April 7

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What to expect from a BodyAttack class

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BodyAttack is what got me hooked on group fitness many years ago. It's a high-energy, fun and intense workout that will leave you sweating, smiling, exhausted...and craving more!

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James, a 43-year old software developer is a fairly fit guy. He generally trains 3 to 5 times a week depending on his work schedule. One of his 60-minute sessions involves a run with a mate where he performs intervals - periods of fast running and then slower, recovery paces.

However, due to a busy work timetable and a string of late finishes, he'd often miss his run. This prompted James to search for an alternative fitness regime that allowed him to work with a high heart rate and still enjoy the aftermath of a good session.

James discovered BodyAttack - a group exercise class set to music that has a reputation for being an extremely efficient workout. James peaked into a class one night and saw some reasonably fit people loving the workout. Surprisingly, he recognised a couple of guys he used to run with, so he thought he'd give it a go.

What is BodyAttack?

BodyAttack is a pre-choreographed workout using high-intensity cardio intervals and conditioning moves.

The format of the class consists of two cardio blocks, with a round of conditioning and strength work in between blocks.

In the first block, you'll do a Warm Up then progress onto Track 2 - the Mixed Impact track. Next comes the Aerobic track before finishing the block with Track 4, the Plyometric track.

During this first block, your heart rate stays elevated around 70% and progressively rises to about 85% of your maximum heart rate.

The second cardio block includes the Running track, Agility, Interval and Power tracks.

Studies have shown that during this second block, which can last between 20-25 minutes, participants' heart rates stay between 80-90% MHR.

These two cardio blocks are separated by the Athletic Strength track. The objective is to increase upper and lower body stability, strength and endurance.

Once complete, it's back into the training zone with a running track that pumps the heart rate back up to 85-90% MHR. From here, the class is split in half with each group facing each other for the agility track.

This allows BodyAttack class participants to interact and socialize (if this is at all possible during such an intense workout); all whilst your heart rate stays in the 85% MHR zone.

James commented that it was great to see the faces of other participants knowing that they too were pushing themselves.

"It's one of those small factors that can help push you when you feel fatigued," he commented.

The finale follows another interval training track, where the instructor keeps the class working at 90% of their MHRs or higher. Participants are encouraged to keep exercising in their maximum training zones for longer, to have a bigger impact on their results.

After that, it's some core conditioning followed by recovery with gentle stretching.

BodyAttack Class Structure

BodyAttack is designed around a 60-minute 2 cardio peak format with 11 tracks. Each track has a different exercise focus to challenge your cardio fitness and stamina. Here's how a normal 60-minute class looks:

Track 1. Warmup

The focus in the opening track is on big, simple aerobic moves to get the body warm.

Track 2. Mixed impact

This track will take you through an increasing range of moves and footstrikes, preparing the body for the aerobic action ahead.

Track 3. Aerobic

Step up the intensity and range of movement and get into your personal training 'zone' ahead of the peak track to follow.

Track 4. Plyometric

This is where the BodyAttack class hits its first intensity peak. You put your body under load with quickfire plyometric exercises often used in sports training.

Track 5. Athletic strength

At this point, it's time to bring the heart rate down, recover a little and build strength. The focus here is on shoulders, chest, triceps, core and legs. Conditioning work for strengthening and shaping the upper and lower body.

Track 6. Running

Loosen up again with some free and patterned running and getting the legs ready to fire again.

Track 7. Agility

Test your speed and agility with a big mix of moves and have fun with some class interaction.

Track 8. Interval

Challenge your cardio systems with a series of work-recovery blocks.

Track 9. Power

The final peak where you dig deep and push through powerful moves for maximum effort.

Track 10. Core

Time to recover the heart rate while conditioning the core for great strength, condition and tone.

Track 11. Cooldown

Congratulations, you made it. Time to recover and stretch...then check the timetable for your next BodyAttack fix!

