A tough workout wouldn’t you agree?
Body Combat release 68 gets results. High calorie burn. Streams of sweat. Fatigued, trained muscles.
Definitely one of the hardest physical work outs in the history of the programme.
A pity then that 68 is dull, repetitive, and boring. Over reliant on one or too genres of “sick beats”. The programme directors have sacrificed the fun that used to be Body Combat’s signature, for the sake of the work out.
I’ve been tolerant and supportive of the new direction they’re taking Body Combat – the dumbing down of the combos in favour of repetitive moves, the floor work, the removal of Katas, the removal of “fun” tracks.
But this is a step too far. And in my opinion (and it’s just that – my blog, my opinion) this might be the worst release ever. Only a couple of tracks rescue it from that accolade.
Let’s have a look at it track by track.
Upper body warm up – Freak – Steve Aoki, Diplo & Deorro (feat. Steve Bays)
The start of the work out should be powerful and uplifting. Perhaps a tune you can sing along to. Something to motivate you for the 10 tracks that follow.
Freak is a dull, uninspiring, monotonous dubstep dirge with nothing to grab on to lyrically. A good range of punches get you warm but they’re buried by the awful music.
Lower body warmup – Break The Rules – Anonymous Hotel
More like it.
A tune you can sing along to. Words we instructors can latch on to and turn them into motivational cues. “I don’t want to go to school. I just want to break the rules.” Still “sick beats”, which is the musical theme of the class, this one is much more powerful than the woeful first track. If they’d swapped these tracks round things would have started better.
We hit the floor in the warm up once again for some press ups and planks. I imagine this is a permanent feature of Body Combat now.
Combat 1 – Push – Kronic / East Movement / Savage
Seventy odd repeated jump kicks with a few lunges chucked in to relieve the monotony. Set once again to a truly “sick beat”. And I use the word sick as it’s meant to be used, and not as a hip alternative to “awesome”.
Dull. Repetitive. Boring. And people have injured themselves trying to do so many jump kicks so early in the workout. Yes there are low options, but it’s still too much too soon even for the seasoned veterans.
In 14 years of teaching Body Combat I’ve never removed a track so quickly. I mixed this track out, at the request of my participants, after only two weeks.
The low point of this release.
Power training 1 – On My Way – Jupiter Soliloquy
A more traditional Body Combat track. Pounding beat with a melody you can hum or sing. A simple combo that lifts the heart rate.
Karate blocks and roundhouse kicks. I like the build up of the side kicks. First one. Then two in a row and finally three. Tough on the legs. A good work out for the glutes . Back on the floor for tricep press ups and planks.
A good all round track.
Power training 2 – Dirty (Metrik Remix) – Dirtyphonics
A return to dubstep beats, this one is catchy and the “Move Dirty. Dance Dirty. Talk Dirty,” lyric demands the addition of “Fight Dirty.”
This one works. Fast hooks and jabs.
But what about those jumping squats at the end? A bit of High Impact Interval Training tagged to the end of the track because Les Mills are paranoid that they’ll face an exodus from Body Combat to HIIT programmes like Insanity and Metafit.
Body Combat used to be a unique format. Why make it similar to GRIT and Body Attack? Won’t that increase the risk of people thinking it’s interchangeable and not unique?
Not quite as dull as track two. But if dull had a scale of one to 10. Track 2 would score an impressive 10. “She Got It” would come in close second at eight or nine.
So that means it’s still dull. And once again the music doesn’t help to lift the moves.
Twice before Dan and Rachael used this kick combination (side kick, front kick and back kick), Shut Up and Drive in release 34 and Let Me Entertain You in release 41. Both previous incarnations were boring too. This wasn’t third time lucky. Best consign this combo to the bin in future.
Muay Thai – The United Vibe – Scooter
And then release 68 explodes. Becomes Body Combat again. Sets the roof on fire.
The programme’s most prolific artist rescues the release and blasts us back into orbit. It’s repetitive for sure, but here’s a perfect example of how an awesome piece of music can motivate you through repetition.
We first saw this track in release 35 and it’s welcome back any time.
On the quarterly workshop for 68, the trainer shouted at us somewhere around track 4, “What’s the matter Scotland? You guys are usually so mental. So loud. So mad! What’s wrong?”
When the sound of “The United Vibe” almost blew the speakers the trainer finally heard the Scottish response she’d been looking for. That says a lot about this release.
Power training 3 – Out Of My Hands – Olympic Daydream
If Scooter’s Muay Thai track is an example of music masking repetition, this track eight is an example of a piece of music that can’t.
More endless and samey moves. 128 jabs is undoubtedly a great work out for the shoulders. But it’s also deadly tedious.
And there’s something just wrong with this music. The beat feels off. The melody, such that it is, is so far back in the mix as to be inaudible. The vocal sounds discordant. It reminds me of some 1970s prog rock where the drum beat is in one time signature and the melody is in another.
A poor track 8.
Conditioning – Turn Down For What – DJ Snake & Lil Jon
Great core conditioning. I like the side crunches. They work. They get results. More “sick beats” though, adding to the lack of variety of this music selection.
Cool down – I See Fire – Sol3 Mio
Wow. A cinematic, epic finale. A powerful cool down with a New Zealand Haka feel. Gorgeous.
So not the best Body Combat release.
Is the dumbing down of the moves and the increased repetition because Les Mills are also using these releases for their virtual and on demand classes now? Are they compensating for a lack of “Live Instructor” in the virtual classes?
The lack of variety in music underlines the repetitive nature of the release rather than helping to motivate you through it.
Dan and Rachael have succeeded in increasing the intensity of the Body Combat workout. I understand there is more to come. I truly hope they don’t lose the fun and the variety and the unique feel that previously set Body Combat apart from other exercises classes.
Now it’s your turn:
I fully expect many of you to disagree with my review of Les Mills Body Combat release I’d love to hear your thoughts.