Les Mills BODYATTACK 87 class review

To all my fitness loving friends, it’s now time to take a look at the latest Les Mills BODYATTACK release number 87. After teaching this release a handful of times, I’m ready to share my thoughts and tips for both instructors and participants. 

Les Mills BODYATTACK 87 class review via A Lady Goes West

For a little background: Every three months, Les Mills, which is the international company based in New Zealand that produces more than 11 group fitness programs including BODYATTACK, BODYPUMP and CXWORX to name a few, “releases” new choreography, music and moves for each program around the world in more than 80 countries. That means people speaking different languages in different time-zones are doing the same quality workouts, led by Les Mills instructors, who are all part of the “Tribe.”

From an excited student to an excited instructor

Although, I’ve been teaching Les Mills programs for a long time, BODYATTACK is my newest, as I’ve only been certified in it for about a year-and-a-half. However, before I taught BODYATTACK, I took it. As someone who loved taking the class as a participant, it was always my dream to be the one in front of the room showing and shouting out the moves. And during the last couple of years, as I went from participant to instructor, BODYATTACK has changed quite a bit. The creators of the program have tried to make it more welcoming to all fitness levels, by incorporating more modifications and options so anyone can do the class, while at the same time still introducing big challenges for those who want them. BODYATTACK 87 has the biggest changes yet, which I’ll explain.

What is BODYATTACK?

But first, if you’ve never heard of BODYATTACK, it’s a 55-minute cardio class focused on aerobics, strength and sports movements. For the basics on BODYATTACK, head on over to my post on BODYATTACK tips for first-timers, or check this out straight from the folks at Les Mills:

BODYATTACK is a high-energy fitness class with moves that cater for total beginners to total addicts. We combine athletic movements like running, lunging and jumping with strength exercises such as push-ups and squats. A LES MILLS instructor will pump out energizing tunes and lead you through the workout – challenging your limits in a good way, burning up to 730 calories* and leaving you with a sense of achievement. 

BODYATTACK 87 class review

Overall, my thoughts on BODYATTACK 87:

  • The music is really good. There a couple of older songs brought back as remixes, which is something I like, and I think that most participants do as well. Familiarity is fun.
  • The workout goes by incredibly quickly, even though this release is technically the same length as all other BODYATTACK releases.
  • There are some super challenging parts and some parts that are a little easier than usual, which overall makes this a balanced workout.
  • The first cardio-peak plyometrics track is a big change, where the group splits into two to work in different moves. It’s hard, but not as big as the killer track four in BODYATTACK 85, which I reviewed here. However, the second cardio-peak power track is incredibly tough, so you end the cardio portion on a big high.
  • My favorite tracks are two, three, eight and nine. 
  • THE BIG CHANGE: The new format of the class, which now features a longer track five consisting of both upper- and lower-body conditioning called “Athletic Strength,” is an awesome change. I love it. That means there is one less track overall, but the workout is the same length. And as soon as you are done with the cardio portion, it’s straight to core, which is something that I think works better than going into leg training after you’ve completely emptied your tank, as we did in the past.
  • ANOTHER CHANGE: The core track is now a bit longer and features moves that target the entire mid-section in the front, side and back. While this particular track wasn’t as good as I had hoped, I really like the idea of adding in back and posterior work for an extended core session after the cardio is done. I look forward to seeing how this track develops in the next release.

And now for a track-by-track breakdown. Please note the exact remix of each song wasn’t always available for linking because BODYATTACK songs are so incredibly fast and require some tinkering. Therefore, some of these are just similar to what we use in class. 

