Watch it Burn – Review of Les Mills Body Combat release 69

It only lasted 2 weeks.

Dull uninspiring music, tedious repetitive moves.  A release sucked dry of any fun factor.

And before anyone rounds on me and says, “But you’re the instructor. You have to sell the release. You have to champion the release. If the participants don’t like the release it’s your fault, not Les Mills, ” let me say three things.

First, this is my blog and it’s my opinion and I can say what I bloody well like. My opinion is Body Combat release 69 is poor. Poorer than 68 and I thought 68 was poor too.

Second, and my participants will back me up on this, I always put 100% into my presentation and coaching whether I like a release or not. I’ve stuck up for the new format. But I can’t ignore what my participants tell me. 

Which brings us to the third thing.

I listen to my participants. They told me it was dull. They told me the music was uninspiring. They asked me to ditch release 69.

It only lasted two weeks.

Let’s have a look at the tracks.

Review of Les Mills Body Combat release 69

Upper body warmup – Everybody Stand Up – Bombs Away feat. Luciana

Track one should motivate and inspire. We need uplifting music. Something with lyrics to latch onto. Once again a Body Combat release opens up with a flat dubstep dirge.

What happened to the catchy lyrics from songs like “I knew you were trouble” (BC59), or “Blow me one last kiss” (BC58) or the hummable “Back in time” (BC55).

The punches, hooks and uppercuts are fine for an upper body warm up but the music is all important at the start and this one fails again.

Lower body warmup – Nuclear (Dillon Francis Remix) – Zomboy

The idea of trying different tempos of music in the same track is interesting and adds variety.

But again the music is a dull drum and bass. At times it’s hard to even catch the rhythm and match the moves to the music. It frustrates the participants.

Combat 1 – I’m Alive – Shinedown

A good solid rock track. This feels like Body Combat again. Strong combos attached to driving music. And some lyrics to turn into cues, “Save yourself.”

I felt something was missing from the chorus. We perform a roundhouse kick every 8 beats and nothing else. I guess the programme directors wanted up to focus on the power of the kick and that’s fine.

But could we not have added the roundhouse to the jab cross hook double knee combo we’d learned in the verse?

Power training 1 – Good Times – Sigma & Ella Eyre

Throughout Body Combat history in track 3 we’ve heard big pounding techno dance beats and sing along songs.

They warned us on the training for release 69 the dance was being replaced by a more “urban” sound. Good Times is a catchy song.

But it feels light weight. As a result, the music doesn’t carry the repetitive nature of the moves.

We’ve had tracks just as repetitive in the past but the pounding techno dance music carries the repetition. This music doesn’t.

 I like it. I found myself singing it during the day. But it was one of the first to go at the request of the participants.

Combat 2 – Say My Name (Dual Thieves Remix) – Peking Duck feat. Benjamin Joseph

The only song from release 69 still in my mix. It’s a hard leg conditioning track and whilst the music still falls into the dull category, it works better with the moves.

When it comes down to it all we do are lunges and kicks. But your butt and legs will be screaming at the end of it.

Power training 2 – Count On Me (Andy C Remix) – Chase & Status

Here’s the track with the so-called time trial. A new innovation for Body Combat. We perform the jab, upper, hook combination and build up the power and speed until we encourage the class to go off the beat and punch as fast and in whichever direction they want.

Great in theory. Some people just stop at that point with a confused, WTF look on their faces. Others wave their arms around like they’re trying to flag down a fleet of helicopters.

The music is another dull drum and bass dirge which doesn’t help with the intention of freestyle movement.

A complete waste of time and an opportunity.

Combat 3 – Wine Dem – Henry Fong

I’d like to meet the people who went out and bought this music (apart from instructors like me who had no choice).

The lyric sounds like, “What kind of wine is this?”

The music sounds like a terrified animal being waterboarded with wine.

I don’t mind the moves. Again the participants said it was too repetitive. We’ve had tracks that are more so. Another example of crap music being unable to carry the choreography.

Muay Thai – Testify – Steve Hill & Klubfiller

Not a bad Muay Thai track. Relentless moves but again the music is nothing but a drum and bass on repeat.

Give us a melody for goodness sake.

Power training 3 – Watch It Burn – Camo & Krooked feat. Ayah Marar

Like track 3 no more pounding dance anthems, here we have another urban song light on power. More cries of repetition from the participants.

As I write this review I realise more and more there’s nothing wrong with repetition if the music can carry it. This music can’t.

The lyric of the song, “I don’t want to do this anymore,” didn’t motivate the class. Rather it spoke their feelings about the release.

Conditioning – Bring ‘Em Out – T.I.

A tough kick ab track. It works and it hurts. Dull music. Again.

Cool down – Rise Up – Andra Day

Many people commented they liked the music in this track more than any of the others in release 69. It is haunting, almost beautiful. It cleanses us. A great finish to a disappointing release.

It only lasted 2 weeks.

What are the program directors doing to Body Combat? They say they are following fitness trends. Do current fitness trends say you can’t have fun anymore?

Body Combat was unique because it was different. The only workout that takes you out of the real world and puts you into a martial arts movie. Take away the fun, make it the same as GRIT and Body Attack and it loses its identity.

