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BodyPump 85 Review…Oh My Legs

I’m a little fitness enigma. I run, I yoga, I CrossFit, I BodyPump, I strength train on my own…I love it all. I would say that most people give up things like BodyPump when they start CrossFitting but I enjoy teaching BodyPump so much and I still really like the workout. It’s just so fun!

I taught BodyPump 85 for the first time tonight. This was after a two-week BodyPump hiatus. It kicked my ass.

Overall, I really like this release. It’s full of challenging choreography and interesting combinations of movements. Musically, it’s my favorite release in quite a while. Here is my take on the release, track by track.

Warmup – The warmup is what it is. BodyPump tries to innovate but it’s a formula that always serves it’s purpose.

Squats – Hard. It’s two super sets of work and they are not messing around with this one. Lots of bottom half pre-fatiguing before moving into singles and drop and holds. It burned like crazy to stay low in the bottom half. I could barley walk to pause the music when the track was over…and that’s not anย exaggeration.

Chest – HARD! This is a longer chest track than usual that involves working from the bottom of your chest press for a couple rounds. I loved this and I’m so glad that they brought this back after a long hiatus.

Back and Hamstrings – Easier. But only because I love clean and press and there are a ton of them in this track. I always struggle with the tracks that focus more on lots of sets of dead rows but I can rock the clean and press and power press.

Triceps – Medium. The only reason why this track was challenging for me was because I used the recommended weight – my back weight. Typically I go back down to warm up weight or a little heavier but I’m glad I went heavier. There are no tricep extensions and only presses, which were hard with the heavier weight. Then you move on to dips and overhead extensions.

Biceps – Hard but fun. I’m usually not a huge Pink fan but BodyPump seems to really love her. I have to say I liked this track and it was way challenging. Lots of focus on bottom halfs and tons of singles. Good stuff.

Lunges – HARD! You start out with squats before moving onto static lunges. Then the good stuff happens. BodyPump has been adding in some plyometric work in recent releases and I like it. In this release you jump on and off of the bench at the end of the track and it left me with burning thighs and gasping for air. Check out my video demo of the plyo work. It doesn’t look so bad but try it and then you’ll understand. Oh, and don’t laugh at my jazz hands. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Shoulders – Hard. Walking push ups to start, which I L-O-V-E. Then you take a break in child’s pose before hitting a big set of singles. I loved the music, loved the choreography, loved the combination of movements in this track. I predict it will become one of my “go-to” faves.

Abs – Easy. Hated this ab track and will most likely never teach it again. I didn’t find it challenging at all and I missed the planks at the end.

Cool Down – Again, is what it is and serves itsย purposeย but the song was great. I’m going to use it in my yoga classes.

BodyPump was so sad tonight because it was my last time co-teaching with Andre. We have been teaching this Thursday night class together for TWO years. The Y is cutting us down to one instructor per class so Andre and I will alternate Thursdays moving forward. I am going to miss his energy so much.

Fellow BodyPumper lovers, what did you think about this release?ย 

{ 46 comments… add one }
  • Courtney April 18, 2013, 10:37 pm

    I did 85 a few weeks ago with a fellow instructor..I liked it, but not a fan of those lunges, but only because I hate lunges ;p they hurt my knees. I love the clean and press track! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jen April 19, 2013, 11:20 am

      bummer that lunges bother your knees…i love them so much! do even static lunges hurt you?

      • Courtney April 19, 2013, 9:29 pm

        Static ones don’t hurt as bad..it’s mainly just my right knee because I tore my meniscus a few years ago :/

  • Amy April 18, 2013, 10:53 pm

    HATE the abs, too! One instructor at my gym does it by the book, but another one goes a little improv, which is much better! I don’t super love the triceps-they seem off to me?? but I totally love the legs. Overall, a pretty good release!

    • Jen April 19, 2013, 11:22 am

      i totally went a little improv with it too and still didn’t love. i just don’t get a lot from the alternating leg extensions.

      • Andrea April 29, 2013, 7:05 am

        Improv ladies? Ummm, not a good idea ๐Ÿ™‚ This track is very challenging when done properly with the weights. BLAH your feedback for Glenn !

