“We had a real focus on creating an immersive experience this round,” says Producer Ross Peebles. “We filmed RPM, BODYBALANCE, BODYPUMP, BODYCOMBAT, BODYSTEP, BODYJAM, SH’BAM and LES MILLS BARRE within a massive cylinder screen and circular stage, where presenters were enveloped in a 6 meter high, 270 degree LED volume.
“Before filming, the production team headed to New Zealand’s South Island to film the footage we’d be playing on the screen behind them. We used a purpose-built 4-camera array system to shoot some massively high-resolution NZ landscapes for the screen. From glaciers to mountains to forests – the team presented in front of some pretty epic New Zealand landscapes in a way you’ve never seen them before!
“For BODYPUMP and BODYCOMBAT, we shot the landscape at night, but with lighting. It created a pretty abstract and surreal look that we knew would be just magical once we had the presenting teams in front of it. For BODYJAM, SH’BAM and LES MILLS BARRE we used 100% animation/graphic content for the screens.
“When it came to the athletic programs, including BODYATTACK, we had a completely different set. We filmed them on a basketball court with an overhead lightbox suspended from the roof. This lightbox set up was designed to be fresh, clean, contemporary and athletic.”
BODYATTACK™ 120: LISA OSBORNE
Presenters: Lisa Osborne, Jackson Fuafiva, Sander Gudim Johansen, Billy Magg, Grace Hema Devos, Sivi Rabukatoka
“This release is so playful!” says Billy Magg. “The workout starts with an iconic sound to set the tone of the class. I’m blue ba da be da... After that it’s banger after banger after banger! The music and the choreography are just awesome. Track 8 has an arm combo full of emotion, so you can give your participants all the love they deserve. Track 9 is tough! It’s a huge peak to end the class on an epic high.
“My favorite is totally Track 3. It’s so energetic and playful. You can have a lot of fun with the lyrics and the choreography. The athletic strength really goes low with Low. Watch out for some pure hotness in your lower and upper body! Track 2 has a special new focus and feel with sporty floor work and aerobic fun. The blend is really cool and takes Mixed Impact to a whole new level.”
Sander Gudim Johansen is also a big fan of the release: “This workout truly highlights the three dimensions of BODYATTACK! There are big contrasts in both the music and choreography, but everything blends together seamlessly. It simply feels fantastic.
“Track 2 has got a new Squat to Plank Combo, where we integrate our upper and lower body through our core. It’s a great way to emphasise the strength dimension of ATTACK and get us grounded before we explode back into the aerobic dimension. I had a great time teaching this track. The song has amazing energy and the most uplifting feel!”
BODYBALANCE™ 100: JACKIE MILLS AND DIANA ARCHER MILLS
Presenters: Summer Bradley, Fraser Beck, Yayoi Matches, Joash Fahitua, Khiran Huston
“There was a deep sense of love and gratitude with this being the 100th release,” says Fraser Beck. “There was a warmth among all of the Instructors throughout the week in the lead-up to filming. In terms of celebrating the past 100 releases, we wanted to give thanks to all those involved with the program throughout the years. With a relatively new team teaching this release, it felt as though we were entering a new “evolution' of the program, which added to our sense of excitement and awe.
“My favorite is the Balance Track, because it has a more traditional hatha-yogic sequence – poses that we hold for longer, requiring deep concentration. I started my yoga journey with a hatha-based practice, so this had special resonance with me.
“Joash's Standing Strength song is Oxygen, and you could feel the emotion of the track as he spoke (shout out to my man Joash and his brilliant coaching). Music often has the power to get us out of our minds and connect to our spirit, and I really felt that happen in this track.
“As a team we had organised to give a beautiful pounamu (greenstone) necklace to Jackie to celebrate the 100th release! This has special significance for us in New Zealand – gifting someone pounamu shows how much you value and respect them. It was a perfect circular disc with 'JACKIE' and 'BB100' engraved beneath her name. We presented it to her on stage and showered her with hugs before we started filming. There was an immense sense of love and gratitude in the team.
“This release is challenging, unique and led from the heart! I think every Instructor and participant around the world will feel the energy we had on stage as they practice BODYBALANCE 100.”
