NZ Glen : BodyCombat fanatic

BODYPUMP builds muscle

Posted on: April 10, 2011

I’ve written about this before but I felt the need to write a quick post about it again as there still seems to be some confusion about whether BODYPUMP is a “muscle building” workout or not.

Recently there was yet another post on the Les Mills forum about BODYPUMP and building muscle – though this time even worse the concern was that Pump would actually “make me lose my muscle mass due to the high reps”! Now of course the correct answer should be “don’t be ridiculous” yet an experienced poster actually replied with “Pump shouldn’t make you lose too much mass”.

Wait what? You shouldn’t lose “too much mass”?!! WTF?!

There is absolutely zero doubt BODYPUMP builds muscle. As I said in my previous post on this subject – for the past 2 years the ONLY weight training I’ve done is BODYPUMP – outside a Pump class I don’t lift weights at all – ever. And if you doubt its effectiveness at building muscle take a look at the two pics below. Both were taken at BODYCOMBAT launches, one in 2009 and one in 2010 – one before I started Pump – and one after:

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!

There’s a 7 kilo difference in bodyweight between the two pictures and it’s all because of BODYPUMP! In fact, it’s been a few months since that second pic and Pump is still working and if anything I’m actually leaner and stronger!

There’s definitely some confusion about this out there as in the latest BODYPUMP release Les Mills actually included some new research showing that the type of training we do in BODYPUMP achieves the same results as heavy weight training! One group lifted 90% of their max weight – the other 30%, to quote Les Mills;

The researchers observed changes in the muscles of both groups and these changes were sustained for longer after the workout in the low-weight group!

Yes you read that correctly. As LM point out – the key isΒ fatigue – in short BUST YOUR ASS in every pump class and you will transform your body! This doesn’t mean ladies will bulk up like bodybuilders – but you will tone muscle, lean strong muscle that will boost your metabolism and change your physique.

This may sound like an informercial but to be honest I’m a little frustrated by the myths and rumours out there. The key is to make sure you push yourself and the results will come. I’m absolutely convinced it’s one of, if not the most effective ways to get in shape. It’s 60 minutes smashing every muscle, then getting out. No mucking around, and best of all it’s fun!

So to be crystal clear about this – BODYPUMP works.Β Trust me I’m living proof – It’s the ONLY weight training I do and I’m in the absolute best shape of my life …and I’m 36!

42 Responses to "BODYPUMP builds muscle"

Hey Glen.
I’m a strange case i guess :p , body pump works thats true yes or yes,but i lost weight in some parts of my body like the chest and in the other hand i gain more biceps and now mi legs are indestructible, i can destroy a building with a single kick bwuahahaha.
Maybe if the people don’t use 100% of themselves never will see the results or if they give up before the final of trainning,their muscles don’t grown-up.

for me the unique way us trainning a lot every muscle in every class.

states safe!
( ebay a nigthmare

Ebay a nigthmare every time i try yo post in english and with a movil telephone, sorry about double post πŸ˜€

Tide definitely the key is to give 100%. Our bodies need to be forced to change. The only way to force it is to absolutely push it. I tell my members if they get to the end of a track and know you could do more reps put the weight up.

Thanks for your feedback πŸ™‚

Thx for this post, Glen! I’m equally frustrated with the myths out there on BP. My galfriends ask me “You do Body Pump?! will bulk up like those bodybuilders”
I’ve stopped trying to explain & save my energy to enjoy my BP classes. I love it as much as I love BC!

Hi Glen I’ve been doing BP for more than 6 months 3 times a week.My body has changed πŸ™‚ I’m doing 3 BC a week too,but BP is really the class which has changed myy figure I’ll try to upload 2 pix like you did to show you Take care Hugs to you & Stace ❀ ❀ Patou

I do 3 combat classes and one pump class which I have just recently started. I want to look good on holiday in 10 weeks time. How many pump classes a week do you recommend to change my shape by then. I am not grossly overweight but could do with losing about a stone and toning up.

Great article Glen, thanks! I get tired of hearing all the myths floating around.

Thanks guys – oh and nice work Patou!

Sally I’d recommend 2-3 ideally. Once isn’t quite enough to get the maximum results I’ve found.

Hope this helps!

Sally – keep an eye on the diet too. Exercise helps a lot in terms of shifting shape but ‘fuel’ plays a big part too.

I’ve done Pump for years and only just taken up Combat and adding that high-intensity cardio has really helped me lose fat. I had the lean muscles – they were just hidden! I think the Pump/Combat combo is a great one for general fitness/shape – and you get such a buzz out of it.

My only downside of Pump is that I do now have slightly out of proportion quads so getting trousers to fit properly can be tricky. Still, I’d rather have slightly bulky muscular thights rather than flabby fat ones.

