Back & Hamstrings: Our Picks From The 50s Series
Like the warm-up, BodyPump back & hamstrings tracks have a distinct sound that became even more pronounced over the 50's series. Play track #4 for any two or three 50's releases and you'll see what we're talking about. The workout routine sequences are noticeably similar as well - so much, in fact, that many instructors learn this track the first time through.

With so much similarity, picking the best, worst, and most memorable wasn't an easy task. Here's what we came up with:
Best: Here I Am (Jan Wayne feat. Charlene) - BodyPump 54 - A strong background beat punctuates this energy laden track from start to finish. Runners up: The 50-52nd releases - Slave to the Music, Fly on the Wings of Love, and Land of the Living for turning up the heat by dropping the dead row from the clean & press sequence for the first two sets - now that was a workout!

Worst: Olympia (E-Type) - BodyPump 55 - While this track surely made an excellent pick as the official song for the 2004 Swedish Olympic team in Athens, the long drawn-out intro makes it stick out like a sore thumb in a BodyPump workout. Heart rates plummet by the time the first set of clean & presses roll around, and the break before the final set is our only rouse from a routine that puts us right to sleep.

Most Memorable: Land of the Living (Milk Inc.) - BodyPump 52 - Well, only for us. You know the weird little synth number right after each set of seven dead rows? That's where Tami makes me do a shimmy in front of class. I feel so cheap.
Well we finally pulled it together - our picks for the best, worst, and most memorable back & hamstrings tracks from the 50s series. It wasn't easy, but the next one's a cinch: Triceps
Chest: Our Picks From The 50s Series
With 40s-series powerhouses like Smooth Criminal and Sing Halleluja still enjoying regular play in our classes to this day, the 50s series had some big shoes to fill. Would 57's Push It displace 47's chest track of the same title? Did combo-heavy Love Shack have what it takes to unseat Tami's all-time favorite Enter Sandman from BodyPump 43?

So we laid a fresh charge on the iPod's batteries, dialed down the track #3 playlist to releases 50-59, and did our best to forget all those older tunes. Here's what we found:
Best: Sweetest Poison (Nu Pagadi) - BodyPump 55 - Rugged, reliable, consistent - this one's never worn out its welcome in our class. It's that satisfaction guaranteed quality that makes it top dog of the 50s chest track lineup, even though we never think of this song off the tops of our heads when we're putting together the weekly class playlist. Must be one of those "defense mechanisms" psychologists always talk about, where the mind blocks out painful memories...

Worst: Push Up (Freestylers) - BodyPump 53 - We liked this song right up until the moment the singer opened his mouth - and from that point on it just went straight downhill from there. Suggestive lyrics aside, this nerve-grating tune comes off sounding like a feeble attempt to merge Michael Jackson's style with Prince's sound. Not even the allure of a first-rate chest workout has proven sufficient cause for us to pry this one from the bottom of our playlist since the launch (apologies to the folks that wrote in nominating this as their favorite!)

Most Memorable: Love Shack (The B-52s) - BodyPump 58 - Right from the beginning this was our pick as the hands-down best of the 50s. It took a re-examination of "The Best" vs. "Most Memorable" definitions before we realized this was its rightful place. No, it's not the best - Sweetest Poison is the better workout - we just love this song. And that's what makes it our pick for the most memorable 50's chest track. Runner up: She Drives Me Crazy (Fine Young Cannibals) from BodyPump 56. For purely selfish reasons, of course.
And there you have it, our picks for the best, worst, and most memorable chest tracks from the 50s series. Oh, and as a follow-up to our last post, we've gotten several messages mentioning Beds Are Burning as a favorite Squats track. Well you may've noticed we sort of didn't mention that one - ever since Tami called it Breads Are Burning in front of class one time we've not been able to do that one with a straight face since! Next up: Back & Hamstrings
Squats: Our Picks From The 50s Series
In the bigger scheme of things there's really not much room for variation when it comes to squats: you go down, you come back up. End of story. So you have to applaud the creativity the choreographers have shown in the 50's series with the introduction of the super slow down and hold in 54 and 55, along with a smorgasbord of combos in 57 and 58, and triple-staggers in 59. And to top it off, an impressive variety of music from one release to the next keeps it interesting.

So here's our picks for the best, worst, and most memorable squat tracks from the 50's series:
Best: Voodoo Child (Rogue Traders) - BodyPump 56 - Performance opportunities abound for charismatic instructors with the truckload of snappy stop-action breaks that punctuate this challenging routine. And classes get their money's worth, with a workout that starts off with a set of 24 progressively-deeper singles and wraps up with two sets of bottom halfs. Captain Jack's remake of KC & The Sunshine Band's classic Give It Up deserves an honorable mention for a 70's throw-back that does justice to the original.

Worst: Celebration (DJ Bobo) - BodyPump 50 - Universally disliked by Tami and our classes alike, this song hasn't seen the light of day since the launch. "I hate the way the singer tries to be cool by saying "We gonna party wit chu." Couldn't agree wit chu more. A close runner-up in this category: Danzel's You Are All of That from BodyPump 55.

