HOW TO ROCK THE SHANGHAI RELEASES
Max Holthaus, Germany
When I prepared for our quarterly workshops, I felt the importance of not overloading the class with fun- and party-vibes, as this release offers great new functional movements that make us really fit for our everyday life.
Even though the Masterclass filming showed great fun and party energy, Instructors should still share the benefits of the moves for everyday life. For example, working out with our three major movements in track 7 (ladder run, skater and air jacks), we should focus on sharing the benefits during layer two coaching - i.e. that those movements really make participants ready for Berlin’s rush hour!
If Instructors are able to point out those benefits of our functional movements in BA 104 during their classes, participants will understand the relevance of the program even more, as this release can support people to succeed and survive the struggles of their everyday lives.
Adam Burke, UK
- As always it’s a, great journey through the sports, strength and aerobic dimension so make sure to show this by matching the feel of each dimension through your vocals and your body
- Bring authentic FLAVA to Track 2 and have fun with your members
- Track 3 brings back the Superman so some new Instructors may find this tricky if they’ve never seen this before. Make sure to jump in front of a mirror to practice and then be prepared to see a room full of people fly!
- Track 4 has different variations of a similar jump pattern. Be sure to watch the detail of the arms and feet through each of the three variations (for example, side step to side jump over). Note that the notes state, “Unlike the video, participants should speed up”
- Track 5 introduces the Plyo Pushup so practice pivoting on the knees so you’re not just jumping the hands to the side. Think about how this trains upper body power and this may guide how you coach Layer 2.
- Practice the single, double combo as it challenges the mind initially! You may need to stay in ‘coach the basics’ longer so that participants get it before moving onto Layer 2
- Track 7 introduces partner work for the first time and could be carnage! Limit the chances of this by being clear in the intro on what the participants will be doing. The latest update on the Les Mills Releases App allows Instructors to have a delay time to tracks. Instructors could use this feature to help them set the room up effectively the first couple of times they teach it. Remember, BODYATTACK is a Press Play & Go workout so only do this to set the room up and not just to get a rest!
- Track 9 is challenging as we move from Surfer Burpees into High Knee runs which ensures the legs are feeling this Power track! Deliver the options early and return to them if your participants require them. This will ensure everyone can keep moving and get the results we’re looking for
Iman Metwally, Middle East
- Track 2: It’s such a fun track and to make it inclusive Instructors can think of a wave that matches their region/city to add to this track, rather than copying the Shanghai wave
- Track 7: It’s very important to script the introduction, it will be helpful to have a partner from the participants to help the Instructor successfully deliver this Partner Work track
- Track 8: Use the lyrics to tap into the emotion of this track, it will be great if Instructors spend time listening to the lyrics before teaching
- Tracks 4 & 9: Instructors need to think about who they have in front of them and offer options to cater for all participants to lead them to success in these 2 massive peaks
Claire Place, UK
- Track 5: The Double Pulse Squat & Single Leg Squat Combo is first introduced in this track but then also appears in Track 6. Getting members familiar with the move here, the Layer 1 cues, the simple coaching, then reminding them of this pattern in Track 6 will help them find more success when moving with more explosive power
- Track 7: With the introduction of partner work, be prepared for the unknown every time you teach this track. Depending on your members, some go crazy with motivating each other, some go for the challenge, they can be loud… and block 3 can be exhausting for them! Keep your eyes and ears open, resist the urge to over-coach, keep it simple and allow members to take ownership of this track with your clear direction and guidance. It is an awesome track, have fun with it. The connection between members makes the room electric!
- Track 8: If we are to speak about BODYATTACK making you feel good on the inside, this is definitely the track. Keep coaching to a minimum, using your face and body to bring about the energy, connecting with smiles and eyes and allowing the music to move people. You have the opportunity in this track to remind members why they love BODYATTACK – music and movement – keep it simple and let yourself go
Mathilda Björck, The Nordics
I always watch the Masterclass first to get a feel for the release, see the moves and hear the coaching. Then I listen to the music and do the moves – practice them physically to get them in my body. I read the Track Focus to understand the tracks and I use the choreo notes to remind me of the choreography when I practice. When I have this routine, the coaching comes naturally and is much easier to prepare.