Hi Glen! Awesome post!!!! Really inspired!!! πŸ™‚

I’ve done BC 3-4 times a week for 2 years and BP 2 times in a week for a year…and the result is great!!! BP helps me to stay in shape and really build my muscles… First time when I joined BP, I was worried to increase the barbel’s weight coz I broke my left wrist a few years ago and I couldn’t lift a stuff more than 3 kgs… My instructor helps me to do BP and voiiiillllaaaa… now I can lift the heavy one by step by step training… πŸ˜‰

Hi Glen, nice to read this article. I have posted it to some friends. I’m a BC and BP fan. I usually practise 2 and 2 per week more or less, and, in some cases, 1 BP and then 1 BC class (one after the other, the same day). What do you think about practising both programs the same day? Thank you crack!

Peter (Rodrigo) it’s probably not ideal but I do it and so do a lot of my members so if you enjoy it then all good! In an ideal world splitting them would be optimal for recovery purposes.

Thanks for your responses everyone! πŸ˜€

I do agree… I also only do BP as muscle training, otherwise I do a lot of “jumpy” classes, such as combat and jam, and still I’ve got some nice muscles in the last year since I’ve started on BP. But sure you have to use your weights properly πŸ˜€

I am sold! But comparing the pix, will Body Pump loosing hairs due to too much estrogen?….

I’ve been trying to build muscle by increasing my Body Pump sessions from once a week to three times a week. It’s encouraging to know that this will yield results because I hate doing strength training on my own!!

Dear Glen,

I have one question,

besides your RPM and Bodypump classes, do you also train with weights for hypertrofie?

Donald I just do combat and pump, and one attack per week. that’s the only training I do – no weights.

I definitely see a difference, I mean when I first joined Body pump I was 83kg (pretty much fat) I then started Body Pumping more a Doing Body Combat and Balance. now after nearly a year I am down to 69kg I am stronger then ever and confident.

So confident infact I started an apprenticeship in Gym/Fitness instruction and within the next couple of months I should be qualified which will then open the opportunity for me to become a Bodypump and Combat instructor :).

Thanks for the info Glen!! I’ve gotta tell that to my grandmother next time I see her. When I told her I was taking pump classes, she was worried about me getting huge and bulky. I use light weights anyway because I don’t want to bulk up. Just want to burn off some fat and get lean muscle. In my opinion, a girl can never have too much lean muscle. πŸ™‚
I also wanted to say that I love your blog!! I wished I lived in NZ so I could go to the bc and bp filmings. I love to go to bc and bp, but sadly am only able to go to each once a week. 😦
Later!! πŸ˜‰

I agree with Glen – BP will change the shape of your body…. that’s a fact. As a BP instructor I teach 3 classes a week plus I do two strength training workouts in the gym a week and BB to counter the shortening of muscles. People are asking me at the gym how I did it (changed by body shape that is)!

Yes, many of my female participants are too afraid to increase their weights in BP due to the “fear of getting big”… All it takes is one member in the class to comment how increasing weights has changed their body, for others to add weight. I have a stack of 0.5kg plates on stage with me and encourage my members to put two on their bars for the entire class… They come back for 4 the next class, and so on. Within 3 classes they’ve added an extra 2.5kg! Easy!

Now I just need to add BC back into the mix…

Hey Glen!
You inspired me to take BodyPump and Ive noticed a big change even after 3 weeks! I have been working out and lifting weights for over 2 years and notice more changes with BP alone. More definition and my muscles are growing by adding more weight each week.
Thanks for the inspiration!

For the past 8 months I have just about all but completely given up regular weight training and do a minimum of 2 pump classes a week (usually do 3, mixed with pleanty of cardio)
I think whilst you are correct and for me it has definately grown muscle, defined and changed the overall shape of my body; it is important to note that unless you’re lifting weights that are going flat out fatigue you by the end of a track then it is not going to have the same affect as doing regular sets of reps with heavy weights down in the gym.
I look at some guys that go to pump and some are only squatting 15kgs which is hardly anything; especially considering I do more on my biceps alone.
So you really need to push it hard each and everytime in order to get anything out of it; otherwise, what is the point?

hi ive just really got into the classes in the last 6 months i love body combat and do 4 – 5 classes a week i also do 2 – 3 body pump classes and one step do you think thats too many classes i do feel gt although in the new release of combat the back of my knees hurt a lot

Hi Glen!
I totally agree with you. I’ve been doing pump for 3 months and I’m kinda living proof as well. The only thing is, I’m getting ripped buy also I think I’m losing weight so easily. Should I take milkshakes or anything like that?
Thank you!

sure Jamie protein shakes will help if you feel you aren’t getting enough from regular food. I eat a lot of chicken and lean red meat so I don’t use them personally. And congrats on your results! πŸ™‚

BP DOES transform your body!

I’ve noticed a hugh difference in my shoulders and back – my deltoids are more defined, and I am leaner and defined in that whole area, also my quads are really solid now and it’s improved my running no end – I am a middle distance runner and I have found since adding two pump classes a week to my training I have knocked off 4 minutes from my PB. That’s what I am talkin’ about!

I really want the same definition to happen with my abs and glutes though, I am trying really hard and have increased the weights and really bust out the moves but it’s taking a lot longer – any idea why?

