Happy Thursday! For all of you Les-Mills-group-fitness lovers out there, this one is for you. If you’re not a Les Mills lover, then check back tomorrow for some fun “Friday Favorites“or read on to learn a thing or two.
I talk a lot about Les Mills, because it’s something that is so much bigger than me. In fact, there’s a whole community of people around the world, who are just as obsessed with Les Mills group fitness classes as I am. If you’ve never tried a Les Mills class, I highly recommend it. Take a look on the class locator to see if there are any gyms near you offering any of the more than 10 programs. And now, it’s time to talk Les Mills BODYPUMP.
What is Les Mills BODYPUMP?
BODYPUMP is my original group fitness love. It’s the class that got me started as an instructor, nearly six years ago in Orlando, Florida. For a full overview of what the class really entails, head on over to a previous post I wrote. “BODYPUMP overview and tips for first-timers.”
All you need to know to get through this post, is that BODYPUMP is a one-hour resistance training class done in the group fitness room with a barbell, bench-top and various sizes of weight plates. Participants follow along with an instructor in front of the room (like me), who leads the class through 10 songs, set to popular music. By the time the class ends, you’ve hit all the major muscle groups and completed around 800 reps. Not too shabby!
What is a class release?
Every three months, Les Mills releases brand new music and moves to instructors in more than 80 countries around the world. The 24 Hour Fitness gyms in San Francisco where I teach “launched” or “debuted” the latest Les Mills releases during the end of September.
I’ve now taught BODYPUMP 91 quite a few times and am ready to offer my thoughts on this particular release.
Overall feedback on BODYPUMP 91
- There seem to be more times than ever in which we don’t use the bar and rely on plates. Because this gives us a chance to work each side of the body on its own without the help of a barbell, I find it to be a great change. This helps fix muscle imbalances and at times offers a little more work for the core as you must actively stabilize your body.
- The music selection is very strong, but not the best. There is a good mixture of old and new songs, across many music genres.
- There isn’t really anything out of the ordinary in the tracks, except for the fact that we use plates in the last set of the warm-up and go onto the balls of our feet with a full-extension squat press in the lunge track.
- My favorite tracks include chest, back, biceps and shoulders.
BODYPUMP 91 class review
- Warm-up: “Ten Feet Tall“ by Sum Two. Right off the bat, this warm-up is different, because we’re asked to use two small plates instead of the bar in the final set to engage the smaller shoulder stabilizers. I like the uplifting tone of this song and think the warm-up hits everything just right. I like when the sets in the warm-up are repeated, such as they are in this one, because it gives members a chance to get used to the tempos and moves from the start. In addition, it helps to show the slow clean-and-press move early in class, because then members are ready for it in track four as part of back training.
- Squats: “Somebody Told Me“ by The Killers. This squat track is challenging and offers more singles in-a-row than ever before, with two sets of 24. I think the moves go well with the beat of this song, and this is a strong start to the workout. The recoveries are short, even when we change our feet from mid-stance to wide-stance, so instructors have to keep members alert to the movement. The key to this track is to hit full range in the singles, and it’s not easy once the tempo speeds up and you start to fatigue. I use my normal squat weight on this track and would not recommend increasing.
- Chest: “Goodness Gracious“ by Ellie Goulding. No bar for the chest track? It’s true. This is the first time I’ve taught a chest track without the bar, and I like it. We begin with the A-press, which is a great way to target the chest muscles while holding plates and working each arm. While I know members probably prefer a little grittier of a chest song, I really enjoy this tune. We go back and forth from A-press to push-ups, and boy the push-ups seem harder once you start to fatigue. I think this is one of the hardest chest tracks that we’ve had in a while, especially with the double-time push-ups at the very end. Very hard and good stuff.
- Back: “Beautiful Life“ by Armin Van Buren feat. Cindy Alma. We’re back to good old-fashioned clean-and-presses, rows and deadlifts in this back track. It’s a combination of slow strength and explosive strength, perfect for making fitness gains. I’m glad to see this track just how it is. Even though there are only three sets, it’s killer. I think the moves go well with the music, and the song is nice and intense. As always with the back track, the most important thing is keeping the bar super-close to your body in the clean-and-presses and rows. I use my normal back weight here and wouldn’t recommend going up.
- Triceps: “Hey Brother“ by Avicii. No me gusta. Although I love this song, I don’t like it for triceps, because the beat just doesn’t go well with the transitions from move-to-move. We do not use the bar and rely on bodyweight and a single large plate for the work. While I like the dips, push-ups, kick-back rows and overhead extensions in the sequence that they appear, I just don’t feel like the beat drives it properly. Not the hardest tricep track ever. Overall, a bit of a dud for this release. And I think the members feel it too. They don’t seem enthused during this one, as they are during others.
