NZ Glen : BodyCombat fanatic

BODYPUMP and muscle growth

Posted on: September 27, 2010

A couple of days ago I was browsing the Les Mills community forums and a post caught my eye. It was on the subject of building muscle doing BODYPUMP. Cut a long story short, one of the posts had the following comment:

Body Pump DOES NOT build muscle mass

Now I did add my two cents because this is a subject I get asked about a lot and feel very strongly about. When asked by men in class as to whether they can build their muscles using pump I use myself as an example. The ONLY weight training I have done since I did the BODYPUMP module in March last year is pump. That’s it, outside the group fitness studio I haven’t picked up a weight at all. Not even once. And, in that time I’ve put on 7 kilograms (over 15 lbs) of muscle.

Take a look at the pics below – the one on the left was taken at the release of BODYCOMBAT 39 in March 2009, the other the release of BC45 in September 2010 (18 months between the two).

Me, last year and this year - before and after BODYPUMP. A 7 kg increase in lean muscle doing pump alone. Note the difference in the shoulders!

Me, 2009 (left) 2010 (right) - before and after BODYPUMP. A 7kg increase in lean muscle doing pump alone. Note the difference in the shoulders!

The only difference between the pic on the left and the pic on the right is the addition of BODYPUMP to my training routine (three times per week). Normally when I tell people pump is the only weight training I do I get a surprised look but anyone who knows me knows it’s the absolute truth. BODYPUMP works, if you put in the hard yards and really, I mean really bust your ass every class it will totally change your body…. trust me I’m living proof!

17 Responses to "BODYPUMP and muscle growth"

Hi Glen,
Yeah, that was an interesting discussion on the LM forum….
I was told when first starting doing Body Pump, that the purpose of BP is not build muscle mass, and for me it doesn’t.
The most weight I’ve ever used is 20kgs (10kg on each side) for squats, but my technique suffered, so I’ve lowered the weight…
Our instructors have always said good technique is better than using heavier weights with bad technique.
I guess for someone like yourself who teaches it 3 days a week, or someone who does it 3-4 times a week and increases their weights regularly – they will build muscle mass.
I’ve still got to lose about another 15kgs before I worry about building any muscle mass!

it does build body mass… as you improve your strength, up the weights go, and so forth and so on..

I’ve built some muscle in the traps.. so reduced the weights for the shoulder track. (didn’t look too feminine)

So whoever said that… is full of manure.

Hi Glenn,

I will be the 2nd living proof for men that BP does build muscle mass, but with a provision that you need to put in 3-4 times of class per week, not afraid to load up on weights, and have proper nutrition.

In December, it will be my 4th anniversary of doing BP as a participant. I started off as a scrawny 55kg, 1.75kg, very skinny guy. But my body weight nowadays range from 75-80kg, only doing BP and nothing else outside of class.

Proper nutrition is as important as the weights I carry [maximum total weights I have carried on a 3kg bar after 4 years of BP: 10kg (WU), 50kg (SQ), 30kg (CH), 30kg (BK), 20kg (TC), 15kg (BC), 30kg (LU), 20kg (SH)] and I can testify that I have gained enough muscle mass.

“loving proof” is a great Freudian Slip, Glen πŸ˜‰

I’ve had a similar thing to yourself with BP as the sole source of resistance exercise. Obviously diet and cardio play a large part as well but they alone wouldn’t have produced such an increase in muscle growth in the shoulders and chest.

of course it does, it’s a great training, ( cardio working, weight, tone:…) and obviously combined with other trainings ( bc …) u can get great results

Wow! I always assumed you did some extra weight-lifting. I do pump twice a week, and I have noticed a difference too – not quite as marked, though. Body pump is the first time I’ve really tried working out with weights. Guess I should take some pics like you so I can compare. I don’t sweat the weighing scale any more, I threw that out and use a measuring tape… Definitely leaner with 13cm less around my waist after 3 yrs of BP!

Oops didn’t notice my error Graham! Haha too funny!

Thanks for the comments guys!

Hi Glen,
1st let me say it’s amazing gaining 7KG of lean muscle a year, and i gues you are not using any of those so called “materilas”
2nd i have been doing pump in the past (not any more) and was wondering what is the amount of weight you put on your bar???
i normally do normal wiehgt exercises with a lot of weight at my pick i did chest press with 80 easly for 8 repatitions
after that i got injured and i’m still recovering from that injury now days my max is 50KG 😦
as i remeber pump was easier since i used alot less weight,coz it got a lot more repititaions

so what’s the amount of weight per exercises??

Tsachi it varies per class, as you know releases can be very different. Up to 40 for squats, 30 chest, 25 back, 20 triceps, 15 biceps, 20 lunges, 20 shoulders… however, often less than this. I think it’s important range of motion and timing is concentrated on just as much.

And, of course, diet makes a big difference too!

Thanks Glen for everything you have done for me. You have helped me transform my body.

Right now, I’m still in the process of LOSING weight instead of gaining (over 8 kgs in one month, couldn’t be happier!!) so I’m heavy into cardio (BA, BC, RPM and running), but I try to add a class of BP every week and even that makes a difference.

Once “the baggage” is gone (8 more kgs) I’ll definitely be adding more BP classes to the routine, especially after reading your post!!

interesting, and I have to say after 18 months in BP 3, 4 or even sometimes 5 times a week, and slimming way down, that the last 2 or 3 weeks in the gym in place of BP has seen my BF and weight both increase! going back to regular BP methinks. I agree that continually increasing weights when it starts not to be killer is the way to go…

I definitely notice a difference in muscle mass and tone after 3 years of bodypump. I still have some more weight to lose. A diet rich in a variety of nuts, vegetables, fruits, lean meat, hearty grains, and lots of water are essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and in attaining a healthy physique. My goal is to be, feel, and look healthy, increased muscle mass is an added bonus!

I agree that it changes the body shape; I myself have noticed it.

I think it takes a bit longer to build the muslce than what it does straight weight training because Pump is a good mix of Cardio and Weight training I find. That said I don’t lift an incredible amount of weight.

In a typical release I lift 34.5 (SQ) 24.5 (CH & BK) 17 (BIC & TRIC & LUNGES) and about the same on the bar for Shoulders. I haven’t gone up in a while but I am using Pump as a toning class these days and trying to build muscle in the weight room mixing it all up with alot of Cardio.

[…] 1) because I’m currently trimming back down a bit for summer here and 2) as a follow up to my BODYPUMP and muscle growth post a couple weeks […]

Hi there, I’m a typical ectomorph, go to the gym, lift weights, increase the weight each week etcetc, eat protein and am still quite skinny (but bigger than I am before).

I’m just bored with weights so want to try body pump, but am worried that the cardio aspect will mean that I lose what little muscle i’ve managed to put on via weight lifting. Is it better to go heavier in bodypump (am guessing so), and should I be looking to go to failure after 8-12 reps like normal lifting, recover, and try to squeeze out some more?

Either way I’m looking forward top it as the gym is so booooooring:)

I am an ectomorph also.
The problem is not really being ectomorph but being slowtwitch dominant.
I know ectomorphs wit big muscles.
Alot of sprinters are ectomorph, Frank Zane was ectomorph…
but they are not slow twitch dominant
If you lack fast twitch fibers you have a hard time building mass
especially with low rep workouts.
An example of muscular slowtwitch dominant trainees are elite rowers.
google the Australian rowing team, you ll see
so maybe BP is the answer to build some muscle for you…
goodluck and have fun

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