Les Mills Pump

les-mills-pump-deluxekitaLes Mills Pump is a fitness program by Beachbody. I have wanted it for a very long time but it was ungodly expensive (at least in my opinion). It is no longer offered on their main site so I cannot give the exact price, but it used to cost around $180 (+S&H which is around $20). In order to purchase it now you have to create a (free) Beachody account. Once you are logged in, it is $99.99 + S&H. So it has come down in price, but I am guessing that is because they are no longer manufacturing it? Why else would it no longer be offered on their main page? I got it at Beachbody’s Black Friday sale for $60 + S&H. I snatched it right up for that price. I then went to ebay and purchased the 3 deluxe workouts. So, I now have the whole package–base program + deluxe workouts (I already own the club step).

Why did I want this workout program so badly? Because it looks super cool! Seriously! This is high rep, barbell strength training. Metabolic strength, which I love. The program includes 7 workouts, a padded barbell and barbell clips, a set of 5 pound and a set of 10 pound plates, a fitness guide and a nutrition guide. The deluxe package includes 3 more workouts and a club step (or you can just buy/add on the deluxe workouts by themselves, no step). Before even doing any of the workouts, just opening up the big box, it does appear to be worth spending some extra money on. Very well put together program. The fitness guide describes the program, the trainers and gives you rotation calendars. The nutrition guide is another nicely put together and sensible eating plan; Beachbody always puts together sensible, healthy eating plans for their programs and this is just another of the many that will get you results if you follow it.

Les_Mills_PumpThe first DVD has Pump Basics and the introductory workout Pump Challenge on it. I watched Pump Basics and it just shows you how to assemble your barbell, form basics then talks about the “rep effect,” which is the basis of the program. All this means is that these are endurance workouts. It is strength training, but rather than lifting heavy, you are using lighter weight and doing lots of reps. They talk about the different tempos that will be used and how the music drives the workouts.

Like any workout, the intensity depends on you–specifically, how much you are challenging your muscles. Along the bottom of the screen there is a bar that gives you the workout time count down clock, a count down clock for each song (which corresponds to a muscle group) and each time the exercise changes it gives you the name of that exercise. In addition, before each muscle group is worked it gives you a recommendation for the weight you should be lifting: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Now, these weights, even for advanced, look really light to me. But remember, these are high rep workouts, so you cannot go super heavy. Still, for some muscle groups I went heavier than even the advanced recommendation. BTW–my regular barbell plates fit on the barbell that came with the program. The bar weights 5 pounds and a total of 30 pounds in plates come with the program–so you can go up to 35 pounds with the equipment that comes with the program. Oh, and the clips that came with the barbell suck. Luckily I have plenty of my own clips since I already own two barbells and a set of dumbbell size barbells. So I just swapped my own clips out for the ones that came with the program. And finally, every single workout in this program has a modifier. So if you are a real beginner, you can do beginner versions of every exercise.

lesmillspumpI have to make a comment on the trainers. There are a total of 14 trainers that run these workouts (according to the fitness guide that introduces 14 of them) and there are usually 5-6 leading each workout. They trade off leading the workouts by the tracks (so for each track/song you get a different trainer). I do like the trainers. They lead the workouts well, are very comfortable in front of the camera, and they are friendly and encouraging. However, there is some serious cheesiness to them. Sometimes they are too happy/friendly and their “jokes” seem too practiced. Sometimes when the workout opens, they are all standing together with their arms around each other. It’s just weird. Minus that I do like them and think they lead solid workouts and lead them well.

Summary: I love this program. I am so glad I finally got it. Many of these workouts are workouts I will return to repeatedly. Most especially Pump Revolution, Pump Extreme, Step and Sports Attack. These 4 are excellent workouts. I also really like Flow, Hardcore Abs and Combat. They all have great music, work your muscles from head-to-toe, give you great cardio and even give you some well done flexibility. Impressive! However, there is redundancy. Particularly in the first 5 workouts listed (all pump/barbell workouts). You ae basically doing all of the same moves in every barbell/pump workout. They do get progressively longer, more muscle groups are added and the tempos become more complex. But overall you are doing the same thing in each workout. Therefore, I would never use these exclusively. However, I will use them in my regular rotations that I create.

