Bodypump, and its major flaws for weight loss

I did feel bad at first quitting teaching this popular class, but sometimes you ‘ve just got to do the right thing………………for yourself,  and others.  The purpose of this article is not to condone Bodypump to the depths of hell or anything, but I hear it talked about as the holy grail!!  Simply put, Bodypump suffers from all the downsides of most aerobics classes, but has something going for it – in that it uses weights……..just not the right parameters!  (By parameters, I mean intensity, volume, duration, exercises etc). 

Intrigued??  Read on . . . .

Bodypump suffers in the way most aerobic classes do in that there is so little room for progression.


Lack of Progression
Due to the fact you are exercising for roughly 4-5 mins per track, it is often hard to progress much further after 6-8 weeks – without seriously compromising technique or lifting speed. For instance, you might compromise technique by reducing squatting depth, and lifting speed could be simply letting the bar drop quickly on a triple wide row etc. Both of these bad habits can be done consciously or subconsciously.  Below is a classic example, people drop like lightning on the descent of a squat, and lets not even discuss depth!




This is not a full squat

Progression is what keeps our bodies changing. You could say the opposite of progression is stagnation, and I feel a lot of people are stagnating….and not through lack of effort……simply that the AEROBICS model is completely flawed.

For example, when you take into account when lifting considerably heavier weights in the gym, you would expect to make increases of around 1%-2.5% per week or so, in a person who has trained for more than a year. (This can obviously plateau if you stay on the same program forever, and be more in someone who is new to training).

When you realise that in a Bodypump class, say for a biceps track, for a woman to go from say, 7.5kg, to the next weight up (10kg) is a massive leap of 33%, you start to see why improvements aren’t coming. Also, a typical ‘gym’ set lasts 15-45 seconds, a typical Bodypump ‘set’ lasts 3 to 4 minutes!

You try upping your weights 33% and multiplying your set duration by 6-8 times and you will fail!!!!!

Even on the Squat track, a very strong man might use 40kg and try to progress to 42.5kg. This doesn’t sound like much but is another 6%. Again, this is for 5 minutes – not 15-45 seconds!

Simply put; If you are not adding more weight, adding more reps, or reducing the rest in between sets or exercises….you are not providing a stimulus for your body to change.


Another major flaw of Bodypump is it’s music. Now you might think the music rocks (!) but if the music is constantly changing week-to-week…….how do you know if you have improved???!!!!

For example, you might do a tougher track this week compared to last week. Are you weaker? Are you stronger? Was the track harder? Were you fatigued because the track before (which was also different from last week) was harder?!

I hope you see where I’m going with this. There is no plan of progression.

What is your weak muscle?
Fitness training ‘legend’ has it that you should work the larger muscles first, then move onto the smaller muscles. I’m ok with that as a general ‘rule,’ (and agree to some extent)…………But what if your weaker muscle is a smaller one? For example, shoulders;

If you do not bring your weak link up to the standard as the rest of your body, it will be your limiting factor and it will hold you back. If that’s the case then every Bodypump class you do, you are prioritzing other muscles over your weaker ones (your shoulders) – digging you deeper, and further strengthening your chest and triceps relative to your shoulders!

Next time you think about doing a Bodypump class, ask yourself the following:

Does it fit your goals?
Can you progress at all?

If you even want to try it, just make sure you measure your success and don’t kid yourself.

If you have enjoyed reading this article, I suggest you read (or re-read) ” Don’t be a class Junkie” which addresses why most other classes suffer.
Any questions on this article, please email me by clicking here.

John Cammish (B.S.C) is a local East Yorkshire Fitness Bootcamp Instructor and real-world fat loss expert. He has helped countless individuals change their lives through postive habits with a focus on tried and tested methods. For more details about Personal Training, Fitness Bootcamps, Free Articles and more – check his website (






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