I have to be honest: for the longest time I was afraid of taking Peloton bootcamp classes. Just the name “bootcamp” scared me. It made me think of the Cross Fit classes I’d seen people posting about on Facebook, and that just wasn’t my jam.
But earlier this week I got an email from Peloton announcing a new challenge focused on, you guessed it, Peloton bootcamp classes. If you complete the challenge, which is taking at least four Peloton bootcamp classes in a two-week period, you get a badge–like a milestone badge.
Well, I’m a sucker for the Peloton badges. So, I signed up.
Two kinds of Peloton bootcamp classes
It’s important to point out that there are two kinds of Peloton bootcamp classes, if you will. One kind is called Tread Bootcamp. The other kind is called Bike Bootcamp. You may hear some people refer to this latter one as cycle bootcamp. It’s all the same.
You can access both the Tread and bike bootcamps from the Peloton app as well as on the Peloton website. However, the Peloton hardware tablet or touchscreen shows only the bootcamps that pair with that piece of equipment. So, you can only access Peloton Tread bootcamp classes from the Tread, and Peloton cycle bootcamp classes from the bike or bike plus.
So does the Peloton bike have bootcamp classes? Yes it does. But only the cycle bootcamp classes.
You can take any of these Peloton bootcamp classes On Demand (that’s how I’ve been doing it) or live. For example, last night Jess Sims had a LIVE 60-minute bike bootcamp. Um, that was a little too hard core for me, since I’m just a beginner.
Getting started with Peloton bootcamp classes
The first Peloton bootcamp class I took was on the Tread. Well, actually, it was for the Tread. I only own a Nordic Track treadmill, but I was able to modify for that. (More about that later.) Next, I took a Peloton bike bootcamp class.
If I’d wanted I could have gone through the beginner bootcamp class series. You’ll find it on the app under “Collections.”
I had to scroll down pretty far to find it. It’s called “Welcome to Peloton Tread Bootcamp.” It’s a collection of 25 classes that starts with bootcamp warm ups. There isn’t a timeline attached to it so you can take it at your leisure. It has both beginner and intermediate classes. So I guess if you’re looking for Peloton bootcamp classes for newbies, this would be it.
Are Peloton bootcamp classes good?
After my first classes, this is how I felt. Honestly? What had I been waiting for? I loved them. The classes were so good! Sure, I’m sore but sore in a good way.
Maybe you’re curious (or chicken like I was) about these Peloton bootcamp classes. So let me walk you through what they are all about so you can get started taking them, too. Think of this as my bootcamp class review for both cycle and Tread.
What are Peloton bootcamp classes like
Like I said when I first heard about bootcamp classes, I thought they would be grunt fests like I’d seen at Cross Fit. Boy, was I wrong. Here’s how Peloton bootcamp classes work and what they’re like or what you can expect.
First, you start with the aerobic or cardio portion of the class. You get your cardio on a treadmill or the bike. How long you do the cardio depends on how long the class is.
Second, after cardio, you get down on the floor for the strength portion of the class. Some of the bootcamp strength classes use weights. Other just use your body weight.
The first class I took with Peloton instructor Rebecca Kennedy was all body weight. So even though I’d laid out my dumbbells on my mat, I ended up not needing them.
Third, with some bootcamp classes, you finish out with a second session of cardio. Again, this depends on how long the class is and what cardio method you’re using.
The 30-minute beginner bike bootcamp class I took with instructor Robin Arzon started with intervals on the bike. Then it moved to the floor. Finally, we finished up with more intervals back on the cycle.
Equipment you need for bootcamp classes
In my blog post on the best weights for Peloton, I’d mentioned Peloton bootcamp weights. Truth is, if you’re already doing strength classes, you probably have everything you need for class.