- Biceps: “Bad Company“ by Bogus Love. Even though I’ve liked the chance to work biceps with single plates as we’ve done in the past few releases, I think this is a great track. It’s challenging, includes some bicep rows and seems to go on forever. I like the mid-range pulse, because it’s a great chance to show members where they should be feeling the work, while keeping the move minimal. The only thing I see as a downfall in this track is that we should do more bicep rows, so we have greater time to introduce it and show members how it’s different from a regular row. While this song is a little mellow, it also has undertones of intensity, so it works perfectly. I use my regular biceps weight here and wouldn’t recommend going up. It’s tough and you can definitely feel those mid-range pulses.
- Lunges: “Find You“ by Zedd feat. Matthew Koma & Miriam Bryant. This is a great song, and it’s a nice change of pace from the rock of the biceps song. I don’t recall a lunge track in sometime when we haven’t used the bar, and I like it. However, I don’t think that the one-heavy-plate option offered in the choreography notes is enough. I’ve been adding a second large plate (so I hold one in each hand) then stacking them as we move into front squats and presses. The big change in this track is that we rise up onto the balls of our feet for a full extension with the squat presses, and I love that. I’ve always wished we targeted the calves a bit more in BODYPUMP, and this track answers that request. It’s a completely functional and important way to work, because going onto your toes is part of daily life. The lunge portion is short and sweet, but those squat presses can be tough if you use enough weight. Oh and there are two super-slow squats at the end that I have the hardest time remembering! Members seem to get a major high from this particular track and song.
- Shoulders: “Eat Sleep Rave Repeat“ by Fatboy Slim & Riva Starr feat. Beardyman (Please note: this is not quite the right version linked here, and beware of the lyrics). So this song is also used in the latest BODYATTACK 86 class, which is not fun for someone like me who teaches these classes, sometimes back-to-back. I just don’t like when the Les Mills folks do that. However, I think this song works well for shoulder training. We start with a heavy bar, then grab two sets of plates. I’m a big fan of the rotator pec dec move with the two plates, and we have the chance to do that in the last two sets. This is a challenging track for sure, and my shoulders are spent by the end.
- Core: “Trumpets” by Jason Derulo. This core song is very short and very easy. While I like the tune, it seems a bit of a let-down moves-wise. We start with a few crunches, then move into the hover and side hip lift. I like the fact that we have long enough to set members up in great form for the hip lift so they can work their obliques in isolation, but the track ends before we really get to the burn.
- Cool-down: “Burning Bridges“ by OneRepublic. This cool-down is a good one, and it features a new way to stretch our chests — kneeling forward with one arm at a 90-degree angle pressed into the floor. I like the calming nature of this song and think it closes the workout perfectly.
*There is also an alternate core track, which I have not taught. I generally stick to the original line-up, rarely learning the alternate tracks, which are provided in case you are teaching in a club that might protest suggestive lyrics or themes in one of the main tracks. Good news is that San Franciscans don’t offend easily, so I never have to switch out.
This is a solid release, and other than the fact that we put the bar down more than usual and use plates, there is nothing out of the ordinary and no major new moves. Don’t talk too much over the music and make sure your participants are using enough weight to hit fatigue at the end of every single working track. That’s about it. I found this release very easy to learn, because many of the sets are repetitive. And by the way, if you’re looking for a few tips on how to pack your classes, check out my post on “Top 10 ways to grow your group fitness classes.”
If you’ve been attending BODYPUMP for a long time, make sure that you are starting to slowly increase your weight on a couple tracks at a time. While there are a few hard tracks in this release, such as squats, back and biceps, which wouldn’t be great times to add on, you can always try to add in the other tracks. Even though your instructor will try to help you achieve perfect form, you are also responsible for how you move. The A-press in the chest track and the clean-and-press in the back track are two of the moves I see the most problems with in my members. Feel free to ask your instructor to assess your form one-on-one before or after class, because it could make a big difference for you in your gains. Oh and have fun. It’s group fitness. It’s supposed to be fun. For a few tips on how to get the most out of the classes you attend, check out my post on “How to get better results from group fitness.”
Speaking of fun, my Wednesday nights now consist of a BODYATTACK and BODYPUMP double-header, so it’s quickly become my favorite night of the week. If you’re a Bay Area reader, please come join me one day. Send me a note for details. Hope you enjoyed this review, and as always come back and visit A Lady Goes West again.
All things Les Mills
If you enjoyed this review, please check out my previous Les Mills posts:
- CXWORX Initial Training
- BODYATTACK Initial Training
- BODYPUMP Advanced Instructor Module 1
- BODYPUMP Advanced Instructor Module 2
- Les Mills Groundworks
- BODYATTACK Certification
- How to learn Les Mills choreography
- BODYPUMP 101 overview and tips for first-timers
- BODYATTACK 101 overview and tips for first-timers
- BODYPUMP 89 review and launch
- BODYATTACK 84 review
- CXWORX 101 overview and tips for first-timers
- BODYATTACK Advanced Instructor Module 1
- BODYATTACK 85 review
- BODYPUMP 90 review
- BODYATTACK 86 review
Questions of the day
Have you ever tried BODYPUMP? Instructors or members, what are your thoughts on BODYPUMP 91? What’s in store for your Thursday?