A BodyPump milestone: Ninety releases and still going strong

You could argue that BodyPump 90 is “historical” for a few reasons.

First and foremost, this is the final release in which we instructors will be receiving physical kits. Most, like me, have already made the successful switch to digital kits – which has not sucked thus far – while others continue to receive physical kits. That’ll all change in September, so be ready.

Another thing, this release will be showcased at what is expected to be the largest group fitness workshop this country has ever seen, with more than 2,000 instructors expected to descend on New Orleans in six weeks.

Oh, and by the way, it’s our 90th release. One of Les Mills’ signature programs, and its most popular, is only 10 releases away from celebrating its 100th release. It’s hard to believe I was only 5 and Michael Jordan hadn’t won his first ring when this program was introduced.

I’ve taken a couple of looks at this release, and I’ve liked what I’ve seen so far. Here’s a sneak preview, without getting into too much detail:

Warmup: You Make Me: To me, this is just another warmup track. A chance to hook into a happy song and welcome new and veteran participants alike. It’s also pretty strange that this track concludes with lunges, so we’ll see how that plays out.

Squats: What Now: FINALLY! A squat track that is not all dubstep! It essentially mirrors the last handful of squat tracks we’ve had in BodyPump, as we’ll be focusing on stance variation, from mid-stance, to wide stance, to an even wider stance. Combinations of four singles and four bottom halves will be a challenge, especially in that final set, so use motivational cues to get your class through it. The glutes, hamstrings and quads will be tested.

Chest: Conquistador: Going to be a lot more loading going on in this track, with combinations of top-half and bottom-half presses. Make sure your class focuses on pre-loading in the top-half presses and maximizing the load in the bottom halves. Only three blocks of work, but the bottom halves and stagger tempos – I can’t give it all away – make this track a challenge.

Back: Promises: The Clean and Press makes a triumphant return in this track, but we’ve got a lot of plate-front squats and presses. Cross-training effect going on in this track, featuring strength training with the bar and metabolic, athletic training with our plate-press squats. As in BodyPump 89, the plate presses are guaranteed to spike our heart rate and burn a ton of calories. We only have Clean and Presses in the first block of work so make them count!

Triceps: Walk of Shame: On paper, this track doesn’t look very challenging. But four sets on the bench and a short set of dips at the end – without a break – will make this a tough track. The barbell blocks are the same – extensions followed by presses – so use each block to focus on one particular area of technique in your coaching.

Biceps: Miss Jackson: If you thought the bicep track in BodyPump 89 burned, this one will be sure to incinerate them! If you’re using your bar, don’t go too heavy – that’s the option, of course – but if you want more intensity, use plates. You’re going to want your class to feel full muscle isolation in the mid-range pump, so focus your coaching on timing and executing proper range.

Lunges: Stay the Night: Simple lunge track, but a very good song to hook into. We start loading the legs with squats before transitioning to lunges. There are more top-half and bottom-half combos, so be sure to emphasize pressure in the quads in the top-half movements and the glutes as we go deeper. Isometric holds trap blood, creating fast change in the muscle, so keep that in mind

Shoulders: Thumbs Up: Another challenging shoulder track, but you shouldn’t be surprised at that! Be ready for a LOT of pushups! We start with 16, but that’s merely the calm before the storm. A monster set of barbell work awaits us after the pushups, followed by side and mac raises and more pushups. We need to find two points of maximum intensity here, in the overhead presses and in the pushups, especially in that last block, where you try to knock out as many pushups as possible! Love the sound of this track

Abs: Something I Need: Nothing too exciting about this core track, as we only have three moves, regular crunches, pulsing crunches and leg extensions. It’s easy to lose head and neck alignment in these moves, so make sure your class maintains proper posture here. Personally, I wish this one had some planks.

For those of us heading to New Orleans in six weeks – yes, SIX WEEKS TO GO – this is the release we will be doing. It seems like only yesterday most of us were signing up for this workshop, yet in 6 short weeks I, like many of you, will be on a plane to the Big Easy. If this release is indicative of how the weekend is going to go down there, then the sky is the limit.

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.