Tor Andersen, The Nordics
BODYBALANCE 84, filmed in Shanghai, has a different feel within the music, combinations and flow than more recent releases. To be able to teach this release from “the most authentic you” – be more in your body than in your head when you learn and explore it. This will make all the emotional music and the flow of the release land within you. Giving yourself time to be in and feel the poses in your body will give you a better understanding of the purpose and intention in BODYBALANCE 84. Allowing this process to occur within, allows you to create that magical experience for the participants in your class.
Bram Prima Halim, UK
- Do it at least once without trying to learn/memorize the choreography. This will give us a well-rounded experience of the release itself
- Mirror work and practice, practice, practice
- Track 2b/3a: In the choreography notes, the counts of the music are in the block of 7. If you are more lyrical/feel, use the lyrics as the landmark of choreography changes. If you are like me and need to know where the beat goes, this music can be broken down into sets of alternating 1x8 and 1x6 (Thank you for the tips, Sam – UK BB Trainer)
- Track 1: Trust our participants to be able to get the combo right and flow with us – keep the coaching simple. In the first week or two, teach the track without the leg raise option – this will help build our participants' confidence with the choreography before we layer in the option later on
- Track 5b: Be comfortable with silence. Have simple and clear focus on each pose/option, so that we can hear the changes in the music
- Check the choreography notes for the 45-min and 30-min Express Format. Track selections are different in this release
- When teaching BODYBALANCE in general, stay in the same option as the majority of people in the class. Show them that it's okay to stay in the lighter option (demonstrate the necessary higher option quickly for those who might want it)
Carrie Knight, US
Release 84 has a unique vibe right off the top, starting with the Sword Dance! Let the music guide you through this incredible journey. Intimately know the lyrics and musical markers to bring the music and moves to life. Relax into the yoga using breath to connect mind and body. Slow down and enjoy the ride…
Yukari Noguchi, Japan
Dan Cohen taught me that BODYCOMBAT 79 has ‘Power Moves’ in all tracks.
I would recommend the following.
- When you practice, think about how to create powerful movements by shifting your body weight
- When you coach the "Power moves", I recommend that you concentrate on the following things:
- Properly convey the direction of the step, the direction of the toe or the knee
- Weight and body movement
- Words to create imagery of martial arts
Iman Metwally, Middle East
Track 2: The new innovation with the Freeze Jump Kick: Instructors to pay closer attention to the Freeze after retracting the Front Kick which will challenge the Core stability
Track 3: In Combo 2 it’s a step R and step L unlike the Warmup with the weave. It’s very important to load the body to produce the power through the core to transfer it to the punch.
Track 5: Instructors need to nail Layer 1 cues with clarity before teaching this track for both variations (squats and pushups) especially if they are teaching solo on the stage.
Track 6: Instructors need to find the contrast between the two different Martial Arts (Kick Boxing & Karate) through delivering the cues and the attitude, this track is going to keep participants alert through the KB combo that will keep them thinking and using their brain while having fun. It’s a great opportunity for Instructors to connect with participants.
Track 8: What an awesome track to finish off the standing work! This has some interesting points to mention:
- The music drives the workout by itself, Instructors need to let the music speak, especially by the end of each block when the beat drops
- Clarity with Layer 1 when it comes to the two combos at the end of each block as the changes are very fast, not to mention the importance of previewing
- Practice the Rope with Double under Jump and remember that in the 6th count both feet land as a pre-load to prepare for the jump
Steve Tansey, UK
Learning the Release:
- Track 1b – was a little tricky with the additional front kick back kick combo after the front kicks to facilitate the transition to the other side
- Track 4 – spend more time learning which leg you step into the evasive sidekick on after the lunges
- Track 8 – the timing is a little tricky on the double under into the lateral run so this requires more practice
Teaching the Release:
- Fitness for Tracks 2, 4 and 5. You will need to train for these so you are fit enough to coach whilst maintaining the intensity
- Provide plenty of options in Track 2 (freeze kick) and Track 4 (jumping evasive sidekick) early on so everyone feels successful
- Teach Track 8 from your heart and let the music speak as much as possible in this one… IT IS INCREDIBLE!
