Les Mills BODYPUMP 94 group fitness review

Every three months, Les Mills International releases new music and moves for its many group fitness programs. When that happens, people all over the world, including more than 100,000 instructors in more than 80 countries, get incredibly excited to see what’s in store for their beloved high-energy workouts. 

Today, I’m going to talk about the latest BODYPUMP 94 release, which I launched and taught at gyms in the San Francisco Bay Area in July. With more than 1,000 repetitions in this one-hour workout, BODYPUMP 94 breaks the mold, as most other releases only have about 800. There are more fast contractions and smaller movements in each workout track, all of which result in giving participants the “rep effect” — a way to burn more calories and shape their bodies without lifting super-heavy weights.

Les Mills BODYPUMP 94 review via A Lady Goes West blog

What’s different about a Les Mills group fitness workout?

I’m a huge believer in the power of working out in the group setting, there’s just something different about a Les Mills workout. The moves are choreographed to upbeat and appropriate music, the programming is high-quality, and the energy is high. Every quarter, Les Mills continues to innovate by debuting brand new moves and music, always improving on a good thing.

Before we get started on the latest release for BODYPUMP, if you need a primer on what a BODYPUMP class entails, check out BODYPUMP overview and tips for first-timers. What you really need to know is that BODYPUMP is a strength class, primarily using a barbell and weight-plates. And it’s awesome.

Overall notes on BODYPUMP 94

  • Wow! More than 1,000 repetitions in this one-hour workout class is huge. The increase in more and faster small contractions gives your muscles the burn. 
  • The music is diverse, with some rock, pop, house and more. There’s something for everyone, but it’s not my favorite collection of music to date.
  • There are tons of push-ups in this release, in both the chest and shoulder tracks, which is very challenging.
  • There is less use of the barbell in some of the main tracks. We use plates for triceps, biceps, lunges and core, with the barbell as just an option — a change that I really enjoy so we can work single sides of the body.
  • I find that the chest and shoulder tracks are by far the most challenging, and the triceps and lunges are my favorite.
  • The workout is a cohesive ride with plenty of highs and lows, but there are no major new innovations or changes based off of the last release, outside of the added rep count.

