This week I chose BodyPump as my exercise regime.
I can honestly say that I turned up without knowing a single thing about the class. I didn’t know what to expect, was it to be boxing, aerobics, weights, endurance, legs, arms, torso, who knows? In short, it was all of the above.
For those of you new to BodyPump, it is a weight-based group-fitness program lasting 60 minutes and consisting of eight separate choreographed muscle-group exercises set to music. This is preceded by a graded warm-up and followed by a cool-down, again both to music. Everyone in the class has a set of free weights, barbells, and an aerobic step.
As I was new to the class I was luckily guided by some ladies who seemed to know what was going on. Further to this, the instructor took it upon himself to talk to me beforehand and explain what was involved, emphasising the importance to take it at my own pace. He needn’t have worried, I couldn’t care how weedy I looked compared to some of the ladies in the class, this was certainly going to be at my own pace!
So the class began with a steady warm-up, using some barbell weights to simply ease the body into a state of exercise. This was followed by a routine of squats, with weighted barbell. 4 single squats followed by 4 bottom half squats to really work glut max and quads. It’s amazing how difficult bottom half squats actually are, and this was just the beginning of a 60 minute workout!
Next up was a chest and arm workouts, incorporating upward rows and again the odd token squat to remind me why exercise is necessary. In a similar fashion to the squats, the chest and arm routines both involved bottom half lifts proving just as tough on the forgotten muscles.
Grips were widened in the next stage to target different muscle groups. The theory being that a widened barbell grip targets the short (inner) head of the bicep muscle whilst the close grip targets the long (outer) head. Both grips involve both heads of the muscle but the change in grip does channel the focus towards one head more than the other.
The next muscle group of mine to get hit was the triceps. Now as I Chiropractor I strangely require the use of my triceps quite a bit but that said, today my triceps were in for a shock. Tricep extensions, tricep presses, seated dips and overhead extensions certainly ensured my triceps were not sat in the passenger seat. A workout they needed and workout the got!
It was then back to biceps and shoulders, followed by crunches before finishing with some evil press-ups and plank holds.
What appealed to me most about this class was the carefully thought out choreography whilst still including necessary warm-up and cool down exercises. This class does not aim to work the cardiovascular system but instead tone and build all main muscle groups. It does this with great success and is definitely an enjoyable exercise class allowing everyone to take part at their own level and pace.
A great introduction to the world of Les Mills exercise classes.