Les Mills International to celebrate 25 years of Body Pump

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KATIE THOMPSON speaks to MARTIN FRANKLIN about the anniversary launch of Body Pump.

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It’s a group exercise that’s taken the world by storm since its launch in the early 90s, and now, some 25 years later, Les Mills International is looking forward to launching Body Pump 100 on January 14.

The internationally-acclaimed weight training program was devised by New Zealand-born athlete Philip Mills in 1990 and today can be found in 17,500 health clubs around the globe. With four new releases per year, the workout comprises 30, 45 or 60-minute sessions with choreographed moves to music, focusing on the leg, chest, back, bicep, tricep, shoulder and abdominal muscles.

So what can we expect from Body Pump 100? “That would be telling!” says Martin Franklin, CEO of Les Mills UK. “What we can say is that our 100th track list is full of inspiring and high-energy songs from artists including Calvin Harris and Rihanna.”

One thing that fitness fans can be assured of is a continually effective workout, which has been confirmed by thorough scientific studies. “All of our classes are steeped in research. For example, the Body Pump Squat Study, as published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, concluded that lifting lighter weights at a faster tempo will burn more fat and increase muscle strength and endurance,” says Franklin.

Of course, in 25 years of scientific development, the programme has inevitably changed, and Franklin adds that it will continue to evolve as Les Mills welcomes a new generation of instructors. Whilst the 10-track format has remained consistent, he says that toning comes as a result of “keeping the muscles guessing.” This is supported by constantly-updated routines which put the muscles under tension, helping to build strength through repetition.

Despite the prevalence of mobile workout apps and stars such as Joe Wicks ruling social media, the team at Les Mills International remain confident that Body Pump will continue to prosper. Franklin says: “We’ve seen a 26 per cent increase in class participation over the last three years. 100 releases is a testimony to the success of the programme itself, and we’re excited to see where the next 100 releases take us.”

Gyms across the globe will be working out in unison on January 14, including a Body Pump Masterclass as led by Les Mills Regional Training Coordinator Denice Burr in London. These events will also serve to raise money for the Les Mills Fund for Children, which aims to improve children’s mental and physical health and access to education.

As fitness fans and first timers continue to see out their New Year’s Resolutions, there is no doubting that Body Pump 100 will live up to expectations, and Franklin is looking forward to a huge turnout.

“On January 14, they will all come together for the first time to celebrate this famous fitness movement and raise money for the next generation to get involved and enjoy exercise – a very fitting way to mark such a significant milestone.”

KIRSTY WHITLOCK

Kirsty Whitlock

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TEACHING BODY PUMP?

I’ve been teaching since 1998 - back then we were on release 19!

HOW HAS BODY PUMP CHANGED SINCE YOU STARTED TEACHING?

The set position was slightly wider back in the 90s and they used lots of big shoulder rolls. The music has changed too - it’s more contemporary now rather than rock and cheese!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT BODY PUMP?

The group effect is great - anyone can do it and you don’t need to be co-ordinated. It’s also great to see your progression as you get stronger and your weights go up.

ANY TIPS FOR BEGINNERS?

Stay light and focus on your technique - the technique should always override the load.

JENNA BARKER

Jenna Barker

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TEACHING BODY PUMP?

I’ve been teaching around four years, since Body Pump 84.

HOW HAS BODY PUMP CHANGED SINCE YOU STARTED TEACHING?

The music is noticeably different now and there are a lot more pulses in the moves. I’m excited for the shoulders track on Body Pump 100!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT BODY PUMP?

The results! I had a lot of excess skin after losing a lot of weight from my childhood, and Body Pump has helped to tone this up. I also love the ongoing challenge and motivating members to work harder.

ANY TIPS FOR BEGINNERS?

Everybody starts somewhere, so stick at it and you will soon start to build up; only lift what’s comfortable. The results will come if you stick at it!

ANGELA ROBERTSON

Angela Robertson

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TEACHING BODY PUMP?

Too long! I started on release 42, so about 15 years.

HOW HAS BODY PUMP CHANGED SINCE YOU STARTED TEACHING?

The music has changed a lot now and the moves are quicker - a lot of pulsing. I’m really looking forward to the launch day.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT BODY PUMP?

I love it! It’s achievable for all ages, genders, shapes and sizes, with all moves choreographed to suit the people themselves. I’m 50 now and am in great shape for a lady of my age thanks to Body Pump!

ANY TIPS FOR BEGINNERS?

Enjoy it! Remember - it’s not only your workout, so enjoy achieving your results together.

NEIL BARKER

Neil Barker

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TEACHING BODY PUMP?

Just over two years - I started on release 90.

HOW HAS BODY PUMP CHANGED SINCE YOU STARTED TEACHING?

More pulses means added tension for our muscles, helping us to get results quicker. Plus there’s more techno music, so it’s difficult to sing along!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT BODY PUMP?

The results - my legs and shoulders have shaped up nicely!

ANY TIPS FOR BEGINNERS?

Don’t be intimidated by the weights of those around you - it’s your workout!

More information on BODY PUMP 100 and its chosen charity can be found at https://www.lesmills.com/bodypump100 and http://lesmillsfundforchildren.org.uk/.

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