Recently I’ve been reading a lot of sports science journals and papers. From a fitness coaching perspective it makes for fascinating reading to see what different (and sometimes contrasting) training styles are achieving in terms of results. One that is of particular interest to me is a study carried out by Les Mills regarding the impact of BODYPUMP (a low weight, high rep weights program) and bone health.
Now let me preface this in saying that I am in fact, a BODYPUMP instructor, but find this study immensely interesting not purely for that fact, but more from the point of view of observing it work first hand.
Continuing – The study was centred around the issue of most people beginning to lose bone density between the age of 35 and 40, and preventing the decline of this bone mass. “A total of 20 adults completed a 27-week study at the FITOLOGY group fi tness studio. They were randomly put into two groups –either total-body resistance strength training or core strength training. The participants were 28 to 63 years of age and included people who suffered from steopenia, and also those who were postmenopausal. These are two populations who would greatly benefit from increasing bone mineral density. The strength training group completed classes in BODYPUMP, the core training group took classes in BODYBALANCE/BODYFLOW, and both groups also participated in RPM.” Their results indicated that the group that took part in the BODYPUMP classes saw an arm bone mineral density increase by 4%, leg by 8%, pelvis by 7% and spine by 3%.
“(Bone density or bone mineral density (BMD) is the amount of bone mineral in bone tissue. The concept is of mass of mineral per volume of bone (relating to density in the physics sense), although clinically it is measured by proxy according to optical density per square centimeter of bone surface upon imaging)”
Alright – so the stats prove the study – most studies do right? Here’s what’s been fascinating for me. There are several older participants in my BODYPUMP classes who have been coming regularly for a period of over a year (that I have observed). Several in particular actually started the entire classes with NO weights. Over the course of several months, not only have they begun to utilise the weights and bar, but to also increase weights. Now I’m not talking 50 – 60 yrs of age, we’re discussing over 60 years old. This, more than any statistic, study, or pretty graph – is demonstration of the practical and physical outcomes of this program and the training style in general. Now don’t get me wrong, this post is not an avocation to suddenly join a BODYPUMP class (though I would always support such a move), but more the training style. The concept that weight training, that ANY form of light impact training, is for everyone. What is encouraging is the support being shown for training of all ages, all abilities and particularly for injury management as well.
As an aside – The predominant participant demographics for BODYPUMP are women in general and older participants. This is slowly changing with more and more younger men also beginning to attend. Gents, if you are reading this and have never tried BODYPUMP – don’t talk too tough until you try. I almost guarantee it’s going to challenge you like nothing else the first time! Sure 40km bicep curls are hard for 8 x 3 reps. How’s about 15kg @ 65 reps? At alternating fast/slow and changing ranges of movements? Grin. A total workout of 1000+ body reps? You’ll love it.
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