I’ve been following Body Pump classes since I began going to the gym (around 5 years ago). When I was a complete beginner at the gym, Body Pump classes were really beneficial to learn the right techniques of basic moves (squats, lunges, up right rows, chest presses).
I still occasionally follow a Body Pump class, but I’ve kind of lost my enthusiasm for it over the years.
But let’s start with the things I like about Body Pump:
#1 The class is entertaining & you’re done in an hour
If the instructor is doing a great job, time flies and you get a good complete workout in an hour. Each section of the class works a different muscle group and is accompanied by a music track that is designed to get you in the rhythm and inspire your efforts. Even if you don’t like the music at first, you may find yourself downloading some tracks after a while!
#2 Body Pump introduces beginners to weight training & stays challenging for experienced gym goers
If the instructor is doing a good job, he or she gives a lot of technical clues for beginners. The instructor can also make the class more challenging by asking people to put more weight, follow proper form, squat lower, lift slower, etc.
#3 Different kind of people follow the class
Body Pump classes draw a crowd of young and old alike. Unlike other group classes, there are men following the class too.
#4 You find the same lessons everywhere in every country
Though I love trying new gyms and new classes, it’s also very pleasant to be able to do a Body Pump lesson with the same music and moves you already know from another gym. A Body Pump class outdoor facing the Mediterranean sea in an holiday resort in Turkey was just the nicest group class I’ve ever followed.
Disadvantages of Body Pump classes:
#1 Doing high repetitions does not necessarily mean getting toned
Body Pump will burn calories, maybe decrease bodyfat, but it will not build any real definition. I hate the word “tone” that trainers use when they advice people (mostly women) to do Body Pump or weight training with a high number of reps to “get toned”. It’s very difficult to get toned by doing Body Pump only -unless you’re naturally muscular, put on muscle easily and on top of that eat very clean.
Some people can achieve muscle hypertrophy or the results they’re looking for by doing Body Pump only, but if you have a lean build and want to look a bit more muscular/curvier, you probably won’t notice any increase in muscle mass, even when gradually increasing your weights. In my experience, Body Pump does not help adding muscle mass to my frame. I will usually get a temporary muscle pump during the class because of the increased blood flow to the muscles doing high reps, but this is only a temporary effect. If I want to make big progress on the shape of my butt, I usually need to do some heavy weight lifting with lower reps.
#2 There is no practical, functional ‘use’ for some muscle groups
What’s the point of doing bicep curls with light weight for 4 minutes? I can’t imagine any concrete situation in life where I would need to do 100 biceps curls with light weights. I can think of plenty of situations where I would need to lift something heavy and put it back for a few repetitions.
#3 It’s difficult for instructors to give enough attention to everybody: sometimes I’m not even sure if it’s really possible to teach weight training in a group setting
I saw a woman the other day doing the whole Body Pump class with 1 kilo on each side of her bar. The instructor asked at the beginning of the class if they were beginners of people with injuries. Nobody replied. The instructor let this woman do the whole class with one kilo without asking her anything or how she was doing. Sometimes I feel like Body Pump instructors don’t care that much. I understand that it’s impossible for them to give individual attention and that they’re already telling us many technical cues during the class, but some instructors just let people get away with very light weights and/or bad form, even when they see these same people over and over again each week attending the class.
What is your take on Body Pump? Do you attend Body Pump classes?