BodyPump 85 review

Participants mingle and group fitness instructor Scott Kahkonen takes attendance prior to the BodyPump 85 launch masterclass at Union Street Athletics on Saturday

Anticipation is always high when new BodyPump material is about to be released, but the enthusiasm for BodyPump 85 was probably the highest I’ve seen in the nearly two years I’ve been at Union Street Athletics.

For one, there were some awesome new moves coming at us, and fellow instructor Scott Kahkonen and myself were supporting a fantastic cause – breast cancer awareness – with “Save Motor Boating” and “Support Second Base” T-shirts.

Those two factors, along with a room filled to capacity, made for an outstanding launch, an awesome welcome-home feeling after five days on the road.

Warmup: The past few warmup tracks have been “all over the place,” so to speak, but with this one the transitions aren’t too quirky and the music fits the welcoming feeling a warmup track should have.

Squats: When I first practiced this squat track, I had a feeling it was going to be a tough one, and I wasn’t wrong!! This one is a far cry from Release 84 where we had tons and tons of slow work. This is a real calorie-burner, with tons of bottom halves and quick-slow tempos. Even though there were only two sets, we really found this one to be a challenge, and some participants even challenged themselves weight-wise.

Chest: This one goes back a few years, as we’re working from the bottom most of the track. In other words, you’re going bottom to top in the first and third sets, therefore recruiting more muscle fibers and keeping the chest under tension longer, providing a challenge. This marked the first release since I’ve been teaching where we’ve had such choreography, but I’ll be keeping this one in a while.

Back: Not a very challenging track, but still quite a kicker. A lot of power presses to spike the heartrate, however, a lot of participants stated they could’ve gone slightly higher since there are no widerows. The song is really energetic and makes it easy to work hard!

Triceps:  We’ve come to the first track I’ll likely sub out! As far as the workout goes, most people didn’t get a whole lot out of it in terms of two sets of presses, both of which were short, and a couple even stated they experience wrist pain if they use their back weight, which is recommended. The song itself is great, but the choreography could’ve been better, save for the dips and overheads at the end, which are quite a kick.

Biceps:  Fantastic song here, and the workout matches it! For some reason, anytime there is a Pink song in the bicep track, it’s a real challenge, and this one is no different! The bulks of combinations (a bottom half followed by a single) and tons of singles make for a challenge that toasts the biceps. Plus, this gave two men a chance to be a little cheeky!

Lunges: The best track of this release!! We all know about the negative “publicity” plyometric moves have been getting, but this track proves that they DO belong in BodyPump. My participants were gasping for air by the end of this track, which has us doing plyometric jumps onto the benchtop. Say what you want about “old school” lunge tracks, but this one is clearly the toughest in BodyPump history. Before we even hit the plyo work, we have three long sets – one set of squats and two of lunges – with the barbell or plates which pre-fatigue the legs before we finish them off, hard, with the plyometric work. Everyone was smiling at the end! This one is staying for a while.

Shoulders: Another hardcore shoulder track! Walking pushups in the beginning make for an awesome shoulder challenge, before we even get to the 16 singles prior to the plate work! The fun new combination of a side raise followed by a mack raise is a real killer, and if you’re not feeling it by the time you get to the barbell work, well, you may need bigger plates! The music really fits the track, too, hardcore and intense!

Abdominals: For those of you who don’t like hover work, this is the track for you! We’re using a heavy plate the whole time with three phases of work, leg extensions, plate crunches and a leg-plate extension (the plate goes behind the forehead). Sounds easy, right? Not so fast. Your abs will really feel the work by the third set. Great final working track.

There you have it. This is an awesome release and Team USA did a phenomenal job. I’d also like to point out that the breast cancer awareness theme really took off, and hopefully we’ll have more launches for good causes such as this. Hope you guys enjoy the release. Teach it a few times and send me your feedback!


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.