Deadlifts - Easier For Men?
(posted by Craig) A couple weeks ago, I was giving my usual demonstration for proper deadlift technique before the back & hamstrings track. Getting the form nailed on this part of the routine seems to be a tougher nut to crack with classes than it ought to be. Many times I notice class participants - especially new folks - simply bending over rather than executing the move with the backside leading the motion, knees behind the toes.

And then it struck me - I was thinking of some demonstration I'd seen once where women could bend over and pick up a chair while standing next to a wall, while men would fall forward. So rather than check my facts, I just went with that and proceeded to tell our class full of ladies that it's probably more natural for them to bend over without pushing their butts out than it is for us guys. While demonstrating the motion, I noticed Tami staring at me. "Really?" she asked.

"Oh yes" said I, though it came out with a tad less conviction than I'd hoped. "Haven't you ever seen that little trick where women can bend over and pick up a chair but men fall flat on their faces?"

"No, I haven't."

"You haven't? I thought everybody knew about that. It works because of the way we're balanced - men have more mass concentrated in their shoulders, see, while women have more mass... uh, you know, lower than... men."

Her eyes narrowed slightly. "Why don't you show us?"

Self confidence fleeting, I looked around the room for support - by now everyone had stopped getting their weights together. And while most will tell you they come to our classes for the workout, truth be told it's tasty moments like these that surely must add something extra to the post-class locker room conversation. Small wonder, then, that nobody offered up a hint of support.

I stood against the wall, and bent over. Naturally I fell forward. Then Tami did the same. "So much for your anatomy lesson" she said, as my theory dissolved into that sea of satisfied laughter that comes from witnessing a member of the opposite sex make a complete fool of himself.

I wish I could say I learned a lesson that day, but chances are I didn't. It'll happen again. It always does. I suppose that's why Tami gets so many hugs from our class regulars, and why she always says it's a "lot less interesting" when she has to teach alone.

PS. Here's a link to a question and answer info about the women vs. men bending-over thing. I may've been technically right about the difference in balance, but equating it to ease of doing deadlifts probably wasn't my proudest moment!
Will Your New Year's Resolution Stick?
Say, ever wanted the club to yourself during your workout? Sick of waiting on machines? Tired of setting up in the back row of full classes? Well, this is the week you've been waiting for... Pick a club, just about any club right now, and chances are you'll find the tranquility you so desperately seek.

But not for long... Here in the States, at least, January is by far the biggest sales month for fitness clubs. Yep, come January 2nd (gosh, maybe even January 1st) practically every club from sea to shining sea will be packed with New Year's Resolutioners - those fine folks who promise themselves that this year it'll all be different. Yes, for two, maybe even three whole weeks they'll plug away. But then the reality of life sets in, and by February it's back to the same ol', same ol' - oh, there'll be a few new faces, but mostly the same ones as before.

Will you be different? We hope so. If you're a newbie, remember this: Anything you do regularly for a month becomes part of your life. Healthy living - and that includes exercise - is for everyone. We know, because we both struggled with obesity for years. It's the fear of our past that motivates our butts right back into that gym week after week. So take heart... if a couple of previously-overweight geeks like us can get it done, surely you can!
Artist Focus: P!nk
Every now and again a track shows up on a release that becomes a favorite - not just in class, but in a general Tami's favs or Craig's CD Rock iPod playlist. And then we feel like we got a little somethin' for nothin' - we had to buy the release anyway, and now we've got some bonus music for the road.

So one fine day we noticed a pattern - Seems whenever Pink (aka P!nk) turns up on a release, it's a pretty sure bet it'll be one of those bonus songs for us. Let's take a look:
Most Girls (Pump 38) - Besides being one of Tami's favorite ab songs, this class favorite gets the job done with one of the shortest - yet challenging - routines in the arsenal.

