Focus On: BodyPump

Hey friends! Hope you’re having a lovely morning 🙂 For today’s Focus On post, I chose BodyPump since it was a workout I was ALL OVER when I first moved back to Tucson. It’s an incredible workout and even though I’ve taken quite a few classes, I thought I’d turn it over to a certified BodyPump instructor to give ya the downlow.


So here’s Chandra with all of the deets on BodyPump, a crazyawesome muscular endurance class 😀


Hello, Fitnessista readers! This is Chandra from the blog Chandra’s Shenanigans. I am honored to be writing a Focus On post for Gina about a class that is becoming overwhelming popular across the blogsphere and gyms all around the world – BodyPump!

I became a certified Les Mills BodyPump instructor in May of 2010. BodyPump not only made me fall in love with teaching, it also changed the way I thought about group fitness classes and instructors. Training is no joke, and instructors have a lot to learn, remember, and think about while teaching! Oh yeah, and BodyPump gave me some awesome strength & muscles too. 😉


What is BodyPump?

Basically, BodyPump is a pre-choreographed group weightlifting class. But don’t worry! This isn’t one of those “you don’t get as good of a workout when you don’t know the moves” type class. BodyPump uses many common weight-room moves, so chances are, you already know the basics!

Straight from the Les Mills website: “BODYPUMP™ is the original barbell class that strengthens your entire body. This 60-minute workout challenges all your major muscle groups by using the best weight-room exercises like squats, presses, lifts and curls. Great music, awesome instructors and your choice of weight inspire you to get the results you came for – and fast!”


What to Expect – Class Basics

There are actually three class options gyms can teach, the full 60 minute class, a 45 minute “Express” format, and a 30 minute “technique” class. Most gyms stick to the standard 60 minute format.

The 60 minute class is broken up into 10 “tracks”. Each section is a different song and typically lasts 5-6 minutes. (You stop briefly between tracks to switch your weight selection.)

  • Warm-up
  • Legs/Squats
  • Chest
  • Back/Hamstrings/Glutes
  • Triceps
  • Biceps
  • Shoulders
  • Abdominals
  • Cooldown/Stretch

Throughout each track, the moves are performed at different tempos, based on a 4 count. i.e. two counts down/two counts up, one count down/three counts up, etc… The instructor should give cues for tempo and exercise change throughout each section, so it’s easy to stay on track with the class! They will also give you cues to make sure you’re checking your body alignment and using proper form.


What to Expect – Class Results

BodyPump uses high repetitions, lower resistance, and different tempos. This format helps to ensure you will burn mega calories (both during and after class!), build lean muscle, and gain both muscle and cardiovascular endurance. You will not bulk up as a result of BodyPump! Also remember, you get out of it what you put in. If you stick with the 2 pound plates, you’re not likely to see much change. Challenge yourself and you’ll start seeing positive gains in strength and endurance in no time!


What to wear?

The “dress code” for BodyPump is simple – comfortable exercise clothes and good sneakers. You want to make sure you wear clothes that allow you to move freely since you will be doing moves like squats, lunges, barbell row, etc… You will sweat too – so feel free to bring a towel. 😉


  • Great for beginners, people who can’t push themselves on their own during weightlifting, or those who enjoy working out in a group setting.
  • It’s an hour and you’re done!
  • The music is (typically) really fun and a mix of different genres.
  • It’s the same everywhere you go!
  • The moves are fairly basic, so chances are you already know most of them.
  • New releases (songs/choreography) come out every 3 months. After a couple weeks of teaching a new release, instructors typically can mix & match tracks from multiple releases to keep things interesting.
  • Les Mills has very professional, intense training – certified instructors know their stuff!



  • It can get repetitive if the instructor isn’t good at keeping the class mixed up (or the gym doesn’t allow it).
  • The moves don’t change often. Sometimes they’ll throw in a “new” concept, but overall they stick with their basic moves. (However, as stated above, the choreography does change.)
  • There are no single-leg/arm/etc exercises, which leaves a chance for muscle imbalances if BodyPump is the only weightlifting you do. As an instructor who is also a certified personal trainer, this bugs me.
  • If you aren’t focused on learning proper form, and the instructor isn’t good at correcting, there is a chance for injury.


Extra: My Tips

  • Come early to your first class to let the instructor know you’re new. They can help you get set up, show you some of the moves, and give you suggestions for weight selection.
  • With your first few classes, start a little lighter than you think and focus on form. You don’t want to risk getting injured in your first class, or be too sore to ever want to come back. Focus on learning form – then bump up those weights!
  • Bring a towel. Bring water. HAVE FUN!

To learn more about BodyPump, check out the moves, the music, or find a class near you, head to the Les Mills BodyPump website!

Have you taken a BodyPump class? What did you like/dislike?

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  1. Tiffany on July 20, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    I’ve never done BodyPump, but I do Group Power at my gym and it sounds very similar. I am OBSESSED with the class! The first time I went, I was a little lost, and totally sore the next day. I go 2-3x a week and have noticed HUGE results. I have tons of muscle definition and am so much stronger than I used to be. I don’t like rotating through the different machines as the gym, so this makes it so much easier, and more fun since all the tracks are set to the music. I’d highly recommend this class to everyone!!

