BodyPump 86 preview…be prepared to go big

Even though summer is about to get in full swing, it also means another round of new releases from our friends at Les Mills.

BodyPump 86 is a workout that will leave you breathless from the warmup all the way through the core track. It focuses on comprehensive strength, and turning up the heat on functional training.

What will this do? Give you leaner muscles while increasing your athleticism at the same time. Here’s a sneak preview.

Warmup: I Cry.  Lots of transitions going on in this warmup track, so try not to overtalk the song and keep things simple. Keep your eyes peeled for newcomers to your class and make sure they are utilizing proper technique, while welcoming your veterans at the same time. Focus on coaching each exercise while getting your participants ready for the next 50 minutes of power.

Squats: In The Clear. If you thought “Summer of 69” was hard, you haven’t seen anything yet. This features 6 and a half minutes of work!

Each set will come at you in two parts. In the first half, we boost the heartrate with a lot of fast work, including a combination featuring two bottom halves and two singles. The second half, it gets more intense as we build more pressure in the legs. Bear in mind, the first set we’re in mid-stance and the second we’re in wide stance, so different muscles will see work throughout the track. At the end of each set as fatigue sets in, motivate your class to keep working hard.

Chest: Your Body. With this chest track we bring back a weight room classic in the chest fly. The first half of the workout is all chest flies while the second half features barbell work. I’m going to encourage you to try to challenge yourself once we hit the car work since there’s only two short sets.

There’s a good chance a lot of your participants haven’t done chest flies in BodyPump before, so that first set, you’ll have to coach this one to death in terms of setup and getting people to properly execute the move. Once you hit the second set, which mirrors the first, that’s when you can start getting them to get more out of the exercise.

Once we hit the bar work, fatigue will be setting in, so again, use your intense voice to encourage them to keep working hard.

Back: Campione 2012: This back track features a new move call the “hang clean,” so again, you’re coaching skills are going to be put to the test here.

The hang clean is basically a mini clean and press, but we need to execute it the same way we do if we’re extending the bar to the sky. Stop the bar at mid-chest, keep your knees soft and push those hips back. Be sure to sell the benefits of this move to your class!

This one is all about strength endurance. We don’t have any widerows and only one break,  so fatigue will set in with each interval. Watch out for that fourth set where we throw the power press in there and finish with eight wide-grip deadlifts.

Triceps: 50 Ways To Say Goodbye: No barbell is needed here, as we’ll isolate the triceps with overhead extensions, dips, kickbacks and kickback rows. Integrated movements to annihilate the back of those arms.

The first two sets feature combinations of seated overhead extensions followed by dips. Again, use your intense voice at the end of the second set once the work gets tough and fatigue sets in. Encourage your class to keep their elbows in, push the plates all the way to the top in the extensions and push through the hands in the dips.

Once we hit the kickbacks, the triceps will be burning. Be sure to keep those shoulders square and lift the elbow to shoulder height, keeping the shoulder blades locked in. Again, fatigue will be a factor here, so keep the energy high and make sure you reinforce correct range of motion, especially in the final set.

Biceps: Dark Side. Nothing fancy going on here, but timing is where we see a lot of people screw up in the biceps track.

Keep your coaching cues simple here, i.e., don’t rock the body, keep the chest up and core braced and watch the timing. If you stay on beat, you stay in the work, therefore creating more tension. We pick up the intensity in the second half of the track with a bicep combination featuring a bottom half and a full-range single in set three, and a bunch of singles and slow work in set four.

Lunges: Don’t You Worry Child. We say good-bye to the plyometric work for this one release, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to get our heart rates up!

We have three areas of work coming at you, including a new move in the plate squat press, which we’ll get to in a minute.

First of all, we’ll pre-fatigue the legs with barbell squats before picking up our plates and switching to lunges. After that, we’ll hold the plate in front of us for plate squats.

This is a move we’ve seen in CXWorx before. As we squat down, we want to hold the plate at mid-chest, pushing our hips back and keeping the chest lifted, but as we squat up, that plate goes to the sky, unleashing fully functional training and giving the whole body some work. This is where you’ll want to use your intense voice, keeping your class motivated.

Shoulders: We’ll Be Coming Back. There’s a reason shoulders is my favorite track in BodyPump, and this track is one of them. We have 48, yes 48 pushups – 24 in each set – and high-intensity interval training that will test your shoulder endurance.

There are only two sets of work and we start each of them with eight easy pushups followed by 16 singles, before going to side raises, mac raises, upright rows with our plates and finishing with overhead presses with the bar. Coaching your class to maintain proper form will be key here, especially as they start to fatigue. Encourage them to stay in the work throughout the track, and use your intense voice in the pushups and overhead presses.

Abdominals: She’s So Mean. A new move, the hip bridge, will provide a significant challenge in this core track. As in BodyPump 85, there are no planks, but that doesn’t mean the track won’t be intense.

When we come into hip bridge, a heavy plate will be resting on the front of our hips. Again, this is a move we see a lot of in CXWorx. Coach your class to lift the hips and squeeze the glutes. This move will aid development of your posterior chain. In addition to the hip bridge, we see more plate lifts. Remember to push the plate straight up in the air, keep those arms parallel and get those shoulders off the floor. In addition, coach your class to keep the plate directly above the shoulders.

There we have it! BodyPump 86 will leave your classes feeling stronger and more athletic all in the same workout. Teach it for a few weeks and you’ll reap the benefits. If you’ve already launched it or have questions I always welcome feedback…contact me at or on Twitter (LesMillsRocksta)

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.