A BodyAttack class consists of 11 tracks split up into two cardio blocks, with a round of conditioning and strength work in between blocks

A full BodyAttack class contains 11 tracks

What are the major benefits of BodyAttack?

The structure and routines in a BodyAttack class place demand on multiple energy and neuromuscular systems, providing a range of cardiovascular, muscle endurance and agility based benefits.

At a muscular conditioning level, the exercise overload on upper and lower muscle groups during the short, repeated training intervals closely mimic the activities of many sports, providing general and specific conditioning.

BodyAttack is also:

  • Great for improving fitness
  • A good class to do if you need someone to push you to your max
  • Great for agility
  • Achievable in terms of the moves; this is no dance class!
  • Good for improving muscle control
  • Great for strengthening joints, ligaments and tendons

Does it cater for all fitness levels? Is BodyAttack suitable for beginners?

BodyAttack classes are aimed at intermediate and above levels of fitness. People with a sedentary background or with existing medical conditions must seek health professional advice before starting BodyAttack.

How long is a BodyAttack class?

Depending on the timeslot and the demographic of the gym, there can be different formats for BodyAttack. There is an 'express' 30-minute version, a 45-minute version as well as the full hour original format.

In the half-hour class, there are usually 6 tracks selected from the full class. These are usually tracks 1, 2, 4, 7, 9 and then 5. In other words, you'll do a warm-up, then mixed impact, work on plyometrics, agility and power then complete a (sometimes shortened) athletic strength track.

The 30-minute express version of BodyAttack picks 6 tracks from the main workout

The 30-minute version contains 6 tracks from the main workout

For the 45-minute version, there are a couple of different options that the instructor can pick from to put their class together. In general they can opt to include either the running track or the interval track. The other tracks in the 45-minute version of BodyAttack would be 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10 and 11. The optional running or interval track would be slotted in as track 6 or 8 respectively.

There are 9 tracks in the 45-minute version of BodyAttack

There are two different versions of the 45-format, both containing 9 of the 11 original tracks

How much does it cost and is it worth it?

Most gyms offer this class for free as long as you are a member, however, for a casual class you can expect to pay somewhere between $15 and $25.

BodyAttack is a beneficial class that works both your aerobic and anaerobic systems, which means that participating in the class regularly can get you very fit.

If you're used to just jogging, cycling or rowing at low intensities and want something more challenging to improve your fitness then try a BodyAttack class.

BodyAttack is a registered trademark of Les Mills International

Is BodyAttack a good workout?

BodyAttack is great for improving cardiovascular fitness and endurance. The class will get you fit and keep you fit, helping to reduce your risk of heart disease.

You'll find yourself drawn into the music and the energy of the group. With a sports-inspired feel, you'll develop agility, power and coordination.

Additionally, you'll move faster, have better posture and stronger bones.

How many times a week should I do a BodyAttack class?

Ideally, three 60-minute sessions each week would be great.

However, if you can only manage one class per week, that's fine too. Even just a 30-minute class before work, or squeezed into your lunch break can work wonders.

Do bear in mind BodyAttack is a high-intensity workout so it's not something you should do every day. Allow your body to rest and recover in between workouts for maximum benefit.

What do YOU think of BodyAttack?

I'd love to hear your thoughts. Let me know in the comments below what you love about BodyAttack or if you've other questions about the workout I haven't answered.

Hopefully, I'll see you in a class soon.

Paul Stokes Perth Personal Trainer Sports Nutritionist Group Fitness Instructor Massage Therapist

About the author

Paul Stokes

Paul Stokes BSc (Hons) is a Certified Personal Trainer, Accredited Sports Nutritionist, qualified Exercise to Music Instructor, Precision Nutrition coach, Massage Therapist and teaches 8 of the Les Mills Group Exercise programs. He currently works in the Oil & Gas industry as a Wellness Coach, imparting his vast knowledge and experience to improve the quality of life of several hundred offshore workers.

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