Most Memorable: Simply Irresistable (Robert Palmer) - BodyPump 59 - Maybe it's that legendary MTV video, our love of 80's nostalgia, or perhaps that it's one of the most singable squat songs we've ever heard. Whatever it is, one thing is certain: This tune keeps rolling through our heads long after the track is over - and that's what makes it our pick for most memorable squat track in the 50's series.
Ah yes, there's another round of bests and worsts of the BodyPump 50's series. Next up: Chest
Warm-Ups: Our Picks From The 50s Series
Pick any two tracks from the 50's warm-up series and listen to them one after another, and the first thing you might notice is how similar they are. In fact, we bet if you played any 50's warm-up track for someone even only moderately familiar with the BodyPump program they'd likely identify it as such straight away. Sure, they're different songs performed by different artists, but it's definitely not like listening to, say, the bicep tracks from two different releases. The warm-ups in the 50's series just have a certain sound to them, more so than the other nine songs - a nearly unmistakable signature that seems to have developed over these last couple years. Nothing wrong with that of course, it's just an observation of ours.

Having said that, here's our picks for the best, worst, and most memorable warm-ups of the 50's series:
Best: Rise (Safri Duo) - BodyPump 54 -The very first time she heard it, Tami said this was the best one yet. "It's not one of those typical girly songs" she said, "this one really gets your heart rate up and sets the tone for the rest of the workout." Which is why it holds the coveted "most played" status in our Warm-Ups playlist, and why it's still our favorite to this day. Naturally, Shape Shifter's Back To Basics from BodyPump 55 deserves an honorable mention for its retro-70's sound, along with Tina Cousin's Come To Me from BodyPump 57 for featuring that nifty mid-stroke stop/reset in the squat sequence.

Worst: Surrender (Nicki French) - BodyPump 59 - At the risk of sounding too set in our ways, we've gotta say we just can't get happy with the way this track ends so abruptly. There's always that uncomfortable stillness in the room as the music suddenly trails off - and there we all are, just standing there holding our bars, feeling a little like we must've missed something somewhere...

Least Memorable: Only If I (Kate Ryan) - BodyPump 53 - Okay, we lied. We were supposed to be picking the most memorable here, but this song puts us and our classes to sleep so fast that we just couldn't help ourselves. It's not a bad song - in fact, it's a pretty good song. It's just so - well, it's just not the sort of tune that puts us in the mood for working out. Which is why we've sort of forgotten to put it on our playlists for the last year or so.
Well there you have it - the first of our ten picks for the best, worst, and most memorable from the 50's series. Next up: Squats

So are we spot on, or totally clueless? Click the comments link and tell us about it. Better yet, send us some email about your most/least favorite tracks from the 50's series!
RFE: Best, Worst, Most Memorable 50's
Now that we're at the end of the BodyPump 50's series, it seems appropriate (aye, some may even say imperative) we take a look back at some of the best, the worst, and most memorable tracks of the last two-and-a-half years of releases. You know the ones - the songs everyone requests, the ones that make you slap an extra plate on the bar and take it up a notch, the tunes that stick in your head long after you've stuffed your sweaty clothes in your duffle and went back to the life you lead between classes. Yeah, those.

And it's not just the music. There's those certain tracks that get down deep, like the tricep dips in 55 or the fast-action curls in Pump It. How about the MAC raise a couple releases back? For some, it's all about the motion - the music is just a sideshow. Background noise, if you will.

Of course, we'd be remiss if we failed to include the tracks some people love to hate. Like Sweet Home Al and Save A Horse. Not to mention the bubble gum Celebration squat track from 50, or the dark Somewhere I Belong bicep number from that very same release.

So what's with the "RFE" bit? With a nod to the business world's Request For Proposal (RFP) process, we thought we'd share the fun with our little Request For Email (RFE). Knowing there's 100+ tracks spread across these ten releases, there's probably a few (or maybe more) that stick out in your mind. Love 'em or hate 'em, we'd like your help as we compile our upcoming set of posts to this blog. Can't remember the tracks? No problem! Just slide on over to fellow blogger Pipera's BodyPump Tracks list and scroll to the bottom for releases 50-57, or here for release 58 and here for release 59. Then send us some email - we'll read 'em all as we get down to the business of putting together our posts for the best, worst, and most memorable of the 50's series!
BodyPump 60 Preview
>>> Updated 12/1/06:
>>> We now have BodyPump 60 in our hot little hands!
>>> We'll post our review very soon. In the
>>> meantime, here's a preview we posted earlier...
Now that 59's been released, launched, and joined the rest of its friends on the playlists of instructors worldwide, it's time to turn our attention to what lies ahead. What we always look for is the Sizzler - the little gem Les Mills includes on the back cover of each release to whet your appetite for what's inside. Well, the Sizzler usually starts making its rounds on the Internet a few weeks before the real deal hits our mailboxes - and this release is no exception. In fact, you can click right here to take a look at the BodyPump 60 Sizzler on one of Pipera's sites. Or you can save 30 seconds and read my Cliff's Notes version:
  • Bon Jovi's Have a Nice Day is the chest track
  • E-Type performs the back & hamstrings track (again)
  • Tricep dips are back in the house!
  • Lunges have some new moves, along with core abs work in the form of a side plank
  • Fans of One Night in Bangkok are gonna love the shoulders track
Finally, there's a thinly-veiled hint at Cherry Pie as a bonus biceps track. Could this be the big top-40 hit from Warrant? Now that would be a biceps track.

One more thing. Melissa logged a comment on our BodyPump 59 By The Numbers post that instructors can now fast-forward through the "Are You Ready" DVD intro. Cool!