BODYPUMP™ Release 96 Review

Fun fact: 3 years ago TODAY we found out we were going to be parents!

It’s amazing how much can change in 3 years, eh? Now with two little girls our lives are just even better than before and definitely crazier too. :) We just love them so much! And happy Groundhog’s day. I’m pretty sure we peeps in Utah will be having 6 more weeks of winter……. #somuchsnow

Let’s talk about some warm stuff though, like the hot, hot BODYPUMP™ Release 96 shall we?!

I’ve taught BP release 96 now for three weeks, so I want to review it here.

p.s. If you haven’t taken a Les Mills’ BODYPUMP™ class, I highly recommend it. It changed my life, and it can change yours too. If you want to know more about BODYPUMP™, you can read about what the program is here.

Basically though, each 1 hour class uses a barbell & plates, begins with a warm-up, goes through each major muscle group, and ends with a core track and cool-down.

Every three months (i.e. every quarter), Les Mills, the leading global fitness class brand, releases new music, choreography, and education for instructors all over the world. I love, love this! That means that each time we get new stuff, or “a release,” we get to learn it, practice it, and then launch it to our members. It’s tons of fun!

BODYPUMP™ Release 96 Review



Track 1 – Warmup. Song: “Five More Hours” I like this warmup! I think the song is so perfect and I like that we do exercises that get our bodies ready to lift weights safely. I’m always a fan of clean & press/power press in the warm-up because the participants lift less weight & are more likely to get it right in track 4. I also personally like when the warmups are shorter too…. My weight selection: 20 lbs.

Track 2 – Squats. Song: “Blow Your Mind”  I have come to really like this track! It’s a tough one with some great tempo changes but it’s also pretty simple & straightforward, just like any great squat track should be. I think the music is great and the stance change to improve conditioning in the various muscle groups (quads, glutes, side glutes, etc.) is always a winner. My fave, the bottom halves, play a big role in creating the muscle fatigue we want in BP. Two thumbs up! My weight selection: 50 lbs.

Track 3 – Chest. Song: “Immortals”  I’m a huge fan of this track. I like the A-Press, and I love mixing it with pushups. The combo of bottom half pulses in both exercises creates a fabulous burn that stings in a way that you just KNOW you’re closer to results. I think using the A-Press is a great way to pre-fatigue the muscles so you can do most of the pushups on your toes–which is exactly what I did for a few weeks. Fun fact: I tried the option of using the bar for chest press once instead of plates for A-Press and boyyyyyy was that hard! Try it some time if you haven’t yet. :) The song is super catchy and perfect IMO. My weight selection: 20 lbs for A-Press (40 lbs on bar for chest press as the option for me)

Track 4 – Back. Song: “The Thrill”  This track is okay. I like it because it’s pretty simple and allows room for good coaching to improve our work, but the song isn’t necessarily my fave. I like using the bar for awhile, switching to plates, back to the bar and back to the plates to switch up the type of training and give the body a change of pace. I’ve found that just using a 10 lb. plate isn’t enough for that set of work….I need 2 plates to really feel the burn & the metabolic kicker. I also upped my weight on the bar and that helped to make this track feel/be tougher. My weight selection: 45 lbs. (bar) // 20 lbs. (plates)

Track 5 – Triceps. Song: “Hallelujah”  I love this song! I think it’s perfect for a Triceps track and it is an awesome pick for this release. This track is fast and there are a ton of transitions, but I think it’s awesome. As an instructor though, you have to know this track really well and be quick to prep the class to move to the next set of exercises or else everyone feels lost. I love, love triceps pushups (because they’re so dang hard!) so the quick set of them twice feels so perfect. There are a lot of great options for everyone, and that is always fabulous for all sorts of fitness levels! My weight selection: 10 lbs (plate)


Track 6 – Biceps. Song: “Wobble  My new favorite Biceps track! The song is catchy and fun which sets a perfect feel for this track. There are a ton of mid-range pulses which fire up the Biceps and create that burning feeling that is so well-known to BODYPUMP™.  I appreciate that the song isn’t super long and there are not real recoveries (just active ones using a Bicep row). This is a track that had my biceps screaming and sore the next day. Big fan! My weight selection: 20 lbs. (I attempted a 25 lbs bar once and I wasn’t able to do every rep with great form. New goal!)

Track 7 – Lunges. Song: “Peanut Butter Jelly” What do you say about a song titled that? Haha. I will admit that it’s kind of a weird thing to sing about (and lunge to!) but it has been okay. It’s not my favorite song, but it’s a pretty good track overall. I like the bottom half pulse lunges (of course), and I love that there are no long breaks and that there is a longer set of squats at the end. If you want to make this track a bit tougher, ensure you’re using a bar (easier: plates). My weight selection: 40 lbs.

