How to teach a boot camp class

Updated April 17, 2017

A boot camp class seriously whips participants into shape. Boot camp classes are intense because they incorporate military-style teaching and drills into fitness classes. Circuits are key in boot camp classes, as students work nonstop, going from jumping jacks and push-ups to squats and crunches. Whether you're a seasoned fitness instructor looking to teach boot camp or a newbie who wants to start teaching fitness, here are some tips on how to teach a boot camp class.

Obtain the necessary certifications to teach fitness. You must have a primary fitness certification from an institution like ACE (American Council on Exercise) or AFAA (Aerobics and Fitness Association of America). Most health clubs and fitness facilities will require you to be certified.

Look into specific boot camp teaching certifications. While not generally a requirement to teach boot camp classes, this extra certification can give you a step above the competition.

Get CPR-certified. Most gyms require that all instructors are CPR-certified. Even if you are teaching on your own, it's a good idea to know this life-saving skill.

Take boot camp classes at a variety of different facilities. Observe the teaching styles and drills that other instructors use. Even after you've been teaching boot camp classes for a while, it's a good idea to continue to take classes from other instructors. You'll continually learn new techniques, and it will keep your classes fresh.

Plan the entire class ahead of time. Generally, boot camp classes feature drills that are cycled through a few times. For example, you may take your class through a set of jumping jacks, a set of squats and a set of push-ups. Repeat this cycle three times. Try to make a class plan that works the entire body.

Take note of the fitness equipment available at your facility, and try to incorporate some of it into your classes. You can use weights for bicep curls and steps for tricep dips. Using the equipment will add variety to the classes and provide more options for full body workouts.

Choose music that matches the exercises you plan. Remember to keep the music high-energy since boot camp classes are intense. You want the music to motivate participants.

Allow time for full body stretching at the close of the class. Stretching helps prevent injuries.


Remind students to hydrate throughout the entire class. Keep your teaching instructions firm and strong. It is a military-style workout, so a stronger tone is appropriate.


Keep your eyes open for any students who are struggling. Stop anyone who is performing moves that could cause injuries.

Things You'll Need

  • Music
  • Fitness equipment
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