Lady Marmalade (Pump 39) - Pink teams up with Christina Aguillera, Lil' Kim, and Mya for an update to this classic Labelle tune that hit #1 on the charts clear back in 1975. Whether you love or hate the tune, you gotta admit this ab workout has something for everyone with an exquisite blend of crunches, reverse crunches, and lat work.

Get The Party Started (Pump 42) - Hardly a year later Pink shows up again - this time it's a combo-laden triceps workout on one of the all-time classic releases. If this one's in your instructor's library, chances are it makes a regular appearance on the class agenda.

Who Knew (Pump 60) - After a long hiatus, the first of two tracks from her long-awaited I'm Not Dead album returns to Pump as one of Craig's all-time favorite tricep tracks. The music may be sweet, but the tricep dips that top off this torture test make presses look like child's play.

I'm Not Dead (Pump 61) - Although it's the title track from the aforementioned album, you probably won't hear this song on the radio since it was never released as a single. Which is just as well... At 5:44, it's by far the longest chest track in nearly thirty releases - and by the time it winds down we've had all we can handle!
Surprised to see one artist show up on so many releases? Well, don't be - Pink joins a long list of artists making multiple appearances across the entire Les Mills lineup. What makes her contribution to the program notable, however, is the way these tunes lend themselves to athletic choreography without sounding alike (vs. E-Type, for example). And we wouldn't be surprised if she showed up again on another release in the near future.

Agree or disagree? Click the Comments link below and have your say...
Classic Rewind: The Frenchie Song
It's no secret to our classes that triceps are Craig's favorite track. Worked correctly, triceps develop quickly and add arm definition that looks great on men and ladies alike. So while most tracks are designed to give you practical strength for everyday life, the results you get with triceps can actually be more of more emotional benefit. Especially when someone says "Hey, you look like you've been working out lately."

It was almost exactly four years ago when release 47 hit the streets. For those involved with Pump back then, the 40's series was especially exciting - the program had clearly evolved as a worldwide group fitness regime, and a loyal following numbering in the millions begun to take hold. Maybe it's our nostalgia for those those times, or just the fact that we've played those tracks so doggone much that we always manage to throw a few into our weekly mix. Last week it was 47's Tu Es Fontu, better known to our class as "The Frenchie Song" (no disrespect intended to our French counterparts, we might add).

Prior to release 47, track #5 was a fairly predictable set of presses, extensions, kickbacks, and maybe a few tricep pushups thrown in for good measure. When "Tu Es Fontu" hit the floor, however, we saw presses as a relief for maybe the first time ever - for those who might remember, head choreographer Mike McSweeney said it best: "Enjoy them now, because there aren't that many."

He was right. After an all-too-short set of singles, there's an eternity of thirty eight extensions and an active recovery (presses) before the kickbacks begin. If you ever wondered where your triceps are, you'll know after this routine. It gets the job done, and that's why it was a consistent pick for our Wicked Wednesday series.

Tu m'a promis. You promised me. And we promise you results when you throw this track in the mix.
Body Pump 64 Review
Coming hot on the heels of a release that earned not just one, not even two - in fact, three coveted spots on our all-time favorites playlist, Pump 64's got some huge shoes to fill.  Does it come off like a kick in the pants, or a soft pat on the bottom?  Let's find out:
Warm Up - At first we got excited - maybe this time, just maybe it wouldn't be another love song. Nothing doing. Yeah it's got a little beat, but you could trade this track with any of the last twenty-some-odd others - they all sound pretty much the same. Excepting Pump 54's Rise by Safri Duo, you have to rewind clear back to the 30's to get some solid variety.

Squats - Instructors, you better bring your A-game to this one - Wait for the music to clue your transitions and you're sunk... you gotta count this one out. Two short breaks punctuate a looong 5:43 workout that ensures the class gets their money's worth. Caution: Anytime you mess with a classic rock anthem like More Than A Feeling, people either love it or hate it. No need to solicit opinions after the music fades away - just stretch and move on...

