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    Case studies

    25 years since BODYPUMP was launched in the Nordic region, what has happened since then?

    It’s been 25 years since BODYPUMP was introduced to the Nordic market and a lot has happened since then. We took the opportunity to ask Per-Anders Dagborn to share his story since he was involved in the launch of the concept and Les Mills in the Nordics.

    Les Mills Nordic

    Sports Club Vallentuna

    "In 1997 I ran two companies parallel that I had started several years earlier: Sports Club Stockholm with the 5th gym under construction at the time and S.A.F.E. (Scandinavian Academy of Fitness Education). In the spring that year, we heard about Les Mills pre-choreographed workout BODYPUMP."

    "We clearly became interested in this new concept and contacted Les Mills. That summer, Philip Mills had a vacation, worked in Europe, and rented a house in the south of France. I went down there in July together with Jesper Magnusson who was assigned to take care of this project in Sweden within the framework of S.A.F.E. An agreement was signed and S.A.F.E. would become a distributor for Les Mills in Sweden. The following day we went back home and started to work on this new project."

    "Because S.A.F.E was very well established among most clubs in Sweden and many group fitness instructors, we quickly produced our offer for the clubs to sign a license agreement with us for BODYPUMP. To simplify the whole process, we included the BODYPUMP barbells in the price. Clubs were allowed to borrow the barbells if they paid their license. If someone wanted to cancel the license, they had to return the bars. We bought containers with barbells from New Zealand. If I remember correctly, it was then a separate company that manufactured and sold the bars."

    Per-Anders Dagborn, Business Manager at Sports Club Vallentuna

    "To keep our distributor license with Les Mills we had expectations that we had to deliver against. The requirement was to sign at least 30 licenses in the first year and then progressively more in the coming years. Depending on several different factors, we hit the target by far."

    • At that time, group fitness was relatively big in the Nordics compared to the rest of Europe.
    • S.A.F.E. had a well-established reputation as the leading group fitness instructor training organization at the time.
    • Our staff worked very energetically and successfully with the sales of the concept.

    "I think that an important part of why BODYPUMP became so incredibly popular right away was that it was pre-choreographed and therefore easy to introduce at various clubs. In addition, when the workout included barbells, men also started coming to the classes who were not so attracted by dance-oriented classes. At the same time, women became increasingly interested in functional strength training and were no strangers to building a little more muscle. These aspects of barbell training in a group fitness format are still relevant and make BODYPUMP remain a popular class even today, twenty-five years after the launch."

    Evolution of Equipment

    "The first equipment for BODYPUMP was a simple bar that maintained a quality that worked but was lacking sometimes. The weight plates were made of plastic shells filled with volcanic sand. Later, the weights were improved and filled with iron, and weights over 1 kg were given grip handles. Today, SMARTBAR has a completely unique design that not only allows quick and easy transitions of weight plates but the weights themselves have been designed so that they can be used individually as dumbbells in a superb way. The bar really justifies the name SMARTBAR. But it could also be called ELEGANTBAR due to its stylish design."

    Sports Club VallentunaSports Club Vallentuna

    "We have now at Sports Club Vallentuna upgraded with 60 sets of SMARTBAR plus some heavier weights and the benefits are amazing. We have not found anything negative about the new equipment. The members are so happy. The bars not only look very elegant, but they are also so much more practical to use. At Sports Club Vallentuna, we see it as extremely important to constantly improve the facility so that the members experience that we always give them more value for their membership fees. More experiences and more effective training will generate more retention."

    "We believe that the design of SMARTBAR is only a small expression of the enormous creativity that Les Mills generally shows through the programs. Not least in the form of IMMERSIVE FITNESS - THE TRIP, which our members have now been able to enjoy for exactly five years with us. During these classes, however, we do not use SMARTBAR as you probably understand. Les Mills offers fantastic workout experiences."

    Photographer: John Hellström