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. Casey @ Pocket Full of Sunshine on July 20, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Oh my goodness, I LOVE BodyPump! It is my fave group workout class by far. I just moved from the Midwest to California and unfortunately not many gyms offer it and the ones that do, it’s only like once or twice a week at weird times. Sad. 🙁 Any recommendations for something similar?

  2. Amara@GirlinaWhirl on July 20, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Chandra, what do you mean about “no single leg/arm movements may result in muscle imbalances”? I wondered if you could elaborate a little?

    • Fitnessista on July 20, 2011 at 10:13 am

      since you’re using barbells, you work the muscles bilaterally (together) instead of unilaterally, like you would with dumbbells. this way the weaker muscle can depend on the stronger muscle to help lift the barbell, without having to do it on its own

      • Amara@GirlinaWhirl on July 20, 2011 at 10:28 am

        Gotcha. We use dumbbells all the time in our classes. I didn’t realize they only used the barbell!! Less neuromuscular stimulation you could add to that list then.

  3. Kierstan @ Life {and running} in Iowa on July 20, 2011 at 10:14 am

    I just started going to BodyPump a few weeks ago and I love it! I have to say, I am used to lifting fairly heaving for shorter reps, so it was a wake up call (well, not really) when I couldn’t lift as much during class. It is very different that lifting in the weight room, but I love it. And the music rocks.

  4. Dori on July 20, 2011 at 10:15 am

    I would absolutely love to try this. From what I understand, it is next to impossible to find in NYC. I wonder why that is? My biggest concern in a class like this would be having absolutely NO clue what pounds I should be using for weight. I have never done any barbell work in my life, and I don’t like having no idea throughout class what I should be using, you know? I know it takes a few classes to get into it, but I have anxiety about that overall first time. Still, I’d be on this in a second if I could find a class!

    • Dori on July 20, 2011 at 10:25 am

      Update: Found one in NYC… will look into it now!

      • Fitnessista on July 20, 2011 at 10:29 am

        whoo hoo! have fun 🙂

      • Jen Correa on July 20, 2011 at 11:41 am


        • Adriana on July 20, 2011 at 12:53 pm

          Yes, where??? I’m looking for a class, I’ve been wanting to try this for a while

    • chandra on July 20, 2011 at 7:08 pm

      If you want some information about weights and selection I’d be more than happy to help! Or if you end up going to a class and talk to the instructor beforehand they should give you suggestions as well.

  5. Cait @ Cait hates Cake on July 20, 2011 at 10:15 am

    My gym doesn’t offer BodyPump, but it does offer something very similar and it’s my favorite class – by far! I’m so much more toned since I started going and I’ve had to up my weights, so I know I’m getting stronger!

  6. Sarah on July 20, 2011 at 10:15 am

    Thanks for your post! I also just started 3 weeks ago and I love it, although I’m not a big fan of group classes. I always leave with a big smile on my face!

  7. Yolie @ Practising Wellness on July 20, 2011 at 10:18 am

    I love this post, thank you so much for writing it Chandra! I also love Body Pump 😉 Hmmm…What do I like about it? Definitely the music; the energy and fun vibe. I also love that I don’t have to plan my own weights session. It is accessible and so effective! 🙂 xyx

  8. Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me on July 20, 2011 at 10:20 am

    I soooo wish I had bodypump at my gym but I don’t. 🙁 I really want to try it out!

  9. Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty on July 20, 2011 at 10:20 am

    I have never done this specific class but at the gym I’m working at, we have Group Power and Group Active, which sound very similar!! Sounds great – I’m’ testing out my first class on Saturday!

  10. kaila@healthy helper blog ! on July 20, 2011 at 10:22 am

    I tried body pump once before and didnt really enjoy but I think you just convinced me to try it again!!! Thanks!

