I am absolutely loving Body Pump classes right now. Les Mills Body Pump classes use barbells to tone and sculpt your sexy bodies. Expect lots of reps to burn fat, increase strength, improve your general fitness... the list goes on. I could reel off the benefits for hours!
I have been doing Body Pump classes fairly regularly (just once a week generally because I like variety!) for a few months now and I have seen such a difference in my body. I find that my muscles respond pretty well to exercise anyway but I have seen quicker results from a few Body Pump sessions that I have from anything else. Most noticeably, my shoulders (which previously had next to no strength!) have definition and even my Nan commented on how peachy my bum looks!
I wish my gym looked like this! (source)
Here are my top tips for people thinking of starting Body Pump classes:
+ Start light
The routines demand lots of repetition of moves so start with a light weight. I started with THE lightest weight for my first class to allow myself to become familiar with the movements first. Always ask the instructor for advice and make them aware that you are a newbie.
+ Watch the instructor
Especially for your first few classes, position yourself so that you can see the instructor clearly. To work some of the muscle groups, you will be laying on a bench or on the floor so closer to the front is best. On the Body Pump section of the Les Mills website, you can visit the 'learn the moves' section to familiarise yourself before class.
+ Watch yourself
If there are mirrors, use them! You will be able to check that you have adopted the correct stance (such as how far apart your feel should be) and see how well you are executing the movements (such as how low you squat or whether your arms/legs are parallel to the floor in certain movements).
+ Expect DOMS
That ache that you get for the couple of days after a good session is DOMS; Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. As you get used to moving your body in a new way, this will ease up. In the meantime, make sure that you stretch out well and treat yourself to a pampering soak in the tub!
+ Dress comfortably
I would recommend dressing in clothes that are easy to move in. Shorts or leggings are great as they won't hinder the movement in your legs as thick or baggy trackie bottoms can tend to. Supportive trainers are also important, especially in classes where you have any plyometric action!
Keep your core muscles engaged and joints soft; never lock your knees or elbows.
+ Don't be shy
If you are struggling to complete a track with the weights that you have selected, don't be afraid to put them down and either continue to mimic the movement with no weights, or switch to a lower weight. If you don't feel that you have time to switch the weights on your barbell, simply pick up plates and use them on their own. I have done this before and no one will judge you! I honestly feel that this looks like I know what I'm doing/understand my body more than if I had have just stood there struggling!
I love the latest release - Body Pump 85 - especially because the new ab track is amazing! The music is great too, including tracks from Swedish House Mafia, Flo Rida and Muse. Love it!