Is BodyPump for Men?

Ladies often dominate BodyPump classes - and that's the first thing most men notice when they first walk in the room. Sure, there's a few guys here and there, but they're clearly outnumbered. Then there's the plastic weights, the hollow bar, and the little step then they use for a bench. Is this stuff for real? How's a guy supposed to get a real workout in a place like this?

Most men stick around though, maybe because their girlfriend or wife put them up to it, or maybe because they've heard it's a lot of fun - so why not give it a chance. The little warm-up thing isn't too challenging, and the squat thing was interesting. So now it's time for chest presses, so let's get down to business...

And that's usually the beginning of the end. Guys look around the room, figure they should move at least as much as the ladies, so they slide some extra weight on the bar. Because after all, these are plastic weights. But by the time the sixth track (biceps) ends it isn't fun anymore - everything hurts, the music seems to go on and on, and what's the deal with all the reps anyway? Although most guys stick it out to the end of their first class, most never come back.

I've observed this same scenario play out in class after class. If I'm lucky, I'll manage to catch a new guy before class, or right afterwards (if they stay that long!). And if they'll listen, I try to impress upon them one key fact - it's not about the weight. If I can get them to ignore what the gal in front of them is moving and keep their own weights on the light side, they'll probably have a good time, and maybe even come back again.

But that's easier said than done. I know, because I went through it - had my wife Tami not been a BodyPump instructor I'd probably never have even tried the class, let alone stick with it. In fact, after six months of struggling with bar weights that I couldn't properly handle - and seeing absolutely no evidence that I was getting any results - I was ready to chuck the whole thing.

But just as I was about to call it quits on this latest "fitness failure", I watched one of the BodyPump instructor videos that Tami used for her practice work. The form that these guys demonstrated was absolutely exquisite - and it was clear that they had somehow gotten results at this sort of thing. So I decided to give it one last shot - this time, though, I drastically reduced my weights, and finally started focusing on my form. In less than two months I started seeing results - and by the following year I had earned my BodyPump instructor certification. At 40 years old I'm in the best shape of my life - far better than in my 20's and 30's.

BodyPump Success Plan For Men

I'm here to tell you that BodyPump - the most successful group fitness program in history - works. The head choreographer is Mike McSweeney, who has been involved with program development for nearly 15 years. Here's how to make it work for you:
  • Focus on form - It's not about the weight. Weight doesn't get you results, form does. Nail the form. Remember: if it's worth doing, it's worth doing right.

  • Be there - Anything you do consistently for a month will become a habit. Pick a class time, put it on your schedule, and stick with it.

  • Get rest - Do the class three times a week, and never two days in a row. Rest is every bit as important as the workout, so make sure you get to bed at a decent hour.
Here's my suggestions for weights to get you started. Jot these down on paper, then bring it - along with a pen - to class so that you can make notes. Naturally, you should make appropriate adjustments if you have any past or current injuries that might be aggravated by the routines.

Although the music may differ, every BodyPump class follows the same 10 routines in this order:
  • Warm-up - One medium plate on each side of the bar. You can increase this to a large plate later - but no matter how experienced you are, you should never warm up with more than a large plate on each side of the bar.

  • Squats - One large and one medium plate on each side of the bar. If you have any sort of prior knee injury, then go to a small and a medium - or work without the bar.

  • Chest - One large plate on each side of the bar.

  • Back and Hamstrings - One large plate on each side of the bar.

  • Triceps - One medium and one small plate on each side of the bar. There may be some work with a single plate - if so, pick a medium or small plate to work with.

  • Biceps - One medium and one small plate on each side of the bar.

  • Lunges - I highly recommend working without the bar. To this day I rarely, if ever, work with weights while doing lunges. Proper lunge form is difficult enough to attain without weights. Nail the form before graduating to the bar.

  • Shoulders - One medium and one small plate on each side of the bar. There will likely be work with plates as well, so I recommend using mediums or smalls for those.

  • Abs - No weight needed. Effective ab work requires focus, so keep your mind on the job during this routine!

  • Cool-Down - No weight needed. Stick around for this, though - neglect the cool-down and you most certainly will pay the price. Maybe not right away, but in time. Trust me on this.
I hope that these suggestions are helpful. But don't stop here - I encourage you to continue your research and - most of all - stick with the program!
Send Us a Message!
Would you like to contact us directly, without posting a comment on the site? No problem! Just enter your message below and send it on:

Your Name:

Your Hometown and Country:

Your Email Address: (only if you want us to write back)

Okay, when you press the button below you'll see a confirmation page from Just hit the "Continue" button on that page and the message will be delivered straight to us!

About Tami and Craig - BodyPump Instructors

Teaching BodyPump classes as a husband & wife team gives us a unique opportunity to spend time together, stay in shape, and (hopefully) inspire others all at the same time. It's been a long journey for us - we both know what it's like to be overweight and unhappy with our appearance, caught in the endless of cycle of failed diets and broken New Year's resolutions. We both broke free from those chains in our mid-thirties, and today - as a pair of 40-something BodyPump instructors - we truly enjoy the opportunities we have to help others along in their own journeys.

Most of the people who regularly visit our site either teach or participate in BodyPump classes, so if that describes you then you're in good company! If you see something that catches your interest, please use the comments links or send us a message and let us know. We read every message posted or sent to us by our readers. And be sure check out the podcasts that go along with many of our posts - you can listen at your computer, download to an Mp3 player, or subscribe at our iTunes page. There's something for everyone here, so feel free to have a look around!