BodyPump 55 Review

BodyPump 55 was likely filmed right around the time LMI and BTS parted ways. Does its "Back To Basics" theme signal the start of a new era in choreography for the world's best-loved group fitness program? Let's have a look:
Warm Up - "Back To Basics" - Fast-paced and fun, this upbeat warm-up gets the class moving and sets the theme for the rest of the workout - even if it is (as the title says) basic.

Squats - Danzel returns to the BodyPump lineup with a tune that's likely to appeal to the younger crowd. Which is fine, because the lyrics will be the last thing on anyone's mind as they sweat through nearly 120 squats in this 5:34 beast. And, as expected, the super slow "down and hold" makes a welcome return after its BP54 debut.

Chest - It's been awhile since our friends in Germany got some play on a BodyPump track. So when the first beats of this Nu Pagadi thriller crash through the sound system let there be no doubt - this track is all business. Another top & bottom combo finished off with a round on the floor. Yes, Mike, we'll take the options!

Back & Hamstrings - Enjoy the new pre-routine stretch during the "Olympic fanfare" opening of this E-Type track - it's full-speed ahead for this fast-paced back & hamstrings burner. We think the music will play well, even if it seems like we ought to be hoisting a torch instead of a bar. Is the Clean & Press an Olympic event?

Triceps - Yeah, the rumors are true: tricep presses are back in the house. But not before you spend practically the entire track hammering tricep extensions. So, Les Mills USA - was "California" a premonition of things to come?

Biceps - If you like your bicep work hard and slow, this is the routine you've been waiting for. Instructors: Better start learning this one's choreography soon. Everyone else: Bring ice packs and lots of water to the launch...

Lunges - No pre-track stretch, no break during the transition... no kidding. Super-slow power lunges round out this leg-burner, to a throbbing (albeit campy) tune from Motorcycle.

Shoulders - Be careful what you ask for, you might just get it. Such as when we mentioned we'd like "something wild like risers with push-ups in 'Crack It'" on our BodyPump 54 review. Hope you like push-ups, folks...

Abs - So you like using the plate when you work your abs? Try the new options in this routine as you work to the rhythm of this Alicia Keys tune. At only 4:22 it's not the longest ab track, but it'll pack a punch.

Cool Down With a nod to BodyFlow, a new hip-opener twist keeps the cool-down routine fresh. There's even some performance opportunities for the innovative instructor - though the final set of stretches seem to come and go a bit quickly.
Mike McSweeney mentions in the BodyPump 55 Sizzler (sort of a "preface" for those readers who aren't instructors) that he intends for this routine to "keep the focus on the workout in terms of technique, keeping transition times to a minimum and feeling the full physicality of the program." So, did it do this? Here's what we think:
Music - No question about it, the music in this release is powerful and dramatic. Even the cooldown track is intense. Yet there's a sense with this playlist that it's got something to prove. Personally, we like fun departures like the "Stomp!" song, "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy", and "Hitman" - So even though intensity is woven deep within the DNA of the BodyPump workout, there's a certain respect this program has earned with its audience that gives it the right have a good laugh every now and again. And don't forget to sprinkle a little classic rock in there - "Sweet Child of Mine", "Walk This Way", and "Heaven's Door" are perennial favorites on this side of the Atlantic (and probably elsewhere, too). We give the BodyPump 55 playlist a B-.

Workout Routine - There's nothing like taking something that works well and improving upon it. If you look back at the BodyPump 40's series, there isn't an astounding difference from one release to the next. But here in the last two releases, there's an essence of change taking shape. We believe when it's all said and done, BodyPump 60 may look a good bit more different from what we're seeing today than any series of five (or even ten) releases in the last several years. And here's the icing on the cake - the workouts are getting even better. Look at how the ab routine has evolved, run through some older tricep routines... in fact, pretty much everything about the workout in this release feels "state of the art". That's cool, and that's worth an A. But watch out - the quick transitions at the ends of the cooldowns in this release and last may merit a second look...

Instructor Video - This the second time we've had the pleasure of having Program Director and Head Choreographer Mike McSweeney present all ten Master Class tracks, and we hope it won't be the last. It's not that the other presenters aren't great - truly, they are. But having the man himself work you through every track adds a bit magic you can't get anywhere else. So as long as the 'pumpfrog' holds center stage, you can bet we'll give it an A. On a side note: How did the BP55 graphic get past LMI's graphic design manager? Geoff Taylor is obviously a very strong guy - surely someone could've found a more flattering shot of him, no?
Well, there it is. Agree or disagree? Let us know - click the Comments link below and tell us about it!
17 Comment(s):
On 08 August, 2005, Blogger pipera said...

Waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting till September over 4 weeks till I even get to see and hear this release.

Ago sets in!

Good review in a month I will give mine.

On 09 August, 2005, Anonymous Emilia (from Finland) said...

I just found this site and bookmarked it immediately. :) I've really enjoyed reading your views of the programs etc. I love "Galvanize" - I could imagine it works well as a biceps workout!September seems so far away, can't wait for BP55!

On 09 August, 2005, Blogger Tami W. said...

