BodyAttack 74: In one sentence, I'd say "A step in the right direction." I was not a huge fan of releases 72 and 73 (reviews pending), and felt that 74 was finally a step back towards the things I love about Attack. One thing I tried really hard not to do with 73 was hold it against the release that Lisa did not present, and felt I did an ok job of that. With that said, it was SO nice to have her back. Attack is just not Attack without her. If/when she ceases being the PD, it will be incredibly difficult for me to continue being as excited about it as I am. She is the living essence of the program, and is always one of the top people I try to imitate.
Before we get to the actual tracks themselves, I need to comment for a second on the direction the production has taken. I totally understand that LM are trying to look more professional and "expensive" if you will, but I find a lot of the new production methods VERY distracting. For example, the new "panning" camera they use, and the TV screens. I recently did a BodyCombat module on release 49, and was unable to see what the presenters did with their feet during a particular combo in track 5 because the camera NEVER showed it... they were either panning around in an angle which blocked it, or they were zoomed on the presenters too closely. This is a bit ridiculous. These materials are educational for us instructors. If the "fanciness" is preventing us from being able to learn our material, that is a problem. And quite often I find myself getting lost in what the new TV screens are showing instead of seeing the choreography. (I have BLAH'd about all of this for the record). End of production soap box.
So, let's begin with the music: I felt that the release was cohesive, and a good balance of top 40 hits plus obscure songs (for lack of a better word). One thing I've started to notice about releases that I consider great, is that they are a cohesive and give a musical journey. Ones that I don't like quite as much seem like 12 random songs thrown together (or some degree of that at least). Standout tracks for me are 2,4,5,9 and 10. Tracks I did not particularly care for include 1,3,6, and 8 to a degree. There was a good balance of artist gender, and some really well known hits that provide a good drive, especially at the peaks.
One complaint I have with the release is the warm-up (admittedly I'm a stickler on these). The song is so ridiculously repetitive and the lyrics are quite annoying. I suppose I could utilize it as an opportunity to coach better technique or connect with the participants, because it's not a song I connect to or play off of lyrically. And then with 8, I simply didn't like the remix. It was a case where when I saw the tracklist, I could not have been more excited about it, but it kind of fell flat with the remix they picked.
Next up is choreography/innovation: Probably the hardest release we have had as a whole since 66. The tracks that you normally get a breather on (upper body, agility) actually keep the heart rate up. Standout tracks for innovative moves include parts of 1, and then 3,4,5,6,7,11. Mixed impact saw the return of heel digs which I absolutely love. I also loved the innovation in the aerobic track... it had a bit of a running feel which is a nice change from the standard knee combo. I wasn't sure I was going to like the "cardio-ness" of the upper body track, but the walking burpee is a nice change of challenge, and it was well received by most of the participants. The running track was different enough to give it its own flavor, but still work as a running track. And then agility was amazing... great challenge and something we've never seen before. Combat fans will love the "snowboard" move which is basically a renamed decoy. The core tracks continue to get harder... and I continue to die LOL.
I need to take a second and talk specifically to the plyometric track: Fight For Your Right. This track will go down in history (for me personally) as one of the best plyometric tracks we have ever had. Sometimes a song is great, but the moves don't feel quite right with the song. Other times (more often actually), the moves are fantastic, but don't really fit the song. Fight For Your Right is one of those instances where EVERYTHING came together perfectly. It's one of the toughest plyo tracks we have ever had, but you know it instantly when the song starts playing. It provides a phenomenal beat that pushes you to try and achieve the challenge, and it's grit-your-teeth great. Brent McLemore did a great job presenting, and I have a new respect for each of those presenters (Lisa, Brent, Amy, Berna) for presenting it flawlessly, when it is such a butt-kicker.
On a personal note, I was VERY grateful for the return of lyrics and driving beats to the Power track. I was not a fan of 72 or 73 because I like lyrics to help drive me, and was much more pleased with this one. Truth be told, Grenade is one of the more challenging power tracks we've had (challenges your endurance as opposed to explosive power like in Take It To The Limit from 66) and the song is perfect to push your efforts. My one complaint with the more recent power tracks is the high knee sprints we've had at the end where the song gets much faster. It gets a bit crazy to the point where I would argue you can't safely execute the moves fast enough. It would be easy for people to fall from bad technique while trying to keep up with the song. In 71, the song did get faster, but not much, and it worked. In 74 particularly, it gets crazy.
Finally, we finish with a cooldown which grew on me. Although it's more of a party feeling then an accomplishment song, I thought it was fun and a nice finale to this workout. Overall, I liked 74 and it improved on most of the problems I had with 72 and 73. Great to have you back Lisa, and thank you for all the hard work! You deliver a great program repeatedly!
AND I must say, based on 75... we are continuing to move in a good direction! I'm actually SUPER excited to talk about 75... watch for a preview post soon!