What are Peloton bootcamp weights
Like in the strength classes, instructors will suggest you have one or more of the following kinds of dumbbells:
I’ve yet to hear an instructor qualify what weight a dumbbell would be to count as light, medium of heavy. Here is what I learned, though, with my first bike bootcamp classes: you definitely need something heavier than the one, two or three-pound weights on the back of your bike.
So, for me, here is how I organized my Peloton bootcamp weights. My light weights are five pounds, my medium weights are eight pounds, and my heavy weights are 10 pounds. I imagine as I do this more and I get stronger that will change. I’ve already invested in 12 pound and 15 pound weights to add to my Peloton bootcamp weights set.
Where to buy Peloton bootcamp weights
Obviously, you can buy your weights directly from Peloton. The sell their dumbbells in five-pound increments, starts at 5 pounds and ending at 30 pounds.
However, Peloton weights start at $45. You can probably do much better than that elsewhere.
And, of course, you can try Amazon.
Mats and sneakers for bootcamp classes
In addition to bootcamp weights, you also want to have a mat nearby. Because a lot of the strength work involves being on the floor.
You may also want a rolled up towel if you have sensitive knees. In both my Tread and bike bootcamp classes, we were on our hands and knees for a bit. Having the extra padding of the towel helped. Or, you can double up your yoga mats for extra cushioning.
Finally, you need a good pair of sneakers. Obviously, you’ll already be wearing running shoes or tennis shoes or whatever you call sneakers where you live when doing a Tread bootcamp class. However, with the bike bootcamps, the instructors will give you time to get off the bike and change your shoes. They give you only a minute to swap your footwear, but I’ve found that to be plenty of time. However, if you’re riding your stationery cycle with toe cages and sneakers, you’re all set.
Peloton bootcamp class categories
Whether on the Tread or bike, Peloton bootcamp classes fall into different categories. These categories usually involve difficulty of the class, length of the class, and part of body you’re focusing on. There are also classes that use weights that you hold and classes that rely on just your bodyweight.
Length of classes
The Peloton Tread bootcamp classes come in a variety of lengths. They are:
- 10 minutes (warm up)
- 20 minutes
- 30 minutes
- 45 minutes
- 60 minutes
The Peloton bike bootcamp classes come in fewer lengths. They are:
- 30 minutes
- 45 minutes
- 60 minutes
Body focus of classes
Obviously, each Peloton bootcamp class includes some sort of cardio. It could be as short as 10 minutes or much longer than that. Some feature one session of cardio; others have two. All include strength training, but the body parts you focus on can differ. The strength classifications you can expect to see are:
- full body
- lower body
- body weight (no handheld weights needed)
- upper body
Some of the upper body classes might be specific to a body part or parts, like shoulder and back, or shoulder and arms. Some of the lower body classes might target a specific area, such as glutes.
Are Peloton bootcamp classes hard? Well, it depends on a few things. First, what is the class difficulty you’ve chosen? And how long is that class?
Classes are usually categorized like many other Peloton classes:
Second, are you new to strength training and cardio? Or have you been riding, running or lifting for awhile? If it’s the former, yes, the bootcamp classes will be hard. But good hard. If it’s the latter, I would still recommend starting out with beginner classes and working your way up.
Instructors who teach Peloton bootcamp classes
For the most part Tread instructors teach Tread bootcamp classes and bike instructors teach bike bootcamp classes. However, there is some crossover.
For example, Jess Sims is known as a Tread and strength instructor. However, she was one of the first instructors to teach the bike bootcamp classes.
While Olivia Amato teaches on both pieces of equipment, she’s only done Tread bootcamp classes…so far. Likewise, Robin Arzon teaches on both the bike and Tread, but she seems to have bike bootcamp classes only.
So far, there are only four instructors doing bike bootcamp classes. They are Cody Rigsby, Robin Arzon, Jess Sims and Tunde Oyeneyin. (I want Tunde arms!)