  11. Julie S. on July 20, 2011 at 10:23 am

    I just tried it for the 1st time on Mon. (after reading about it previously on your blog)! I really liked it & can’t wait to go back. I’m a little sore today, but in a good way. 🙂 I kept the weights very low since I didn’t know what to expect. Our instructor took a little too much time in between songs (class ended up taking 70 min.) so my heartrate really didn’t stay up there very much at all. I will just ride my bike or walk to the gym to & from the next class to get a little bit of cardio in.

  12. Leila on July 20, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I am OBSESSED with BodyPump – my gym finally got it June 1 and I have been in love ever since. I have been pretty active and have always done a little weight training but I really noticed a difference in my muscle definition since taking this class. The ONLY downfall about BodyPump is that I have to get to the gym about 20-30 mins early to get a good spot in class.. the front of course! (Yes, I am one of THOSE people..)

  13. Brooke @ BittersweetBrooke on July 20, 2011 at 10:29 am

    Thank you so much for posting this. I currently do not belong to a gym but I have noticed a lot of bloggers talking about it and wasn’t really sure what bodypump consisted of. I’m really interested in trying it but I’m a little nervous of an hour of lifting since I usually use smaller weights and don’t feel comfortable using heavier ones at this time.

    • chandra on July 20, 2011 at 7:13 pm

      Don’t be nervous to try it! BodyPump gives you 3-4 different weight plate selection options to choose from, so you can start out light and add more when you feel ready. For example, the bar alone is typically 3ish pounds and the smallest plate is around 2.5, so a bar with the lightest weights would be 8ish pounds . I had some elderly people in my class who would come in and use just the bar for some exercises – do what is good for you!

  14. Sam on July 20, 2011 at 10:29 am

    i love bodypump because the weight room just doesn’t interest me that much. the group setting makes all the difference. if that is the only weight training i’m getting, any suggestions on how often i should go to class?

    • Fitnessista on July 20, 2011 at 10:31 am

      definitely leave a day of rest (or only cardio) in between- 2-3 times a week is perfect

  15. Holly @ The Runny Egg on July 20, 2011 at 10:31 am

    I want to try bodypump, but the only classes in my area are taught at not convenient times 🙁 Looks like a great workout though!

  16. Amy on July 20, 2011 at 10:35 am

    We have BodyPump at our gym and it’s a good class. I, however, am addicted to BodyCombat. Gina, I’d love to see a Focus On BodyCombat!

    • Molly on July 20, 2011 at 1:19 pm

      Love, love, love BodyCombat! Talk about female empowerment in that class!

  17. andrea on July 20, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Wow perfect timing! I have to take a BodyPump class at the gym I work at tomorrow and I was so nervous and didn’t know what to wear/bring etc. I was going to look on your blog and see if you had anything on it and then this post came up! haha very helpful, thanks 🙂

  18. Brandi @ The Vitamin Bee on July 20, 2011 at 10:42 am

    I dont have a gym membership but I tried body pump at the only gym that offers it here during a two week trial period. I did like it because I’m not a fan of the weight room (or the guys there oogling my goodies) and I definitely felt like I got an awesome workout but it wasnt enough to make me sign up for a long term membership. I wish it were offered in more places!

  19. Natalie S. on July 20, 2011 at 10:42 am

    BodyPump rocks my world! How hard is getting certified to teach?

    • chandra on July 20, 2011 at 7:14 pm

      The certification itself is a 3 day program, but you have to have a gym “sponsor” you to be able to go. If you want more information I’d be happy to give more details, just shoot me an email! (

  20. mi-an on July 20, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Bodypump is one of my fave workouts!! i was doing it when I was in Houston studying for the boards! It was such a great workout and loved the energy in class.

  21. Amanda- The Nutritionist Reviews on July 20, 2011 at 10:47 am

    I’ve never tried BodyPump but after hearng so many amazing things about it really want to!

  22. Girl In the pink on July 20, 2011 at 10:51 am

    I love the pump!

  23. LaShaune on July 20, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Love me some BodyPump, especially the new round – 78, b/c the squat track appears to be easier (just my perception). I miss my instructor, Liza, from when I was in Houston b/c she made those tricep dips bearable! Oh those tricep dips!!!!

