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How to improve at Les Mills BODYPUMP

Updated: Nov 21, 2022

This blog is updated each month to add a new piece of advice from our instructors to improve in your BODYPUMP classes.

Les Mills BODYPUMP - A Great Place to Start by Chantalle Hiscock

We have unfortunately hit the start of cold and flu season, and as you may have noticed I disappeared for a week due to illness. After nearly 9 days without doing any exercise, I was dreading teaching my first BODYPUMP class!! I was so wrong to feel this way; I soon realised just how great BODYPUMP is as an introductory class, whether you've had time away due to illness or just looking to dip your toe in group exercise.

Unlike other classes, BODYPUMP has so many factors that YOU control - you decide what weight to use in each track, you decide the range of movement for each exercise and with SMART START, you decide when you want to leave the class. This made my return from illness super easy, I have no shame in admitting that I taught the class with no weight on my bar and I will gradually build up over time - and you can do the same!


Les Mills BODYPUMP - Are You Comfortable? by Chantalle Hiscock

We are roughly 4 weeks into the newest BODYPUMP release and by now we should be getting to grips with the tracks and dare I say it, feeling a bit comfortable with our weights. We have 8 weeks left of this release, and now is the time to work hard and become UNCOMFORTABLE. If you have a track that is starting to feel a bit easy, why not add some green plates next time? That little addition of weight will make all the difference, increasing muscle fatigue and ultimately helping to tone those muscles!

I am guilty of letting myself get comfortable and using the same weights throughout most of a 12-week release, and it is mainly because I can't remember what weight I've been using. Therefore, I have pulled together a chart where you can become accountable for your progress and record your weights each week - just let me know if you want one!


Les Mills BODYPUMP 122 by Chantalle Hiscock

My BODYPUMP squad have been smashing BP121 over the last 12 weeks but now we turn our attention to the newest release... and we are going BIG! My personal favourite track is the squats, the title of the song is appropriately called 'BADBOY' and trust me, it is. We see the return of our favourite squat pulses in two challenging, but electric sets.

Overall, the release has new exercises and tempos that I haven't yet taught in my 8 months as an instructor, and for some of you they may also be new! With the heatwave over, we are definitely going to be bringing the heat back in BODYPUMP.




The general rule of thumb when lifting is, in through your nose, and out through your mouth. As you inhale through your nose, make sure you are engaging your diaphragm, taking in a big deep breath that ensures you get the most oxygenated air right down to your belly. When you exhale, breathe out completely through your mouth.


The most common guideline is that the inhale should come during the eccentric (muscle-lengthening) part of the movement, and the exhale should come during the concentric (muscle-shortening) part of the movement. Try to stick with this regardless of whether you’re moving at a fast or slow tempo. Maintaining rhythmic breathing is the most important thing for your nervous system.

During a push-up, you should inhale as you lower to the ground and exhale as you straighten your arms and push back up. As you squat, inhale as you begin to lower down and then exhale as you extend your legs back to a standing position. If you're doing a chest press, inhale as you lower the bar to your chest and exhale as you straighten your arms and push the bar back up. When it comes to bicep curls, inhale as you lower the weight down to the starting position, and exhale as you lift the weight towards your shoulder.


BODYPUMP: What is the REP EFFECT? by Chantalle Hiscock

The REP EFFECT™ allows us to get all the key benefits of resistance training without lifting heavy weights. It uses the effect of high repetitions (around 800 per class) with much less weight to fatigue the muscles. It is muscle fatigue not muscle load that tones and strengthens. Each BODYPUMP track is carefully designed using tempo changes to fatigue the different muscle fibres in different ways, maximising the REP EFFECT™.

Think of the BODYPUMP 120 squat track, we use a combination of slow and fast tempos throughout each set to fatigue the muscles in the quadriceps and glutes, and quite often your facial expressions tell me that you definitely feel the muscle fatigue and the REP EFFECT™!


BODYPUMP 120: What a Peach! by Chantalle Hiscock

This latest release shakes up two classic BODYPUMP exercises, the deadlift and deadrow, by changing either the grip or stance to enhance utilisation of the glutes.

By widening the grip on the bar for deadlift, we have a greater hinge from the hips allowing us to squeeze the glutes even more as we rise out of the deadlift.

For deadrow, we take a wide stance which creates a more stable foundation as we drive through the heels to rise, maximising engagement of the glutes.

“Be a badass with a great ass”

How to improve your BODYPUMP game

What is Les Mills Smart Start? by Chantalle Hiscock

When it comes to motivation, your brain works in a mysterious way. One minute you’re full of enthusiasm and raring to go. A few weeks later the excuses start to creep in, and before you know it you haven’t been to the gym all week. Les Mills Smart Start helps you to build on your fitness, guaranteeing that your first steps into fitness are not your last.

There are three secrets to Smart Start; start slow, build it up gradually and mix it up.

In BODYPUMP, Smart Start is an option for both the 45 and 55 minute formats, giving you the option to leave at any time after track 4, and with the aim to add an extra track week on week until you are completing the full class. Remember, our classes offer options for all and Smart Start is a great way to make a start with BODYPUMP if you are a beginner, or simply looking to build up the 55-minute class.

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