  1. Warm-up. “Don’t You Want Me” by Happy Zone. This is an up-beat, up-lifting and fun warm-up song, which prepares the body to move. I love the fact that it’s a remix of an old tune, which many people recognize. I like how this warm-up has two big sets repeated, so that members can get the moves down right off the bat. As we have in the past few releases, this warm-up also features a short set on the ground in plank position, which is a good time to give a little extra attention to the core and upper body. There are a ton of knee repeaters in the first two sets, and I noticed that I was already breathing heavy just in the warm-up. The only thing this warm-up song is missing is the squat, but we do plenty of lower-body warming with all the repeaters. Thumbs up.
  2. Mixed Impact. “Fancy” by The Hydro Drawer. I just love this mixed-impact song. It’s short, at just over four minutes, includes two repeated sets and a short set at the end. The song is a remake of the popular Iggy Azalea song, which excites participants and gets them going. With some running, bouncing, fancy arm lifts and gallops, this has all the elements of a traditional mixed-impact song. The new move is the side bounce with a heel curl, which is a good opportunity to get the legs working. This is a fun one, and I believe the participants have loved it. Thumbs up.
  3. Aerobics. Warrior” (Nick Skitz & Technoposse Remix Edit) Big Booty Bootleggerz. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but I love this aerobics track. The moves go so perfectly with the powerful music. This one is not as dancey and fun as previous aerobics track, but it still has some pep. The progression from single-knee lifts, to shuffles to a combination of jumping jacks and drop squats is great. I’m a huge fan of the “swing” back move, and we get to do that in this track quite a bit with a square combination run. This song has a lot of repetition so that the participants can get the feel of the moves. Good stuff. Thumbs up.
  4. Plyometrics. Weekend 2014” (Potatoheadz Radio Edit) by Bad Habit Boys. This plyo track is much different than any before, and the song is just okay to me. The class breaks into two groups, while still facing the front of the room, and each group does different moves. As an instructor, this one is easy to learn and teach, because it is very simple and straightforward. While one group does high-knee runs, the other group does skaters, three-step runs or plyo lunges, and those are the only moves in the track. In the final set, the groups come together to repeat all of the moves from the first three sets. I think this is a great change to BODYATTACK, because it is all athletic. I could see this particular track pulling more men into the program who are fearful of all the choreography. This is a tough track because of the five minutes of plyo moves, but there aren’t any big tucks or jumps as we’ve had in the past. Thumbs up.
  5. Athletic Strength. “Loco” by Joel Fletcher & Seany B. Here’s the big change of this release. We’ve combined the upper- and lower-body conditioning tracks into one athletic song. This song is nearly seven minutes long, and it packs some punch. While I don’t think the lower-body work is very hard, the upper-body portion seems to be the hardest I’ve ever experienced in BODYATTACK. There are a ton of tricep push-ups in the bottom-half triple pulse form, which is fast and tough. Through the three sets of work, we go back and forth from upper- to lower-body training, which makes a lot of sense. While I like the song and the moves, I think the tricep push-ups are just too fast for the majority of the class. It’s really hard to keep good form with so many at a rapid pace. But it’s tough, so that’s a good thing. Thumbs neutral.
  6. Running. “Good Vibrations” (X-Cess! Remix Edit) by Botoxx & Tom Belmond. While I enjoy this song and the fact that it’s another remix of an old tune, the moves in this track fall a little short for me. In previous running tracks, we’ve done burpees and other more intense strength work, but this one is on the easier side. I suppose that could be a good thing because track five was so hard, but I would have liked to see a little more in this one. However, it seems like participants really loved the moves and how well they went with the music. This is a fun one to teach and perform, just isn’t as taxing as other running tracks. Thumbs neutral.
  7. Agility. “Make It Bounce” (Joey Riot & DJ Kurt Remix) by Sy & Unknown. Most of the time, I have the hardest time memorizing the agility tracks. However, this one was easy to learn with two long repeated sets. There are some side bounces, ladder runs, fast springs and drop planks. I like how we focus on getting participants to move with efficiency in this one. The song is pretty fun, so overall this is a good one, but it’s not as hard as other track sevens. Thumbs up.
  8. Intervals. “Shine Your Light” (Basslovers United Edit) by Bass-T & Friends. I usually love all track eight songs in BODYATTACK. At this point, participants are exhausted, sweating and not sure they can continue. That’s when the happy and uplifting energy of the intervals track comes into play. This song delivers. It’s positive and enjoyable. There are three sets, which are all pretty similar, featuring side flicks, running, diamond arms, and kicks. I’m always into the fast arm combinations, and this track comes through there. As an instructor, I like to use SILENCE to teach some of this track, because it really calls for it. Thumbs up.
  9. Power. “Rock The Party” by Nick Skitz & Raverrockerz featuring Brooklyn Bounce. This is the perfect finisher for the cardio portion of a workout. It’s three simple sets, with hard moves. You don’t have to think, you just have to do. There are a lot of high-knee runs, jump jacks, burpees to wide tucks, and side-to-side jumps. I like this song and think the beat drives the moves quite well. I wouldn’t change anything about this track. Those burpees to wide tuck jumps are killer, and through the course of the track you do 12! However, there is also the lower option to keep with the jumping jacks, which is something I saw a lot of my participants choose to do. Double thumbs up.
  10. Core Conditioning. “When It Ends It Starts Again” (Radio Edit) by ATB featuring Sean Ryan. Sadly, this is my least favorite core track ever in BODYATTACK. While this is supposed to be a new 3D core-focused track on the front, side and back of the body, the slow and boring song and moves just don’t do it for me. The opening side hovers are just too darn slow and don’t seem to flow with the music. And the song is a real downer. I like the introduction of some posterior-chain training with a new skydiver move in BODYATTACK, but once again, it’s a bit slow and boring. The only saving grace of this song is the fact that there are a lot of cross-crawls, which provide a major burn in the midsection. I’d love to see the BODYATTACK creators put together a better track 10 for the next release. Thumbs down.
  11. Cool-down. “Que Sera” featuring Justice Crew. This song is pretty fitting for the cool-down, especially the words “at the end of the day, some you win, some you don’t, so I’m glad that I’m here with some friends that I know.” I like that sentiment to close out an awesome group session. At just three-and-a-half minutes, this cool-down runs a bit short. I always feel like I need to do more stretching after. Thumbs neutral. 