Workouts:

Pump Challenge is is 25 minutes long. It has no warm up and no real cool down; however, after working each muscle group, that muscle group is stretched out. Pump Challenge is the introductory workout. It goes over form, shows you all of the main exercises used in the Pump workouts. This isn’t a super intense or hard workout but unless you are an absolute beginner, it is not meant to be used more than once. And if you have been lifting weights for many years as I have, then it isn’t even necessary. There were only a few exercises I wasn’t very familiar with and they were shoulder exercises. Since plates rather than the barbell are used for the shoulder exercises it was instructive to see how those are done. In addition to showing all of the main exercises, for each exercise, it shows how the “rep effect” works–varying tempos. So for every exercise you will do various tempos: 4/4, 2/2, singles, 3/1, 1/3 and for the lower body you will do “bottom halfs.” If you do Cathe workouts, bottom halfs are “low ends.” What these are is when you come down in a lunge or squat you don’t come all the way up but halfway up and then you go back down. Low ends/bottom halfs can really burn your glutes and quads out. (As it turns out, bottom halfs are done on other muscle groups, too–they really burn the chest out!)

Exercises:

1. Squats
2. Chest press
3. Lying triceps extensions
4. Narrow chest press
5. Deadlifts
6. Deadrow
7. Wide row
8. Clean & press
9. Clean & press/deadrow
10. Lunges
For shoulders you only use plates–no barbell–and you hold one in each hand
11. Rear delt raise: kneel, lean forward to 45 degrees (one leg bent the other knee on the ground) and with knuckles facing ground, raise plates, bringing elbows up in inverted goal post
12. Upright row
13. Bent elbow side/lateral raise
14. Mac Raise: bring one arm straight out in front of you in front raise and the other arm is raised, but bent, plate near shoulder
15. Overhead press

Pump and Burn is 34 minutes with a 4 minute warm up and a 4:30 minute stretch. This was more of a workout than Pump Challenge, but still wasn’t super intense. However, everything depends on your weights and these more basic workouts are a good way to start gauging what weights you need for different muscle groups. For instance, I went much heavier than what was recommended for advanced exercisers for squats and though that worked, I learned that even tho this barbell is padded, I still need to add my barbell pad to it to protect my shoulders/neck–at least if I am going that heavy! Since that worked well, I heavied up for chest (barbell chest presses) too–mistake! I burned out quick, had to remove plates in the middle of the track and still burned out! The high reps burned my chest out much faster than my legs! So I was more conservative for back… mistake! Felt like my back got hardly any work. So next time I will increase the weight on that. So it is instructive. These aren’t like other workouts I’ve done except Jari Love. So you have to do the workouts at least 1-2 times to know what weight will work for you. Pump and Burn is not a total body workout. It works lower body, chest, back and abs. If you have a step, the two people in the back use the step for the chest press, but the 3 people in the front just lay on the floor. Les_Mills_PUMP_2For the abs you will only use a plate. This workout is still in the “instruction” stage I guess, because before each muscle group segment begins, there is 30-60 seconds of form instruction. And finally, I am not breaking down each body part by rep. Just know that every body part gets a song and throughout that song you will go through all of the different rep tempos.

Exercises:

1. Squats (5 minutes)
2. Chest presses (5 minutes)
3. Legs and back (5 minutes): deadlifts, clean & press, rows, wide rows
4. Abs (4 minutes): Single Leg Drop: lay on back, knees bent and hold plate right above forehead in both hands; alternate raising and lowering legs while raising and lowering plate behind you. Then do basic crunches, still holding plate. Alternate these two exercises. End with about 1:20 seconds of elbow plank hovers in which you walk your feet in and out.