Track 8 – Shoulders. Song: “Addicted to a Memory” This is a good shoulder track that makes you feel the burn, and the song is pretty good too. I like rear fly work, and am always a fan of barbell work (especially the push press). The compound work mixed with isolated exercises is always a winning combination! My weight selection: 5 lbs. (x 2 plates) 20 lbs.(barbell)

Track 9 – Core. Song: “Want to Want Me” I am so over a whole track of crunches. That sounds kind of harsh, but after teaching CXWORX™ for so long, I get easily bored with super simple/isolated abs exercises. The addition of the plate is obviously awesome for increasing intensity in this track, and I always love a good crunch with a plate over the shoulders (hello upper abs!) but I wish they would’ve shortened the crunch section & added some hovers. My weight selection: 10 lb. (plate)

Track 10 – Cooldown. Song: “Adore”  Not much to say here other than it feels good to reach this point & stretch out. No weight selection.


The goal in this release was to bring some fun to the workout while increasing the rep count (over 1000!) and thus delivering results in the form of tension training, and LM delivered on that very well with release 96! I think it’s a fun workout that is very challenging for all fitness levels. The ‘burn’ you get from doing so many reps is a fabulous feeling that delivers results, and I can already tell that I’ve gotten stronger in a few exercises over the past 3 weeks.

Overall I really like the workout and music of release 96. I love the Squats, Chest, Triceps, & Biceps tracks the best because they nailed it for both music & the actual workout.

-see all my other Les Mills’ posts here


Have a FABULOUS day!

What tracks are YOUR favorites from BP release 96? What exercises do you wish were included in a BP release? 

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  1. Erica says:

    It is a great release- very tough! Kaylin loves the peanut butter jelly song haha. She makes me put it on in the car. I didn’t like triceps at first, but the more I do it, the more I like it! And I really like the song!! I think the chest track is actually my least favorite. I think it just feels really long. Overall a big bravo to the pump team!

  2. Fiona says:

    I actually LOVE 96! I think it’s a great mix of heart pumping and weight challenging tracks. I agree with you on the back track, I find it too fast to do the proper movements effectively but I think it’s a great release! One of our instructors is a master instructor and he’s been teaching 97 if you can believe it and man it’s even TOUGHER. I found 96 a good heart pumping release really getting a good sweat on and 97 though more ‘rock’ song oriented does even more heart pumping!

  3. I love the new release, too. Tough and challenging. Some of the tempos are a little fast which can make it more difficult to lift heavier weights correctly, but overall I really like the intensity of the release. My favorites are the squats (hardest squat track we’ve had, in my opinion) and the chest track – I like how it mixes up the weights with push-ups, too. The bicep track is fun but I feel it more in my forearms than in my biceps. I like most of the songs (especially the squat track) and I agree with you on the core track and I do hovers for the last minute rather than the last set of crunches. Nice class picture! I seem to be wearing that same top in all of your class photos…. :)

    • I love the squats and chest too!

      I’ve heard that about the Biceps from others too…I don’t feel it in my forearms at all? I wonder if you’re gripping the bar too tightly or not leaning back a bit to allow the bar to move in a complete ROM? I’ll check it out with ya next week :)

      Sounds like it’s time for another fitness apparel shopping trip! I’m sure the hubby won’t mind! 😉
      annette recently posted…BODYPUMP™ Release 96 ReviewMy Profile

  4. I really LOVE this release! I haven’t been a huge fan of the past few releases mainly because of their music selection. I have yet to do the chest track with the bar but I can imagine that it’s tough– and I’m amazed that you use 40lbs! Chest is probably the weakest part of my body & I struggle with 25lbs, haha. I think they could have used a different song for the back. It just feels too slow! I think my favorite track out of all would be the lunge track. Normally I hate doing lunges but there’s just something about this one!

    • I’m so glad you love this release too! Try it sometime with the bar for chest–it makes the track 10000x times harder when doing pushups on toes as well (my goal for the year).

      It’s funny how the lunge release for people is either you love it or really don’t like it, haha.
      annette recently posted…BODYPUMP™ Release 96 ReviewMy Profile

  5. Love your blog! How long were you out from teaching after your babies were born? I’m about to have my third and have no idea what to tell my manager.

    • Congrats!!

