Danger Zone – Review of Les Mills Body Combat release 59

How long have you been doing Body Combat? Either as an instructor or participant?

Nearly 10 years have flown by since I went on the training and years as a participant before that.

I sometimes worry that I don’t fit the “modern” Les Mills profile of a Body Combat Instructor. I still like some of the old cheesy sing along tracks from the early days. And I do miss those “Dush Dush” sound effects they used to sync to the kicks and punches.

But my classes stay full so people must like my references to pop culture, motivational style and dreadful singing.

Then suddenly along comes Body Combat release 59. Almost every track is a sing along song. Some are quite cheesy. There are “kick” sound effects and “sword clash” sound effects in track 2. I love it. Perhaps Les Mills are helping me celebrate by approaching tenth anniversary of teaching.

And release 59 is a phenomenal workout as well!

So let’s look at the tracks (and click on the links if you want to hear the tracks on Amazon).

Review of Les Mills Body Combat release 59

Track 1a – Upper Body Warm Up – I Knew You Were Trouble (DRM Remix) – Girls Only

An uplifting and motivational opener with ready to quote lyrics. “I knew you were trouble when you walked in,” could apply to anyone of my participants. Add on to the usual jabs, hooks and upper cuts an interesting karate kata and capoeira esquivas makes for a different feel to the usual formulaic upper body warm up.

Track 1b – Lower Body Warm Up – Everything about youSupaHit

“Boo Hoo!” Who remembers the original of this updated song? “And I hate everything about you,” go the lyrics. But I love more or less everything about this track, especially the focus on the roundhouse kicks with more repetitions than normal.

But one slight niggle. Why include four “push kicks” and the need to cue them and contrast them to the “snap kick” when they don’t appear later in the class? The esquivas and the karate kata make a return, why not the push kick?

Review of Les Mills Body Combat release 59

Track 2 – Combat 1 – Danger Zone – International Outlaw

Quite a heavy rock cover version of this old classic features roundhouse and side kicks and the return of sword swings. And there are sound effects in the mix to coincide with the kicks and sword clashes. Some will find this too old school. I think it’s fun. Especially the magic moment at the end as you sheath your sword back into its scabbard.

I wonder whether the programme directors original intention was for a repeat of the roundhouse combo in the finale and not the sword combo because they’ve omited the sound effects the second time? The earlier combo certainly fits the music so perhaps they replaced it last-minute.

Track 3 – Power 1 – Be The One – Hixxy, Sy and Unknown

This one might be my favourite Power 1 track ever. The lyrics are catchy and the beat driven and pounding. Like all the power tracks in Body Combat release 59 the choreographers have included three rounds of work. Prepare for shoulder muscle meltdown as the first combination of infinitely repeated uppers and jabs blast your upper body.

Have a go at changing the lyrics. “All I want to do is hide away” becomes “All I want to do is smash your face”.

Cheesy but tough and invigorating.

Review of Les Mills Body Combat release 59

Track 4 – Combat 2 – A Warrior’s CallVolbeat

I struggled with the timing in this track as I was learning it. “Let’s get ready to RUMBLE!” and other fight related lyrics frame an onslaught of shoot lunges, knee strikes and the return of the jump front kick. We revisit the karate kata from the warm up for much-needed respite.

Track 5 – Power 2 – Bright Like The SunSy and Unknown Feat. Kirsten Joy

Another singable and quotable song with a well layered build up to the full combination in the first two rounds. We demo and practice each move of the combo separately before piling it all together for the last chorus.

The last round of jumping forward whilst jabbing and hooking suits a split room face to face encounter. In less busy classes I have tried creating two opposing teams of fighters during the second skipping phase and let battle begin when the heavy beat kicks in again.

Do the jump jab and the jump hook properly and this will burn your legs as well.

Track 6 – Combat 3 – Danger ZoneK Drew

Review of Les Mills Body Combat release 59

A very different feel to a combat track, with almost mystical kung-fu moves at the beginning before we transition into leg conditioning with capoeira esquivas, lunges and then, shockingly, switch lunges. As it says in the notes these are not plyometric lunges as we stay low and grounded. We only endure 8 repetitions of these on each leg but the cumulative conditioning effect is exhausting.

The music fits perfectly with a rock ballad feel to the kung fu section disintegrating into a wall of dub-step noise for the leg exercises.

Track 7 – Muay Thai – Lost in the SpaceThe Original Movies Orchestra

A cheesy old movie theme tune with a surprisingly heavy guitar riff encourages us through 32 knee strikes. Perhaps this track is a little repetitive but it raises the heart rate. And the last knees, punches and ascending elbow combination followed by the finale of “running man” knees feels dramatic and cinematic.

Track 8 – Power 3 –  Falling From The Sky – Hixxy, Dave Castellano & Fat Steve

A final three round boxing track continues to fatigue our shoulders. Interval training at its best that raises the heart rate three times and gives us the opportunity to rest briefly before each bout. Only if you need to though.

The first two sections feature a variety of punching combinations including the core working “slip” after the jab crosses.

And the finale provides an extended upper cut and hook combo deconstructed and then thrown back together in an intense melee.

Track 9 – Conditioning – Do Or Die – Flux Pavilion

Review of Les Mills Body Combat release 59

After that shoulder blasting finale to the cardio part of the workout we rest our upper body for a moment and focus on a long series of crunches.

Then flipping into bear pose, the hip escape move from Brazilian Jui Jitsu is back. Last seen in release 54 the programme directors have modified this move to make it more achievable. I think its last appearance scared a few people but this time everyone is giving it a good go.

Another round of crunches and a last set of hip escapes and press ups and our beasted bodies are crying out for the cool-down.

Track 10 – Cool down – Fleurs Du Mal – Sarah Brightman

And the cool down is dramatic, with a strong kata and uplifting yet calming music from Sarah Brightman.

I think Les Mills Body Combat release 59 is outstanding. A great combination of hummable singable tunes and hard work. Some will find it cheesier than the last few classes, but I’ve had universally positive feedback.

And I love it.

Now it’s your turn: Do you agree with my review of Les Mills Body Combat release 59? What do you think of the cheesier sing along songs? Is it a tough workout? Please leave a comment and let me know what you think. Or post a link to your own review.

One thought on “Danger Zone – Review of Les Mills Body Combat release 59

  1. First did this release last month at the Chicago Q and I agree, it is awesome! I enjoy teaching it and the participants seem to like it a lot. I also enjoy the dush-dush sound effects – I have been known to pull oldies but goodies out of the archives because of the cheesy! I like to use it to encourage my participants to stay with their fight. They smile through it and give it their all. It creates an easy connection with them. Thanks for the review. 🙂

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