Earlier this month, I decided to start taking up BodyPump to strengthen my arm muscles, now here are my thoughts having completed (finally!) my first two classes before the new release (BodyPump 90) next week.
Not that I’ve been intentionally putting it off, I promise! The first week I decided to go for it, the class was already full so the plan was to go ahead and attend the BodyPump Technique class first, but having given it some thought I decided it would be more effective if I could attend the Technique class and immediately apply it to the Pump class right away.
The weekend that was meant to be my very first class, I hadn’t properly set my alarm and only realised 15 minutes before class started that my alarm didn’t go off as planned and I wasn’t going to make it in time. Third time’s the charm, right? So here we are! In my first class I thought I did quite well, but realised that as usual, my legs were my weakest part from all the lunges and squats. I was surprised that my arms seemed to fare pretty well. Not the same could be said for this week: my arms are honestly feeling them today! I was glad that the instructor was really helpful in helping me correct my positions to make sure I don’t injure myself and work myself to the max.
There are various techniques that are used in Pump, one of the most common ones being the overhead lift, what’s referred to as the shoulder press:
Source: Yorktown and Corlandt
Some might think this is as simple as picking up your bar and lifting this above your head. To do this safely and to work your arms to the max, you’ve got stages you need to follow. The class is all about reps (or repetitions), but done in different comnbinations to ensure your body doesn’t get used to the movements – if this happens, you’re not gaining any added workout because your body becomes used to the same motions and it doesn’t feel the need to exert any effort. You know the feeling when you go through the same motions time after time, at first it hurts but later it doesn’t anymore? That’s your body getting used to the motions. The build up of lactic acid in your muscles tells you it’s being used differently and it’s your body telling you it’s working hard and it’s time to stop. Everytime you push past the pain to try and get to the end, you’re working on building up your tolerance. I’ve realised that my body has been used to certain movements from my 18 months of Combat and although some of the same muscle groups were being used, because it was being used differently I’m already starting to notice a difference.
I’m still learning all the names that are used for the different techniques and like when I first started Combat, knowing which muscle groups are being worked with which track. It’s still early days and although I’ve not got as big an interest in the class as I do Combat, I do like the results I’m getting from having been to 2 classes. I thought my arms were strong before I started but now I’m really starting to feel a difference when I use my arms to lift anything with a weight to it. I was laughing to myself when I couldn’t even lift a half-full bag of sugar above my shoulders to put back onto the shelf – this must’ve weighed about 3kg. In the warm up track, I’ve got 2.5kg weights on either side of my bar and I have no problems with lifting this in reps. As I said, it’s still early days, but I do realise that I can’t expect my body to suddenly be able to lift heavy weights, so when we move to track 3, I’ve had to switch to 2kg weights on either side of the bar and to use 1kg plates in track 8 to slowly allow my body to adjust to the change in fitness routine.
Like all Les Mills classes, everyone in your class is going through the same motions and it’s such an awe-inspiring sight to see the co-ordination of everyone going through the moves at the same time. If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, have you ever looked at a live dance group on stage? To get all members of the dance group to move at the same time is a difficult thing to acheive. When all the members are facing forward, only the ones behind can see when you’re about to perform the next move. True, not everyone in your class will be as co-ordinated and it is based on how much effort and work you put into perfecting your technique to get the most out of your workout, but it’s still a sight to behold when you see the filming of each new release for each of the programmes when over thousands, possibly millions, of instructors are all moving at the same time.
I’m still nursing sore muscles so decided to take it easy tonight. I have been thinking about what other class I would be motivated to try and through my research into other productions by Compagnie Käfig, I then started delving deeper into finding out more about the ancient Brazilian martial arts, capoeira which I will discuss at a later point. For now, I need my body to adjust to having an added class that works on muscle groups that are either not worked hard enough or not used in Combat and the increased arm strength together with my background training in various martial arts techniques, I believe these skills would come in handy for capoeira.