Bodyweight Boot Camp Workout Finishers

Discover how to use workout finishers at the end of your bodyweight bootcamp training sessions to help you – or your clients – get more results.

By Mike Whitfield

I absolutely love getting new people when I run a boot camp. Our most recent boot camp was outdoors thanks to the cool mornings. Our last workout of the week included one of my favorite bodyweight metabolic finishers of jumping lunges and push-ups like this:

We did the following superset, resting only when needed. I told my campers to catch their breath and jump back in when they can. In the first superset, we did 8 reps of each exercise. In the next superset, we did 7 of each. We continued in this fashion until we reached 1 rep of each.

1A) Jumping Lunges (8ea, 7ea, etc., etc. down to 1)

1B) Push-ups (8, 7, etc., etc. down to 1)

The tricky part when doing metabolic workout finishers with boot campers is to allow beginners, advanced people, and everyone in between to reap benefits and not feel out of place. So before we started the finishers, I told my campers they can substitute the lunge jumps for split squats and for the push-ups, they can perform kneeling push-ups. That way, everyone can do a finisher based on their fitness level.

My veteran campers know metabolic finishers are my favorite part of the entire workout, and my newbies were in for a treat. We had some exhausted folks when we were done, and a few of them even clapped. They know they burned a lot of calories and torched some belly fat.

When writing my boot camp programs, I always make sure I have substitution exercise in mind so that everyone can participate and feel they belong there. Bodyweight metabolic finishers are not just for advanced people. Beginners and intermediate people can benefit from them, it’s just a matter of adjusting the finisher to their fitness level. For example, let’s take a look at a bodyweight workout finisher I wrote for one of my 1-on-1 clients:

Perform this circuit three times, resting for 30 seconds between circuits:

1A) Jump Squats (8)

1B) Explosive Push-ups (8)

1C) Spiderman Climb (10 ea)

1D) Burpees (10)

If I want to use this bodyweight workout finisher with my boot camp, I would certainly have to offer exercise substitutions and change my rep scheme to timed sets. I like to tell my campers to perform the exercise based on their fitness level. The reason I would use timed sets is because some people in my camp can do one rep after another, while others can do a few reps and then need some rest. I would take the bodyweight workout finisher circuit above and change it to this when putting it in a boot camp workout:

1A) Jump Squats OR Total Body Extensions (20 seconds)

1B) Explosive Push-ups OR Regular Push-ups OR Kneeling Push-ups (30 seconds)

1C) Spiderman Climb (30 seconds)

1D) Burpee OR Modified Burpee OR Body Squats (20 seconds)

By offering timed sets, you will notice that the advanced campers can do a lot more reps in the timeframe, which challenges them. At the same time, beginner campers may do a few reps, rest a little bit, and then continue. That’s great – as long as they are giving their best. When using timed sets, I normally use an interval timer like the Gym Boss or I use my stop watch.

By simply switching the bodyweight workout finisher to timed sets and offering exercise substitutions, you can allow metabolic finishers in your boot camp. Boom goes the boot campers’ belly fat.

Even if you run a boot camp with a lot of equipment like the TRX, kettlebells, dumbbells, etc., etc., bodyweight workout finishers are a great way for everyone to end the session together. Let’s face it, the workout finisher is the toughest part of the program.

The extra social support will help all your campers through the tough finish. Then they will all go home and rant about you on Facebook , but that’s cool because it’s free exposure. As a matter of fact, you should hop on to their posts and “like” it.

That’s what I do … “Mike Whitfield just put me through an awesome workout with a bodyweight workout finisher that made me sweat for 3 hours. But my jeans fit a lot better, so I can’t complain.” You can bet some money you will see that “Mike Whitfield likes this” with that thumb up.

You can use a variety of bodyweight workout finishers with your boot camp, even if you have a specific program like I do. My boot camp programs typically last 4 weeks, and they are on an A, B, C system. In other words, we’ll perform workout A on Mondays, workout B on Wednesdays and workout C on Fridays.

If I feel my campers love variety, that’s where I get creative with my bodyweight workout finishers. We sometimes perform a different finisher after each workout over the course of the 4 weeks. Sometimes it is a superset or a circuit. Sometimes we just do one exercise several times with little rest between sets, like Total Body Extensions. We’ll do those for a full minute, rest 20 seconds, and then do it again – good times. It really depends on the clientele. But they love/hate it, and it keeps them coming back.

Bodyweight Workout Finishers Template

Whatever bodyweight workout finishers I choose for my boot camp, the principles and template remain the same, which is:

  1. Offer exercise substitutions to allow beginners and advanced people alike to get the maximum benefits
  2. Use timed sets using a Gym Boss or stop watch (or you can even use an interval timer on your smart phone) so people can go at their own pace
  3. Always tell them that they finished strong – it sounds cool and they enjoy the encouragement

There will be exceptions, like a countdown finisher, and that’s OK. Just keep it simple and tell the campers to stop and catch their breath when they need to, then hop back in when they can. We are there to encourage and push them to do their best, not get them in an ambulance.

metabolic finishersOne of the joys I get is seeing one of my past campers who “graduated”, performing a bodyweight workout finisher after lifting some serious weight. There’s a mysterious addiction to workout finishers, and that’s why I love them so much.

Finish strong,
Mike Whitfield
Certified Turbulence Trainer

Leave a Reply