BODYPUMP 94 class review

Here’s a track-by-track breakdown with a link to most of the songs …

  1. Warm-up: “Heroes (We Could Be)” by Alesso feat. Tove Lo. I think this song is a cool, calm and friendly way to begin the workout. There are deadlifts, upright rows, dead rows, squats, lunges and for the first time in the warm-up, power presses. I do enjoy the deadrow/upright-row combination, as well as the fact that we spend a lot of time practicing the clean-and-press movement, which is a tough one for participants to master. It’s a pretty good warm-up, but not as good as the last release, which incorporated plate-work for the shoulders. Thumbs up.
  2. Squats: “Everybody Go!” by Vice. Another squat track with very few lyrics. While I like the way that the moves fit with the music and the song allows for a good build-up, this is not my favorite song or track. There are three stances for the feet to change the muscle recruitment and a combination of four singles and two drop-and-stops. I love the isometric hold of the 1/1/2 tempo, because it’s very effective. I don’t think this is the most challenging squat track ever, but a good one. Thumbs up.
  3. Chest: “Burnin’ Up” by Jessie J feat. 2 Chainz. Light weight, fast tempo! In this track, we work with a bar and do bench push-ups. I love this catchy song, and the moves go very well with it. When using my normal chest weight, I find this track extremely challenging with the bottom-half pulses and tons of pulsing bench push-ups. In fact, in every class I taught, I saw participants totally struggling with the push-ups, even with the addition of the bench under the upper-body to help with depth. A burner! And a long one too at five-and-a-half minutes. Major thumbs up!
  4. Back: “Today (Scooter Remix)” by Scooter & Vassy. Three nearly identical sets of deadlifts, deadrows, triple deadrows and power presses. This song is just average to me, although it certainly goes well with the moves. We are instructed to add weight between each set in this track, however, there is not enough time in the breaks to do so when using the barbell setups that I have at all of my gyms. I like it when sets are identical in BODYPUMP tracks, because it gives both instructors and participants the chance to focus on form and strength, rather than keeping up with the counts. Pretty good track, but not the toughest ever. The best cue is to “jump under the bar” with this one. Thumbs up.
  5. Triceps: “Lips Are Movin‘” by Meghan Trainor. Well this is a fun one! This popular song is so fun to move and sweat to. This track does not require a barbell at all, just one medium plate and one large plate. There are tricep dips, tricep kickback-rows and overhead extensions. The dip section at the beginning is very long and challenging. Overall, this track flows beautifully, has plenty of variety and works the muscles just right. Major thumbs up!
  6. Biceps: “Get ‘Em Up” by Nickelback. This biceps track is just under five minutes and requires only two weight plates for nearly 150 repetitions. There are plate curls and mid-range pulses (four and seven) in four nearly identical sets. While I prefer to use the plates for biceps tracks to get the muscles working individually, I’m not in love with this track. The song is a rocky-type one, but I do get a little sick of it by the fourth set. This one is challenging, but only if you use larger weight plates, which can be tough to hold as a woman or someone with smaller hands. Thumbs neutral.
  7. Lunges: “We Make it Bounce” by Dillon Francis feat. Major Lazer & Stylo G. Yes, I love this one so much. I was a big fan of the lunges in the last release, and this one too. The song is so fun. The moves are simple, yet effective. The bottom-half pulses work. This track features the use of just one weight plate, for front squats and lunges, with a lot of pulsing at the bottom of the movements. There are so many pulses in this one, that your legs are on fire, and I love it. Major thumbs up!
  8. Shoulders: “This is How it Goes” by Zylent feat. Katatonic. This is a very hard track. There are tons of push-ups, on both the knees and toes, as well as upright rows, overhead presses and push presses. The track comes at you with push-ups from the beginning and the intensity continues. I love the fact that we use the entire body for this track, and by this time in the workout, I’m nearly spent. While the song is nothing special, this track is super effective, especially with all of those overhead presses. Good stuff! Thumbs up.
  9. Core: “Baby Don’t Lie” by Gwen Stefani. This song seems a little slow for the core track. While I like Gwen Stefani, I prefer something a bit more upbeat. This track includes plate crunches, hip bridges and single hip bridges. I love the pulsing and the chance to do single hip bridges, because we all need a little extra work on the posterior chain. The moves of this track are good and pretty challenging, but the song isn’t a fit for me. Thumbs neutral.
  10. Cool-down: “Only Love Can Hurt Like This” by Paloma Faith. I was super excited to see this artist featured in a BODYPUMP release, because I saw her perform live in Napa before she had made it big. This cool-down is decent, with hip, hamstring, quad and back stretches. However, it seems like the upper body is left out of this stretch session a bit, and I always find the cool-downs to be too short. Thumbs neutral.

*There is also an alternate biceps tracks, which I haven’t taught. I like to stick to the original line-up.

For instructors

This release is all about range with the moves. You’ve got to hit the right bottom or top range in all the pulsing movements throughout the workout and be sure to check your participants for reaching range as well. This release was pretty easy to learn because of all the repetition, but be ready to challenge yourself with all of those push-ups. 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.

For participants

Increase your barbell weight! If you’ve been attending BODYPUMP for any length of time, you should have upped the weight you are using for at least a couple of tracks. While this release is tough with all of its repetitions, you should still try to go big on a couple of tracks, and stay down in those pulsing movements without cheating. If you want to make sure you’re getting the most of the other classes you take, check out my tips on How to get better results from group fitness.

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Questions of the day

Have you ever taken a BODYPUMP class?

For instructors or participants, what are your thoughts on BODYPUMP 94?

