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Body Pump - An Opinion

Firstly - What is Body Pump?

Essentially Body Pump is a barbell and weights based group training class using light weights and high repetition.  The last two elements being the right way to build lean muscle and lose weight in short order.

Right out of the gate I will state I am not against this type of group training... with one very specific caveat; done well with good technique.

On more than several occasions I have heard the following "I did Body Pump yesterday and I'm in agony".

Now agony is a relative term and people feel the after effects of exercise in very different ways.  One type of agony is DOMS, delayed onset muscle soreness.  DOMS is commonly associated with exercising muscles we may have neglected for a while, or after increasing load or reps.  Even the fittest, regular trainers will get DOMS.

Pain related agony, which when I have probed further, is not a good result from a group training class; that said from any exercise.

If you are reading this and thinking of taking a Body Pump, or any group training class for that matter, for the first time or have had pain from a previous class, I would recommend the following:

  • Get there early and talk to the instructor
  • Understand how many people will be in the class and if the instructor can adequately keep an eye on your technique as a newbie
  • Take advice on the best weight for a beginner and the work volume anticipated
  • Bigger weights won't garner bigger results

Secondly - Technique is key

Undertaking a high work load, for the first time or regularly, with poor form and incorrect technique is highly likely to cause an injury at some stage.

Done regularly enough the body will start to work around any deficiency and, as a result, you may think all is well.  The result will be a growing mnbalance that could manifest itself in pain in a entirely different area.

Good technique, posture and form, should be of paramount importance and taught in any group training class.  Specifically, for anyone who has never lifted a barbell or free weights much less a squat, lunge, or press.

Even someone able to undertake core functional moves with good technique can lose that when tired, or at the end of a set.  In a high-volume group training class it is unlikely that good form can be fully maintained throughout.  As such if you start to feel any discomfort or sense that you are unable to maintain the instructed technique you should stop, rest the remainder of that section, and re-join in the next set or section.

Why is this important?

DOMs will clear up after a few days.  You'll walk a little oddly and reaching for things may be uncomfortable but it will pass.

Pain, on the other hand, is destructive.  As a result if you experience pain you may not go back, it may take time to recover setting back the intention to achieve the results you wanted from the class.

After all, we all only have one body to carry our brain and consciousness around.  It is important, therefore, to look after it.