Body Pump is a toning and conditioning workout class specifically for those of you who want to add a bit of strength training to your workout. It is also great for those of you who are starting out in weight training as it will teach you some great exercises and how to get the correct technique.
Body Pump is a repetitive weight training workout to music, it uses different upbeat music tracks per body part and it is an hour long class that strengthens your whole body in a effective, fun way.
The equipment used in Body Pump is fairly simple, comprising of a step and an adjustable barbell with a selection of weights.
You can burn up to 600 calories per class!
Helps improve your strength and tone your body
Improves your bone density which can help keep osteoporosis at bay
Helps improve your general fitness
Teaches you some new moves to do in the gym
How Often Should I Do Body Pump?
We would not recommend more than 3 times a week, your body will need at least one day’s rest between classes to be able to adapt and recover. After about 6 weeks you will start to feel great within yourself and you will notice the changes in your body: increased muscle tone, strength gains and an all over change in your body shape (for the better! – .).
What should I expect from a typical Body Pump class?
1. Warm up
Starting with a light weight your instructor will take you through a set of exercises to warm your muscles up and practise the technique that will be used later on in the class.
You will then start a series of music tracks with a different track per muscle group.
This is the first workout routine for your body; the leg muscles (quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calfs), for this track you will use your heaviest weights of the class as you are using your largest muscle group. There are fast parts in this track for the cardiovascular section which will get your heart rate up and your lungs working. Then slower stages for more of a focus on strength training: you will have the bar on your shoulders behind your head for barbell squats (wide and narrow) then moving the bar to the front of your body for some hamstring punishing dead lifts.
In this portion of the class you will want to take some weight off the bar as you will be using smaller muscles than your legs (we suggest as much as half – .). A lot of this routine is carried out in a lying position on the step (this is not a signal for rest time though – .). From this position you will do a variety of exercises that work your chest muscles while also working your triceps and shoulders. Expect to find yourself performing exercises like the barbell bench press, press ups and pull over.
For the back track you are back on your feet standing again and will want to put a small amount of weight back onto the bar. You will be doing exercises that obviously focus on your back and these, when done correctly, can really help with your posture. The back exercises will include the bent over row for the upper mid back area to dead lifts for the lower back. Then to make sure you bring your heart rate up you will perform the clean and press some call it the clean and sweep (Which is absolutely nothing to do with hygiene – .). This is a hard movement to learn so do practise or ask the instructor before the class to show you. By the end of this track you maybe longing for it to end but there are a few more stages to get through yet.
Now you are working the back of your arms so you will need to remove some weight from the bar. You will be mainly lying on your back and doing a variety of exercises from tricep French press, tricep dips and tricep kicks backs. You may find this section difficult because the muscles are so much smaller than the ones you have worked so far and also because you have already worked your triceps in the chest workout (work those bingo wings! – .)
This track is normally done in a pyramid training style so you will start with a light weight (suggest same weight as used for Triecp track – .) where you will do bicep curls and then increase the weight to do bent over row reverse grip and then drop the weight again to do a variety of bicep curls at different speeds. Biceps are a difficult muscle to train with just a barbell, but the Body Pump class manages to keep it interesting by using a variety of tempos and repetition styles. Don’t worry your arms will get a good workout.
This track is optional depending on time, the track focuses again on the major leg muscles by doing lunges with or without the bar. Weights are optional in this track as by this stage you will be getting tired and weak so may not need the weights. To add a bit of variety to your workout you can lunge with your front foot on the step but please make sure that the step is secure as it could lead to an unwanted full splits!
During the shoulder track you can use the bar but you will mostly use hand weights (the lightest of weights in the workout– .) you will be doing exercises to help strengthen your shoulders e.g. lateral raises, front raises, upright row and shoulder press. Your shoulders are fairly weak when compared to the rest of your body’s muscle arsenal and so it is very important that you pick a light weight. They will fatigue very quickly!
This last track focuses on your core muscles and strengthening your abdominals by doing a variety of exercises e.g crunches, twist crunches, reverse curls etc
Now at last you get to relax to some soothing music while your instructor will take you through a variety of stretches to stretch out all the muscles used. Do not think that this is a time to take it easy though. Focus on getting the stretches absolutely correct and holding them for the full time. The stretching will not only help your body recover but also help the muscles develop correctly.
Watch the video
The video below shows a typical Body Pump class from the members point of view. This hopefully will allow you to see what you can expect.
Keep good posture at all times
Focus on your technique
Start with light weights and increase gradually
Avoid locking your joints out, keep your joints soft at all times
Focus on keeping your tummy muscle tight at all times
Negatives to Body Pump
The main downside to Body Pump is the same for all classes and that is the fact that you don’t get one-on-one attention and so you could end up performing every exercise incorrectly. Naturally this comes down to the quality of your instructor and the size of the class. The bigger the class the more likely you will blend into the background and not get noticed (some of you may like this, but it won’t help you – .). To help avoid this situation turn up early and ask the instructor to help you through. If they are good they will make sure that you are near them so they can give you more attention. Make sure you make your instructor aware of any injuries, illnesses, if you are pregnant or any other condition that could affect your training.
And a Warning…
If you are new to Body Pump start with light weights till you feel confident with the techniques and the exercises asked of you. After a few classes you will get a better idea of what weights to use to which tracks, if you are unsure ask the instructor. If you suffer from a heart condition, high blood pressure or an injury then we would recommend that you avoid this class. If you are unsure then please check with your doctor before you undertake any new form of exercise.
Enjoy your Body Pump class and all the health benefits it will offer you.