Mika Kankainen, The Nordics
My ”go to” tips for learning the newest release:
- Watch the video to get a full picture of a release
- Listen to the music. Like, a lot. That way you’ll ensure you’re really feeling the musical contrasts and breakdowns. You’ll be able to deliver all the feelings and emotions better and your performance will increase
- Mirror practise to get the basics of the new techniques. When you feel confident, film yourself doing the techniques ON the music to spot possible faults in technique and polish them to make it look authentic and relaxed
- Script Track 5 super well, especially all the options and changes
Dorotka Baburin, the Nordics
- Practise isolations to help you coordinate, control and dance the "FLY HIGH IN SHANGHAI" block with precision (especially the "Left heel wave")
- For the JUMP TURN – use short and simple Layer 1 and 2 cues, don't forget to give options
- Use your tone of voice, choice of words and facial expressions to match the great contrasts in the music… many parts need not much more than silence
- This is a HUGE "arena release" so pretend you are on stage in Shanghai and show lots of energy and enjoyment to get the crowd just as excited about it as you are
Nikki Snow, US
In the Fly High In Shanghai block, the moves are taught in the order of the full combination which makes it easier to memorize. Super helpful so you can get to the details of the technique.
Each move has a different texture, for example the Double Isolation is precise but with a flow to it while the jump smash hits hard and aggressive until the body wave. When the music is hyped up it can get quite easy to dance each move too hard or aggressively. By using the 80% rule and practicing mastering the feel in the mirrors using Dance School, it will help maintain the integrity of the move and give you all the feels while dancing this hot routine.
Phil Harrison, UK
- Watch the Masterclass footage and follow along with it to help maintain successful timing on the first bounce of Track 1 and the second repetition of the whole routine in Track 9.
- Practice spotting for all of the turns and spins in the choreography! :-)
- If you try to look at the class while spinning and actively coaching it can be very challenging to maintain your equilibrium and not get dizzy. Let your participants know that at any point they don’t have to turn if they feel uncomfortable or encourage them to find a spot to help them to focus on
Denice Burr, UK
Learning the release:
Generally the release is simple to learn due to the repeating blocks of choreography. A few things to note:
- Watch out for the sneaky shoulder rolls in Track 6!
- Look for the pattern in Track 7 – there is lots of movement and a fast change to the other leg
- A quick change from crunch into hover for Track 9
Teaching the Release:
- In Track 4, get some heavy weight on the bar and role model the explosive high pull – and watch your members’ faces when the track finishes – huge cardio kick!
- Can you learn some Spanish for Track 5? The music is awesome and this track is fun and hard. Lift the energy to create contrast with Track 6
- Track 7 is a great opportunity to coach around the benefits of single leg training. Benefits of the elevated foot position include creating knee stability, working on hip flexibility and increased leg strength. Also, it stops our members from putting the bench away early – winner!
Alex Kattar, US
- Do the workout on your own so you know what it feels like, that way there are no surprises when teaching
- Three different stages of the process: learn the release, then practice it, so you can later teach it
- Do mirror work to practice range of motion and timing with proper weight selection
- Create a succinct script and practice it out loud while lifting realistic weights; that way the body and the mind get used to what to say and do
- During launch week(s), focus on coaching Layers 1 and 3 while people get used to what's new in the release
Jackie Rood, Amanda Scales, Jenna Etzel, US
- Knowledge of the new format & how to use it in your class
- Post launching BS115 understanding how to teach a mixed class: mixing Classic or Athletic with the new format.
- Spending extra time with the music in BS115 to learn the ins and outs of the original music.
For learning BS 115, it's going to be knowing/understanding the new format – no 'track' numbers, but referring to the format as the track name: warm up, step warm up, peak, etc. As well as knowing and understanding the difference between the new format and the other two formats. Then, whatever format Instructors are teaching in class until their library builds, understanding how to use that format with the new BS115 moving forward is key. In addition, with the shift from covers to originals, becoming one with unfamiliar music will be critical for bringing CONNECTION and PERFORMANCE to life in an authentic way!