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  1. Totally agree with your review on this release! I enjoyed it, but was also totally ok to put it away after the mandatory 3 weeks. It’s a release I’ll bring tracks back from, though. The only real “meh” tracks for me were back and biceps (although biceps is almost always a downer in my mind). This one was just far too repetitive, even I got bored and struggled for ways to make each set a little more interesting… But, I loved the lunge track and am appreciating the hip bridges in core lately!
    Hope your vacation is amazing!! XO

    1. Thanks, Ashleigh! Glad you agree with me on all this talk about BODYPUMP 94 — I don’t know when I’ll bring it out again, because I’m back to the old stuff now. πŸ™‚ Have a fabulous day, lady!

  2. Awesome review! I think I loved everything about 94. I got a chance to do the AIM 1 for BP this past weekend and 94 was our release. I agree with the biceps track about weight selection and how important it is to have heavy weights – but unless your gym have graspable plates, you might not get the work out of it. And that core track is a thumbs down for me!

    And I got to do BP 95 at One Live and its brutal. Still another over 1000 rep release!!!

    1. Hi Bea! Yay for going to AIM 1 — it’s such a beneficial workshop for BODYPUMP. And I’m glad you got to try 95, I can’t wait to see what’s in store!

    1. Hi Alyssa! This particular release has been out for a while, so you’ll probably be doing older releases, depending on what the instructor chooses. After a couple of weeks of doing the new one, instructors can mix and match old ones until the next new release! Let me know what you think of it!

  3. Just curious–would you say the new smaller reps are like what you would do in a barre class, and do you think that was influenced by the popularity of barre classes? I’ve never been to a Bodypump class, but it sounds like a lot of fun! Count me in the next time I’m in the Bay area. πŸ˜‰

    1. Hi Beth! That’s an excellent question! The smaller reps in BODYPUMP are not quite the little “pulses” of barre classes, because the movements still have a larger range. BODYPUMP Has always been about muscle endurance, and it continues on that trend, which is also a goal of barre — so they share that. There is more isometric holding in BODYPUMP these days too, which is not quite like barre either. Overall, the movements in BODYPUMP are still larger, and of course, the load (weight) is higher. Both are GREAT workouts!

  4. Yeah, I have taken BODYPUMP a few times πŸ˜‰ I totally agree with your recap! I think 93 will forever be my favorite release, and I liked 94 – but not as much as 93. 95 has great music! I do not like the squat track though – another one with no words really. That isn’t what really bothers me about it, it’s more just the annoying song making the same noise for over 5 minutes, ugh! Maybe it will grow on me. Also, I have never liked teaching biceps. I don’t know what it is about that track, but I think it’s boring. I script it like crazy every release, look through all the release booklets trying to find some way to make it better in my mind. I just think it’s so boring!

    1. Hi Melissa! The squat tracks never seem to have a ton of lyrics these days. I know biceps can seem boring — two of my favorite are Cowboy Casanova and Miss Jackson! πŸ™‚

  5. I totally agree with you on your thoughts, especially the plate use in the bicep track. We also have dumbells in our room, so if I know we’re doing that track, I try to grab a set up those because they’re easier to hold onto.

    1. Hi Ange! We used to tell people NOT to use dumbbells, but now that so many tracks have single-plate work, it just makes sense. Go for it! πŸ™‚

  6. I love BodyPump and did this release a few weeks ago… the lunge and shoulder tracks are KILLER! I like all the other tracks but the lunge track is really challenging to me as a runner so I just opt out of all weights on it and do body weight. I can tell there’s 1,000 reps in the hour too. For the bicep track I use dumbbells because of my small hands, although I like to use the bar for part of the track and then switch to dumbbells too.

    1. Hi Amy! That’s a great plan to do your own bodyweight in lunges if you need to, as long as you’re getting full range in the movements. And YES, you can feel all those 1,000 reps in this one! πŸ™‚ Keep up the good work, lady!

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