A Boot-Camp-Style Workout: Fit Check

This unusual outdoor workout by Grant Hill is sure to shake up your normal exercise routine.

Grant Hill and one of his clients competed in the Tough Mudder competition this past month. Photograph courtesy of My Bootcamp’s Facebook page

In August, DC Event Junkie Lisa Byrne shared her health success story with Well+Being, and our curiosity was piqued after reading about her unusual workouts with personal trainer Grant Hill.

While Grant, the founder of My Bootcamp, is a highly sought-after spinning class instructor at Life Time Fitness in Rockville, he’s also known for tying a 60-pound tire around his clients before they sprint across a field.

Sure, that doesn’t exactly sound like a walk in the park, but Hill’s exercises are sure to be a refreshing twist on your everyday fitness routine.

We asked him to draw up one of his crazy boot-camp-like routines for this week’s Fit Check. All you need for these six exercises is a water-filled gallon jug, a hill, and yourself—and you’ll probably want to drink that gallon of water after this tough workout.

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A Gallon and a Hill

Completely fill a gallon container with water. When filled, the jug will weigh about 8 pounds. To increase the challenge, use two gallons (one in each hand). If 8 pounds is too much, simply fill the jug halfway.

Next, find a hill.

WARMUP: Weighted Jumping Jack
Reps: One minute, or until you are breathless
Muscle area: Total body exercise

This warmup involves regular jumping jacks; the only difference is that you’ll be holding on to the jug with both hands and performing a shoulder press instead of the arm circles.

Start with the jug at your chest and feet together. As your feet kick out to the side, press the jug up above your head. Bring your feet back together and the jug back to your chest, and you’ve completed one full rep.

EXERCISE ONE: Uphill Walking Lunge
Reps: One
Muscle areas: Core and entire lower body

Perform a walking lunge up the entire length of the hill. To properly perform the lunge, stand up straight with your shoulders pulled back. Take a giant step forward. Plant your forward foot, halt your forward momentum, and draw your back knee to the ground. Go only as low as you can control.

Power off your rear foot, swing the leg all the way through into the next step without stopping, and repeat the movement.

For more of a challenge, walk up the hill while holding the jug overhead, or lunge with one jug in each hand, holding them at your side.

Reps: 20 reps or 45 seconds
Muscle areas: Total body exercise

At the bottom of the hill, stand with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Hold a single jug with one hand. Keep your head and chest up during the exercise.

To start, touch the ground with the jug, then power up, taking the jug all the way over your head in one motion. You should nearly graze your shirt with the jug on the way up. With control, come back down to the ground and repeat.

After you’ve finished the One-Up, sprint up the hill, then walk back down.

Too hard? Ditch the jug.

Too easy? Perform the exercise from a split-legged stance (one foot in front, one foot behind).

EXERCISE THREE: Plank Row/Fly Combo
Reps: Ten on each side
Muscle area: Core

At the bottom of the hill, get in a plank position. For this exercise, you will keep one hand on the ground while holding the jug with the other. Make sure you have your feet set wide (wider is easier, closer is harder). While holding the plank position, perform a row, pulling the jug to your chest and then back to the ground. Lightly touch the ground, then perform a rear fly, bringing the jug out to your side and squeezing your shoulder blades together. That’s one rep.

After ten reps on each side, sprint up the hill.

Too hard? Modify the plank by lowering your knees to the ground.

Reps: Ten
Muscle area: Total body exercise

Begin standing tall, holding the jug overhead. Jump as high as you can. Land with soft knees and take your hands all the way down to the ground, setting the jug down between your feet. Place your hands on the ground and kick your feet back into plank position at the same time. At this point you can add a pushup or simply retrace your steps, going right back up to the jump.

Too hard? Take out the kick back into plank. Just jump up, then touch the ground.

EXERCISE FIVE: Overhead Halo Sprint
Reps: Two hill sprints with overhead haloes
Muscle area: Core and spinal stabilization

As you sprint up the hill, hold the jug overhead and make big halo-like circles. Do the first rep up the hill rotating in a single direction. Rest on the way down. Switch directions of your rotation for the second sprint.

Too hard? Walk instead of sprinting.

EXERCISE SIX: Power Crunch
Reps: 15
Muscle area: Abdominals, shoulders, back, and hips

Lie down completely flat. Hold the jug in your hands overhead, keeping your legs and arms straight. Simultaneously draw your knees to your shoulders and pull the jug up and over, pressing through to your heels. Lift your shoulders off the ground as if you’re doing a traditional crunch. Unfold, bringing the jug to a light touch on the ground and keeping your heels off the ground. That’s one rep.

Too hard? Ditch the jug and/or keep your knees bent. The straighter your legs, the harder it is.

One last sprint up the hill, and you’re done!