Ben Grant, UK
Learning the Release:
- Spend time understanding and learning the new format including the express formats
- Mixed Strength – be sure to learn and practise both standing and floor options in this track and how each move is coached using clear Layer 1 cues
- Peak 2 – new movement pattern here with the ‘Around the world combo’. Practise this move so you are fully comfortable with it. (Think of the move as a 1 quarter turn, 1 half turn & 1 quarter turn)
- Athletic circuit – notice and perfect how you transition to the other leg in the speed straddles on the last set
- Conditioning 2 – get the timing right on the ‘tip, lunge & clean combo’. May require more practise
Teaching the Release:
- Really create excitement from the Warmup
- Create the difference between the ‘Athletic’ tracks & the ‘Flava’ tracks to provide great contrast throughout
- Show the more complex moves at the start of the track before you press play, you have time to do this (peak 1 & peak 2)
- Be sure to show and explain options in peak 1, mixed strength & peak 2 so everyone is working at their level.
- Party Track: connect with the football theme and have fun
- Teach the workout with passion and excitement finishing peak 3 off on high
- Epic workout, fantastic music and an amazing program!
Justin Riley, UK
Practising the new innovations ahead of launching is the key to confidence!
With a greater awareness of how the moves feel you will be in a better place to coach them effectively.
The highlight in Track 4 is the use of speed in a Triple Step. This will be a big surprise for members as typically we move slowly with a focus on control. The music is seriously fun and works perfectly with the movements – have fun with this one!
Final tip is to film and self critique as it’s the very best way to develop!
When you watch/listen back always be kind to yourself by celebrating your success first!
What did you enjoy? Which bit did you coach super well? When were the times you used the music or connected to your members?
You’ll be doing so many great things, so take time to acknowledge them.
Then watch/listen again and identify where you’d like to develop next. Maybe it’s giving the options earlier or educating members of the benefits? It could be bringing in more of your personality and fun as you connect to the group?
Choose one to two things and begin to work on them over the next two to four weeks.
Lunar Lu, China
For me, CX34 is about perfect transitions from track to track, and even between the tracks, so practice these transitions, (even plan where to put the equipment, so it will be ready when members need to use it). Plan Layer 1 cues, make them really short and clear; this is going to help members through the transitions, then follow up with Layer 2 cues so they can get great results.
Erica Marsh, Jenn Lucas and Tamara Pitard, US
As always, RPM is all about the music, so the better you know the music, there better you will be able to bring this release to life!
There is a different musical feel in some of the tracks in 82, especially in Tracks 3 and 7. They aren’t your typical verse and chorus/high energy tracks but are rather more internal, which requires a different mindset when teaching them. Focus on bringing out the feel of the music and don’t over coach. Be inclusive and not too aggressive to allow space to create real impact in your teaching. Coach the basics of the choreography and the journey of the music to really bring these tracks to life.
Keep your coaching in Track 4 super clear and concise as the choreography is busy and the track is just TOUGH and fast! Pre-cue the position, resistance and pace changes with clarity so the training effect can really be felt by your participants. Remember that because it is faster than 140 RPM, cue to chase the beat instead of ride the beat of the music.
Fiona Fransisca, Middle East
I would say to specifically teach Tracks 3 and 7 from RPM 82 with a lot of feeling cues. Make sure you aren’t overpowering the music with your voice. Use a conversational voice when you e teach these two tracks but also create some excitement when the music starts to build.
For Track 4, plan ahead on how to coach this busy track by thinking on what to say, how to say it at the same time how to connect with the music. There are a lot of transitions in this track so we need to coach the basics at the right time without overloading participants with too much information. We want our members to get into the workout and enjoy this fun track at the same time!
Other than that, RPM is all about the music! Explore the different genres in this amazing release and use the body, voice and face to express them!
Lee Smith, UK
Stand out tracks are 4 and 7, so ensure you practice them both in the studio, know the music inside out and the choreography as this will let you be authentic but create that amazing experience.
Track 4 is super hard but don’t go hardcore in your coaching or vocals, it’s a fun, uplifting track so start to show your enjoyment, especially in blocks 2/3 after the 4 standing attack were your reduce to race which gives your body a huge surprise in a shift of intensity.
Track 7 is all about the music, as heaps of different musical sounds which gives you the opportunity to express your love for RPM. If you are able to team teach in harmony with this track you will take your participants on a journey like no other before. Top tip: Less is more with your coaching.