  • hillary | nutrition nut on the run April 18, 2013, 11:14 pm

    Just curious, what shoes do you wear for CrossFit?

    • Jen April 19, 2013, 11:24 am

      new balance 1420s usually. sometimes my mizuno wave elixirs if it’s a heavy running wod. and sometimes barefoot if it’s got a lot of heavy lifting and no running/rowing/box jumps/etc.

  • Danielle D. April 18, 2013, 11:28 pm

    I have to say I’m really interested to hear you hate this abs track! ๐Ÿ™‚ I particularly love this one because I feel like I get a really good burn in my mid-core/deep core. I have found the oblique stuff from other recent releases a little too easy. Maybe this just means this particular track is tapping into a personal weakness I have in that portion of my abs, but I’ve loved it. Chest is hard and I’m glad for the burn but don’t enjoy working from the bottom. Love the squats and lunges and really like the plyometric stuff that’s been in this release and the last one with the squat jumps. The biceps track is brutal!! It just feels like it goes on and on and on!

    • Jen April 19, 2013, 11:25 am

      goes to show that everyone is different! i’m glad you’re loving this track and it’s challenging you in a new way.

      i love working from the bottom in the chest ๐Ÿ˜‰ i like the plyo work too. bp needed a little something to switch it up.

  • Emily April 18, 2013, 11:42 pm

    Agree on all accounts! HATE the abs track. LOVE the rest ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Stephanie April 19, 2013, 12:02 am

    My Y just started teaching Body Pump and I think I like it but I’m struggling with using weights heavy enough to be sore. I feel like I’m pushing myself in the class and my muscles feel worn out by the end of the track, but after three classes, I have yet to be sore. I’m going to keep going to the classes for at least a month and see if I at least have changes in what I can so we’ll see if I become a true convert or not. I liked the look of the plyo work in this workout so I hope my Y will be teaching this release soon.



    • Jen April 19, 2013, 11:28 am

      wow, i can’t believe you haven’t been sore! i was SO SORE when i started bp and to this day i think the most sore my body has ever been was after bp instructor training.

      i also want to say that it’s not a requirement to be sore to mean that you’re doing something good for your body/muscles. if you are feeling fatigued by the end of class and like you couldn’t do more, then you’re on the right track. definitely stick with it and see if you experience changes in your body. i’ll bet you do!

  • Addy @ Six-Kick Switch April 19, 2013, 12:51 am

    Love all your color, Jen! Looks like a killer workout….I’ve never tried BodyPump, but maybe I should!

    • Jen April 19, 2013, 11:28 am

      it’s my guilty pleasure. i just can’t stop doing it! ๐Ÿ˜‰ such a fun way to strength train.

  • Elizabeth April 19, 2013, 1:27 am

    Can’t wait for your banana bread recipe!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Too gooey? Isn’t that what makes banana bread so tasty and irresistible?? ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jen April 19, 2013, 11:29 am

      i’ll try to bake a better version of it this weekend and share the recipe!

  • Tara | Treble in the Kitchen April 19, 2013, 4:39 am

    I really LOVED this release as well ๐Ÿ™‚ I have taught it two and a half times now, and I can officially say that I do not think the lunge track will ever get any easier. It leaves me out of breath and searching for water every time…but I love that! Also, I love the intensity of the shoulder track. I agree that this is a great release!!!

    • Jen April 19, 2013, 11:31 am

      it’s such a fun one to teach with the good music! and i think that lunge track will be forever challenging too!

  • Jess April 19, 2013, 5:56 am

    Great summary of the latest release – I think it’s a fantastic improvement on Pump 84, which wasn’t as challenging as some of the older releases (personally I found triceps and biceps in 84 overly simplistic). The chest track is brilliant, particularly the choice of music (though it’s a shame they couldn’t have used Muse’s original) and the back track has a fantastic element of challenge at the end where the coach’s at my gym encourage us to put as much weight on the bar as possible for the shorter final two rounds. It’s really empowering to lift weights I never thought possible for the back track, even if it’s only for a brief time.

