Les Mills’ BODYPUMP™ Release 97 Review

Hey, hey! It’s been awhile since I posted, and I’ve been meaning to share my thoughts on the latest BP release! What better time than the present, eh?

{p.s. If you haven’t taken a Les Mills’ BODYPUMP™ class, I highly recommend it. Becoming an LM BODYPUMP™ instructor not only changed my life, it saved it in many ways 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 absolutely love this! That means that each time we get new stuff, or “a release,” we get to learn it, practice it, bring in some personality, and then launch it to our members. It’s tons of fun!

BODYPUMP™ Release 97 Review


Track 1 – Warmup. Song: “Scars” I like the warmup but the song leaves something to be desired. I can’t place my finger on it, but it seems like sort of a heavy song for a warmup. Maybe that’s it? The actual exercises and progression of work that warm us up is perfect, but I wish it was to a more upbeat song. My weight selection: 20 lbs.

Track 2 – Squats. Song: “Derp”  This is a good, tough squat track that I really enjoy teaching and doing! At first I was kind of meh about the song, but after a few times I’ve come to really enjoy the musical ride that you take as you squat. (i.e. when I coach at the right moments and am quiet at the perfect spots, it totally creates fabulous contrast that makes the class love it.) I love any squat track that has a good amount of both 4/4 (slow) squats and bottom halves, and I always love using the variety of stances to challenge all the muscles of the legs & glutes, so this one is a good one in my book. My weight selection: 55 lbs.

Track 3 – Chest. Song: “Generation Day”  Ohhhhhh boy, is this track challenging! Wow. I had to go down in my usual chest weight by at least 5 pounds, and even then I almost couldn’t make it through. It’s a tough one no matter how you slice it, and I absolutely love it! I love using (chest press) pulses to generate more fatigue, and this track nailed that. The song is pretty good for matching the actual work and the ‘ride’ of highs & lows, but it’s not my favorite song. I love this track the most for allowing the participants to really, truly feel what it means to create tension & hold tension in the muscles. There is no getting around it, everyone will feel it! My weight selection: 35 lbs.

Track 4 – Back. Song: “Dark Skies”  This song is like two thumbs down for me, but I like the actual work in this back track. There are great opportunities to teach how to do a good clean & press and deadlift, and I appreciate that. Repetition with some of those moves that are harder to perfect is a great tool in tracks like this back track. There are options to challenge yourself more, and options to take it down a notch, so it’s a good track to help everyone in the class feel awesome. I love doing 8 clean & presses in a row and adding weight to my bar in the 3rd set–they’re challenges that I embrace gladly! My weight selection: 40 lbs. (1 & 2nd set) / 45 lbs (3rd set)

Track 5 – Triceps. Song: “Waiting For Love”  I all around love this track. It’s challenging, fun, upbeat, and includes exercises that I just looooove to train on. We do a bit of bar work first (including barbell triceps extensions & presses and pulses), and then we head into tricep pushups and standing extension pulses. LM nailed the progression of work in this track, IMO, and I love that burn in the back of my arms during and after the class! My weight selection: 25 lbs (bar) / 10 lbs (plate)

Track 6 – Biceps. Song: “We Don’t Run”  This track has become one of my new favorite biceps tracks (2nd only to the previous, 96, release). I’m so not a hard rock music person (or whatever this genre is, hah!), but the lyrics set to this tough track, and especially during the biceps pulses, takes this whole track to the next level! If taught correctly this could be one of the biggest peaks in the whole release. The bottom-half range pulses, minimal recoveries, and relentless biceps work makes you want to run away, but……”we don’t runnnnnnnn.” Boom! My weight selection: 20 lbs (I attempted a 25 lb. bar but didn’t get every rep in the right range. I’m closer than I was last release though, yay!)

Track 7 – Lunges. Song: “How Deep Is Your Love” Another lunge track with a whole lot of squats and lunge pulses in the bottom range. Ouch! This track takes the pulses to the next level though, because we include 8 faster ones & a very short one count at the top range before heading right back down. It’s challenging, so it’s key to include lots of options for all the participants (body weight is really hard all by itself in case you want to try pulsing lunges for 30 second increments in your living room!) The song is pretty good, and when that beat drops you can just see the class moan inside about having to do more lunges, hah! My weight selection: 40 lbs.

Track 8 – Shoulders. Song: “Bumble Bee” In short, I like the work in this track (it’s cray cray tough!!) but I do not love the song. This track includes a ton of barbell work (overhead) and it ensures that you leave with burning (and sculpted) shoulders. A double win, but it comes at a price: it’s really hard to get through! The final set of pushups just takes me over the edge and I absolutely know what it means to “find fatigue” in a very real sense. My goal is to do some of those pulsing pushups on my toes the next time I bring back this release. My weight selection: 5 lb. (plates x 2) / 20 lbs (bar)

Track 9 – Core. Song: “Young & Stupid” A fun song with a good beat, but once again, more crunches. :/ I am so over a whole bunch of crunches, so thankfully this track includes a bit of rotational work. I hope LM brings back more hovers/planks next round!  My weight selection: none

Track 10 – Cooldown. Song: “Purple”  Making it to this point is totally a fabulous feeling!


It seems the goal in this release was to use timing to add a bit of fun and challenge, nailing the Rep Effect™ in every way, and LM delivered on that promise! 97 is a perfect release to give challenges and options to all ages & fitness levels. I love that it is a unifying feel, and one that leaves everyone feeling awesome about the work they put in.

Overall I really like the workout and most of the music of release 97. I love the Squats, Chest, Triceps, Biceps, Lunges tracks the best because they were on point for both music & the actual workout.

-see all my other Les Mills’ posts here


Have a great day!

Have you tried BODYPUMP™ Release 97 yet?!

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  1. Kaitlyn says:

    Love reading your BP reviews :). Sounds like a good one! I heard the chest track was TOUGH!

  2. Fiona says:

    We were lucky enough to get a sneak peak a while back (our instructor is a national instructor) but I have to agree with you, the majority of the songs are more ‘heavy metal’ then I usually like, so makes it hard for me to get into it ..but I’m sure the more I do it the more I’ll love it. Lunges I just love, because I love the song too and it’s such a challenging track for me but I’m excited to try it again this week! Love the reviews and love seeing you back on my blog feed 😉

  3. I read this last night on my phone, but I hate typing comments on my phone, lol.

    I felt like this release was one of the hardest (if not THE hardest) ever. I never got back to my regular back weight and can’t even imagine going UP. Granted, I’ve had a tough time fitting Pump into my schedule lately (1-2x/week, mostly 2x) so I’m sure that is part of it. I need to find a way to regularly get 3x in again.

    I was grateful for a crunches-dominant as my shoulders have been TOAST and I can’t even imagine holding a hover or doing longer hover work. Musically, I didn’t feel super connected, but I didn’t hate it either. I do agree that the grit of some of the song selections worked well with the actual work of the track.
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  4. It makes it super easy to continue with your regular workout and even go for the tougher one when its not boring and keep adding some unique ways to keep the interest awake.
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  5. Hi Annette, I am a massive fan of your site. I am a trainee Body Attack instructor from Australia and love reading your thoughts on LM group fitness. Looking forward to reading your reviews of the latest LM releases. Keep it up!

  6. Hey, I’ve recommended this site to my girlfriend as she recently got totally hooked into fitness! I’m so happy for her. I’ve been working out for a few years so I am a gym freak myself. I hope you will keep doing what you do, so my girlfriend and other people like her can follow you and change their lives for better!



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