Les Mills Body Combat 68 is fun. It’s a killer. There’s one part that’s a struggle for me. There’s another part that knocks the wind out of me. I love these challenges.
The music set is probably my favorite of all the releases I’ve done, not because of any particular song, but just the set as a whole. The beat match from start to finish is pretty decent, there’s a great bassline in each track, and none of the tracks annoy me too much. (The tracks have strong hooks, which means they can be either very awesome or very annoying.) That’s one thing this set has going for it: the beat manages to override any vocals that might otherwise make me want to stab myself in the ear. I do like most of the tracks, though.
You move through the cardio set in the hardcore electronic dance/club genre with flavors of drum and bass, trap, dubstep, synthpop, Eurodance, and the like, driven by an aggressive pulse with some cool remixes. I like the set’s cohesiveness in contrast to the releases whose sets take you all over the map with metal, electronica, rap, pop, hair band hard rock, etc. (I dig most of those genres individually, but mashed together in a single workout release? Not so much.) The cohesiveness of 68’s sound set keeps my momentum going; I don’t have to drastically switch gears from track to track. I looked up the music and noted that some of it hails from Down Under, home of Les Mills International. Great job, Les Mills DJ!
Workout-wise, I like 68’s footwork (agility), plyometrics (explosive power), and level changes (reflex and compound exercise). [ETA: There’s some great H.I.I.T. in this release, too.]
So let’s go.
(Grainy screenshots Callaghan and me in this post are courtesy of video footage taken in bad lighting.)
Les Mills Body Combat 68
Track 1a: Upper-body Warm-up (“Freak” – Steve Aoki, Diplo & Deorro feat. Steve Bays)
- Music: No-bullshit, high-octane club music for the upper-body warm-up; there’s no easing into this release with souped-up Katy Perry or Taylor Swift. It might be annoying to some, but it does the job.
- Boxing combinations with uppercuts, hooks, jabs, crosses.
- The level changes and small footwork involvement are cool. My upper-body is most definitely warm after this!
Track 1b: Lower-body Warm-up (“Break The Rules” – Anonymous Hotel)
- Music: Same vein as 1a above. You know this excessively bright and happy music for the lower-body warm-up is meant to lull you into a false sense of security. It can only portend major lower-body mangling in the rest of the workout. And it does.
- Knees and more knees!
- Kicks (front snap kicks to push kicks to roundhouse kicks).
- Down for push-ups… in the warm-up?!
- These aren’t static push-ups, either. This is a lower-body warm-up, remember… there’s active leg involvement here.
- Yep. The dynamic push-ups became MOUNTAIN-CLIMBERS. In the WARM-UP.
Track 2: Combat 1 (“Push” – Kronic, East Movement & Savage)
- Music: Trap, and heavy on the drums. Great track for Combat 1!
- Switch kicks (knee to kick). Jump kicks. Jump kicks on repeat.
- Knees and lunges.
- More knees and lunges.
- Lower-body burn-out, check.
Track 3: Power Training 1 (“On My Way” – Jupiter Soliloquy)
- Music: This could be a track that annoys me too much, but it’s saved by the beat.
- Hard and fast upper-body combinations… uppercuts, jab, crosses.
- Footwork (scissors) incorporated into the upper-body combos.
- Running in place – but it’s not even the halfway point!
Track 4: Combat 2 (“My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light ‘Em Up)” – 2 Chainz)
- Music: 2 Chainz remixed Fall Out Boy’s song, and it’s kickass. This song actually deviates from the set’s general character, but it still fits in there nicely. Great jam for Combat 2.
- “Bring your mat close-by” is a euphemism for “We’re doing push-ups in the middle of this cardio track.”
- Low-mid-low block combination.
- Roundhouse kick add-on to the block combos.
- Side kicks with a floor tap in between.
- Double kicks, and here I face the fact that my balance has gone to shit. The tap in between the double kicks becomes a quick squat to involve more leg.
- This is the part that’s a struggle for me. I don’t get it – my balance has never been so bad. But this gives me something to work on.
- Double kicks become triple kicks.
- I don’t feel the burn I’m supposed to be feeling in my standing leg, probably because I completely fail to hold my balance.
- 2 Chainz takes over the song and we drop down for push-ups (with the same lower-body involvement we saw in the warm-up) in increasing reps.
- Mountain-climbers. Of course.
Track 5: Power Training 2 (“Dirty” (Metrik Remix) – Dirtyphonics)
- Music: Drum & Bass. Great vibe, and again, great music for this track!
- Striking combos with level changes.
- Plyometrics: Squat jumps, then lateral squat jumps.
- This is a short but intense track.
Track 6: Combat 3 (“She Got It (Club Mix)” – Vandalism & Angger Dimas)
- Music: Sick beat. Not my favorite track, but clearly this DJ knows what’s what.
- Side kick, front kick, back kick combination.
- Back kick repeaters.
- I couldn’t count the number of kicks in this release if I wanted to.
Track 7: Muay Thai (“The United Vibe” – Scooter)
- Music: Okay, after two years of Body Combat, I’m now used to practicing Muay Thai moves to music other than death metal and gangsta rap. Thus acclimated, I can get into this techno/Eurodance jam for the Muay Thai track.
- Jab, up elbow, double knee combination.
- Four knees. Two knees. Running man knees.
- Four levels of running man knees!
- Downward elbows.
- This is the part that knocks the wind out of me: Downward elbows IMMEDIATELY following level 4 running man knees.
- Level 4 running man takes a lot out of me. Downward elbows take a lot out of me. I need a brief pause to recover between the two, but there’s no such thing. So here’s the second major area I need to work on (the first being my balance): Breathing management to get through this track.
- Ground and pound.
Track 8: Power Training 3 (“Out Of My Hands” – Olympic Daydream)
- Music: I like the instrumental sequence, and it makes sense for this last cardio track.
- More jabs!
- I always like track 8. It’s an opportunity to use everything up, if anything is left.
Track 9: Conditioning (“Turn Down For What” – DJ Snake & Lil Jon)
- Music: A classic. Great song for a killer ab track.
- Laying on back: Criss-cross legs in the air.
- Crunches added to the legs.
- Laying on side: side crunches (side plank)
- Flip back over: More. Just more. And flip over again. And again. Maybe I’m exaggerating at this point, but I don’t think so.
- My abs hate me.
Track 10: Cool-down (“I See Fire” – Sol3 Mio)
- Music: I looked up this song, and sure enough, it’s famous for representing the All Blacks, New Zealand’s rugby team. (Les Mills is a New Zealand company.) The vocals are beautiful.
In summary: 68 is an intense release.
I’d give it an 8.5.