Adam Gripenblom, The Nordics
The way I learn my choreography is by first listening to the music for a few days to get a feel and dynamics of the tracks. Step two, I watch the Masterclass to get a clear visual to the music since my thing is that I am a visual learner and the things that the presenter says or does etc gets stuck in the back of my mind and helps me to make it stick. Step three, I look at the choreo notes and make my own minimalist draft, add on the track focus to make sure I have a clear outcome for each track.
Phil Harrison, UK
- Listen to the music lots before watching the Masterclass to really get a feel for the music. The complexity of the choreography has lots of verse/chorus repetition and only a few moves per track. This means that when you ‘know’ the music the moves will sink in super easily and quickly.
- Less complex choreography allows for participants to feel successful more quickly. There are some amazing pieces of music in this release where you have plenty of space to coach your class to feel good and then say nothing, let the music take them on a journey to pure enjoyment. Knowing the music and scripting your cues in the right places will truly allow for the class to ‘go off’ in each track.
LES MILLS BARRE™ 06
Cambria Camillo Smith, US
My main tip for teaching this Release is to really approach it with a "less is more" mindset. This release is all about the feel and feelings of the music - so enjoy the songs freely and allow space for the music to shine. As you're learning CHOREOGRAPHY especially in Tracks 4 and 5, take time to truly tap into the song and breathe with the Music, so you're moving like the music compels you! As you script your COACHING, set clear objectives for each block of movement so you can deliver concise Layer 1, just a couple Layer 2/3 cues - and truly allow space and time for your participants to feel the music. Make class a place where people feel freedom to dance like nobody's watching!
Kimi Doi, Japan
I think that the main points in this release are the musical transitions and breathing.
In order to enjoy the matching of movement, let's listen to the music well, understand the transition of each track and guide the participants smoothly, so that you can enjoy the music journey of this wonderful release.
You will be able to get even more beautiful movements by being conscious of breathing and having consciousness to spread from chest to fingertips.
Tori Willard, UK
Learning the release:
The lyrical aspects of music are important in this release because it really dictates the choreography. So before you learn the moves spend time really getting to know the structure of each song. This is particularly important for Tracks 3 and 4.
Track 3: The song has uneven phrasing so knowing the music will help you to know when you’ve got that extra one rep before changing sides.
Track 4: It's important to know how long the pauses are so again knowing the song will help you know when to come back into the moves.
Track 5/6: In this release is one track combining both Strength and Power so it’s a long track – 6:36 mins and the song repeats. It’s jam-packed with awesome new combinations so will take time to learn. It might help the learning process to learn the lyrical landmarks but also counting the reps to consolidate the choreography learning process.
Teaching the release:
The masterclass shows a lot of high options but there is also an equal representation of less intense options. Ensure you teach the room in front of you and don’t feel pressure to go straight for the highest options. Take them on a journey, build their strength and fitness and then start adding in those fabulous jumps!
Track 4: Use the pauses in the music to demonstrate the different options available, Hannah gives excellent examples of this in the Masterclass.
LES MILLS GRIT 28
Lyndsey Morrison, UK
Learning - with there being no countdown in coach call tracks in LES MILLS GRIT Athletic, you will need to physically practice each move and know when they happen within the track; listen to the music and learn it inside out! These tracks are fun and epic.
Elin Hellström, The Nordics
My top tip to learn the latest LES MILLS GRIT release 28 is to go in to the studio by yourself and at the same time you watch the Masterclass, you train it yourself to get a feel for it in your body from the start. Next time you watch it, you only look at it. And next time you train it you try not to look at the Masterclass, only listening to the coaching. Next time try to train it only listening to the music and after, check the notes to see if you did it right. Keep doing that until you feel you know it by heart and are physically ready to teach!
The music for this release is really awesome! I especially like the Athletic music so my last tip is to listening a lot to the music. It gave me a lot of inspiration and ideas on how to connect more to the music!
Marc Downey, Middle East
For LES MILLS GRIT 28, the Athletic block brings a new dimension. My top tip for Instructors is to put the Masterclass on and physically do the release. Feel what it’s like to be a participant in the workout. This will give you great insight into how the class will feel. It will help you to coach authentically and really motivate at the right times to get participants through a fun and challenging workout!’
