Friday, January 7, 2011

BodyAttack 101: An Overview

What a fantastic morning of all things BodyAttack!!! I team taught a great class with 34 amazing people, 2 great instructors and a lot of calories burned! Now I've got some of my favorite Attack music playing and getting ready to study some new stuff. I've been meaning to write this particular post for a while.

This one is for those of you who have never really taken Attack before, or just a refresher/101 type class for the rest of us. I'm going to break down the class and give an overview, and then following this I'll be doing posts about each individual track. Hopefully you'll get a bit of an understanding of what each track is, what the class objective is, and just have a good sense of what Attack is all about.

As stated on the Les Mills website:
"BODYATTACK is the sports-inspired cardio workout for building strength and stamina. This high-energy interval training class combines athletic aerobic movements with strength and stabilization exercises. Dynamic instructors and powerful music motivate everyone towards their fitness goals - from the weekend athlete to the hard-core competitor! Like all the LES MILLS programs, a new BODYATTACK class is released every three months with new music and choreography."

That's actually a pretty good summary. But let's break it down into a bit more detail. BodyAttack is a 55 minute, 12-track, 2-peak cardio class with conditioning/recovery work between each peak, and at the end. The breakdown is as follows:
  1. Warm-Up. This is where you get your feet moving and start bringing the heartrate up. The movements are all low impact, and are designed to warm up the entire body. A typical warm-up includes step touches, tap and knee repeaters, step curls, squat taps, grapevines, and "walk it up"s.
  2. Mixed Impact. This track serves as a transition, moving the body and the heartrate from the warm up to the aerobic training zone. A mixture of low and high impact movements are used. Some of these include step curls, gallops, flick kicks, and some jogging with punches and side arm movements.
  3. Aerobic. Your heartrate is now in the aerobic training zone. We sustain this heartrate for the rest of this track, and the majority of track 4. The movements are all high impact (with low impact options available). Mainstream track 3 moves include single knees, double knees, crossover knees, the Superman (signature Attack move), shuffles, flick kicks and Attack-style jumping jacks.
  4. Plyometric. Your first cardio peak! The heartrate stays in the aerobic zone, with a push right at the end to take it up one final notch! This is like the last 5 minutes of the first half of a game. You push through, but you save some for the second half. In track 4, we feature the plyometric lunge, high knee runs, squat jumps, touch downs, and more!
  5. Upper Body Conditioning. Active recovery for the heartrate along with some moves designed to strengthen the upper body (chest, arms). This is basically the push-up track of the class, and man do you do a lot of them! Both tricep and chest pushups are used, and there will usually be another stabilization exercise used such as a plank, a one-leg/one-arm extension, etc.
  6. Running. A team run! This track's objective is to bring your heartrate back into the training zone while providing some group energy and interaction. The class will do some running in a circle around the room, and then break to meet in the middle using the "Run & Reach". Other moves include single knee lifts, shuffles, knee crossovers, arm-cross combinations, etc. This is meant as a team run, not a race.
  7. Agility. Sports drills training at its finest! The class splits in half facing each other, and specific sports moves are utilized for improving speed and agility. Typical agility moves include ice skaters, 3-step hops, shuffles, shuffle runs, and hop curls, among others. The focus is less about endurance and more about sports skills, being agile and quick.
  8. Interval. A good old-fashioned aerobics track featuring knees, kicks, flick kicks, "run & reach", and more. The idea is to have 3 rounds... each time pushing the heart rate a little bit higher. Similar to the Aerobic track, this is the penultimate cardio track... pushing the heartrate up and setting us up for the finale.
  9. Power. The final cardio peak! This is the last 5 minutes of the game... where you bring everything you have and push the heartrate up to its limit. High knee runs are common, as are heel jacks (my personal favorite attack move), tuck jumps, jump jacks, air jacks, knee repeaters, and etc.
  10. Lower Body Conditioning. Bring the heartrate down while working on the legs. Squats, lunges, and repeater knees are the most commonly utilized moves.
  11. Core Conditioning. Who wants a 6-pack? Core strength is the key to a lot of success in fitness and this track never disappoints. Abdominal work is utilized featuring crunches, leg extensions, pilates scoops, oblique crunches and twists, etc.
  12. Cool-Down. Keep your body working for you by indulging in a well deserved stretch. Take a deep breath, and work on lengthening and conditioning the muscles and bring that heartrate back down to resting. Most importantly, leave the class feeling empowered, stronger, and fitter!

Overall, this class never fails to challenge my fitness level, and has worked wonders for my cardiovascular fitness. One of the key sayings we use is that BodyAttack is designed to help us "Get fit, Stay fit, and Get fitter!" Are you looking for a new challenging fitness program for 2011? I have something you might enjoy!

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