  2. Amy Ramos on July 20, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    I love Body Pump. They offer it at the Y I go to. I am fortunate enough where all the instructors (four of them teach only Body Pump) are really good. I go back and forth between this and New Rules of Lifting for Women (NROLFW) with some of the routines you provide for my cardio!

  3. Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance on July 20, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    I’ve heard so much about Body Pump but have never tried it!
    After reading this post I’ve realized that I’m missing out! I gotta get on this class pronto 😉

  4. Katie @ Pop Culture Cuisine on July 20, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    I love the music and the way it moved from set to set, I didn’t love the feeling of my muscles at certain points, but that could be something I should have gotten used to haha!

  5. Vanessa @ Sweaty in Pink on July 20, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    I wish my gym had Body Pump, it looks like something I’d really enjoy!

  6. Shayla @ The Good Life on July 20, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    I’m actually a Group Power instructor here in CA, same as BodyPump, and I absolutely love it. I stopped teaching because it was getting to difficult with a full time 9-5 job, but eventually once we have kids and I lessen my office hours I would love to go back to teaching it!

  7. Ramona on July 20, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    Now that’s really something new for me. Have never heard of this. I went to the gym for 1 month years ago and it was boring. So I don’t really enjoy this. But, if it’s such a combination with routines and music, it does look pretty intriguing. I am sure I’d have a lot of fun. The only thing is now to have this in my country too.

  8. Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin on July 20, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    I’ve never done Body Pump but I really want to try it at my gym before I head back to school in September!

  9. Jess on July 20, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    I absolutely love BodyPump. I am normally a scaredy cat when it comes to weights so I feel much better in a group setting. With a good instructor, you are also more aware of your form; they remind you to tuck in, keep your elbows in, etc. It’s helped me tone my muscles and gives me a good workout!

  10. Laura (Cookies vs. Carrots) on July 20, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    I wish my gym offered body pump! They do offer a full body weights class, but it doesn’t seem nearly as fun!

  11. Carolyn on July 20, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    I am guessing Body Works is LA Fitness’ version of Body Pump. I have developed a fear of the weight room so I think I will make myself check the class out. Who knows, I might love it like I did spin after a few classes,

  12. Modysoul on July 21, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Does anyone know if the class would be ok for someone with bad knees? I was going to go to a class a few weeks ago, but chickened out because my knees are awful and I was afraid of all the squats I imagined. But if it’s just 10 minutes of squats that I could go lightly through and the rest is all over the other parts of the body…. it might not be that bad!

    • Fitnessista on July 21, 2011 at 10:39 am

      i think you would be ok if you’re able to do squats. just take it easy on those parts and lighter on the weights

  13. Liz on July 21, 2011 at 9:50 am

    I am obsessed with Body Pump, going 2-3x a week even when I travel. The changes in my body have been amazing as I try to increase weight a little bit every 3 classes or so. I amso proud of the hard work that is clearly showing on my now starting to rock body. ‘Scuse me, gotta go change for my next class!

  14. Gianna on July 21, 2011 at 10:33 am

    I have been going to my current gym since last fall and finally wised up and tried body pump about 8 weeks ago and I am addicted! I go at least 4 times a week (and we have a great new les mills class cx30 immediately after which is core work). Let me tell you the changes that have happened to my body since I began are amazing; my body is getting so much more sculpted and I never feel like it is easy even as much as I do it. My gym has talked about sponsoring me to become and instructor and I am seriously considering it!

  15. Erica H. on July 21, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    I LOVE body pump. Thanks for the post.

    I was wondering about what you said about imbalances … I feel like my hamstrings aren’t worked much so I tend to do moves after class to work on those. Are there specific muscle groups that are ignored in Body Pump that people taking the class should make sure to work in other ways? (Especially for runners like myself?)

  16. Erin W. on July 21, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    A gym near me just started doing Body Pump classes. I was super excited, since it’s all the rage on blogs. I went and was a little disappointed. I didn’t expect the bar to be plastic! Is it plastic at all gyms? And as a first-timer, the teacher didn’t give me good direction on the amount of weight I should be using each time we changed weights. I tried to judge by what other girls were using – but most of them were older and using very light weight. I kept getting the wrong amount of weight on my bar, and then it’s too hard to switch out mid-track. Kind of a bummer. I’d love to try it again – at a more legit gym!

  17. Diana @ VeggieNextDoor on July 21, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    I didn’t think I’d done Body Pump before until I read the description – I actually think my MOM does this on a regular basis, and I joined her once when I was home for Christmas. For me, the funniest part was seeing my mom working out to music I’d hear in a night club, that I’m pretty sure she never hears outside of class.

  18. Kate on July 23, 2011 at 12:09 am

    Body pump, and in fact all of the les mills classes rock! Most gyms around NZ offer the les mills classes, they are by far the most popular 🙂

  19. D smith on June 21, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    I don’t always like the songs. Wish format changed more often.

