4 Reasons Runners Should Try A BodyPump Class

March 26, 2012 § 7 Comments

Me at BodyPump.

I just walked in from BodyPump class at my gym and I have literally not stopped trembling since the class stopped.  Hello, muscle failure.  I hadn’t been in a while, and I kept the weights even lighter than usual this time, which is saying something, but it definitely worked me out, got my heart rate up, and helped me remember that I have triceps and hamstrings.  Sometimes those little guys get a tad neglected.

The class is a high-rep, low-weight regimen with a different song for every muscle group, which keeps it interesting.  As I worked today, I was thinking how this would help me for Boston (three weeks from today!) and how BodyPump can really benefit every runner.

1. It makes you think about your posture.

The instructor tonight, Leslie, was a pregnant lady who is tough as nails.  She kept yelling at us to slow down tonight and wow–slow hurts.  The other thing she kept going on and on about was keeping our shoulders away from our ears, flat back, shoulders back, etc.  After Ian told me that I stand like a neanderthal, I’ve been thinking a lot more about my posture and how it affects my running efficiency.  At BodyPump, I can see myself doing whatever it is I naturally revert to when I’m fatigued, whether that’s a rounded back, sitting back into my hips, or getting tense: the mirrors are there the whole hour.

2. It builds your core.

Aside from just thinking about posture and making you look in the mirror for an hour, though, BodyPump goes a step beyond and actually works out those back muscles, shoulder muscles, as well as your core (the last track is for abs), which will substantively improve your form without you having to be conscious of it every minute.  Personally, I hate doing core work.  I just haven’t been able to get around to the whole #plankaday challenge in the Twitterverse somehow.  But when I go to BodyPump, the “Group Effect,” as they call it, takes over, and I can’t just wimp out at the end and leave.  I do the bicycles, I do the planks, I get it done…and get out.

3. It helps prevent injury.

Yes, indeedy.  Working out those glutes, stretching the hams, and killing the quads now will allow you to run stronger, rely less on weaker muscles like hip flexors (I learned this one the hard way not so very long ago), and keep you feeling strong during speedwork and hills.  All this, provided you recover well.  In a recent Runner’s World sidebar featuring Sara Hall, she said she does her strength training on hard workout days so she can truly rest and recover on easy days.  Something to consider.

4. It provides extra stretching.

The lunges portion stretches my hip flexors, the shoulders and back get to those places in my upper body that tend to stiffen up and ache on runs, and in the last 5 minutes of class, we get to do some really slow, deep stretches on the mat that, left alone, I can forget to do.  It makes me want to incorporate more ankle circling into my daily life.  My ankles really like it when I do.


Try a class like this out and let me know what you think!  Overall, it’s a great way to build strength that running in a straight line day after day just doesn’t achieve.



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