Newest Review: ... and some weights. You start by doing some warm ups, and then the instructor plays some music, and you have to do a series of weight lifts.... more
Member Name: pranapana
Date: 30/09/02, updated on 14/12/03 (17915 review reads)
Advantages: quick toning / results, has aerobic factors, interesting enough to keep you coming back for more
Disadvantages: deceptively simple, danger factor
I've been doing body pump for about 5 years now and I'd just like to express a word of caution. I am also an ex-gymnast and national swimmer (back in the day).
Body pump is an excellent exercise - especially for those who aren't very good at sticking to weight training programs or get bored doing the repetitive lifts themselves.
However, because there are weights involved, Body pump also has the potential to be very damaging. I would suggest that before you attend a Body pump class that you spend a half hour at least with a qualified/certified fitness instructor who knows what they're talking about to go over the more standard moves and the basics of weight lifting. All too often, Body pump classes are too large for the instructor to go around and tell everyone what they are doing wrong. I have seen WAY too many Body pump enthusiasts executing the moves in very, very dangerous ways - which make me wince during the class. Actually that's one of the worst things about Body pump!
Best bets are to attend classes where there's one instructor leading and another one that goes around correcting moves during the class. And keep asking instructors after class to confirm that you are holding the right stance or lifting using the right muscles.
Plus, if the instructor tells you to execute a move that your common sense tells you is risky (i.e. to your back) or that you don't feel comfortable doing, just substitute a similar, but more comfortable move instead. I've had some rather dodgy instructors doing things which were specifically prohibited by other more experienced instructors!
*What is Body Pump?
Body Pump is an aerobics type class, usually goes for about an hour where you do weight repititions in a class to music, following the instructor's movements. In most classes I've attended, you'll need to set up a stepper (used for step aerobics) and get a weight bar, some loo
se weights and (sometimes) a couple of barbells of v
The instructor will take the class through sets of lifts working most of the muscle groups in your body using the free weights. If he's a good instructor, he/she'll ask you to add or reduce weights for the next set (since different body areas have different size and strength of muscles, it's important to vary your weights so you don't strain/over-use a smaller muscle group like your upper-arms while under-exercising a larger one like the back, or legs).
There are many variations of types of lifts but the most common are:
- squats, lunges and dips with the weight bar on your shoulder (make sure you push your elbows slighty up + forward when going down to keep your shoulders high and chin up - this will maintain the correct stance as well as relieve tension in your arms)
- bend + snatch (like you see the weight lifters do on tv. Your instructor should show you the three seperate parts of this lift, most people will get it wrong if it is not broken down the first time)
- arm curls (do <b>not</b> sway with this one. If you're swaying, your weight is too heavy. Only your forearms should be moving the weights up, if your upper arm, back or shoulders are swaying to make the lift, reduce your weight immediately. Swaying means you are lifting with your back - not only dangerous, but not working the desired muscle group)
- reverse curl (start with arms at sides holding the bar, holding it so your palms face in. Your hands should just brush the side of your thighs which are planted at shoulder width. bend at elbows and lift as if you are doing an arm -curl. If the instructor tells you to do a variation of this where you lift the bar with straight arms from your thighs to your shoulder height do not do it. THis move is incredibly bad for your back and you should complain to your instructor / ask him to justify the move after the class)
Words can't really describe, there are lots of other moves which involve you standing, lunging, squatting or lying back on the stepper (for the arms).
Make sure you clarify proper stance for the different lifts (i.e. legs shoulder width apart or closer together, toes pointed out or straight ahead, knees bent or not) since the wrong stance with a lift can mean injury. The most oft-used stance - the sort of squat, requires you to stick your bum out like you're going to sit on a chair, while keeping your shoulders + chin up, your feet shoulder width, toes ahead and knees over your ankles (not toes). Sticking your bum out will feel weird at first, but you MUST otherwise you risk your back.
Lifts will be done at varying speeds, either at the one-count (fast) or anywhere from three-counts up (slow), or fast down, slow up, you get the idea. Listen to the instructor and follow everyone else and you should be fine.
To end the class, some instructors will do stomach exercises (like situps, although I find triangular holds much more effective) and push ups - but you should have been holding in your stomach throughout the class to get maximum results from the weight lifting. Then there will follow a short shake-out and stretch session.
I never find the stretch session long enough and always go to do further stretching on my own. Sometimes instructors will rush this and do stretches for less than 15 seconds at a time, which is no good - don't do the sheep thing, take your time. To stop lactic acid build-up in your muscles (which feels like someone pounded you in some back-alley the night before), you should also do about 15 minutes on an aerobic machine like the treadmill or elliptical trainer. I find this always ensures a pain-free day when I wake up the next morning -well worth the extra 15 minutes of cooling down.
Word of advice for newbies - don't be ashamed of using very low weights on your bar
, or only using your bar without weights. It is an ego thing for some to stack on the weights, but it's imperative that injury-avoidance comes before impressing some gym junkie, agree?
In all, if you know + stick firmly to the fundamentals (don't get lazy, constantly check your stance in the mirror instead of the hot guy next door), body pump is one of the absolute best classes out there. If the instructor shows no interest in doing things the right way, I'd suggest getting a personal trainer for a one hour session and going through all the typical body pump moves with him thoroughly - it would be a pity to deny yourself this great toning activity just because your local has disinterested instructors. In fact, if you are a regular body pumper (of this G variety, not the xxx variety), getting someone to check out your stance a couple of times a year is a good idea as everyone but elephants forget.
The class is good for: muscle toning (don't worry girls you will not bulk up as females react differently to weight-lifting than guys. You have to make a concerted effort to look like a female body-builder - just doing body pump will only make you very toned, tight and perkier *wink*), some aerobic benefits too. You'll definitely sweat and watch out for the muscle "shivering" the day after an intense class.
Side note - I've given this 3 stars due to the slightly higher risk factor. If you know your weights though, this is definitely a 5 star form of exercise.
**Update on 9 Dec 03**
Wow, what a mind blower. I completely forgot that I wrote this - I never checked back after writing - I didn't even know people could comment on it! Joined www.epinions.com under the same name a month ago, so this turned up when I searched on google. I even thought "Who's the w*nker who's using my name?" until I finished reading the review, thought "Wow this person sou
nds a lot like me" then realised it WAS me! I'm a dork, I know. Anyway, I have updated it, so thanks for re-reading!
More reviews in the field of Sports Equipment
- Take pole position
- Dragons - Northwood
- Stalking the Villainous Pike
- FIT UP @ LA FITNESS
- Virgin Active......
- A good idea from a renowned manufacturer of bottles !
- A handy bottle for short distance runs
- Family fun for those sunny days in the garden (remember those?)
- A big tick for Nike from me
- Stay Classy with Newbery