Pump & Shred is 46 minutes long with a 6 minute warm up and 4 minute stretch. This workout was a better one than the previous two strength workouts. Partly because they did kick it up a notch and partly because I got my weights right for this workout. Again, this is not a total body workout as I expected. I suppose they are adding one or two new muscle groups each time they increase the length of the workouts? I don’t know. This one hits the lower body hard. I remembered my barbell pad this time, but you have the barbell on your shoulders twice and for 5+ minutes, so I was still feeling the strain in my shoulders. Kind of the drawback of going heavy. But my legs sure felt it! I did like this workout the best of the strength workouts so far. However, the trainers continue to be super cheesy. And the chest work, for some reason, continues to be the most challenging for me. I had the appropriate weight this time but it was really burning my shoulders out rather than my chest. Which is odd for me. When Cathe hits my chest I feel it there, not in my shoulders. This workout seemed to burn out my lower body and my shoulders. In fact, the muscle groups worked in this workout are lower body, chest, back, shoulders and abs. You can use a step for chest work. Again, I am not breaking down each body part by rep. Just remember that every body part gets a song and throughout that song you will go through all of the different rep tempos.

Exercises:

1. Squats 5:30 minutes
2. Chest presses 5 minutes (ends with 16 push ups)
3. Legs & back 5 minutes (clean & press, deadlifts, deadrows and wide rows)
4. Legs 5:30 minutes (lunges and squats)
5. Shoulders 4:30 minutes (2 plates, no barbell; starts with push ups/grab plates for rear delt raise, side raise, mac raise, overhead raise)
6. Abs 4 minutes (hover/elbow plank w/ arm sweep, crunches, cross crawl/bicycle)

Pump Revolution is 56:30 minutes long with a 5 minute warm up and 4 minute stretch. This is the workout I have been waiting for! I loved it! This was a total body workout that hit each muscle group very well. I feel like the workouts have been evolving to this point–the perfect workout! The rep patterns are harder, too. Every single muscle group (except abs) was subjected to some form of low ends and usually a lot of them. Shoulders are another exception, but they got “high ends.” I chose my weights right for everything except triceps. But that was a new muscle group addition and I went conservative. I will go heavier next time and really feel it. But since you use the barbell and just a plate at the very end to really finish the triceps off, I ended up feeling it anyway since I chose my plate well. Oh, and the music! This one had wonderful music and one of my all time favorite songs from the 1980s–Take on Me by Ah ha! Very motivating. I absolutely adore this workout. Also, the step is used by the back row for the chest and tricep segments. Again, I am not breaking down each body part by rep. Just remember that every body part gets a song and throughout that song you will go through all of the different rep tempos.

Exercises:

1. Squats 6 minutes
2. Chest presses 5 minutes
3. Legs & Back 5 minutes (deadlifts, Clean & Press/Deadrow, wide rows)
4. Triceps 4:30 minutes (barbell and one plate/lying tricep extension (skull crusher), narrow chest press; stand to do overhead tricep extensions with plate)
5. Bicep curls 3:30 minutes
6. Legs 4 minutes (squats and lunges)
7. Shoulders 6 minutes (push ups/plate only exercises: rear delt raises, side raises, mac raise/barbell exercises: upright rows, overhead press)
8 Abs 4 minutes (one plate needed; lay on back with knees bent, feet on ground and hold plate above forehead like a brim of a cap; do crunches, single leg drop while still crunching with plate, but this time bring plate over your head near the floor then to your midsection; change to double leg drop. Abs track ends with hovers; get into elbow plank and press forward and backwards; then you will just hold plank).

Pump Extreme is 59 minutes long with a 5 minute warm up and a 3:30 minute stretch. First let me say this is another excellent total body workout, just like Pump Revolution. I love this workout as well. The only problem is it is practically the same workout as Pump Revolution. Maybe a smidgen harder. Some of the muscle groups have different exercises, the different tempos are put together differently, the music is different, the trainers are different. But otherwise you are doing basically the same exercises in the same order. So this program has two excellent total body workouts, but they aren’t significantly different from one another. The music in Pump Revolution is better, IMHO. Two trainers lead at the same time–that’s another difference. They still switch them off, but they switch off in pairs. The step (if used) is only used for the chest. Again, I am not breaking down each body part by rep. Just remember that every body part gets a song and throughout that song you will go through all of the different rep tempos.

