2. Next Steps – What To Buy Next?
Investment: a few hundred bucks
After a few weeks, you should have enough put aside to invest in some useful additions. At this stage, I would go for
- Skipping Ropes / Jump Ropes
- Balls of various shapes and sizes
- Rubber resistance bands
- Battling ropes
Bands and ropes are important because it is difficult to train pulling movements with bodyweight alone.
Go for a purpose made rope that is thick, heavy and has sealed and coated ends. Ideally they need to be about 15m long and at least 75mm thick.
3. Running a Full Time Bootcamp Business
Investment: a few thousand bucks
OK. Once you are rocking along with 30+ clients you should be thinking that it’s time to turn this into a full time business and get serious. At this stage, you should have some money set aside and you will be ready to invest in some truly versatile and quality training equipment. Here’s what I recommend you get:
Sandbags are an awesome substitute for barbell training and have an added advantage that they simulate real-life loads.
Get good quality, waterproof sandbags with good seals so that they do not leak. Both zip and Velcro. You will need bags that have sealed inners so you can interchange them and make various weights. Get twice or three times as many inners as you have sandbags and fill them up with dry sand in units of 5kg and 10kg.
For my workout programs, beginners would start out with 5k to 15kg bags. Intermediates 15kg to 30kg and Advanced participants anything upwards of 30kg+
Sandbags are the most affordable way to acquire heavy weight. Sand is free if you live near a beach and can be purchased very inexpensively from builder’s merchants if you are land-locked.
Kettlebells are so versatile – they can be used to develop conditioning as well as strength. Originally used by the Russian military, this training style was introduced to westerners and made popular by esteemed strength coach Pavel Tsatsouline.
I would suggest 8kg and 12kg for ladies and beginners, and 16kg and 24kg for guys and intermediate to advanced clients.
It’s vital to learn how to coach and cue basic kettlebell lifts such as swings, get-ups and the clean and press. Do not introduce kettlebell training without first learning these movements yourself, preferably from a qualified RKC.
When used properly, kettlebells have been proven to repair and rehabilitate all manner of shoulder and back injuries but they are often blamed for doing just the opposite if you are careless.
A good alternative to kettlebells for beginners or those client who are not ready for kettlebells.
I found that having just three or four smaller sizes is optimal. I like 4kg, 7kg and 10kg
3kg or 4kg for beginners, 5kg or 6kg for intermediates and 8kg to 10kg for advanced.
Get the rubber-coated balls that you can throw around and bounce off the ground.
Boxing Pads and shields
Boxing is an awesome way to train lactate and aerobic conditioning and build muscular endurance. It also adds fun and variety to your sessions and everyone loves to punch and kick, even though they might not admit it.
It’s worth taking a short course or certification to learn how to teach and cue properly and safely. You don’t need to be too technical. In fact it helps if you keep it really simple.
The Bootcamp Workout Ideas e-Manuals contain over 60 different boxing combos and drills to spice things up if you run out of i
Bootcamp Equipment DO’s and DON’Ts
DO take a short course or certification in the equipment that you use. You get way more out of it when you learn how to use it properly.
DO design your workouts to make maximum use of minimal equipment
DO have mostly lighter weights. Group outdoor training is popular because it is fun, accessible and non-threatening. Most civilians fall into the beginner and intermediate categories – so cater for them first.
DON’T invest in a lot of equipment if you are just starting out. Grow your equipment inventory as you grow your business.
DON’T be tempted to make your own equipment. Its unsafe, unprofessional and unnecessary.
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