San Diego — A typical boot camp-style workout enhances aerobic capacity and promotes significant calorie burning while also improving muscle fitness, according to a study released by the American Council on Exercise (ACE). The exclusive study on the benefits of boot camp workouts was conducted at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse through its exercise and health program.

The study tested men and women between the ages of 19 and 29 years old. Researchers used a 40-minute video to measure the effects of boot camp-style workouts, which incorporated a balance of aerobic exercise and strength training.

The average exerciser burns approximately 9.8 calories per minute during a typical boot camp-style workout, the study concluded, which equates to 400 calories during a 40-minute video.

Based upon the data collected in this study, subjects were exercising within industry-accepted guidelines for exercise intensity.

“The study simply validates boot camp as an effective mode of exercise to produce results,” says Pete McCall, an exercise physiologist with ACE. “A facility could offer a boot camp class as an effective means of jump-starting a workout program or as a way to break up the monotony of cardio-respiratory training.”

The challenge is to find qualified professionals who can lead the classes in a safe and effective manner and to find the space for the classes, he says.

“Urban clubs might not be able to offer boot camp-style classes because they are limited to using a group exercise studio, which doesn't allow room for many running drills,” he says. Larger suburban clubs are more likely to have the room that allows the participants to take part in the full boot camp experience, he says.

View the ACE study summary (PDF) on their Web site.