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my review of BODYATTACK 87. Did you catch those thumbs up, neutral or down ratings per track? That’s a new addition to my review, so let me know if they are at all beneficial. 

For instructors: I think it’s important to let your participants know before starting this workout that the middle track will be a bit longer, but there won’t be a lower-body track at the end. People like to know what to expect, and this is a big change from what they’re used to. In this release, there is a lot of repetition, so it’s easier to learn and gives you a chance to perfect your coaching cues. Make sure you show all the options at least a couple times per track, rock the silence in the tracks that need it (like track eight), and push your participants to always try a little bit harder than they did the last time (whether that means a few more push-ups on their toes or one extra tuck jump instead of a jump-jack). Enjoy learning and teaching this one and for more tips, check out: Top 10 ways to grow your group fitness classes.

For members: I think you’re going to like this release. The moves are simple, so you should be able to catch on pretty quickly. There are no hard-to-get combos, as we’ve had in the past few releases. But form is so important, so please, please, please make sure that you properly execute your tricep push-ups by keeping your elbows in tight to the body and straight back, because that’s the only way you’ll get the benefit from them. And when it comes time for track nine, don’t think too much, just do it. Have fun with it and for more tips, check out: How to get better results from group fitness classes.

All things Les Mills

If you enjoyed this review, please check out my previous Les Mills and group fitness posts:

I hope you have an awesome day, friends!

Questions of the day 

Instructors or members, have you tried BODYATTACK 87? What are your thoughts on the release? For everyone else, what’s your current favorite song?

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22 Comments

    1. Hi Jill, Although BODYATTACK is in 80 countries around the world, you can only experience it at a gym that has a Les Mills license and Les Mills certified instructors. I hope you get the chance to try it one day, because it’s amazing! I LOVE teaching and taking it. Keep your eyes peeled for Les Mills!

  1. So excited to finally see this review! I love that you do this. You have been a BODYATTACK instructor for longer than me, so it’s fun to see what you think. I agree with your reviews almost 100%. I know track 6 wasn’t your absolute favorite choreography wise, but from an intensity view I do think it’s nice to have an easier track to recover from the first peak. It’s a weird progression of choreography and doesn’t flow as easily as some of the other tracks but definitely helps stabilize the heart rate before kicking it back into gear. I also thought it was just ok to have lunges in track 6 after having them in track 5. PS I agree that the intensity levels between the arm and leg work in track 5 were big. I would have loved to see harder squat progressions and a little easier push-up phrase. Core was just ok for me as well. Track 2 was a thumbs neutral track for me. Nothing super awesome but also nothing really bad. Overall, I really enjoy this release and can’t wait to see what the next one has to offer.

    1. Hi Jenna! Oh thanks, I’m glad we agree on most points. Basically, I LOVE where Lisa O. and the team are taking BODYATTACK, but I think this one needs a little work. Right? Happy Attacking to you!! I’m teaching it three times this week, which is pretty much my limit. 🙂

  2. I did this for the first time last week (I don’t do BODYATTACK too often) and actually thought it was more doable than other releases. The class was packed and the track that splits the the group into two kept me distracted enough to push on through. The class went by quickly but I have to say I miss the lower body track at the end. I like those!

    1. Hi Diane! Yes, I agree that the “lower body” work in track five, which is the new combined athletic strength track, didn’t give as much of a workout for the legs as the previous track tens have done. Hopefully they’ll fix that for next time. And yes, this one is definitely more doable, although the push-ups and burpee-to-wide-tucks are killer. I’m so glad you went back to BODYATTACK. I can’t stay away from it for too long. Hope you have a great day! 🙂

    1. Hi Lizzie!! That would be fun, I’ve actually never been to Chicago. Could you set that up for me?? All expenses paid?? 🙂 Hhahaha Have a great day!

    1. Hi Megan!! Oh I know!! You would LOVE them. There’s nothing like a workout that is set perfectly to music. You get to ride the highs and the lows of the songs to correspond with the moves, and it’s life-changing. I hope Les Mills makes it to a gym near you soon so you can try it out. Happy Tuesday to you! 🙂

  3. As you know, I reviewed 87 yesterday–and my fave tracks are 3, 5, & 9. (9 is just killer good). And I totally agree, the core track totally failed in so many aspects, sadly!

    I don’t think of track 5 as being too quick at all, actually, and totally love seeing the challenge in the participants’ faces & track 6 is just so blah, agreed!

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