BODYCOMBAT™ 95: DAN COHEN AND RACHAEL NEWSHAM
Presenters: Rachael Newsham, Marlon Woods, Claudia de la Mau, Meno Thomas, Lunar Lu, Vili Fifita, Natasha Vincent
“I mean, obviously I'm biased, but I love BODYCOMBAT 95!” says Claudia de la Mau. “It’s fantastic when we bring in the authenticity of martial arts. We really get into some boxing, kung-fu, and kickboxing in this release. There are cool boxing movement patterns in Tracks 1 and 8, working with different targets in the jabs. Oh, and the claw is back, baby! Yeah!
“What’s my favorite track? I might be insane, but I have to say Track 5. If you know, you know! And if you don't know yet, you have something to look forward to. *Cough, Sally part two, cough*.
“Musically, Track 2 has it all for me: the contrasts, the big beats, the "have mercy on my soul" lyrics, which just sets the tone well for the beginning of a BODYCOMBAT class. Just kidding. Or am I?
“This was my first filming in New Zealand and I'm not sure we as Instructors necessarily realise the amount of work and manpower that goes into filming the releases. When I saw it, I was blown away by the complexity of it all. There was a huge team working their butts off to make it a success; in reality, we presenters were such a small part. The production consists of various cameras and a whole team to run them, people running sound, building stages, lighting, running production, safety, all kinds of boss people running the show. It looked like something from a movie or a live sports event. Big credit to the whole team, who worked super long days to make it a success – and had to listen to our bad jokes in between filmings haha – sorry!”
BODYJAM™ 104: GANDALF ARCHER MILLS
Presenters: Gandalf Archer Mills, Claudia de la Mau, Meno Thomas, Cameron Holland, Dannielle Lally
“I'm absolutely in love with this release!” says Claudia de la Mau. “There’s lots of new moves – Gandalf really kept it fresh in BODYJAM 104. I think the only moves making their return are the Afro and Barrel roll in block one.
“What’s my favorite track? It's hard to choose, I love them all! There’s throwback vibes in block one with both new and old bangers. Block two has a different part of my heart with more dance-y vibes, reggaeton and lots of feels. Maybe one day I'll be able to dance the last track without crying. Maybe not. I do suspect block one will be a hit with many people! Also I think the hype track might be the best one ever…
“In terms of music… Hello Sam Smith and Kim Petras! I mean, when the lyrics hit in the Unholy remix, I was literally screaming.
“Do I have any stories? Well… I'm introduced in the release as Santa Claus! We were about to go on stage, had just did the last run-through backstage when Gandalf asked us: "What would you like to be called?" and I didn't really think it through before I answered "Santa Claus". It wasn't until later I realized he meant in the release introduction – or that he'd actually introduce me as Santa Claus. It's bonkers – I love it!
“I think Instructors and members are going to love BODYJAM 104 for the music, the moves and the feels. There are so many good songs, so many emotions and heaps of contrast. Just look at block 1 and 2. Block 1 is BIG and simple, and then in block 2 we wind it way down in the beginning and have more complexity in the movements. If we manage to really capture these contrasts – also in the genres and dance styles – MAN, big experiences!
“Fun fact: In rehearsal, I asked Gandalf the reason behind the order of the two blocks i.e. why house is block 1 and hip hop block 2 and not the other way around. He said block 2 starts very chill, too chill to start the entire class, so he chose to start with a bang in block 1, which makes us crave a breather in the beginning of block 2. We also talked about the difference in feel and choreography. Block 1 is way easier, whereas block 2 has more dance vibes and textures to play with. I’d encourage Instructors to bear this in mind when they coach it.”
BODYPUMP™ 125: GLEN OSTERGAARD
Presenters: Glen Ostergaard, Kylie Gates, Ben Main, Marlon Woods, Lunar Lu, Kaylah-Blayr Fitzsimons-Nu’u, Levi Farrell, Amy Lu
First-time presenter Levi Farrell says the highlight of this release was: “The staging and background visuals. They were absolutely stunning. The production team did an incredible job with this, and it really helped us bring the workout to life!