    The bicep track is also TOUGH – in 84 I never really felt like I was working my biceps, so that’s a welcome change back to simple choreography that actually works. Lunges is fun, but I do miss having more actual LUNGES in the track – I appreciate what they’re doing by incorporating elements of GRIT cardio, but the only lunge track to ever make my legs really shake to the point of failiure was ‘Dangerous’ back in….goodness, I think it was realease 74? More lunges off the step with the bar would be better, and if they’re going to add plyo to the track, then why not plyo lunges instead of squats?

    Couldn’t agree more about the abs – very disappointing and it seems as thought they didn’t put much effort into that track at all. I hope that’s the first track to go once coaches start mixing Pump 85.


    • Jen April 19, 2013, 11:33 am

      i wish they could have used the original as well. i love muse! but they have so many issues with music licensing so we get so many covers. i love the variation your coach offers to add weight to the power press at the end. i’m going to try that next time!

      although i love the plyo work, i do agree about the lunges. i hate how the lunge track has been so squat heavy lately and miss the days of straight lunges. i’ll have to dig 74 out of the archives and teach that track soon!

      • Jen April 19, 2013, 11:34 am

        oh and i think that they don’t do plyo lunges because they are such a technical movement. there are very few people who are strong and stable enough to do jumping lunges safely in a workout like that.

  • Hannah April 19, 2013, 6:42 am

    love your shorts. where are they from.? I love those tanks… need to get more!!

    • Jen April 19, 2013, 11:34 am

      they are the lululemon speed shorts. my favorite style!

  • Logan April 19, 2013, 7:40 am

    Why don’t the other Y have Body Pump? I know that the Morrison, Harris or Siskey do not offer it….I have always wanted to try this class but its not offered many places? Where else in Charlotte do they offer it?

    • Jen April 19, 2013, 11:40 am

      i don’t know what the deal is with charlotte and bodypump. everywhere i have ever lived tons of gyms have offered les mills programming. i wish it was more available. i think the Ys haven’t added it because they just don’t need it – their group ex programs are already so successful and the licensing is expensive.

      i teach it at the childress klein y uptown. here is the les mills class finder: http://w3.lesmills.com/global/en/find-a-class/

  • Susan April 19, 2013, 8:01 am

    I taught 85 for the first time last night also. I agree with much of your critique. I absolutely love the squat track-it makes me feel so energetic and I ‘m not usually a woo-hooer. Love the chest track as well. I was a little worried about the lunge track as I have some older members, but they made use of the modifications and it went well. I definitely need to go heavier on triceps. Overall, a great release!

    • Jen April 19, 2013, 11:41 am

      yes, i always encourage people to take the modifications if the jumping isn’t for them! it’s great that everyone can challenge themselves to whatever their level is and all workout together.

  • kat April 19, 2013, 9:39 am

    we’re just coming to the end of the 85 cycle down here in Oz….i assume we must be a release ahead….and i have to admit i LOVE that lunge track. love it! and the song.

    • Jen April 19, 2013, 11:42 am

      we are always really late to launch – i think i got my release like 2 months ago but we are just now starting to teach it. love this one!

  • D April 19, 2013, 12:53 pm

    LOVE the new release. I was at a point with 84 where I thought I was going to scream if I heard that “welcome to the monkey house” song or the whistle song. The biceps track is killer- just when you think you are done they throw in one more combo!

  • Leila April 19, 2013, 1:49 pm

    Yeah!!!! I love BodyPump and I LOVE that you love BP!!! I started crossfit about 6 months ago and before that was doing BP for years..and I still can’t give it up! Its too fun and such an awesome workout! I agree with your entire critique (and I love that you gave one by the way!). Abs track SUCKS. I miss the planks. Lunges – whoa, so hard. You know my favorite lunge track? I think it was release 75 with Rihanna’s ‘Only Girl In The World’ song. Maybe I was destined to be a a jazzerciser because that what it feels like when I do it but its so fun and the music is super upbeat! Oh and biceps rock my world. Thats my favorite body part to work in BP for some reason so the fact that 85 has a good bicep track is icing on the cake! Love it!

