Bootcamp Workout: The “21, 15, 9, 3”

BOOTCAMP 21 15 9 3

When running a Bootcamp, there’s a whole heap of things we need to consider as fitness trainers. The participants’ expectations, the music, the community, the workout + way more. When it comes to the workout component, it’s essential you have as many different workout styles in your toolbox as possible, so that your participants aren’t completing the same style over and again, getting bored, and stagnating. One of my favorite bootcamp workouts is the “21, 15, 9, 3”!

Here’s how it works:

“21,15,9,3” Bootcamp Workout Format

Pick four different resistance or plyo exercises.  Your participants will then complete:

  • 21 reps of exercise #1
  • 15 reps of exercise #2
  • 9 reps of exercise #3
  • 3 reps of exercise #4
  • 10 yards of a “moving” exercise (e.g shuttle run, bear crawls, walking lunges, etc.)

Once they have completed the “3 reps” of exercise #4, they’ll then start back at exercise# 1 and repeat the workout. Their goal is to complete as many rounds as possible in 12 mins.


  • 21 squat jumps
  • 15 suspension rows
  • 9 lateral lunges (each leg)
  • 3 burpee and tuck jumps
  • 10-yard shuttle run

Repeat as many rounds as possible in 12mins.

You as the trainer would then give your participants a few minutes break and ask your participants to perform another “21, 15, 9, 3” but with different exercises.


Repeat as many rounds as possible in 12 minutes.

The two 12-minute sets, plus explanation time at the start and the few minutes break in-between usually results in a 30 minute workout – which is perfect if you’re running a 45 minute class (as you’ll also be doing a 10-15 minute warm up and a few minutes cooldown).


Learn more in our Functional Training Specialist as a part of our Continuing Education Course Series.
Functional Training Specialist course


Workout Considerations

The exercises listed above are just examples that you can substitute with your own exercises. There are just a few important things to consider when programming for a “21, 15, 9, 3” workout.

Consideration 1: Program the less physically demanding exercises to be the “21” and the “15” and program the more physically demanding exercises to be the “9” and the “3”. Using the first block as an example – “Squat Jumps” are a much less physically demanding exercise than a “Burpee and Tuck jump”, hence why the “Squat Jump” is the “21” and the “Burpee and Tuck Jump” is the “3”.

Consideration 2: Use the “unilateral” exercises as your lower reps and your participants need to perform that number of reps on each side. For example, in the first workout block above, one of the exercises is “lateral lunges”. The participants should complete “9” reps on each side as opposed to “9” reps total. The reason why these exercises work better as the lower reps is because if your participants had to do 21 reps on each side – they’d be there all day.

Consideration 3: Use a variety of exercises when it comes to your “moving” exercises. Trainers will often use a “shuttle run” as the go-to movement exercise but there is a vast variety – running, lunging, jumping, crawling, etc. On top of that, the same movement can used in different ways. For example, the shuttle run could be a “side shuttle run” or a “retro-run”.

That’s the “21, 15, 9, 3” – give it a go and let me know what you think!

P.S.: If you like these type of workouts, I’ve got a few more listed on my Fitness Education Online website.

P.P.S.: If you’d like further education when it comes to running a successful Bootcamp, you may want to check out this Bootcamp Level 1 CEC course.


Jono is the Co Founder and Director at Fitness Education Online, one of the largest providers of online CEC courses for Fitness Professionals. Jono has been in the industry since 2009 and also a best selling author, a podcast host and a winner of the Fitness Australia Educator of The Year Award.. Fitness Education Online also have one of the largest Facebook Groups in the world for Fitness Professionals with over 15,000 members click here to join.
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