Body Pump 61 Review
If there's any one shift we've consistently noticed with Glen Ostergaard's twelve short months as Pump head choreographer, it would have to be towards a more "listenable" playlist. No one style dominates all the tracks, nor are they all over the place. Just good, solid music that - together with input from head Pump trainer Susan Tolj - has yielded workouts with a distinct look & feel, yet remain true to the classic formula. With that in mind, let's take a look at what 61 brings to the table:
Warm Up - Just a few releases back (#59, to be exact), the warm-up formula suffered from a bit of unfortunate tweaking by way of an abrupt termination at the end of the lunge sequence. Thankfully, 61's warm-up is tastefully finished with an overhead press / curls combination that feels right at home to the veteran Pump crowd. But while the warm-up routine might be sacred territory, we'd welcome some tweaking in the music department - somehow, we've just never gotten happy with working out to love songs...

Squats - Don't let the super-slow start fool you - done correctly, this squat workout effectively gets right down to business with double-half squats followed by some extended time in the basement. Instructors, take note of the coaching cues and work with the builds in this track. Sometimes less is more - no need to shout your way through this one.

Chest - Pink returns to the BodyPump tracklist for a classic ultra slow, ultra intense chest workout that's certain to be a class favorite. This routine makes a strong case for slow motion workouts - if you've ever questioned their value, this track will most certainly make you a believer.

Back & Hamstrings - We're so used to E-Type back & hamstrings tracks that it seems almost surreal doing clean & presses without that little robot guy singing in the background. Having a Cascada song for this routine is no major departure, mind you, but it's certainly a step in the right direction.

Triceps - A short round of tricep pushups whets the appetite before a full course of kickbacks. Top it off with extensions and presses for dessert and you've got a tricep routine that's sure to satisfy - even if it is a Justin Timberlake track...

Biceps - Short, fast, to the point: If you've been trying to break past a biceps weight barrier, this is the track for you. Plenty of performance opportunity for charismatic instructors - or just let the music speak for itself - either way, this one gets the job done in classic style.

Lunges - When was the last time you actually looked forward to lunges? (we thought so) Listen, we could write an entire review on this track alone - in fact, we soon will. For the meantime, suffice it to say Emma Barry's intro of this routine as "The Mother of All Lunge Tracks" might just, believe it or not, be an understatement. Bench or no bench, you will feel this one. Yeah, we left our bars sitting on the floor...

Shoulders - We love the MAC raise, so we're quite thrilled to see it return with this release. Keep a close eye on class participants, though - it's easy to lose the benefit of isolation when the entire torso rotates (keep the belly pointing forward, only allow a slight shoulder rotation if any at all).

Abs - It's the typical Pump abs track - or so it seems, until the music bridge. That, you see, is when it's time to roll over and commence the hover. And, as if hovers weren't enough, strap on a few triple pulse leg abductions and you've got an excellent core workout. Thankfully it's one of the shorter #9 tracks...

Cool Down Stretch - This Top 40 Snow Patrol tune will be instantly recognizable to the younger crowd, but plays just as well for the rest of the class. We love the long stretch sequences - another 30 seconds for the arms would've been icing on the cake, but this is definitely one of our favorites.
Aside from some of our nit-picky musical comments, we're really quite impressed with this release. Here's our ratings:
Music - One point we've harped on time and again in past reviews is how "playable" a release is - we like a playlist that sounds just as good on the iPod as it does in class. Instructors spend a lot of time listening to their music, so playability matters (our sympathies go out to the BodyPump choreography team, by the way, for finding that middle ground between entertainment and playability for a worldwide audience). So we're quite happy to report that #61 is definitely one of the more playble releases. Having said that, we gotta take a couple points off for yet another love song in the warm-up, and for some relatively predictable choices for tracks #4 & #9. Add a couple points back for awesome biceps, lunges, and an exquisite cool down stretch selection, and we've got a solid B for this playlist.

Workout Routine - The MAC raise is back, we've got some hovers, a killer chest track, and a refined cool down stretch sequence - that alone makes for an excellent release. But when you factor in a lunge workout that redefines the standard, there's no question this is an A grade workout.

Instructor Video - The tech crew continues to refine their technique, from enhanced stage lighting to overhead shots during the cool down stretch. The trainer shots were first-rate, the audio is very nearly flawless. Our only nit was a couple of close-up participant shots that lingered a bit long. And about the only creative suggestion we can offer up is to allow a sequence or two that deliberately includes some of the camera crew as they film the master class - sort of like what they do on The Discovery Channel. The Head and Neck Stability educational video is an absolute must-see, not only for its informative content but also for excellence in presentation. So, it's our pleasure to give this instructor video an A, and to highly recommend that instructors watch more than just the masterclass.
Well, there you have it, our review of the 61st BodyPump release. Agree or disagree? Click the Comments link below and let us know what you think!
We're back - BodyPump 61 Review on the way
Try as we might, we just couldn't stay away. Coming this week, our review of BodyPump 61, followed by a surprise post with pics. We're back, and it feels great!
Today, it was like old times when the mailman delivered Body Pump 61. But this time, there was no fighting with Craig over who gets to do what songs. There was no running upstairs to download the CD to the computer and then to my iPOD. There was no wondering when the launch would be. It all seems like so long ago. And then, the FedEx man shows up with a package from Les Mills, New Zealand to Craig and I. Inside were 2 New Body Pump shirts – one for him and one for me. They are gorgeous! I immediately ran upstairs to his office and ask if he had ordered them in hopes of teaching again. Alas – he said no. There was no note inside so we were pretty stumped. A few minutes later he received an e-mail from Les Mills saying they had sent the shirts as a gift for the work we have done with the Blog. Wow! I thought that was great! Thanks LM – it really means a lot that you take notice of our ramblings!
The sad thing is, that even if we wanted to get back to teaching Pump, we have no place to teach it. The club we had worked for, where I had worked for over 5 years, made some bad decisions, (in my opinion), and I had no choice but to quit. I won’t go into all the details, but it was a bit upsetting to me. I had worked hard at building a senior fitness class and hated to leave them – but I was able to start teaching the same class at a facility in town and it is growing fast! I will also start teaching some classes at the local Rec center in April so things are looking up. There is only one other local club in town, and as far as I know, they do not offer Les Mills programs.

So for now, I still do Body Pump but I do it in my basement. Tomorrow I will do BP 61 and see how that goes. Monday I take my exam to become certified as a Senior Fitness Instructor. Craig is riding his bike (it’s still too cold for me to ride!) and still working with computers.

We hope all are doing well and we miss hearing from everyone.

Keep Pumping!