Bootcamp classes without the Bike Plus
When Peloton introduced the new Bike Plus in mid-2020, it highlighted the swivel screen as making it easier to take your workout off the bike. Obviously, with the bike bootcamp classes, it’s easier not to have to crane your neck to see what the instructor is doing in the floor portion of class.
But you can easily take bike bootcamp classes without the bike plus. First, the instructors themselves are teaching using the original bike. So, they’re talking you through how to see them when you’re on the floor. I appreciate that as I’m taking my Peloton bike bootcamp classes on the original bike, which I’ve had since 2016.
Casting your bike to a Smart TV
Second, you can cast your bike screen to a Smart TV. Many people do this for regular cycling classes anyway so they have a bigger screen to see. Screen casting is also a great option for people who have their Peloton bike in a corner, without room next to it for floor work.
We recently invested in a Vizio Smart TV, hoping to cast to it for my bootcamp classes. Unfortunately, the Peloton would only “recognize” the Roku TV in the living room. For some reason it was blind to the Vizio. So, word to the wise: invest in the Roku TV if you want screen mirroring or casting.
Installing a Peloton pivot or swivel arm
Third, you can invest in an aftermarket product that swivels your screen for you. The folks who make the SpinTray, which turns my Peloton into an exercise desk, created something called The Pivot. It lets you swivel your Peloton screen.
The Pivot changes the arm that holds your table or touchscreen so it can turn to the side. It’s easy to install, doesn’t cost a lot of money, and basically turns your original Peloton into a Bike Plus–at least screenwise!
Tread classes when you’re not a runner
Like I’ve said, I don’t have a Peloton Tread. But I do have a Nordic Track treadmill that has served me well over the years. One of the nice elements of my Nordic Track is it has “jump” buttons like the Tread does.
On the left hand side of the Nordic Track screen, I can press a number to “jump” my incline without have to touch the incline up/down arrow. Then, on the right side of the screen, I can press a number to “jump” my speed without having to touch the speed plus/minus buttons. This makes following Tread walking classes so much easier.
And I mention the walking classes, because I am not a runner. While the Tread bootcamp cardio portion starts out with walking, it eventually goes into running. Again, I am not a runner.
So, when I’ve taken these classes, I simply fast walk during the run portion. I’ve still gotten my heart rate up and broken a sweat. If you’re not a runner and have been holding off taking Tread bootcamp classes, I would recommend you try this walking approach, too.
Nordic Track Treadmill
Taking bootcamp classes without a Peloton Tread or bike
As I mentioned earlier, you can access all of the Peloton bootcamp classes on the Peloton app. Truth is, as long as you have something at home to do cardio with, you can do these bootcamp classes without owning a Peloton.
For example, like me, you can do the Tread portion of the class on any treadmill. I propped up my iPhone and used my Air Pods to watch and listen to the instructors. Or, you can run in place.
Riding your Peloton cycle classes from a different kind of spin bike? You’ll do the cycle portion of bootcamp as you would any bike class.
Have a rower or elliptical? Use them instead for the cardio portion of the bootcamp class. Then, meet the instructor down on the mat for the strength portion.
Overall thoughts on Peloton bootcamp classes
If you’d previously done strength bootcamp classes on the Peloton app, you’ll notice they’re all gone now. The only bootcamp classes you can take now are under the new categories of Tread Bootcamp and Bike Bootcamp.
If you’ve never tried them, don’t be a chicken like I was. In fact, I’m mad at myself that it took me this long to try them out. They are fun, they are efficient, and after each class, I feel great.
I’m so glad that Peloton introduced the Peloton bootcamp classes challenge in January 2021. Because it got this girl to get off her butt and try something new in the Peloton app.
I’ve got my fingers crossed that one day Peloton will introduce a rower. I would love to add a rower to my home gym. And I imagine that having rower bootcamp classes would be an excellent complement to all of the fantastic classes that Peloton already offers.
If you have any thoughts about your own experience with or questions about bootcamp classes, please post a comment to let me know.