  24. Kelly on July 20, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Great post. Personally I always feel like BodyPump is a great workout, but I’ve heard mixed things about it from friends and trainers. I think it’s a great way to introduce people to lifting!

  25. Cristin on July 20, 2011 at 11:12 am

    I love love love BodyPump! I just started two months ago, but I love the changes I have seen in my arms, back, and abs! This class is great for someone who is not good with choreographed classes because the moves are generally the same. It pushes me to the limit every time, but the great part is once you finish that muscle set you don’t have to go back to it again.

  26. Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn on July 20, 2011 at 11:21 am

    I freaking lahhhhve BodyPump!! p.s. GIRL I AM HAVING A GIVEAWAY!! GO enter <3

  27. Joelle (On A Pink Typewriter) on July 20, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Ah, I am dying to try this!!!! There’s no body pump at my gym 🙁 but I’m going to check out the website and see if there’s anywhere else in my area.. Great focus post!

  28. Laura on July 20, 2011 at 11:29 am

    I just got home from my AM Bodypump class! I started taking the class in March and LOVE IT. I was never into group fitness classes, but after slacking on my strength training and finding trouble motivating myself to finish a ST workout, I love BP because I just have to get myself to the gym and once I’m there, I have no trouble getting motivated from the instructor and watching everyone else around me. I definitely recommend it! And if you try it, give it a few classes before you decide that you hate it. I definitely wasn’t sure until maybe the 3rd or 4th class what I thought!

  29. Heather @ get healthy with Heather on July 20, 2011 at 11:30 am

    I’m hoping to become certified to teach body pump in the nearish future. So much fun! Thanks for the breakdown 🙂

  30. Sam on July 20, 2011 at 11:43 am

    This post is timed perfectly because I want to take my first bodypump class this friday! So glad to get a bit of an inside scoop and see whats up! My new gym buddy is too intimidated to come with me, so I’ll be hitting this up solo. I think I will feel better now that A) I saw the class in action last night at the gym, and B) I know more of what to expect!

  31. Gillian on July 20, 2011 at 11:47 am

    personally, i love body pump.. great full body workout in 60 minutes, you dont have to think about what exercise to do next, and you can really track your progress.

    However, as someone who knows how to lift correctly, i feel like certain moves done in body pump can be potentially dangerous for people who DONT know how to lift correctly… cleans, deadlifts, etc… you can really hurt yourself if you do it wrong! i was blown away in a body pump class watching 40+ people just throw their barbell around while doing cleans.

    that said.. i still love it 🙂

    • chandra on July 20, 2011 at 7:17 pm

      110% agree! The instructor training goes through many of those moves in SO much detail (especially clean & press) so the instructor should be able to properly demo and cue corrections. The instructors are supposed to demo the move before the track in EVERY class, but some don’t, or people just don’t pay attention, so sometimes it can be scary to watch! :/

  32. Sonia (the Mexigarian) on July 20, 2011 at 11:51 am

    I used to go to BP up to 3x a week at my gym last year. Then it just got to be too crowded (I get a little suffocated in crowds) and I got bored with the same songs and all the repetitiveness. Perhaps I’ll go back to trying it at least once a week 🙂

  33. Allison @ Food For Healing on July 20, 2011 at 11:56 am

    i’ve taken bodypump before, and i enjoyed it, it whooped my butt. I went early, which is a great suggestion, I chatted with the instructor and got all set up, she was very helpful.
    If you are a first time bodypump goer, definitely go early!!

  34. mary on July 20, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    I’ve taken it and like it.

    I have to laugh at that Les Mills poster- “Great bodies aren’t born, they’re forged.” Yes, and in the case of that model, I’d say a surgeon had some help in the forging! Nice slogan, though.

  35. Anne Marie@New Weigh of Life on July 20, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    I recently started taking Body Pump classes again after being away from it for far too long. I LOVE it! It makes me feel strong and powerful.

