Summer is a very challenging period for any group fitness instructor, especially in the Northeast, a region where the term “Upta Camp” is heard more often than not. Us Mainers can blame Bob Marley for that.
All joking aside, it wasn’t nearly as hot outside as it was in the group exercise room at Union Street Athletics Sunday morning as BodyPump 86 made its USA debut.
This release is an extremely challenging workout, but some participants went up on their weights, myself and Tammy made no choreography mistakes, and the energy in the room was fantastic.
Here’s my review of each track.
Warmup: A great start to class, and the choreography isn’t too complicated. Starting with upright rows was a little bit odd as we typically start with deadrows or deadlifts, but it was a nice change. Also, it wasn’t too long, it was short and to the point, and got the members ready for the workout.
Squats: Easily one of the toughest squat tracks I’ve ever learned!! As soon as we hit that first single in the initial 45 seconds, it was game on. As tough as it was, the participants really enjoyed it. This is a real strong track that tests the endurance of the hamstrings, glutes and quadriceps. Not to mention its nearly six and a half minutes long! But time flies when you’re working hard.
Chest: A weight-room classic – chest flies – were brought back, changing up the training stimulus a bit, allowing us to put more weight on the bar for the last two minutes of work. One of my favorite tracks of the release, the first half allowed us to work our chest by taking the triceps out of the equation. If you don’t put more weight on the bar, your muscles won’t feel it. A lot of people increased their weight on this one!
Back: Tammy said it best at the top of the track: “Two sets. What do you think that means? Only one break.” The new “hang clean” is an interesting twist, and it gives participants a great chance to perfect the bottom phase of the clean and press before we go all the way up. Another track where you can go up on your weight as there are no wide-rows but a LOT of clean and presses. Fantastic song, too!
Triceps: Anyone up for a trip to Mexico and a margarita? The song in this track gives you that feeling of doing dips, extensions and kickbacks on a beach, which got our participants through an extremely challenging tri-set. The extra dips in the second set packed a huge punch in the back of the arms.
Biceps: Another Kelly Clarkson tune! This one gave us the feeling of a lullaby, but this track will by no means put the front of your arms to sleep. We don’t get to put the bar down, but the track is short and is one you can definitely go heavy on. Watch out for the slow work at the end, and don’t lose your timing! Excellent track that sets the biceps on fire.
Lunges: I’m sure the “we want more lunges” crowd is currently crying foul and itching to go back to the old-school tracks already. Despite the fact there isn’t any plyometric jumping in this one, it’s KILLER! If you load your bar up for the short set of squats in the beginning – which I did – your legs will be feeling it by the time you grab your big plates and hit the lunges and front-plate squats. Another big, athletic track that gives the legs a big punch. Our participants loved the plate press at the end, as well!
Shoulders: Another killer shoulder track, but they are all killer. It’s the peak of BodyPump, after all! Glen wasn’t kidding when he suggested doing the first eight pushups of each set on your knees. There are 24 of these bad boys in each set! Two big supersets of pushups, mac raises, upright rows and presses gave our members their money’s worth. With push presses at the end of each set, try going on your weight a little bit. Take the challenge, you won’t regret it!
Abdominals: Only two exercises here – hip bridges and plate lifts – but we’re using plates the entire time and its a great finish to the workout. Some may find this core track dull, but I found it to be quite a challenge, especially the plate lifts with already fatigued shoulders. The hip bridges put quite a zap into the butt, too!
Overall, BodyPump 86 is an outstanding workout that will challenge your body from start to finish. It’s hard to believe that four weeks from now, I’ll be doing BodyPump 87 – which Team USA won’t see until this fall – in sunny Orlando.