Body Pump

Have you tried Body Pump? The chances are if you are reading this then you have or are considering trying it.

Opinions vary greatly regarding Body Pump some people love it some people hate it, but if you've never tried it how do you know?

It is certainly very popular, Body Pump classes can now be found in 70 countries around the world in over 10,000 health clubs! No mean feat!

Body Pump was established in 1991 by Phillip Mills in Auckland New Zealand, the next release will be Body Pump 82, meaning it has stood the test of time and continues to grow year on year.



Body Pump is a 60 minute studio based class using barbells, weights & steps consisting of 10 individual tracks which challenge the whole body. The tagline of Body Pump is ‘The original barbell class, will sculpt, tone and strengthen your entire body, fast!’


I have been teaching Body Pump for around 4 years, I believe it is a good class to attend whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced exerciser.

It is beneficial whether you are looking to lose weight, improve lean muscle, build endurance or increase strength.

Variety is the key to any successful training programme and this true of Body Pump too, you should not solely do Body Pump to reach your goals but include it as part of a successful routine alongside other classes, gym workouts & outdoor training. This keeps your body guessing & your mind stimulated.

If you have ever done a Body Pump class with me; you will know I do not let people take it easy!

If it’s easy it’s not fun, I want my class members to achieve something every class they attend whether it’s an extra couple of kg on their bench press, better technique on the squat track or 1 extra press up on their toes! If you really want to improve and reach your goal you need to push yourself outside your comfort zone!

I am an advocate of correct weight selection; you will not get away with squatting 2.5kg on your bar in my class. Even if you are a beginner, unless you have injuries or medical conditions this weight is too light! Putting the wrong weight on for tracks will have a detrimental effect to the effectiveness of the class and the results you will get. Think of the size of your quads (thighs), hamstrings (back of legs) & glutes (bum) the target muscles in the squat track in comparison to your biceps (front of arm) it makes no sense to use the same weight to use the same weight for these tracks whoever you are!


A rough guide to Body Pump track by track weight selection

Warm up – Light weight selection, remember we are only warming up here! The aim is to elevate the heart rate, increase blood flow, mobilise joints and introduce the moves we will be doing later on it the release.

Squats – Big track to kick it off! Usually 2-3 times your warm up weight, working big powerful muscles quadriceps, hamstrings & glutes. This should always be the heaviest weight you use in class.

Chest – Time to bring down the weight slightly looking for roughly a 1/3 off your squat weight for example if you squatted 15kg either side bring it down to 10kg per side. Another compound track meaning your main focus is your pectorals (chest) but you will also work your deltoids (shoulders) & triceps (back of arms).

Back – Bigger muscle group = more weight! Looking for a slight increase in weight usually 1kg to 2.5kg either side. Target muscles; primary - latissimus dorsi & rhomboids. Secondary – trapezius, erector spinae, deltoids, biceps & forearms.

Triceps – Usually warm up weight or slightly heavier. Depending on the routine your weight may need to go up or down. Isolation exercise meaning the focus is all on 1 muscle the triceps.

Biceps – Another isolation exercise focusing on the front of the upper arm the biceps, again warm up weight should suffice never go lighter than where you warmed up.

Lunges – Back down to the lower body and an increase in weight. Similar weight to what you used in the back track in some releases you may be able to go as heavy as your squat track. Challenges all the muscles in the legs, glute activation is very important in this track.

Shoulders – Complex routines working the deltoids from all angles. Exercises usually use a combination hand weights (plates) and the barbell. Weights used are usually similar to the triceps track.

Core – Abs, lower back & obliques occasionally a plate is used during the track, but in most releases the focus is on good form & using the correct muscles to execute.

Cool down – Code for put all your equipment away and leave a few minutes its not! So if you’re guilty of this stop it! Here's why the cooldown is important; it allows your heart rate to return its normal rate, chance to relax and reflect on your workout, stretch tight muscles so you to recover quicker and stay injury free.

*Every Body Pump release has a different focus and different feel, thus your weights should be adjusted accordingly.

Hands up whose just read that and thought ‘yeah but I don’t want big muscles’?

Without going into it too scientifically due to the amount of reps in each track and the workout as a whole the class will promote lean muscle growth & endurance rather than size of the muscles and if you are female it is unlikely you will not have enough testosterone in your body for such rapid growth, if it was that easy to grow muscle wouldn't body pump classes be filled with bodybuilders?

Anybody who knows me or has trained with me knows the starting point for any exercise routine is posture & ensuring all exercises are performed with correct technique. Get your posture right before you concentrate on anything else is, exercise without good posture is like building a house without any foundations. So stand up tall, pull those shoulders back, lift your chest, soften your knees, brace your abs and squeeze those glutes. You’re ready to go!

Question for those of you who regularly attend body pump; What is your favourite Body Pump track of all time?


My favourite track in terms of exercise is usually the squat or lunge track. But my all time favourite track is from the 1st release I ever learnt Body Pump 66 track 4, the back track; Cascada – What hurts the most (a very apt title!) It’s a really great track with great moves! Check out the music video from the track here;

Cascada - What Hurts The Most

Who remembers that one?!

I teach Body Pump @ Millennium Lifestyles in Liverpool city centre. Hope to see you all in class soon!

Thanks again for reading my blog, as always please feel free to leave comments.

Rob Lunn

Personal Trainer





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