And it was no different when I joined the Royal Marines. We all went through a progression to take our fitness to the next level, which is why I designed my 6-week boot camp the way I did - with fitness progression at its heart. In this article I share my thoughts on fitness progression techniques in the world of boot camps, and how I believe a lot of people are getting it wrong.
Not all boot camps are the same
This may sound cheesy but it’s true. When I was initially looking at starting up a professional fitness boot camp I looked around at other boot camps and classes for inspiration. What I saw didn’t inspire me at all. None of them made any sense!
Some of the low intensity classes were great for beginners, yet these offered little or no strength training and the participants would never progress their fitness levels as the intensity stayed low.
Other outdoor fitness boot camps looked great from the outside. But on closer inspection only offered random exercise drills with no chance of building a strong foundation and no progression.
Some of the regulars from the local HIT (high intensity) class wasn’t strong or fit enough to perform the exercises with good form and technique. Proving that they shouldn’t really have been participating on such a class with such a low fitness and strength level.
This was the same problem when I used to teach Level 3 Circuit Training at the university of Bristol. All the circuit classes were of high intensity, but the Level 3 circuit class was the hardest of all the circuit training the university had to offer. As much as I enjoyed putting the Uni-students through their paces, I also new that training with such high intensity for a prolonged period, weeks and months was not good for the joints, immune system and nervous system. A hard lesson I learnt back from my Marine days.
Progression of fitness
With all this evidence I felt that the fitness industry was letting its customers down by not offering a progression of fitness. The big corporate gyms who seem to dominate the fitness industry only offered stereo typical classes which again didn’t offer a progression of fitness.
However, from my own experience of Royal Marine training I knew first hand not only the importance of a progression fitness overload, implementing all the components of fitness but also the importance to cycle round the various intensities of training methods for injury free training.
Creating a training system of progression
Now it made sense. I couldn’t believe the answer was staring me in the face all along. And based on my own Royal Marine training too!
A training system that could increase a person’s strength and fitness. A training system that would offer injury free training. A training system that could be cycled round back to back and adapted to all fitness levels.
I couldn’t believe I didn’t think of it before and 6 weeks became the perfect time frame.
Training outdoors was another important factor when designing the 6-week training system of progression. Not only did most of my Royal Marine training take place outdoors, training outdoors offer so many health benefits that you’ll never get from training inside. Increased Vitamin D, stronger immune system from healthy friendly bacteria, increased self-esteem and with the reduction of depression are just a few.
The 6-week programme
Weeks 1 & 2: Basic Fitness Drills, Core Strength and Conditioning
Focusing on building a solid fitness foundation. Here we’ll be looking at quality of exercise with full range of movement. Low intensity and low impact exercises which will not only build muscle strength but will also build tendon strength for stronger healthier joints. With regular ongoing training, week 1 will also offer recovery from the previous week 6. Preparing for weeks 3 & 4.
Weeks 3 & 4: Increased Fitness Drills, Speed and agility.
Now It’s time to change the focus with a little more cardio training and increasing the training intensity affect. This will include training sessions designed to increase your training heart rate and lactic acid threshold. Preparing for weeks 5 & 6.
Weeks 5 & 6: High Intensity Military Fitness Drills.
With less rest periods to recover, we’ll be adding more high impact and high intensity exercises and fitness drills that will take your fitness to the next level.