Welcome Emilia! Thanks for joining our little forum - we have some great body pump friends on! Our gym will be launching the first week of September as a 'Back to School' launch since we live in a big college town. Should be lots of fun!

On 12 August, 2005, Blogger OCDguy said...

nicely detailed site.
can't help myself from commenting on the guru Mike McS. Having done some classes when he visited Sydney, all kudos for the talent with choreo, but sometimes timing + technique is a problem. BP 30's tape showed him bouncing his wgts off bottom of movement and speeding too fast to top- overcorrects there with a tiny bounce. Use horizontal line of backdrop to gauge speed/ evenness of BAR movement.
but that's a few years ago.
await the flak for the above heresy??!!

On 12 August, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, I think you're absolutely right about HRH McSweeney. Excellent as a choreographer, less so as a technique model. I think he is forced to overcompensate b/c he uses those absurd weights; he just can't hold all that weight on the slower counts. And the sagging wrists on the chest and shoulder tracks - NOT good. Love the programs, but he needs to take a lesson from his female sidekicks whose technique is worlds better.

On 13 August, 2005, Blogger Craig Warman said...

Well, I've said it before but but I'll say it again - When I grow up, I want to be just like Mike. I don't care if his form isn't perfect - it's certainly not bad at all. I think in his case (with so many people watching) he could do 99 of 100 moves perfectly and everyone will notice the wrong one. I bet it's pretty tough to do a workout under the heat of TV lamps, knowing the world's watching you. I often wonder if they sometimes re-do the same track a time or two during a filming session. Can you imagine having to do a tough shoulder track twice or three times over? Yeow!

No, I'm not backing away from the importance of form in a BodyPump workout. That's absolutely vital. I do feel that it's probably very different to do the workout on the LMI filming stage, though, just like it's different to do it in front of a class (as opposed to being a class participant). Anyway, that's my take on it!

On 13 August, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Guys,

Just got back from the atlanta quaterly and I think BP 55 was really good. No bad songs. My favorites were Chest- great song and tough option at the end, tri's- the dips at the end were really brutal, but right on the mark, and bi's- just a great song and presentation with a lot of slow delibrate work at the end. I think all will enjoy.


On 15 August, 2005, Blogger Tami W. said...

Thanks for the info Tucker! We were not able to make it to this quarterly. Did you try Body Attack or Body Jam? I'm anxious to hear about those!

On 15 August, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Attack was sublime. I teach at a gym where Cathy Spencer used to teach Attack until the problems developed between the two companies and we were one of only a handful of gyms that had the program in the U.S. It was great then and is great now - Emma Barry was phenomenal on Saturday. BodyJam is great, also; Rachel taught a class at our gym last June when she was in town for that quarterly. What moves!

On 15 August, 2005, Blogger Tami W. said...

Sounds great! Wish we could have been there!

On 16 August, 2005, Blogger species_8472 said...

i cannot wait until they launch bodypump 55 here at our place after hearing good things about it from a number of blogs! i just think that the art cover could use some improvement though. hopefully, the overall routine would not be as bad. i like the cover art for the new releases of the 05 2nd quarter. i gives an overall surreal, sci-fi look to it which makes it very different yet very familiar vis-a-vis the previous art covers. in fact, i have a copy of the april 05 revolution magazine. i scanned the art covers and made a simple wallpaper for my pc featuring the 7 les mills program (of which i only do 4). hmmmm...if you people want to have a look at the jpg file, you can visit my blogger profile...once i figure out how to upload pictures. this blogging thing is quite new to me. it is not a masterpiece but i think it looks good enough for those with a not-so-sophisticated sense of aesthetics.


"The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it."

--Karl Marx

On 22 August, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just attended the LMI Day at Can-Fit-Pro Toronto. It was terrific to see all our superstars there. Jackie Mills was divine and her BodyFlow gave me goosebumps.

As for BP55 - I love the biceps track. Looking forward to getting my copy in the mail. It's hard to focus on the music at the big preview days in such a huge ballroom.

On 22 August, 2005, Blogger pipera said...

Jisy some info Tami and Craig.

We did tricep dips on BP 27 and also I think I wanna Rock Manrock from BP 21 and also To Late Too Soon John Secada from BP 23.

I have these and they are awesome dip tracks :)

On 28 September, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a BP newbie....not quite but i'm going for certification in 2 days. We will be doing BP55 in training. I can't hardly wait but thanks to your blog, I know exactly what to expect. I love this program and have been addicted to it since I took it up 3 years ago. Keep up the good work! This blog has been a great source of BP info for me.

From the Toronto,Canada

On 30 September, 2005, Blogger Craig Warman said...

Thank you very much for the encouragement! We enjoy writing on the blog and are thrilled that it has been helpful and fun for others to read!

On 22 November, 2005, Blogger lee said...

hi guys
just found your blog site and am loving it,it gives me a sneaky insight on what others think about the routines and what is coming out next,it would seem that you guys are a little ahead of my gym in the uk!!!!
keep up the good work i am about to spread the word to the rest of the class.

On 23 November, 2005, Blogger Craig Warman said...

Thank you Lee!


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