Exercises:

1. Squats 5 minutes
2. Chest press 5 minutes
3. Legs and Back 5 minutes (deadlift, clean & press/deadrow and wide row)
4. Triceps 4:30 minutes (no barbell–plates only, a large one and a smaller one; overhead tricep extension holding large plate; grab one lighter plate and get on hands and knees; one arm tricep kickbacks; tricep push ups)
5. Biceps 4:30 minutes (bicep curls and bicep rows)
6. Legs 5 minutes (squats and lunges)
7. Shoulders 5 minutes (with plates: rear delt raise, side raise, mac raise; barbell: upright row and overhead press; push ups)
8. Abs 5 minutes (lay on back, raise bent knees; heel drop, crunches, oblique twists)

Flow is a 20 minute yoga workout. There is nothing complicated in this workout. It is a relaxing stretch workout and I liked it. I am not going to break the entire workout down, but here are the main moves: mountain pose, forward fold, runners pose, downward dog, cobra, crescent lunge w/ chest and arm stretches, warrior 2, extended warrior, eagle pose, modified lotus, swan pose (which ended in pigeon), spinal twist, cobblers pose, forward bend then add spinal twist.

Hardcore Abs is 15 minutes. Hardcore Abs is a solid core workout that I really liked. Not the hardest core workout I’ve ever done, but it does do a good job and at times challenged me. Here are the exercises: lay on back and alternate knee lifts, this turns int scissor legs which then turns into bicycle crunches (they call it “cross crawl”). Basic crunches. Add lifting both knees to crunch. Double leg extension; add upper body crunch to leg extension. Bicycles again. Hovers (start in elbow plank and raise to high plank and back down to elbow plank). Single leg extension (lay on back with knees bent and off ground; alternate straightening one leg, but keep it off ground). Iron cross (still on back, hold legs in a V sit and raise upper body–but not quite in a V sit, however, shoulders and arms are off ground). Repeat hovers, single leg extensions and iron cross. Go back to hover; however this time, each time you do one raise/lower, you lift and lower one leg while in elbow plank. Lay on back and raise bent legs; tilt hips to side and alternate leg extensions, then do double leg extensions. Side hover crunch (get into side plank, but with bottom knee on the ground; crunch top leg to top elbow). Repeat the leg extensions with the hip tilt and the side hover crunches on the other side of the body. Next is Side Plank Crunch–the same thing as Side Hover Crunch except you are in a full side plank–no knee on the floor. The workout ends with the Hundred–a pilates move where you get into V sit and pulse straight arms.

les-mills-pump-bonus-workoutsBonus Workouts:

Step is 31 minutes long. Warm up is 4:20 and there is a 40 second stretch at the end. As indicated by the title, this is a step workout, so you need a step! You can have your step at 4 inches (just the topper), 6 inches (one riser) or 8 inches (2 risers). I did the workout at 8 inches. About halfway through everyone will drop to 6 inches (unless you are at 4 inches, then you just stay with that height). You also need a barbell plate. I couldn’t tell what size they had but I used a 10 pound plate. This workout is deceiving! When it started, I thought it would be too easy. A beginner, low intensity workout. By the end, my legs were burning out, my heart was pumping and I was getting an intense workout! I was impressed. And I really, really enjoyed it. Great workout. It is set up in 6 segments (including the warm up), and each segment is the length of a song. No complicated choreography; just a great workout.

