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Getting your weight selection just right for a Les Mills’ BodyPump class can seem like an epic task – but when you know the formula, it’s really quite simple. Fernwood BodyPump instructor Casey gives us her recommendations for selecting the right weight.

First timers

Starting out can feel a little daunting sometimes, especially when you're learning a new skill or technique. Remember that everyone in that class has been in your position at some stage, and practice makes perfect.

“Don’t be afraid to just use the bar. The first class is all about getting comfortable with the movements, learning the technique, and going through the motions. Plus you’re still using your body weight, so you will feel the effect of the exercises the next day,” Casey says. 

Start light to build your technique and feel comfortable with the movements.

“1kg each end is a good warm-up weight. And from there, you could put an extra 2.5kg on each side for squats,” Casey says.

Casey has created a rough guide on the types of weights for a range of exercises, which we’ve complemented with an example selection for a beginner, intermediate and long time BodyPumper:

Track Weight selection E.g. Beginner (each side of the bar) E.g. feeling stronger E.g. feeling very strong
Warm-up Lightest weight 1kg 2.5kg 5kg
Squats Two to three times the warm-up weight 2.5kg + 1kg 5kg + 2.5kg 2 x 5kg
Chest Warm up weight + a little bit more 2 x 1kg 2.5kg + 1kg 5kg + 1kg
Back Little bit more than chest, little bit less than squats 2.5kg 5kg 5kg + 2.5kg
Triceps Warm-up weight 1kg 2.5kg 5kg
Biceps Warm-up weight 1kg 2.5kg 5kg
Lunges Back weight - if the track has a lot of squats you can go heavier 2.5kg 5kg 5kg + 2.5kg
Shoulders Warm-up weight 1kg 2.5kg 5kg
Abs No weight

Increasing weights

The above is a rough guide, and by no means do you need to stick to it. Always do what feels right for you. For example, if you’re an avid cyclist, your legs might be stronger than your upper body, so you might be able to squat and lunge more than your warm-up weight.

When you do start thinking about upping the ante, don’t increase all your weights in one week, cautions Casey.

“Choose two tracks to increase, maybe an upper body track and a lower body track.”

But the main thing is to keep it challenging. A good guide is – if you’re not sweating by the end of the track, it’s time to up your weights.

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