Without its unique identity, it’s easier for people to switch to another similar class.

I believe we’re going to see big changes to the Body Combat format in release 70. I hope Dan and Rachael bring back the fun and the elements that set Body Combat apart from other workouts.

Let’s put release 69 behind us. It only lasted 2 weeks after all.

11 thoughts on “Watch it Burn – Review of Les Mills Body Combat release 69

  1. Spot on!
    I miss the BodyCombat classes from earlier years. Where is the fun we used to have? BodyCombat used to be the best of the best and I participated at least three times a week, but nowadays there’s no problem for me to skip a class, won’t miss it.. Our instructor hasn’t released BC69 at all. He refused and has been mixing old tracks for two months now.. I really hope that these repetitive and dull programs won’t be seen again.

  2. Funnily enough I thought this release an improvement over recent ones as it seems a little bit more like ‘proper’ Combat than the GRITified training it had been turning into. I look at the fellow participants in my class and I think I can safely say that most of us are well beyond the age where dubstep is our willing choice of listening; perhaps we’re not the target demographic.

    The only music track I do like from this release is the abs one – but that’s mainly because it’s an old song from Jam. Combat was my favourite programme for years; it’s Jam these days as it still has a sense of fun about it – plus good music. Perhaps Rach & Dan should get Gandalf to choose the music for Combat while they’re looking up what the word ‘enjoyable’ means in the dictionary.

    Looking forward to you discussing this release in the next (long overdue) podcast episode 🙂

  3. You’ve nailed it in this review – the choreography’s so much more repetitive these days and the music has nothing fun to drive you through and while one or the other might be ok, the combination of both just has me standing there at certain points during classes wishing for a particular combination to be over.

    Like the people above I used to be obsessed with combat, doing 4 classes a week (and would have done more if I could) but now I’ll do one or two just because I really like the instructor and have switched to doing Attack and Jam as well because the music in those keeps me going.

  4. Totally agree, the music was poor, moves very repetitive and i got asked to change it after 2 weeks too. This idea of not using the top 40 music is a bad idea, the reason they are in the top 40 is simple, lots of people like the music. Combat 70 is poor too, whats all this HIT in track 5 all about, participants got to other classes to do that, combat should be what it says on the tin, COMBAT. Dont think 70 will last long either, music is slow, not motivating.

  5. Awesome blog. Thank you for sharing.

    I’m ok with the release. Strangely enough, I like the Wine Em track the most and never did care too much for Say My Name. Hated it in Step, too.

    Here’s my thing. I started taking BodyCombat around release 55. Prior to that, I took BodyAttack and BodyPump and I’ve liked each new BodyCombat release just fine. Wellll, if an instructor doesn’t like the new releases, I can kind of tell because they always mix the older stuff back in, which, unfortunately does start to get stale because everyone has their favorites. So you get a select few songs within a select few releases and maybe start to wear them out a bit. Anyway, I tend to attend the new release and start to back off a bit once the old habits are back. If I can count on an instructor that features both old and new stuff, I tend to stick around more.

  6. I walked out of my first ever combat class this week – with a heavy heart my favourite class has now become the most tedious awful penance. I actually went to the gym instead. I don’t feel like I get a great workout and with a dodgy elbow at the moment most of the new combat is out of bounds – not that I think any of the floor work has a place in this type of class. So I ended up doing endless leg lunges while everyone else got on the floor to do whatever it was with very bad technique (a lot of downward facing dogs rather than planks!)

    After realising that I was improvising most of the class I decided to actually get a workout on the cross-trainer instead.
    What I liked about combat was that it was fast, fun and packed with good songs and choreography. The old tracks were really uplifting and made you work hard. Most times I come out of the class feeling exhilarated/knackered and all the better for it.

    Now we have a cross between LBT and HIT training which most of my fellow combaters hate with a passion. I have been doing combat on and off for about 15 years and I can honestly say that I am gutted but I am going to have to look at doing something else instead.

    1. I’m getting similar feedback from my participants. Problem is Les Mills won’t listen – or they don’t care. Or we are not their target market for the class anymore.

  7. I agree with the comments above. Combat use to be fun and exhilarating. The floor work has ruined it – totally disrupts the flow of the class and how is doing a plank ‘combat’? Please ditch the floor stuff and bring back some movement and fun and a bit of drama! Just hope someone eventually takes note.

    1. Most people don’t like the floor work – but I’m trying to motivate them through it because it’s here to stay. Les Mills won’t listen. They’ll say people should embrace change. The problem is by introducing all this HIIT stuff they are making it easier for people to switch to other programs. If Body Combat stayed unique then people would be more inclined to stay.

  8. I know I’ve commented before but I feel the need to comment again. Firstly I’ll say I totally agree with Rachael above.

    I used to hate 45 minute classes because track 5 was often a favourite and I hated to miss it out but now I love the 45 minute format because we miss the floor work (we skip 1c and do abs instead as well as most of the participants in that class really would really struggle). Actually, other than 1C and 5 I quite like 70 – it’s definitely more to my taste than other recent releases.

    However I’ve just watched a sizzler for 71 and track 5 looks even worse with burpees as well as mountain climbers. It’s just getting worse – burpees really have no place in combat at all.

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