Challenges, pressure and more challenges: A review of BodyPump 92

Throughout December and into January, I had read everything – both positive and negative – about BodyPump 92, the first BodyPump release of 2015.

The more I read the comments from my fellow instructors, the more I just wanted to jump on our stage and present this release. And I finally had a chance to do that last weekend. And now, I finally have a chance to review this outstanding release.

Warmup: 7/10. A very good start to class, and I particularly liked that there are a lot of clean and presses in this warmup. It gives instructors a great chance to CRC participants on clean and press form with a light resistance ahead of the back and legs track. A lot of people have a tendency to not use their legs and/or “reverse curl” the bar to center-chest during Phase 1, so I really focused on CRC’ing the clean and press during this track. It paid off in the back track.

Squats: 8/10. The consensus among my members was that this squat track wasn’t overly challenging. But I’ve always said you only make a track challenging by putting the appropriate amount of weight on the bar to properly challenge the muscles. This track is where the continuous tension training that this release focuses on starts, as we’re working from the bottom-range up. Not to mention we’re in mid-stance the entire track, putting a little more pressure on the legs. Holding at the bottom-range for one count before performing singles from the bottom up adds a lot more pressure as well. This track really challenges the legs and you really have to squeeze your butt and push your heels away from you to give your glutes added effect as you work from the bottom-range up. Only three blocks of work so a good one to throw a little extra weight on the bar!

Chest: 10/10. Put on that war paint! We see that same combination that challenged us in Track 2, and we can see why we loved this song so much when it appeared in BodyCombat and CXWorx. Want to make this one a bit more effective? Lock your shoulders and back into the bench and brace the abs harder. You’ll see a big difference in the training your chest and arms will receive. That being said, four big blocks of work that really challenged the chest. It’s crucial in this track not to talk to much. To put it bluntly, shut up and let the music live and get the participants through the track.

Back: 10/10. There was a lot of dislike for this track on Facebook in the weeks leading up to my club’s launch. Even before launch, I didn’t understand it. But this is easily one of the most challenging back tracks I’ve ever encountered and presented. The trick is to add a little more weight to the bar during each recovery – there are three blocks of work – thus making each block a little more tougher. Most of the complaints were derived from the tricky beats. The key is to count when you hit the shoulder rolls, and that way, it’s easier for your participants to follow you and not jump into the clean and press combinations too early.

Triceps: 8/10. The pattern of working from the bottom-range up continues here! This is not a very long tricep track so it’s a great one to add a little extra weight to the bar. I went for it and I certainly felt it when we hit those 20 bottom-half pulses! There’s a lot more of them when we picked up our heavy plates for overhead extensions, so the back of the arms are under constant pressure. I’ve got 99 problems, but Pump is not one of them!

Biceps: 9/10. Minus Glen’s foolish dancing on the DVD, this was an outstanding track. Again, we see more continuous tension training with mid-range pulses, and our lone recovery being bicep rows after the second block. It’s a really good song to hook into. Example: “Come with me now, and I’ll lead you on to stronger guns.” As is always the case with mid-range pulses, timing is the key. Make sure you CRC your members to not bring the bar down too fast!

Lunges: 8/10. Before I taught this track on Wednesday morning – the first time most of the 6 a.m. crew at my gym had seen this release – I thought back to all of the lunge tracks of the 70’s and early 80’s, and how everybody believes they are some of the toughest of all time. I hate to say it, but this one makes tracks like “Dangerous,” “Sweet Nothing,” “Spectrum” and “Ecuador,” the latter of which is my favorite lunge track of all time, appear to be easy. I’m probably going to take a little bit of heat for that comparison, but that’s OK. We all have opinions. That’s what makes us a great Tribe. And with the quads, hamstrings and glutes under constant pressure from start to finish – there are no breaks and a TON of bottom halves – this is a very, very challenging track in more ways than one. The members were groaning – in a good way, of course.

Shoulders: 8/10. Who was the genius that thought of doing push-ups from the bottom-range up? I mean, that is just purely evil! Where do they come up with this stuff? As an instructor who loves pushups, this is an awesome track. It’s also another short one so it’s a good chance for instructors and participants alike to challenge themselves. Power presses with the bar will allow you to add a little more weight and challenge the upper body. In addition, being on both of our knees for the side-raises and rotator raises gives us more stabilization in our core and allows us to work the shoulders deeper. The key is to not lean back and brace the core tightly.

Core: 8/10. On the surface, this core track doesn’t appear to be too challenging. With a boatload of leg extensions, it certainly is. This one is where all that CXWorx pays dividends. You really have to brace the core hard while your heels are just below the butt, while the combination of leg extensions and crunches challenges the upper and lower abs at the same time. The rotating hovers at the end give the obliques a little bit of punishment, too!

Cooldown: 6/10. Not a bad ending to class in terms of the song but not a huge fan of the choreography.

Overall grade of this release: A. My members have stated that this is the toughest release they’ve ever experienced. And I can’t wait to see the results that it produces in the coming weeks.

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.