Since last December we've been contemplating what fate might befall the BodyPump workout when a new head choreographer took the helm. How would the workout change? Would the music be different? And wouldn't it seem strange not having Mike there in the instructor video? Here's what we found when we unwrapped our fresh new BodyPump 59 release:
Warm Up - Veteran instructors will appreciate the familiar feeling of this routine - until it trails off suddenly at the end of the lunge sequence. Yep, your five minutes are up folks - time to load up those bars!Release 59 represents both the end of an era - the 50's releases, to be exact - and the beginning of a new one with head choreographer Glen Ostergaard. So how'd he do? Here's what we think:
Squats - Nifty triple staggers punctuate the chorus transitions in this Robert Palmer classic as images of expressionless models with bright red lipstick haunt those of us old enough to remember when MTV actually played music videos. By the way, isn't that fellow blogger Reymond making a cameo appearance about halfway through the track? Dude!
Chest - We're so used to hearing Aussie- and Kiwi-accented English on these videos that it's almost shocking when Canadian John Cleland takes the stage. But that soon wears off as the reality of this routine begins to set in - better lighten the weights up a bit for this one, and keep the towels close by...
Back & Hamstrings - Bar? Check. Set position? Check. E-Type? Check! (yeah we BodyPumpers gotta have that little robot guy singing in the background whenever we do clean & presses)
Triceps - Normally, presses are a nice break from extensions. Not this time: there's no rest for the weary when these guys get in the basement. Even the standing extensions spend half their time lurking in the Bottom Half Zone. Eeoww!
Biceps - If you're the kind of instructor that likes to put a little performance into your routine, you'll love this track. Plug a little funky stomp in the last eight counts of the break and your class will thank you for taking their minds off the pain!
Lunges - It was a nice change to have dynamic lunges lead this track off. It certainly makes the weighted lunges more interesting - especially when the same leg goes back for round #2 after the break.
Shoulders - INXS is one of those groups that just gets better and better with age. To wit: "Pretty Vegas" - the perfect backdrop for a shoulder routine that features rotator presses and an insane set of bottom-half overheads that'll have everyone seeing stars!
Abs - The opening notes of delicious remake pay homage to the original before getting right down to business. It's an unlikely marriage of rap and Southern rock paired with a deep core ab routine that classes are sure to request over and over again. Skynyrd would be proud.
Cool Down Stretch - It's become a personal mission of ours to try and keep hurried participants in class through the final stretch, and compelling tracks such as this one from Eros Ramazzotti and Anastacia definitely make that job much easier. Long poses ensure an effective stretch for those who take their workouts serious enough to stick around for all ten tracks.
Music - The 50's series of releases has been a mixed bag, musically. It seems that for every really great track there's another that's - well - one that just never gets played after the launch. So we held our breath as we spun up CD #59 - but thankfully we didn't have to hold it very long: there's something here for everybody, and we think that's a really good sign. In fact, early discussions we've witnessed amongst instructors rank this playlist as one of the best, and that's a definite A.Well, that's our review of the 59th BodyPump release. Agree or disagree? Let us know - click the Comments link below and have your say!
Workout Routine - Playlists notwithstanding, one of the hallmarks of the 50's release series has been the evolution of the workout routine. As we've said in past reviews, this is most evident when you compare these routines with those of the 40's (or earlier). That said, we think maybe Glen may've wanted to play it safe for his debut - there's a few standout bits in 59's routine such as the staggered squat and some insanity in the triceps and shoulders, but nothing too risky. So we're going to give this one a C+ because it's definitely better than average. Keep in mind of course that the definition of "average" is becoming increasingly more challenging, so that's not a bad grade.
Instructor Video - One of the first things we noticed with this release was slightly less "polish" - between the warm-up and squats, for example, we see the presenters trading places, setting up weights, drying off - all while talking through the upcoming workout. It seems a little awkward compared with past videos. There were some noise issues here and there as well, possibly because LMI's tech crew is still working out the "bugs" this is a newly-built taping area. Those are really the only distractions in an otherwise informative and entertaining master class. By the way, as a husband-wife team ourselves it was particularly encouraging to see Peggy and John Cleland onstage - hopefully we'll see other couples up there in the future. The education section continues to improve - The use of a white background improves visual contrast over that of past releases as Susan Tolj, Glen Ostergaard, Corey Baird, Maureen Baker, and Mike McSweeney provide excellent technique and coaching demonstrations. So we give the instructor video an A-, especially for LMI's continued attention to detail in the education section.