Old school vs. New school

During a recent slow day at work, I came across an interesting ESPN piece on how old-school coaches deal with today’s athletes.

In case you’re wondering, an “old-school” coach is defined as one who doesn’t take no for an answer, who is always yelling, and is in a player’s face. Think Shawn Walsh, Herb Brooks, Vince Lombardi, Bear Bryant, Bobby Knight.

That got me thinking, there are a lot of different opinions regarding newer BodyPump tracks versus the old-school releases. I subsequently searched for opinions, and got plenty of them.

As we all know, BodyPump has really started to evolve over the last year or two. We’re seeing more power-training types of moves, such as the Power Press in the back track and propulsion lunges and jump squats in the lunge track.

When I went to instructor training three years ago, these moves didn’t exist. A typical BodyPump lunge track would involve lunges on one leg, a break, followed by lunges on the other leg, and then moving on to the shoulder track.

I asked for some opinions via Facebook and the Les Mills Web site throughout the day, and a high percentage of instructors and participants claimed they enjoy the newer exercises compared to those of three, five, 10 years ago.

Why? It’s simple. The training stimulus has changed. Glen Ostergaard even pointed out during Track 7 in Release 80, when the propulsion lunges made their debut, “A stronger athlete is a better athlete.” He’s right. There’s more power training. Plus, the coaching model has grown rapidly. There’s more connection involved, and with the introduction of new programs such as GRIT and HIIT, both of which involved high interval training, BodyPump is taking this route.

One instructor wrote that she loved the newer releases because “they seem to be more effective, motivating and powerful.” The music is a lot more uplifting, more people are coming to classes – attendance at my club is better than ever – and I often get asked, “Ryan, are we jumping tonight?”

Of course, this is not to say that the releases prior to the 70’s weren’t good ones. Admittedly, I don’t know much about them since I trained on Release 73. Personally, I have found some of the older releases to be a tad more challenging than some of the newer ingredient, with recovery time at a premium.

Newer innovations are coming at us once again this quarter. Those of you who have already launched BodyPump 84 know what I’m talking about. Those who haven’t, I won’t spoil it for your members, including my own. The bottom line is, if you want to keep the program popular and keep people in the classes, the program cannot be bland. That’s why we’re seeing different things. And we can expect it to continue.

The “old school vs. new school” debate will wage on in all aspects of athletics. But in BodyPump, and Les Mills in general, it’s clear that the new-age version of BodyPump is winning over a whole new wave of instructors and participants, and folks who have been teaching this program for years are leaning towards the new stimulus.

Ryan McLaughlin

About Ryan McLaughlin

BDN sports reporter Ryan McLaughlin grew up in Brewer and is a lifelong fan of the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins. In "The Boston Blitz" he'll be sharing his perspective with BDN readers about what's happening on the Boston professional sports scene.