One negative side to it is though, that is even though I am mega proud of my little guns and defined shoulders, and the beginnings of a six-pack, I’ve had mixed responses from people on my new appearance, other fitness people (such as my old aerobics instructor) have said wow – looking good. Others have said that its not a good look as I’ve going from being a bit squidgy (for want of a better word!) in the arms and chest area, to literally not having a lot of fat left and the comments have made me a bid sad. However, I love BP, I’ve done this for me. NOT for them!

Also after starting BP my Body Fat % just dropped and I am FINALLY in a healthy range after a long time trying! BP rules!

Hi Glen!
Thank you for your post. Could you tell me the weights you lift in bodypump. I started 3 months ago, have increased weights but I am only getting thiner and defined – no muscular gain. I was thin then, with some fat around my belly. All that is gone but I am getting skinny!

Hi Alvaro

It’s not actually about chasing someone elses weights, it’s about progressively increasing your own. Maybe not every class or every week but as soon as you can get to the end of a track and you’re not busting your gut. 3 months isn’t long – give it time. The results in my pic were 18 months apart.

what if i was to bodypump one week and heavy lift the other week, then next week back to bodypump

Yep that could work well – anything to keep your body on its toes!

hello glen,
if I take 3 BP classes a week, what class should I add if I want to lose some weith? great post, makes me love BP even more!

I wish more men actually got past their ego and figured out body pump is an amazing class to cut up! I’m just getting into it and it gives me a burn and pump that sets of even up to 15 reps can’t do!

NZ Glen,

Your muscle gain may be a little deceiving…on your “about page” you say you used to weigh about 30lbs more than you do now and you were into weight training (bodybuilding) Its a proven fact that those who have built muscle before can build it back very easily-not sure of the science behind this, but It works. Had you not had previous muscle gains when you were younger you probably wouldn’t have got the gains from “Bodypump”. If this wasn’t the case we would see all kinds of men showing the muscle they built from “bodypump” but you seem to be the only one.

Not trying to put a downer on “bodypump” it seems like a great program to stay in shape and maybe develop some muscle, but your gains are probably just the “muscle memory” effect from where you were bigger in your bodybuilding days.

I wish it were true as I can’t lift heavy due to “tendon” issues and I would love to put on some muscle.

Hi glen
Glen i find something that change my abs complety i bought a “bosu” and now i do in my home 3 times for week body pump “in the bosu” im complety suprised with my results my abs are hudge! πŸ˜€

Glen, Body Pump has changed my life! I’m 58 and started pumping 6 months ago three times a week. I never worked out prior to this and wanted to try something just to get toned. I’ve lost inches in my waist, gained upper body strength, plus…starting to see some ab muscles that have been hiding for 40 years! I started light and have worked up to some respectable weight. Mission accomplished and couldn’t be happier.

Just want to give my 2 cents here.

Right now I do Insanity: Asylum on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I do Body Pump and a 3-mile run on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

I have done P90X, Insanity, Insanity: Asylum, hybrids of all three, and have been a gym-goer for years. Since adding Body Pump to my fitness regimen, I have seen more changes in my body than ever before–and not just in one specific area; I mean everywhere. These Body Pump workouts are my favorite. You want to add size with Body Pump? You can. Just add more weight. It’s as simple as that. Glenn is absolutely right when he says they add mass

Thanks all, and good luck

Great post and agree 100. Pump works…well… and I don’t lift weights outside of pump either… Pump, and martial arts for cardio… thats it… enjoy.

Glen, In the past, I have worked out with weights, yoga, insanity, etc…and just started body pumping 2 weeks ago….I love it, by far my favorite workout….My question, when squatting, i am feeling the burn in my quads, but not so much in my butt… i doing something wrong or do I just have to much “junk” back there to feel it ???

Hi! I came across your post after searching for before and after stories for body pump. It’s been 5 weeks since I started pump and I’m already seeing results! My posture has improved, my legs are shapelier, and even my arms have definition when I flex! Even my friends couldn’t believe the difference 5 weeks made for me! I’ve only ever done bc for the past 6 mos and I’m kicking myself for not doing this sooner! Thank you for your post!

A few years ago i was teaching BP 4 or 5 times a week, and squatting with 45 to 50 kg. My legs did not bulk up, in fact i think they got ‘thinner’.

I am a 53 year old woman and i want to bulk up my legs, so for the past two years have reduced BP to no more than 2 a week and using very light weights for squats i.e. Not fatiguing my legs during BP. I have also been training heavy weights leg press with prefatigue leg extension in the gym, twice a week.

The point i want to make is that this has also failed to increase the size of my leg muscles, so maybe the skinny legs had nothing to do with the Body Pump!

Having read the posts i think i will try taking the weights up again for squat tracks, maybe i was just doing too many classes?

Hi Corinne,

I think that could be because you didn’t take rest. Doing BP 4-5x a week is EXCESSIVE. 3x a week should suffice at most.

Maybe you didn’t eat well or take enough protein (you need much more to build muscle than the RDA)

I’m saying so because B.P. actually helped me build quad muscles and calves while sculpting my legs. But, I did take enough rest between 2 sessions and consume a lot of protein.

Obviously, doing same muscle workout 4-5x a week means NO REST and NO time for your muscles to grow/recover but continue to tear apart – which will actually make you lose muscle.

I hope you’d agree with me on this.

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