  • Rachel April 19, 2013, 2:03 pm

    I love this new release and I especially love the plyos! Spectrum and Antitdote are AWESOME songs and get everyone fired up. My instructor also didn’t like the ab track so she added in planks and it’s so much better that way.

  • Taylor April 19, 2013, 4:03 pm

    I’ve been teaching 85 the past 2 weeks and can mix it back up again. I really like it! Squats, lunges, & shoulders are probably my new favorite tracks! My legs have been sore! I like that they mixed up the moves in abs but I know what you mean…I think it is a bit easy but it’s probably still hard for a lot of participants. Excited to get BP 86 soon!

  • Julie April 19, 2013, 8:35 pm

    One of the best releases in a while! Legs ( bothe squats and lunges) and chest are pushing me to a new BP level! I am not so into the side raise Mack raise como, I can’t seem to get the tempo down!

    Have you done Body Combat? It’s an awesome release as well. Love Les Mills!

  • Nicki April 19, 2013, 9:36 pm

    This makes me miss BP! I got into it in September 2010 at 24 Hour Fitness and LOVED it. Then I moved from San Diego to New York in March 2011, and New York Sports Club didn’t have a class that could compare at all. However, now I’m a CrossFit junkie – unfortunately I can’t afford an additional gym membership so I desperately miss BP, especially when you blog about it. Glad you still love it and I can live vicariously through you! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Julie April 20, 2013, 12:03 am

    I just did 85 on Wednesday after a two MONTH hiatus – not two weeks, two months! I seriously can still barely walk.

    My thoughts – I liked most of it, but HATED the lunges. I feel like that track is an accident waiting to happen. Some gyms have narrower steps or lower ceilings than others and I’ve talked to some instructors who’ve been very concerned about pumpers with bad knees or who are less coordinated and might slip off the edge. I also thought the ab track was really difficult with the heavy plate – but again I’m coming at this from a loooooooooong hiatus. Other than those two, I found 85 to be a good mix of challenging vs. manageable.

  • Josefine April 20, 2013, 3:26 am

    Haha, I could have written this – that’s exactly how I feel about this realease!

  • erin April 20, 2013, 3:14 pm

    awesome! love the video!! need to come to a body pump class!

  • Lauren April 21, 2013, 12:08 pm

    I’ve been enjoying this release but totally agree with you on the abs track. Wish it were more challenging.

  • Michelle D April 21, 2013, 12:17 pm

    I’ve taught BP 85 3 times so far and completely agree with your review. Hardest chest track ever! I had to reduce my weight….but it’s only temporary….I WILL get stronger! ๐Ÿ™‚ We began showing many options on lunge track, ie. no blocks under riser, 1 block, then 2, or just squats. Love, love, love BP! (and yoga!)

  • Karla @ myhighonlife April 22, 2013, 10:01 am

    My gym offers bodypump so many times a day. I have been dying to try it but I hate being the ‘new girl’. So I have yet to go… :/

    • Leila April 24, 2013, 1:13 pm

      Do it!!! You will regret not getting in there sooner. Most people in the class are super helpful and can help you set up and be sure to let the instructor know you’re new so she can go over stuff with you. DO it!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • tiffany Neer July 23, 2013, 10:17 am

    hi!! I love your website!! I am a runner (um..was a runner,until my injury) and found Les Mills Pump about a yr ago and love it! I teach strength/condition classes and found this workout to really benefit my performance as a runner and noticed some great changes in my body post baby!! I plan to get certified teaching this in my studio and with some of my other clients! Love the music. Do you have the song track list for the Pump. Is body Pump the older version? I wish that it was so expensive and so involved to get certified in this! I’m hooked on it!

  • Terra Simpson June 2, 2014, 10:26 pm

    I’ve been taking BP for three years and LOVE it!!!!!! You just won’t be finding me with weights for the lung track for about 6-8 weeks. I’m determined to get my balance and range of motion issue set where it needs to be. I just found out today from my teacher why my squats and lunges have been suffering, She made that suggestion and I’m going to do that by golly.

  • Terra Simpson August 1, 2014, 4:30 pm

    Does anyone have any ideas on how I could work on my range of motion? That’s one of the things that my teacher Jackie and I talked about.

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