      I taught (with modifications) up until I had both of my babies (42 weeks and 41 weeks), and then I came back a month after for both. Everyone is different though, and it totally depends on the actual birth/labor and how that all went down. Mine were relatively “easy” and I had quick recoveries. Check with your doc of course, too! Good luck!
      annette recently posted…BODYPUMP™ Release 96 ReviewMy Profile

  6. Kim D. says:

    I love teaching this release! I asked my class yesterday (4th week) if they were ready for some love songs mixed in next week (for Valentine’s Day) and they said they want another full week of 96 because: 1. They like the music, and 2. It makes them sweat! I have to agree, this one makes me sweat more than usual. Enjoyed your blog, btw, and impressed with your weight selections! :-)

  7. Kim D. says:

    I love teaching this release! I asked my class yesterday (4th week) if they were ready for some love songs mixed in next week (for Valentine’s Day) and they said they want another full week of 96 because: 1. They like the music, and 2. It makes them sweat! I have to agree, this one makes me sweat more than usual. Enjoyed your blog, btw, and impressed with your weight selections! :-)

  8. Shannon Clark says:

    I have been waiting for your review of 96. I just started taking classes in January so this the only one I’ve done. I have to say I love it. Especially “Wobble”! I sing it all the time. I’ve been reading your blog for so long and have wanted to try Body pump forever. So glad I finally got into it, it’s fantastic!

  9. I was waiting for your review and I always love reading them! I like most of the tracks in this release, although I didn’t at first. It had to grow on me. Peanut Butter Jelly is my favorite track and I added it to my running playlist (and busted out a 7:55 mile at the end of a 6 mile run today, to that song). I also like the bicep track and the chest/back track.

    I have been using the bar on half of the chest track, and our instructor does. I feel like dumbbells cheat a lot of our class because they use too light of weight. My only dislike about the latest releases is that we haven’t had the bar in a tricep track in forever. I wish they would bring that back, at least for part of a track, because when I use it, it really torches my arms!!

    • Way to rock out to PBJ on your run & go so fast, wahoo! A lot of people have mentioned how some of the music/tracks grew on them too. I feel like the PBJ went the opposite for me-it was fun at first and then it didn’t seem as fab as time went on. I really love the chest track too!

      I like the bar for triceps too-but I also love the burn of the bodyweight/plate work so having both in a track would be fab, agreed!
      annette recently posted…BODYPUMP™ Release 96 ReviewMy Profile

  10. I was nodding along to pretty much everything you said here! I think our reviews will be VERY similar. 😉 I actually do love the lunge track though. I think it’s a fun song and is challenging in an awesome way. And yeah, I’m with you on the core track. I like the song, but the workout was a little on the lame side if I’m being honest! Dude, you’re STRONG P.S.!
    Ashley @ My Food ‘N’ Fitness Diaries recently posted…When Your Spouse Doesn’t Love Health & Fitness Like You Do…My Profile

  11. I always love your corresponding weight recommendations(!!!); gives me a general idea of the weights I should be moving in class to feel challenged but not overwhelmed. Also, it helps establish more or less “balance” in all muscle groups, like something would be off if you’re doing bench press track with a 45lb. bar but your lunges are only like at 25lbs. etc.

    this squat track is an absolute killer, probably the hardest IMO of the past 10 releases.

    I agree about that core track. weighted crunches are great but when the song hits the bridge (?”just the thought of you/ gets me so HIGH… so HIIIIGHH…”?) you almost expect to move to a different core exercise but no, more crunches. someone fell asleep at the switch on that one.

    As tough as the triceps track is for 96, I WISH the tricep track ALWAYS included a little bit of bar work (skull crushers, extensions, presses). when you go three weeks of a release without bar work, then a mix that DOES have bar work shows up, your triceps be like ???.

    • That is so true about the triceps! Which is why I want to bring back some bar work for next week’s classes :)

      I’m glad you like the weight rec’s—- I never know if it’s helpful to anyone. Haha. I’m working on upping my squat weight…gots to get back to 60 lbs like I was doing before I had two kids :/
      annette recently posted…BODYPUMP™ Release 96 ReviewMy Profile

  12. BodyPump 96 kicked. my. bootay. Seriously.

    I did it at a mini Q (mostly without weights because of a clip issue :() in my area back in December and the next day I was more sore than I have been in YEARS. I figured it was because I’d also done brand new Sh’Bam & Flow that day too, but that’s not unusual for a Quarterly. So then I figured it was because of the Pump Education (LOVE the Education layered in with the mini Qs!) – we did two minutes of super slow squats with heavy weight (40lbs on the bar) and two minutes of singles with low weight (10lbs) to really understand the rep effect research and WHOA.

    But then ya know, the new releases were actually launched and I can say that it was really just Pump. Haha. I felt like it was a really strong and really tough release (particularly squats and shoulders for me).
    Bree recently posted…Catching UpMy Profile



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