  36. Maria on July 20, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    We moved away from my old gym that offered bodypump and I miss this class so much!!! It was a great weightlifting class because it pushed me so much harder than I push myself on weights. I need to find one closer to our apartment.

  37. Alyssa @ Life of bLyss on July 20, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    I ADORE BodyPump, but I don’t have it where I live now. I used to take it twice a week in college! Gosh, do I miss that class.

  38. Cassey @ on July 20, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Oohhh! I love BODYPUMP!!! The clean and press is such an empowering move! I remember back when I was getting certified for it, I couldn’t believe I had to lift heavy for 3 days straight for training. Then there was the “audition video” that was so nerve wrecking. Glad I did it though. Honestly, because of BODYPUMP I became more confident lifting in front of those big guys in the weights area.

  39. Natalie Rae on July 20, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Thanks for the basics Chandra! 🙂 I needed to know

  40. Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat on July 20, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    I agree with you on the point about it getting repetitive! I also agree that it’s good for beginners who may not necessarily know safe technique for strength training on their own. I’m an RPM instructor, so Pump is a nice contrast to being on a bike all the time!

  41. Allie @ sweet potato bites on July 20, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    I love body pump – especially this new release – the music rocks! I’ve been going consistently for a few months now and can definitely tell that I’m getting stronger. It’s the best!

  42. Lindsey on July 20, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    I so badly want to take a BodyPump class but they haven’t really started to catch on up in Canada – or at least where I am! I am hoping soon though 🙂

  43. Claire @ Live and Love to Eat on July 20, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    I really enjoyed this explanation since it’s not offered at any of my local gyms.

  44. Mary @ food and fun on the run on July 20, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    I love Body Pump! The only thing I do not like about it, is that my gym does not put a cap on how many people they will allow in the class. It ends up getting so busy, that it is sometimes difficult to have full range of motion.

  45. Lauren@hungryspinner on July 20, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    I know people LOVE body pump!! I had a bad experience when i was in the instructor training for it I guess. . I never ending up teaching it. .. wasn’t the right thing for me!! I didn’t care for the girls teaching the instructor class. — not very nice 🙁

    It is a fun class to try though!!

  46. Magda on July 20, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    I think I have to come back to body pump (called power pump where I live). I tried it several times and my arms almost fell off 😉 But still I loved it and this post reminded me of the nice soreness that I felt the next morning 😉

    By the way Gina, I just made your broccoli slaw with almond butter sauce and it’s a hit – made in 3 minutes including shredding the broccoli and sooooo delicious 🙂 I think it will be my emergency dinner from now on 🙂

  47. Jenni on July 20, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Any idea how much the barbell weighs? I never lift weights and I want to start, and think Body Pump would help me incorporate weight training–just not sure if I could even work with the lowest weight!

    • Heather on July 20, 2011 at 3:25 pm

      Some gyms have different barbells…no more that a couple lbs max.

    • chandra on July 20, 2011 at 7:20 pm

      The bars alone typically weigh around 3ish pounds. There are usually 3-4 weight plate sizes – 1kg, 2.5kg, 5kg, 10k (or plates in lbs 2.5, 5, 10).

  48. Heather on July 20, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Whoop Whoop! I got certified in October of 2009! Has totally changed my life! We are having the MEGA QUARTERLY here in Arlington in August! Can’t wait to meet Glenn and Susan!

  49. @HilaryFleming @ on July 20, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    We’re joining a gym this week (we just moved) so I will have to try Body pump. I had a major failure in cardio today but I did have an amazing Green Smoothie that made up for it. BTW congrats on the baby boy. I have a 20 month old baby boy and they are the best. 🙂

  50. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga on July 20, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Thanks for the post, Chandra!

    I have taken a body pump class YEARS ago but havent in ages. Reminds me that I should try it again!

    Thanks for taking the time to post about it and share your experiences and thoughts on it all 🙂

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