“It’s tough to pick my favorite track, but I do love Biceps. The music really pops, the combinations are smooth, and it brings in single-arm training which allows you to go heavy! Who doesn’t love an arm pump! In terms of my favorite song, it’s gotta be the Chest track – such a sick remix of a classic song.
“The forward-stepping lunges on the bench is an awesome new innovation in BP125. You’ll see these in the Lunge track and in the Lunges/Shoulders alternative track. We usually only see backwards-stepping lunges in BP, primarily due to the safety/technique concerns that are prevalent with forward-stepping lunges.
“The thing I believe Instructors will love the most is that each track brings a different feel and vibe, which will allow you to explore different coaching styles. Some tracks really force you to raise your voice a bit and turn up the intensity, whereas some tracks encourage you to be a bit more playful and fun. It’s a great contrast that provides an opportunity to show off your Instructor skillset.”
On the subject of forward-stepping lunges, Bryce Hastings, Les Mills Head of Research, says: “In Les Mills programming, most of the dynamic lunges you see will be backward-stepping.
“Forward-stepping Lunges on the floor require a lot of deceleration in the front leg as it makes contact with the ground – this increases compressive forces as well as impact forces in the front knee and will often result in the front knee moving forwards past the front ankle – increasing the amount of flexion – further increasing joint forces.
“Backward-stepping lunges make it easier to eliminate these issues and have the same amount of muscle activation as forward stepping – so they are considered safer and just as effective, especially in a group setting.
“In this round we use a forward lunge onto a step. As we are actively stepping up, there is less deceleration than stepping forward to the floor – therefore we don’t see the issues described above.
“Transitioning from a forward to backward-stepping lunge motion allows us to focus on the stationary leg. Keeping this knee bent and aligned with the middle toes will provide an opportunity to focus on precision and control – creating time under tension and ultimately resulting in stronger lower limb stabilizers.
“For those without benches, we recommend substituting the forward lunges with backward-stepping lunges.”
BODYSTEP™ 131: MARK NU’U-STEELE
Presenters: Mark Nu’u-Steele, Kaylah-Blayr Fitzsimons-Nu’u, Grace Wallace, Martine Matapo-Kolisko, Otto Prodan
“Get ready for some big changes!” says Mark Nu’u-Steele. “KB and I have been working behind the scenes on how to help Instructors pack their classes and keep teaching for the long term. We think we’ve cracked it with a brand-new class structure that our members and Instructors here in Auckland are loving!”
LES MILLS CORE™ 50: CREATIVE TEAM
Presenters: Corey Baird, Sander Gudim Johansen, Niklas Bohlin, Lunar Lu, Vili Fifita, Grace Stevens
“You can really feel which muscles we’re working in this release,” says Niklas Bohlin. “I especially love Track 2, because of the challenge of the single-leg hover! Track 3 is also really cool – we have a zig zag-type movement with the band. There’s also an opportunity for a little dance break in Track 4, who doesn’t love that?!”
Sander Gudim Johansen concurs: “Even after doing the workout multiple times to prepare for filming, I’m still a big fan of this release! I would say it perfectly captures the essence of the program. Each track has intelligent choreography to challenge the target muscles. You’ll feel it when you try it! And to be honest, I expected to grow tired of the release… but it turned out the opposite – I still love it and that says something!
“I’m a fan of the new arm pattern when we lie on our backs in Track 2. We extend our arms to the sides – nothing more – but you’ll definitely feel the load through your abdominals in a whole new way! We also have some interesting leg work in Track 5 to target our obliques and abdominals – window wiper feel!
“Do I have any stories from filming? Well, the first thing that comes to my mind is the large moth that kept flying around us in the middle of the Masterclass! Keep your eyes open when watching the Warm-Up 45 and you might just see it!
“It’s easy to feel this release in our bodies. I believe this makes it simpler for us Instructors to deliver rich and relevant coaching. I also believe that our participants will have fun with the release and truly feel their core strength develop. That’s always motivating for an Instructor to see.”
