BodyPump is a weight-based group-fitness program, created and distributed globally by Les Mills International. Created in 1991 by Phillip Mills, it is now found in over 70 countries and 10,000 health-clubs and gyms worldwide.
The first BodyPump classes started in December 1991 in Auckland, New Zealand, according to (Information published in the United Kingdom via a report by Alan Felstead). The concept according to Phillip Mills was to get men into the aerobics room.
BodyPump classes are 60 minutes long and contain eight separate muscle-group specific songs or “tracks” along with an opening warm up track and closing cooldown track. There is also a 45 minute class format, which omits two muscle groups /tracks (biceps and triceps) and is used in timeslots where participants generally don’t have a full hour to spare. Lately BodyPump Express classes, which last 30 minutes, have been introduced in the UK and Japan. which removes the biceps and triceps exercises, the cool down and either the shoulders or lunges track from the full format. Like all of the Les Mills Group Fitness programs, BodyPump is pre-choreographed by Les Mills International, giving it global homogeneity.
The classes are performed to music using free weights-plates, barbells and an aerobic step. Participants choose their weights based on the exercise and their personal goals. Major muscle groups are worked via series of compound and isolation-based exercises including squats, presses, dead lifts. The focus is towards muscle endurance using several repetitions.
A new BodyPump release, consisting of new music and choreography, is developed and released to health clubs and instructors every three months. Muscle groups are always worked in the same order as stated in the Les Mills Instructor Resources, allowing for consistency across releases. Instructors can choose to work with one release, or mix tracks from multiple releases, to target strength endurance gains for their particular class. Instructors and trainers are provided with guidance from Les Mills International regarding the mixing of tracks for classes. The pre-choreographed class meets the Les Mills methodology that students will find a more consistent experience when attending a BodyPump class in any location around the world.
Music is used to create a “musical journey” that guides and encourages participants through the work out. A normal class consists of 10 tracks each lasting between 4 and 6 minutes. These are usually cover versions or re-mixes of popular chart or classic rock releases. The tracks are mixed to allow for an aerobic block count of 32 beats and will vary in speed depending on the exercise being performed. The music is choreographed and (with the exception of the first and last track which are used for warm up and stretch/ cool down purposes respectively) each track targets a different muscle group. The tracks, in order, follow the format of: warm up, legs/squats, chest, back, triceps, biceps, lunges, shoulders, abdominals and finally a cooldown encompassing a variety of stretches. Between each track there is a short interval to allow for stretching the muscle just exercised, change weights for the next track and to allow the instructor to brief the next exercise.