Chest - Is it Blondie? Believe it or not, it's Freestylers - the same guys from 63's Fast Life in-your-face shoulder track. Talk about variety. And don't be fooled by the mid-track music fadeout - That's just your cue to start working from the bottom in a routine that's got more transitions than an Orson Welles thriller.

Back & Hamstrings - Here's a little tweak of the classic formula: fewer, but longer, clean & press sequences - two sets of six, to be exact. At 5:33 it's also one of the longer back tracks (which leaves plenty of time for dead rows and dead lifts plus a couple of breaks to boot).

Triceps - Anytime INXS shows up on a track there's cause for concern - especially when it's a tricep track that starts off with four sets of dips off the bench. With rounds of overhead extensions, bar extensions, and tricep presses there's something for everyone here. Just make sure you keep those elbows locked in!

Biceps - It's all good, with a solid beat and a workout you can sink your teeth into. Which leaves us with just one unanswered question -- how long till the "funky white girl" breakout shows up on YouTube?

Lunges - After three painful lunge track releases, it's sorta nice to to take a breather. But don't get comfortable: two rounds of forward/backward-stepping lunges take up the slack on a lunge workout that gets the job done even without the bench.

Shoulders - Dior, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and YSL - it's like a fashion brand names education and shoulder workout all rolled into one! Lyrics aside, you could swap this track with BP 63 and we bet hardly anyone would notice. Thankfully the choreo's all different, else the class might think we're playing shenanigans with the music...

Abs - Ah yes, there's one in every release: the track that has us fighting like two thirteen-year-olds over a Hannah Montana ticket. This time it's a little blast from the past from one hit wonder Ini Kamoze, and it was Tami that got to the mailbox first this time (so she gets dibs). Small consolation: She's gotta stop dancing long enough to learn the choreo.

Cool Down Stretch - Note to instructors - If your class is running late, this is the cooldown you wanna have handy: At only 4:08, it's the shortest in the arsenal (narrowly snatching that honor from 63's All-American Rejects tune). Sadly, the abbreviated timeline leaves no room for much in the way of arm stretches, so use it sparingly.
Well you've made it this far, so we won't waste another moment of your time - yep, it's our famous bottom line:
Music - One thing we harp on more than any other is musical variety, and 64 definitely brings the goods. Little bit techno, little bit rap, some rock, and a bit of 80's throwback - what's not to like? (yeah, we know - the Boston remake) But still, it's got enough variety to make up for its minor shortcomings, and that deserves at least an A-. Postnote: Pity we never wrote a review on 63's music, that would've earned a rock solid A.

Workout Routine - Anytime you see the words "old school" or "back to basics" mentioned in the first sentence of a release's Sizzler, that's a codephrase for "nothing new" - and that's exactly what we have here. Hey, don't get the wrong idea - it's a solid workout, and there's some twisty choreo to learn, but this is all stuff we've seen before. And that's why we've got to give it a C.

Instructor Video - Evidently LMI intends for instructors to do more than learn the choreo - Instead of going straight to the masterclass, the video launches with a Susan Tolj / Glen Ostargaard intro that urges viewers to interact with the DVD. An extended intro precedes the warmup track, and a TIPS hyperlink icon appears periodically throughout the class. The tips are perfectly placed - unfortunately they're about 10-20 seconds too long, but that's a minor nit. A fresh new LMI logo adorns the packaging and appears throughout the video. Three masterclass instructors make the stage look a bit bare, however. So we'll keep tag this one with a B, especially since we're just a little nostalgic for the "glitz" and nifty camerawork from recent past videos.
So there you have it, our long-awaited return to BodyPump release reviews. Did our comments have you nodding your head in agreement, or make you see red? Well click the comments link below and have the last word!
The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly
The Good: We never went anywhere. Yep, we're still teaching week in and week out.
The Bad: We haven't posted in a long, long while. Mostly because Craig's been working out of town every week and Tami doesn't like to write posts by herself.
The Ugly: Craig's back at home again, and we've got a mile-long list of topics to write about. Starting with the Body Pump 64 review, coming right up...