8 Moves to Whip Your Body into Boot Camp Shape

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No drill sergeant required.

When you think of “military” workouts, what comes to mind? Demi Moore as GI Jane cranking out endless pushups? Recruits crawling through barbed-wire mud pits or climbing over sky-high walls? No doubt, military training—or boot camp, as it is broadly known—has long been synonymous with body-weight exercises performed to complete exhaustion.

But basic training is moving beyond the cinematic drill-sergeant cliche, says Tee Major, our stud of an instructor. So rather than, say, test upper-body strength with pushups or endurance with a long run, today’s troops are getting tougher by being smarter: They’re incorporating mobility exercises, speed work, and explosive power moves, all designed to make them stronger, faster, less fatigued, and less prone to injury.

“We’re training our military more like top athletes,” says Major. “We still need to keep them on their toes and improve physical and mental toughness, but it’s more about building them up—not breaking them down.”

What’s in it for you? This total-body routine, which Tee created exclusively for WH. It’s how he trains his “everyday” military athletes (i.e., those not currently deployed), as well as troops in areas with limited resources. Your biggest opponent here: the clock. “By using the stress of a 30-minute time limit, this workout requires you to stay focused and grit through those moments when you want to give up.”

The workout: Two or three times a week, perform the exercises in the order instructed as one circuit. Your mission: Complete three rounds in 30 minutes or less. You’ll need to move quickly, stopping to rest only when absolutely necessary. But the payoff is worth it—a more flexible, more powerful, more sculpted you. (If you’re looking for your next challenge, check out Women’s Health’s new Ignite routine, created by Next Fitness Star Nikki Metzger.

30 minute bootcamp workout

EXERCISE 1: INCHWORM

Inchworm move

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, then fold forward and place your hands on the floor in front of you, bending your knees slightly if needed (A). Walk your hands away from your feet, keeping your core tight (B), into a pushup position, then slowly drop your hips and raise your chest toward the ceiling (C). Pause, then press into your hands and raise your hips toward the ceiling, keeping your legs straight (like you’re in downward dog), then return to pushup position and slowly walk your hands back toward your feet and stand. That’s one rep. Do five.

EXERCISE 2: DEEP LUNGE WITH ROTATION

Deep Lunge with Rotation

Step your left foot forward and bend your left knee to lower into a forward lunge, then bend your torso forward and place your hands on the floor on each side of your left foot (A). Keeping your right leg nearly straight, rotate your torso to the left and raise your left arm toward the ceiling (B); pause, then slowly reverse the movement to return to start. That’s one rep. Do 10, then switch sides and repeat.

EXERCISE 3: BURPEE

burppee exercise

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides (A). Push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body as deep into a squat as you can, then place your hands on the floor in front of you and shift your weight onto them (B). Step or jump your feet back into a pushup position (C). Quickly reverse the movement to return to start. That’s one rep. Do 10.

EXERCISE 4: SPRINT SHUTTLE

sprint shuttle

Find an open space (like a court, field, or long driveway) and place two cones or markers 50 yards apart, then position three additional markers roughly equidistant between them. Standing at the first marker, sprint to the second marker and bend your knees to touch the ground there with your hand, then immediately sprint back to the first marker, touching the ground again. Repeat this pattern without stopping, running as quickly as possible to the third marker, then back to the beginning, and then the next farthest marker and so on, until you have run to the last marker and back.

EXERCISE 5: KETTLEBELL SWING

Kettlebell Swing

Holding a kettlebell with both hands at arm’s length in front of you, stand with your feet slightly more than hip-width apart and push your hips back, bending your knees slightly to bring the weight between your legs (A). Squeeze your glutes and thrust your hips forward to swing the weight to shoulder height, keeping your arms straight and core tight (B). Reverse the movement, bringing the kettlebell between your legs, and continue swinging back and forth for 10 total reps.

EXERCISE 6: KETTLEBELL GOBLET SQUAT

kettlebell goblet squat

Standing with your feet slightly more than hip-width apart, hold a kettlebell at chest height with both hands, elbows bent and pointing toward the floor (A). Sit your hips back and bend your knees to lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor (B), your elbows brushing the insides of your knees. Pause, then press through your heels to return to standing. That’s one rep. Do 10.

EXERCISE 7: DUMBBELL DEADLIFT TO CURL AND PRESS

Dumbbell Deadlift to Curl and Press

Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, and hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides (A). Keeping your chest up, push your hips back and bend your knees to lower your body toward the floor (B). Press through your heels to stand; bend your elbows to curl the weights toward your shoulders (C), then press them directly overhead until your arms are fully extended (D). Reverse the movement to return to start. That’s one rep. Do 10.

EXERCISE 8: RENEGADE ROW

Renegade Row

Get into a pushup position with your hands resting on dumbbells and your feet slightly more than hip-width apart (A). Brace your core and keep your hips parallel to the floor as you pull one weight toward the side of your rib cage (B). Slowly lower the weight, then repeat with the other arm. That’s one rep. Do 10.

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