Review of Body Balance release 57

In ten years of doing Body Balance and 6 years of teaching it, I’ve seen trends in the releases we get every quarter. Sometimes the moves become simpler perhaps to encourage new people. Then there will be a swing to harder routines perhaps to push people to progress. In my opinion Body Balance release 57 is one of the hardest ever. Funnily enough though I don’t think this extreme level of intensity will scare away new people. It is achievable and everyone can be proud of getting through it.

review of body balance release 57

Tai Chi (Just Say it): A beautiful song by electronic group Sleepthief. Back in release 42 this act supplied a stand out song called Eurydice. After hearing that track I went out and bought the Sleepthief album. I’ve loved Just Say It ever since and knew it would turn in Body Balance eventually. The moves flow perfectly and the palm push and back handed block make the arms feel like water. Powerful warrior blocks merge into daintier birds tail stretches before returning to the basic arm sweeps. Stunning.

Sun Salutations (Happy): If you go to a yoga class chances are that the sun salutation routine will always be exactly the same – especially in Ashtanga yoga. On occasion Jackie Mills will choreograph the standard yoga flow of poses but usually she adds variety. Here then is the first major challenge of class 57. Lots of full planks and side planks to get the sweat dripping. And evidence that although hard people are up for it. Despite offering the knees down option most people are doing full planks. The music is a bit weird but we probably need the driving beat to get us through it.

Standing Strength (Set Fire to the Rain): This is not the Adele version but the cover by a male artist is fine. It should be called set fire to the legs. Lots of changes of pose including one leg balances and pyramid pose don’t give you time to think about the intensity. Then the final section, the most extended of warrior poses with the option to bind the arms under the front leg and behind the back has never been seen in the class before but most people are getting it.

Balance (Shelter): The start reminds me of those musical boxes with a ballerina on the top. You can’t teach this one with anything other than a whisper. We are on one leg forever and the flow between poses never stops. It feels like it should be easy but the legs scream by the end. A hard track to learn and a tough one to teach but once it clicks into place this could be one of the best balance tracks ever.

Hips (F*kin’ Perfect): This opening foot and hip stretch takes people by surprise. We obviously don’t stretch our feet enough – I can tell by the looks on the participants faces. It hurts. I imagine years of wearing high heeled shoes doesn’t help either but fortunately I don’t wear them and haven’t been troubled by pose. I love the Gate Pose (though find I can’t avoid calling it the Gate Post) from yoga and it took me a little while to realise what was different here. In yoga we bend over the extended leg rather than away from it. Still nice to see a variation here though. Finally swan pose takes us deeper into the hips. Perfect indeed.

review of body balance release 57

Core abs (Whole Lotta Love): It was once the theme tune to Top of the Pops and this rock track tests the core muscles for four extremely intense minutes. Perhaps a little bitty, but the crunches, the walking planks and the hovers are relentless. I get loud groans when people realise they have to flip back to a hover for the second time.

Core back (Say Hey (I Love you)): Okay here’s the thing. In my opinion this is not only the hardest set of exercises we have ever done in Body Balance but it could be the hardest thing that we have ever done in any Les Mills programme. I sweated like a tap at the Quarterly Workshop and I continue to sweat like a tap after teaching it for a month. Planks, side planks, firefly knee onto elbow, leg raises – what is going on? This is hard core but its great that people are not immediately taking the easy option.

These two core tracks really betray the influence CXWorx is having.

Twists (Fly): With the heart pounding after that core pasting, and with sweat pouring we need a twist track that doesn’t tax the mind or the body. Just a simple progression of prayer twists is a gentle antidote to the maelstrom we have just experienced.

Forward bends and hamstrings (Song to the Siren): From a start in gorilla pose we are soon on the floor stretching the hamstrings with some single leg forward bends.I’m not sure what the seated twist version is doing here but after the power of earlier this feels like it ends the class on a whimper. Perhaps that was intentional.

Relaxation and Meditation (Guardian): A beautiful piece of music if a little over long. I find myself finishing up before the music ends.

So it’s a tough one, but a challenge most seem happy to rise to perhaps helped by the great music in this release. I’ve commented in the past that clubs often promote Body Balance as “the easy class”. No way. With that core section this is heavy duty stuff.

Over to you: I hope you enjoyed this review of body balance release 57. Are you a Body Balance instructor? Please let me know what you think of this class. Is that track 7 the hardest thing ever? Participants what do you think? Please leave a comment and let me know.

2 thoughts on “Review of Body Balance release 57

  1. Speaking as a Yoga teacher and a regular attendee of Body Balance classes, I’m not sure if making the routines constantly harder is a good goal. I can’t help but watch people in the room struggling to keep up, and because the pace is so fast, there’s not time to instruct them in proper form. When you introduce harder and harder poses, you’re assuming that everyone in the class has been attending all along. This is hardly ever true in a gym. Perhaps the developers of these routines should bear that in mind a little more.

    1. Thanks Deborah. I think you are right that they have started including some very hard moves. In fact I’ve only ever seen a Downward Dog Flip once – on a video for an American yoga teacher called Baron Baptiste.

      The developers are always keen to say, “But we do give lower options.” But it makes it hard when you have a full class and people ate competitive. I didn’t even mention the flip for the first two weeks.

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