Top 5 Tips for the New BODYPUMP-er

By Mona Javid, Program Assistant for Group Fitness and Emily Schmitt, Coordinator of Fitness Programs, Campus Recreation Services

Strength training does more than simply build muscle mass and tone your body. It has also been shown to increase your metabolism, improve your sleep and prevent injury. As if that isn’t motivation enough to start pumping iron, there are numerous psychological benefits as well including boosted optimism, focus and self-esteem.

But it can be difficult to know where to start, and even for the most seasoned weight lifter it’s a challenge to stay motivated and keep the workout fresh.

Luckily, there is a new group fitness class in town offered through Campus Recreation Services (CRS) — BODYPUMP!

BODYPUMP is a group weights workout to music created by LES MILLS International.  This 60-minute newbie-friendly workout challenges all your major muscle groups by using classic weight-room exercises like squats, presses, lifts and curls.

If you want to get as strong on the outside as you are on the inside, feel confident to try a class with our top 5 tips for the new BODYPUMP-er:

  1. Get into the rhythm of the class sequence. Every BODYPUMP class consists of 10 songs, or tracksand each one works a different major muscle group.
  • Track #1 – Warm Up
  • Track #2 – Squats
  • Track #3 – Chest
  • Track #4 – Back
  • Track #5 – Triceps
  • Track #6 – Biceps
  • Track #7 – Lunges
  • Track #8 – Shoulders
  • Track #9 – Abdominals
  • Track #10 – Cool Down

The order of the 10 tracks will always be the same, so you’ll know what is coming next.

Two new BODYPUMP classes will be introduced each semester but each class will follow the same sequence as listed above.  Each class is called a release. Releases are numbered. CRS is currently teaching BODYPUMP 79.  For the first 3 weeks after a new release is introduced, or launched, at CRS, only that release will be taught, allowing you to get comfortable with the exercises.

2. Get to know the equipment. All BODYPUMP equipment will be provided for you.

You will be using:

  • 1 Barbell
  • Plates – We have 3 sizes of plates (2.5, 5, and 10 pound plates).  If you are new to BODYPUMP, taking 2 of each plate size is a good guideline.
  • 2 collars – Collars screw onto either end of your bar, securing your plates.
  • 1 step
  • 1 mat

Your BODYPUMP instructor will help you pick out your equipment, and conduct a brief overview of equipment being used at the start of each class.

3. Bring the proper gear. Wear workout clothes (no jeans) and running or cross training shoes.  Other items you may wish to bring to BODYPUMP: a bottle of water & a towel.

4. Know your limitations. At the start of each track, your BODYPUMP instructor will provide you with a general weight guideline.  For example, for Track #2: Squats, your instructor will recommend that you put double or triple your Track #1: Warm Up weight on the barbell.

The weight you put onto your barbell is your choice.  Barbell only and body-weight options are a great way to begin in this program AND see results because BODYPUMP applies the rep effect in its classes.

The rep effect focuses on using less weight and performing more repetitions. This promotes muscular endurance vs muscular strength.  You will perform 70-100 repetitions per body part (i.e. 72 squats in Track #2).  Keep this in mind as you make weight selections.

5. Track your improvement. Bring a small notebook to class, and record your weight selection from week to week.  Be proud of your accomplishments!

Seven BODYPUMP classes are offered weekly.  Classes are held at the ERC and Ritchie Coliseum.  Please arrive at least 15 minutes early. Equipment and space are limited (max. 40 participants at ERC, 9 at Ritchie). Group fitness classes are free for all Campus Recreation Services members.

Each class is listed as 70 minutes, allowing for 60 minutes of activity and 10 minutes of set-up/breakdown.

Mark your calendars – BODYPUMP 80 Launch (Tuesday, March 6th, 6:15pm and 8:15pm in the ERC West Gym).  Hope to see you there!

Have a question about BODYPUMP or strength training? Ask it below and we’ll get you the answer!

Follow UMD Fitness on Facebook for updates on upcoming special events, class changes/cancellations, fitness tips, and more! 

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7 Responses to Top 5 Tips for the New BODYPUMP-er

  1. Peni Neibert says:

    Is there a reason that body pump always follows the same routine as far as squats, chest, back and so fourth. Is there a scientific reason? Thanks

  2. Marie says:

    Sometimes my instructor switches the sequence of muscle groups within the release I find that it is not only awkward but harmful..I don’t like doing the lunge track and squat track very last do I have a legit argument I hurt my knee the last time he did this

    • Hi Marie, Thanks for your comment.

      The sequence of the tracks in a BODYPUMP class should always be the same, no matter where you take a BODYPUMP class. It is a regulation of Les Mills BODYPUMP to follow this sequence of tracks, so this particular instructor who is changing the order of the tracks is going against BODYPUMP policy. There is science and research behind BODYPUMP and the sequence of the tracks, so you do have reason to question this instructor switching the sequence. The squat and lunge tracks should not be completed one right after the other at the end of the class, as there should be some rest for the legs in between. You are completing around 100 reps in each track, so working the same muscle group for 2 tracks in a row can overload the muscles too much and could be the reason you are experiencing knee pain after doing so. I suggest you let the owner of the gym where you are taking this particular BODYPUMP class at know that this instructor is not following Les Mills BODYPUMP protocol, or if you feel more comfortable reaching out to the Les Mills company you can do that through this link: The company has information for all certified BODYPUMP instructors so they could contact the instructor directly and you could remain anonymous with your feedback for the instructor.

  3. Phil says:

    Say if I weighed 100kg and had 30% body fat, if the instructor is suggesting 3x the warm-up weight, if my warm-up weight was 10kg and I merely lifted my body weight – am I already considered to be lifting 30kg?

    • Hi Phil! BODYPUMP is an external load class, so the instructor is providing suggestion cues for where your weight should land to achieve a moderate intensity level of work. We always tell participants that at the end of the song they should feel like you could not do 1 more rep, and then that is the correct amount of weight.

  4. I love Bodypump, I wish classes were offered in my area, I did buy the Les Mills Pump system to use until we get classes. Pump in a group setting is the best!

  5. Anonymous says:


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