Iman Metwally, Middle East
- Coach Call number 2 in Athletic, Coaches should allow space between each call to let participants have the time to react, also as two words are very similar and participants get confused ( Drop & Dodge), Coach can use different tone and/or length to each word to help participants identify the right call, for example, ( Drooooppppp and Dodge) one longer than the other and/or one more urgency than other. (I tried it in my class and saw the difference in members’ reaction)
- Ladder in Cardio: Coaches to ensure moving with quality rather than quantity to demonstrate effective technique, especially in the Squat Knee: ensure loading on the Squat phase before snatching the Knee, also Coaches to reinforce physically and verbally on the Knee Lift in the Skaters
- Jump Training in Athletic: Coach that participants can work on their own pace in this track – no need to follow the beat
LES MILLS SPRINT™ 15
Lee Smith, UK
- Practice riding this release before you launch, it packs a punch with a unique selling point in Track 4 which we have never done before
- Script block outcomes to ensure members know how to maximise their workout in every block – especially in Track 4 as it’s four minutes of continuous training
When teaching, be mindful to use lots of praise and celebrate your participants’ success, whether small or big. LES MILLS SPRINT is super challenging for ourselves as Instructors so consider how hard it is for our participants! Step away from being hardcore and bring your fun side out to create that community feel.
LES MILLS TONE™ 05
Bram Prima Halim, UK
- Track 2: watch out for the lead leg and direction change as you go into the first Side Leg Extension at 0:58, the second set of Back Tap/Rear Leg Extensions at 2:15 and the final Side Leg Extension at 2:34
- Cardio (Feel Good): Practice Caterpillar/Starburst Combo - remember to bend knees and brace abs in Forward Fold position. Get use to combining Combo 1 and 2 together
- Core (Rude Boy): Practice Rotation/Leg Extension with Crunch to get used to the move
- Lots of practice and mirror work. Build the fitness required for the various Know the standing options in the Cardio section. It's shown clearly in the Masterclass
- Check out the Cardio/Strength and Strength/Core tracks. What this means is that you have the opportunity to coach with a different purpose of either cardio or strength or combination of both. In your everyday classes, you may use these tracks in your cardio block of a single or double peak class where the focus is on cardio, so participants can use weights or NOT and have the option to jump or remain grounded. If you are using it in the strength part of the class, they would be focused on using full ROM with weights and focusing on the strength gains. What this means is when mixing and matching your tracks you can switch up which Block the track belongs to, giving you and your participants variety and choice
- Teach to the people in front of you, give them 2 options per track in the first couple of weeks so that they feel comfortable and successful with the choreography. After that, feel free to throw in other option to keep the workout fresh
- Keep the coaching simple and celebrate the workout
Tori Willard and Rhian Toates, UK
Learning the release:
- Track 1 goes across the beat so use the lyrics as landmarks for Choreography changes rather than counting the beats.
- Track 7-Tricky timing as we build into the All In Combo so practice with the Masterclass to hit the right beat. Also, just practice because it's a challenging track :)
- Track 4- Practice the individual combos really well so you are clear in the differences between the two. Feel free to introduce the moves on the beat if it works for your classes.
- Track 6- If your class like impact PRACTICE this for fitness. It’s an amazingly uplifting track so being able to role-model there impact when your class need it will enhance their journey through the workout.
Teaching the release:
- Track 8- On the final move we've found that participants don’t maintain the 90 degree angle as they bring elbows into waist. Be sure to role-model this and cue it super-clearly to accommodate all learners. Explain the benefits to encourage the class to do it. It’s totally Ok to add the weight shift in after a couple of weeks if you feel it’s more suitable as progression for them.
- Track 10- We’ve found the class struggle to keep the weight in the front leg as the arms sweep around. So, ensure you do heaps of practice focussing on keeping the weight in the front heel and focus on control and keeping hips square rather than how big the sweep of the arms is.
- Track 11- Practice the track intro and how to tie the band. Mirror practice to ensure the hips stay square. Keep shoulders blades squeezing together to help draw the shoulders back in the twist and keep postural muscles engaged. In the overhead work, role-model keeping the weights in front of shoulders for safe shoulder alignment. If you’re using the band overhead for this track, remember to maintain the tension on it and actively draw the shoulders back and down to work the postural muscles.
Huge thank you to everyone who contributed to this article. Check out the Program Director videos in your Releases App to get their thoughts on the latest releases.