Exercises:

1. Warm up (4:20 minutes): boxers bounce, marches on and off step, side run (tapping on foot in and out), ice skater, dynamic calf stretch
2. Basic stepping (4 minutes): alternating hamstring curls, marches, wide marches, step/boxers bounce, squats, step squat (jump squat onto step)
3. Interval training (6 minutes): burpees, alternating knee lift, step jog, boxers bounce, squats
4. Circuit training (if using two risers, go down to one, and turn step sideways) (6 minutes): leg abduction (squatting with one foot on step; the squat turns to squat and jump), alternating plyo lunges, alternating side taps (grab plate and hold against chest, stand on step and alternate tapping the floor; this turns to alternating power squats); repeat all 3 exercises
5. Peak Circuit (5 minutes): alternating taps (stand on top of step and alternate tapping feet to floor), alternating squat jumps, straddle steps that turn to straddle jumps, side run (one foot on the step and the other doing fast knee strikes); repeat everything and end with alternating squat jumps.
6. Lower body/balance work (4 minutes): lunge onto step, lunge balance (lunge onto step then bring back leg forward into knee raise), single taps (with one foot on step, knee raise then tap foot behind you), side taps (same move but tap to side), tap back/tap side; repeat everything on other side of body. The last 40 seconds is lower body stretching.

Sports Attack is 29 minutes long. Warm up is 6 minutes long with a 1:10 minute stretch at the end. This workout surprised me like Step did. It started out seeming as if it would be too easy–then they kicked it up into an intense little workout. I really liked it! The time went by quickly, too. I do have to clarify something. Maybe it’s just me, but since I just finished doing Insanity Max:30 last week, I feel I need to clarify that “intense” in this instance is not Insanity intense. Some people seem to think that Insanity is the definition of intense. No–Insanity is INSANE intensity. There are many other workouts that I find very intense and yet I can do the workout from beginning to end without ever maxing out. This was one of those. Intense but doable. No equipment is needed for this workout and just like all of the others, it is broken down into segments that are driven by different songs.

Exercises:

1. Warm up: (6 minutes): step touch, step tap (which will turn into a knee repeater), forward/back steps, step curl (hamstring curls).

2. Mixed Impact Track (5 minutes): running with punches and side raises, boxers bounce, step curl.

3. Interval Track (4 minutes): jog, alternating knee lift with a hop, drop squat with 2 hops, squat jacks, side step and jump.

4. Plyometric Track (3:30 minutes): boxers bounce, 3 step run that turns into 3 step Heisman, step hop that turns into skaters, run in place alternated with springs (fast feet).

5. Peak Cardio Track (5 minutes): shuffle, high knee run, drop squat with double hop then add two jumps forward and back after double hop, jumping jacks.

6. Lower Body Track (5 minutes): bottom half squats (pulsing squat), power jump (jumping knee raise). Last 1:20 minutes is stretch.

combatCombat is 44 minutes long with a 7 minute warm up and 5 minute cool down/stretch. Combat is the same thing as the workouts in the Beachbody fitness program Les Mills Combat, so for more information on that or this type of workout then you can check out that review. The workout is also led by the same two trainers that lead all the workouts in Les Mills Combat. Also on this disk is an 8 minute “Intro to Combat” which is a little instructional video that teaches you your combat stance, punches, kicks, etc. I loved this workout. It was a lot of fun. It wasn’t any different from the Les Mills Combat program workouts and they were fun too! Not super intense, but still an excellent cardio workout. And fun! Did I leave out the fun part? I just really enjoy kickboxing workouts and this was a solid, fun one. It is set up just like the other Les Mills workouts–in themed tracks related to songs. And that includes the warm up. I am not going to break down each track but I will give the name of the track, the length and the main moves you will be doing in it. Oh, and I wore 2 pound weighted gloves. Still didn’t make this a super intense or advanced workout, but I’m sure it upped the intensity. And it was fun! (o;

Exercises:

The warm up (7 minutes) consists of hooks, upper cuts, jab/cross, boxer shuffles and scissor legs; halfway through you do knee strikes, front kicks, round house kicks.
1. Combat Track (4:30 minutes): punches w/ knee strikes, front kicks, round house kicks.
2. Boxing Track (7 minutes): cardio boxing w/ different punch combs with foot work such as jack legs and scissor legs.
3. Mauy Thai Track (7 minutes): lots of elbow and knee strikes.
4. Combat Track (4 minutes): this one starts with a combo of elbows and punches then pretending you have a sword; it moves on to punches, knees and back kicks.
5. Power Track (7 minutes): more cardio boxing with different punch combos and scissor legs.

4 responses to “Les Mills Pump

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