Body Pump is one of eight choreographed group exercise programs workouts designed by the New Zealand based Les Mills Global Ltd. This resistance training workout provides participants with an all-over muscular endurance workout that is set to music and involves using an adjustable barbell and an exercise step that doubles as a bench.
About Body Pump
Body Pump was the first class launched by the Les Mills company in 1991, and today it is used in more than 70 countries and 10,000 health clubs worldwide. According to Les Mills, the creator of Body Pump, the workout was originally designed to get men involved in studio classes because group exercise was more popular with women than with men. The term "Body Pump" has since become more generic is usage, and the workout can vary somewhat.
Body Pump classes are typically 60 minutes long and are led by an instructor positioned at the front of the studio. The class is broken down into eight sections, or tracks, in Les Mills terminology. Participants select the size of the weights they wish to use during the workout. The class consists of a warm up, squats, exercises for the chest, back, triceps and biceps, lunges, exercises for the shoulders and abdominals and a cool down. The 45 and 30 minute versions of Body Pump which omit the biceps, triceps and the second leg track.
Body Pump provides a total-body workout. According to Steven Fleck and William Kreamer in their book "Designing Resistance Training Programmes," regular resistance training can improve your muscle tone, muscular endurance and also bone density. Because the weights used are adjustable, you can work at your own level based on your personal fitness and experience, and classes are suitable for both beginners and more advanced exercisers. The classes are set to music, which helps participants keep time, and many exercisers find that music motivates them to work harder. Typically, Body Pump uses light weights, high reps, and multiple sets with minimal rest. Some of the exercises, such as the lunge, are modified to accommodate the class format.
Body Pump classes involve a wide variety of exercises. Squats, bench presses, lunges, deadlifts, rows and shoulder presses are mainstays of the workout, but newly choreographed routines are released every three months and exercises are rotated in and out of the program to make the workouts interesting. In addition to barbell exercises, Body Pump classes also include exercises using weight plates as dumbbell substitutes, such as chest flies and side lateral raises. Exercises are frequently combined into combinations, such as dead lift and bent over row or lunges and shoulder presses to add to the challenge of the class.
Although Body Pump is led by a trained instructor, he or she can’t be everywhere at once, and as a result poor technique can go uncorrected. Some of the exercises used in a Body Pump class, such as dead lifts and power cleans, are potentially dangerous if performed incorrectly, so correct technique is essential. Many health clubs run technique classes prior to the workout which is one way to ensure good technique from all participants.
Body Pump is a good program for those who find weight training on their own difficult and want to work out with others. Body Pump will tones muscles, increases muscular endurance, improves aerobic fitness and burns plenty of calories. Body Pump participants should perform the workout two to three days a week on non-consecutive days to get the most benefit.
- "Designing Resistance Training Programs"; Steven Fleck and William Kraemer; 2003
- "Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning"; National Strength and Conditioning Association; 2008
- Les Mills Global Ltd; Body Pump