Amped. Pumped. Somewhere in the catalog of bootcamp marketing terms, there has to be a softer side to bulging biceps and veins the size of anacondas. Somewhere between deadlifting 400 pounds, getting scary skinny on an aerobics-only binge, and doing things with insanity right in the name, there’s REALITY, otherwise known as what one is likely to do and stick with.
That women, especially age 40 and up, require weight training to fight osteoporosis and gravity is a long-known fact. An effective alternative to extremes is what Les Mills’ BodyPump™ has to offer.
Many women are afraid they’ll bulk from weight training, says YMCA personal trainer and certified BodyPump™ instructor Megan Clackler.
“It’s not necessarily going to bulk you. Because the program involves high reps and you determine the weight. You can choose to do light weights and still get definition,” she states.
Noticeable definition, at that. Clackler has had clients and others comment on changes in her already super-toned gymnast’s physique, something she attributes to the regularity of her BodyPump™ training.
The group sessions, Clackler points out, are attended by both men and women who add the recommended weights on bars (2.5 pounds up to 11 pounds each plate) or customize based on goals and fitness level.
With a predetermined playlist of popular music to match the movement, instructors lead participants through sets that target muscles like the biceps and triceps and muscle groups forming the supporting the back, chest, glutes and abdominals.
“A typical lifter who lifts alone in the weight room does three to five sets of 10 repetitions, but in BodyPump™, we’re doing 100-plus reps for each muscle. It doesn’t feel like you’re doing that much, though because it’s fun,” Clackler details.
Training with a group and the variety of movements presented at different speeds and positions is key to keeping a fast-paced, generally exhaustion-free routine.
Each trainer presently certified in BodyPump™ must submit a video of teaching the routine in order to achieve certification on each new season by the Les Mills’ professional trainers. Then, they’re free to lead the weightlifting routines for students.
Although using lighter weights with more repetition is less risky than heavy weights, proper technique is still important to seeing results and to avoiding injury.
“This is a great way to learn how to weightlift, especially for people who don’t lift regularly. Here, they can learn correct form and learn different exercises to take outside of the class. For those who have lifted weights, they learn new techniques and different ways to use muscles and muscle groups,” states Clackler.
Experienced enough with weights to have competed and placed in large fitness competitions, Clackler still finds BodyPump™ routines challenging.
“If you can get through a whole song and you haven’t struggled at all and every rep felt ‘fine,’ then you can add more weight — you’re getting stronger.”
For the novice, the flexibility of the program is ideal.
“Anyone can do BodyPump™ . Even someone who has never lifted weights before,” Clackler says.
An “amped-up” metabolism is another lasting benefit.
“Lifting weights actually increases your metabolism, so when you do a weight workout, unlike an aerobic workout that burns for just that hour, you will continue to burn at a higher rate for rest of the day.”
The trainer’s recommendation is to add BodyPump™ as part of a complete fitness routine two to three times per week.
“I wouldn’t do it more than that because you should do other things, like cardio activities. Nobody should just do weights, just run or just do (bootcamp style workouts). You need a well-rounded workout routine.”
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Want to pump?
BodyPump™ classes are available at the YMCA
Mondays at 6 p.m.;
Tuesdays at 11:30 a.m.;
Thursdays at 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.;
Fridays at 8:30 a.m.; and
Saturdays at 8:15 a.m.
For a complete group exercise schedule, visit: www.ymcaswv.com