LES MILLS SPRINT™ 31: GLEN OSTERGAARD
Presenters: Glen Ostergaard, Khiran Huston, Emma Alcock, Bas Hollander
LES MILLS TONE™ 21: CREATIVE TEAM
Presenters: Khiran Huston, Martine Matapo-Kolisko, Vili Fifita, Kaylah-Blayr Fitzsimons-Nu’u, Otto Prodan
“This release is challenging in a feel-good way!” says Otto Prodan. “The cardio part of the workout is progressive, finishing on a massive cardio spike that will challenge all fitness levels. It’s followed by more isolated strength and core tracks that still feel pretty dynamic and innovative. You’ll get an incredible and balanced full body workout in TONE 21.
“All the innovations in this release build or progress on some of the familiar moves we’ve previously seen in TONE. Track 4 has a very different feel to it, with a big lateral and vertical focus; Track 5 has a split scissor with a plate press (a brand-new combo); and Track 8 has a bottom range strength focus with 3 minutes of continuous work!
“The music is incredible. I love Track 8 Drop It – the song is EPIC and the team had so much fun filming it. There are different levels of intensity that are really fun to teach; I can’t wait for everyone to have fun with that one! I think people will also love Track 6 Pancake. It’s cheeky, playful and a little bit sassy. After an incredible cardio peak, it feels nice to shift from super-athletic, to fun and playful. Track 6 also feels like you are doing strength, cardio and core all at once – something that’s so unique to Tone.
“Dan Cohen coached the presenting team for the first time and he had some really cool ideas which brought a different feel to how we coach the program. He was also super impressed with the level of athleticism and full-body integration (strength, core and cardio using the full body) we had in this release.
“It’s really important for Instructors to practice the timing of some of the moves and combos in this release – from moving fast, to moving slow, to completely stopping in an isometric hold. It’s important to understand and role model all these different timings in the class, because that’s how we achieve the different muscle contractions. There’s a lot of science behind all these moves, which is good to know and understand, but also remember to keep the workout fun and playful!”
SH’BAM 51: CREATIVE TEAM
Presenters: Yayoi Matches, Niklas Bohlin, Summer Bradley, Billy Magg, Grace Stevens, Des Helu, Kaylah-Blayr Fitzsimons-Nu'u
“This release takes SH’BAM to a whole new level!” says Billy Magg. “It’s the blend of the cool and powerful, fun and conversational that makes this one to remember. The release has a big focus on dancing big to elevate the heart rate, so look out for Tracks 2, 4, 7 and 11. Your heart rate will go higher than high and we promise you’ll feel euphoric at the end of class.
“What’s my favorite track? How can I choose when it’s such a good list of party tracks?! I’m a fan of Track 2 because the choreography is simple yet effective and gets the cardio going right from the start. The music’s great and the lyrics give you a lot of opportunity to play with your participants. It’s one of the Tracks I presented, so I guess I’m biased, haha!
“Track 5 is also a favorite for sure. It’s a remixed banger that really makes you feel “hot in it” while dancing.”
Niklas Bohlin adds: “I love track 11 because it is FULL ON INTENSITY! Grace, Summer and KB really gave everything when they filmed that track. When it was done, they collapsed on the stage because they’d worked so hard!”
THE TRIP™ 33: CREATIVE TEAM
Presenter: Khiran Huston
THE TRIP 33 – G I R O
The future of retro is here, and we encounter a series of stages that switch between simulated and ‘real’ road environments.
Stage 1 leads us into the workout and is a prelude to what we’ll encounter later on – speed surges and use of the popular Stand HI / LO Positions.
Stage 2 introduces us to a classic road ride that’s packed with variety. There’s a focus on climbing throughout, so expect the legs to be heavy by the time we leave this stage…
Stage 3 ushers speed back into the workout, which is welcome relief… or is it?! Either way, the energy provided by the music and visuals will encourage us to give our best.
Stage 4 time to vibe out as we celebrate the end of the workout!
From an Instructor-learning perspective, the ANIMATED focus we introduced in the last few releases starts to take a bit of a back seat as we begin to tap into being ATHLETIC, and we can expect to see more of this over the coming releases from our presenters.
Khiran brings her unique and empowering style to G I R O. Her athletic approach certainly shapes her language and we suggest you watch this Masterclass with that lens to appreciate how dialling in and out of the workout is one of our greatest tools when it comes to shaping our coaching language.