  20. Albert on August 26, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    I just moved to Tuscon from Los Angeles because I just started a grad school program in U of A. Body pump was my favorite group exercise class. Now I have fallen off my routine. I want to know the counts and duration of sets so that I can perhaps go to the U of A recreation center and to a solo session there. In any case, this article included great info! Back to the net for my research on this topic =)

  21. Terra Simpson on October 4, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    I LOVE Bodypump. I’ve been doing Bodypump for almost two years. A friend of mine introduced me to it, I also do arobics on the outside. Both classes especially Bodypump has realy improved my coordination and flexibility. I can almost do the splitz. I did that infront of my teacher after class and her jaw dropped. The music I can live without though. No offense to anybody who likes it. I just went through BP release 83 last night and oh my gosh was it hard. I have some great teachers as well.

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  23. Alex on December 21, 2013 at 11:28 am

    I love bodypump! It got me comfortable with barbells and weights. I’m brave enough now to venture over to the bar rack at the gym where all the hardcore lifters go.

    The first time I tried it was a super early morning class. I was the youngest by a decade, and also the weakest! The instructors at my gym are pretty good, always reminding us of form. They never call you out individually but always assume they’re talking to you- you never know.

    I’m also concerned about muscle imbalances forming though- if anyone has suggestions for working the muscle groups that body pump neglects please speak up! I try to switch it up with a spin class or pilates every week but I don’t know if that’s enough.

  24. Terra Simpson on May 22, 2014 at 10:26 am

    I’ve been taking BP for three years and I love it. I also take an arobics class every week. My teachers are awesome. One of them is horrible at correcting people’s form and that really bugs me. On occasions I will have subs come through. I just had a sub last night that would go from the platform to the floor just walking around checking on everybody cuing, teaching and talking as he walked around. My teacher Kelly is horrible at that. According to her she can’t do that, but this person actually decided that he was going to walk around. Not bad Hugh?

  25. […] Teach BODYPUMP and […]

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  27. Martha Snee on March 9, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    I’m a CPT and group instructor who enjoys OLY lifting (and..yes..Crossfit). I just finished Bodypump initial training at the encouragement of my employer. Bodypump is extremely popular at my gym. My 1st exposure to BP was at training. It seems like a great way to introduce the joys of weight lifting to newbies in a fun engaging way. For the most part, I felt the exercises were presented in a safe manner for all levels, but I do have issues with a few of the cues for certain moves; in particular, the “power press” – LM would have us do this move with arms overhead and slightly forward. The safest OH position is to have weight aligned with mid foot ( or inline with ears). I don’t understand the rationale for having OH weight positioned forward. I understand it’s light weight, but pumpers who wander into the weight room might try this with a heavier load possibly injure themselves.
    Please help- I really want to like body pump- most instructors I know have no exercise science background.

    • Fitnessista on March 9, 2015 at 4:45 pm

      i actually haven’t done the power press yet for bodypump, but i’ve found that they choose exercises that are safe for the general population. there may be small differences, but i’ve seen in crossfit a very intense forward neck movement when they push the weights overhead. i think participants are trying to emphasize the movement, and in the process put unnecessary strain on the neck? i think it’s ok in bodypump because it is a lighter weight, especially for shoulder or back tracks. when you’re pressing the weight overhead, we recommend a lighter weight

      • Martha Snee on March 10, 2015 at 4:25 am

        Thank you so much for your reply. I guess the weight is light enough to do no harm. The point of lifting heavier weight in line with your body’s center of gravity is that every inch away from your center of gravity, torque forces increase 20%. It adds up!!! We have to move our heads out of the way to move the bar up and down. While some may “punch through” too forcefully, neck issues aren’t a big concern. Hitting yourself under the chin with the bar, however, is! I’ve done it and its not fun!!! I guess having pumpers knock their teeth out would be bad 🙂
        I am also concerned about the pushups with wide hands and elbows pointed away from body. I would think this could compromise shoulder stability – but most people do pushups on their knees.

        Again, thanks – I appreciate your comments.

        Martha Snee

  28. Lawrence on September 9, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Hi Gina,
    I have read a couple of your blogs about body pump and Barry’s bootcamp fortunately I have taken both of them. I have to say that Barry’s is the better workout than bodypump. The instructor who teaches at Barry’s always changes the workout so your workout is not the same as it is with bodypump. You can burn out your muscles with sets for example 1 min skull crushers 1 min triceps extensions and one minute triceps push-ups, rather than do it for the entire track as you do in bodypump.

    • Fitnessista on September 9, 2015 at 2:24 pm

      i think they’re both awesome workouts, but entirely different, so i wouldn’t call one “better” than the other. bodypump focuses on muscular endurance, which is why you use the track to fatigue the muscle. it’s pure strength training; no cardio. barry’s includes HIIT intervals, which is a huge part of the class. you work more in a metabolic circuit, moving from one exercise to the next, with cardio blasts in between. i love them both!

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