What Is Les Mills Bodypump?

Ahhh Bodypump. One of the highlights of my week.

If you see what I post on social media and what I write here, over time you will see a huge amount of my content refer to Les Mills and the programmes they create.

It has played a huge part in my journey as a trainer and instructor and has played a massive part in how I have changed as a person too.

I’ll talk about Les Mills, my slight obsession with them and the programmes in more detail but today we’re going to focus on Bodypump.

So…What Is Bodypump?

I can give you the official definition off the Les Mills website or I can explain a little bit differently.

So Bodypump is a high repetition weights-based workout, and every track is choreographed and synchronised with music. The instructor will pick the music for each track – and the music is provided by Les Mills.

It is done with relatively light weights (compared to what you might lift in the weights section of the gym) – but you make up for that with a huge number of repetitions.

Every class follows the same structure and there are 4 different formats/structures depending on how long your class is:

60 Minute Bodypump Structure

10 tracks in total and should come to roughly 55 minutes from start to end.

  1. Warm up – full body
  2. Squats
  3. Chest
  4. Back
  5. Triceps
  6. Biceps
  7. Lunges
  8. Shoulders
  9. Core
  10. Cooldown

45 Minute Bodypump Structure

8 tracks in total and should come to roughly 45 minutes on the dot from start to end.

This is the format I teach and enjoy teaching the most. And I don’t think I’ve ever honestly been able to run to time!

There’s 2 options for this.

First up is you basically leave out the triceps track and biceps track:

  1. Warm up – full body
  2. Squats
  3. Chest
  4. Back
  5. Lunges
  6. Shoulders
  7. Core
  8. Cooldown

Your second option is a newer format that has only been around for a year or so now (Bodypump started in the early 90’s to give you some context):

  1. Warm up – full body
  2. Squats
  3. Chest
  4. Back
  5. Combined triceps/biceps track
  6. Combined lunges/shoulders track
  7. Core
  8. Cooldown

That second format is the one I enjoy the most and teach most.

The combined tracks are the most challenging ones and test your strength, endurance and coordination more than any other tracks.

30 Minute Bodypump Structure

There is also a 30 minute format which I’m not overly keen on because it’s a little bit too short – the workout is over before you even realise. It is simply:

  1. Warm up – full body
  2. Squats
  3. Chest
  4. Back
  5. Core
  6. Cooldown

It is popular in lunchtime teaching slots for workers but I don’t know a huge number of clubs using it.

Can I Lose Weight With Bodypump?

Ummm….yes with some conditions.

Yes – Bodypump is a form of exercise that burns calories and helps you get stronger. So you are nailing one of the key weight loss requirements – increasing the number of calories you burn.

BUT… unless you have your nutrition in check – and eating less calories than your body burns overall, you won’t lose weight. You can’t out exercise poor nutrition.

I talk about this more in other sections of this blog.

Does Bodypump Build Muscle?

It’s a complicated question to answer.

Yes you will build some muscle and develop some strength – especially if you are a beginner.

The issue is that because it is focussed more on strength endurance than out and out strength, you are more limited in how far you can go with it and how much weight you lift can increase.

On the flip side, as it is endurance work, this can help your recovery times and when you try more traditional weight lifting and strength training, you will recover more quickly between sets and will see a boost from that.

So it definitely contributes and pulls it weight (yes, pun intended!) when you’re trying to build muscle.

What Are The Benefits Of Bodypump?

There are a lot of benefits.

  1. Calorie burn:
    • According to Les Mills research you can burn up to 700 calories for a 1 hour workout.
    • BUT…. in all honesty, I have ZERO idea what conditions they used to test that.
    • According to my Fitbit (which also isn’t accurate really) it comes closer to 330-350 calories in the 1 hour.
    • Resistance training continues to burn calories after the workout as your muscles are still recovering – so there is a benefit over a longer period of time.
  2. Increased strength:
    • You’re lifting weights, so it will help you get stronger.
    • The high repetition can help re-enforce good technique which transitions over to lifting weights on your own.
    • High reps and little rest will also help build your endurance – which can help your recovery times
    • The focus is more on building strength endurance rather than brute strength – so the kind of thing that will help most day to day tasks feel easier – except trying to lift ridiculous heavy things for short bursts – but that’s what the weights room is for.
  3. Other strength training benefits:
    • Stronger tendons and ligaments
    • Improved posture
    • Lower risk of injury
    • Increase mineral density in bones – stronger joints
    • More muscle mass meaning faster metabolism

What Are The Downsides Of Bodypump?

There are 2 main ones which come to mind.

First of all, it can be a love it or hate it kind of thing.

Not everyone enjoys it, a lot of personal trainers look down on it for some reason (which is idiotic in my not so humble opinion) and that is down to individual choice.

Also because the music is set and prescribed, as an instructor you can’t control what music you get – just the tracks you choose once you’ve built up a good enough collection. Remember they try to appeal to all tastes and ages so it’s unlikely you’ll love every track in every release.

And the second thing is that because it is focussed on strength endurance, you will start to plateau on the weight you can safely use which as a participant it can be frustrating and a bit demoralising.

But if you are still working to a level that is challenging for you, you can still reap plenty of benefits.

So Is Bodypump Recommended?

Overall yes, especially if you a beginner in the gym.

It is a safe, effective and fun workout (not that I’m biased or anything!) with benefits that transfer over into everyday life and if you are good with your nutrition, you will start to see fat loss results start to come quickly.

If you try it and don’t enjoy it, there’s plenty of other workout choices for you which I’ll talk about from time to time.

Most chain gyms and a few smaller ones will have Bodypump on their timetables so it should be easy enough for you to get into a class to try!

And check this out. This is a preview video of what a Bodypump class will be like – usually in a smaller studio without the glamorous lighting or sets but  still a great workout.