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Les Mills BodyPump and BodyCombat Review

By Rachael Attard, Updated Feb 25, 2021
Les Mills BodyPump and BodyCombat Review

Some women ask me if they should combine my program with other programs. I especially hear this from women who want to see results as quickly as possible or who are used to doing really intense strength training.

I love your enthusiasm to get fit and healthy! :) But my program should not be combined with other programs. If you do another program on top of mine, you will overwork your body. You’ll also probably notice that you become bulkier than you want.

Instead, I want to help you understand different programs so you make the best decision for your fitness goals! In this post, I’ll be explaining more about Les Mills On Demand so that you can learn about it.

If you want to learn more about other programs, be sure to check out some of my other reviews, including Melissa Wood Health Review, Lilly Sabri’s Thigh and Fat Burnings Workouts, Emi Wong’s 21 Day Transformation ProgramKayla Itsines’ BBGChloe Ting’s 30 Day Lean Thigh Challenge and Leslie Sansone’s Walk at Home Program.

WHAT IS LES MILLS ON DEMAND?

In 1968, a four-time Olympian named Les Mills opened a gym in Auckland, New Zealand. The gym provided basic cardio and strength exercises for a small group of athletes.

Les’s son Phillip revolutionized the gym with his wife Jackie. Together, they put the workouts to modern music and eventually added weights to the cardio classes. This was the beginning of their famous BodyPump classes.

Today, Les Mills has a wide range of classes, from yoga to HIIT to strength training. The LesMills app, Les Mills On Demand, gives you access to 100+ workouts and 13 different programs.

LES MILLS CLASSES

  • BodyPump is a strength training and cardio class. In it, participants do high repetitions of moves with light to moderately heavy weights.
  • BodyCombat is a full-body training class that uses moves inspired by martial arts. The focus of this class is cardio and feeling empowered.
  • BodyJam is a dance class with a variety of music and dance types designed to get a good workout and burn a lot of calories.
  • BodyAttack is an intense cardio workout. Classes range from 30 to 55 minutes and include moves like sprinting, push-ups, jumps, and squats.
  • Les Mills Grit Strength is an intense 30-minute HIIT workout that adds weights to traditional HIIT moves.
  • BodyBalance is a yoga and Pilates-inspired class to help improve your flexibility and muscle tone. It should also help you feel relaxed.

You can learn about all of the Les Mills workouts on their website.

Instead of covering all of the programs available in LesMills On Demand, I’m going to share my thoughts in-depth on the two programs I receive the most questions about — BodyPump and BodyCombat.

BODYPUMP PROGRAM REVIEW

BodyPump is the original LesMills class, and it is all about helping people get into better shape and looking lean and toned. The class is a strength training class with low weight and high repetitions.

Because you move so quickly through the videos, you can end up feeling like you’re doing cardio. The classes include motivating music to help you feel energized.

The videos in LesMills OnDemand range from 10-20 minutes on the low side and up to 55 minutes on the high side. LesMills says that you should expect to burn up to 400 calories per class. 

You can sort videos by time and intensity (such as a cooldown).

To do this class, you’ll need workout clothes and some water. If you’re working out from home, you’ll also want a barbell with weights, free weights, and a step or a bench.

This class is meant for any fitness level. To adjust the intensity of the workout, simply pick lighter or heavier weights. Because this is a full-body workout, LesMills recommends taking a day or two off in-between classes. They suggest doing the class no more than 2-3 times per week.

RELATED POST: Are Bodyweight Workouts Effective?

BODYPUMP BASE VIDEO

This video is meant for those that are new to BodyPump, so they provide extra coaching and tips as you progress through it.

It’s a 30-minute workout, but it is slower-paced than most. This helps you grasp the basic timings, tempos, and techniques. To do this workout, you need weight plates, an optional barbell, and a step or bench.

There are multiple presenters, and the class is divided into sections:

  1. Warmup
  2. Squats 
  3. Chest
  4. Back
  5. Lunges
  6. Core
  7. Cooldown

This workout is full of pretty standard strength training moves, like squats, push ups, and crunches.

BODYPUMP #114 LOWER BODY

This is a shorter video, and, like the previous video, it has multiple presenters. During the 11 minutes, you do a variety of squats and lunges. The video is divided into two sections:

  1. Squats: Some of the squats include pulse squats and squats with calf raises.
  2. Lunges: You do a variety of lunges too, including backward-stepping lunges and single-arm overhead plate shoulder presses.

BODYPUMP REMIX 30min

This workout is 28 minutes long, and it is a true full-body workout. The workout is broken into the following sections:

  1. Warm-up
  2. Squats
  3. Chest
  4. Back
  5. Core

MY FIRST IMPRESSION

These videos are produced very well. The videos are high quality, and there is a variety of fun music to choose from. I like that you can choose from different workout lengths and there are some great weightlifting exercises included in this program.

However, there are a ton of squats and lunges in these videos. Any weightlifting moves can cause bulk, especially if you have a mesomorph or an endomorph body type. But squats and lunges are some of the exercises that are most likely to cause your lower body to get bigger.

These are awesome workouts if you want to get bigger muscles! I tried weightlifting for myself, but I didn’t really like the way it made my body look. Everybody has their preference though. :)

RELATED POST: Do Squats Make Your Legs Bigger or Smaller?

BODYCOMBAT PROGRAM REVIEW

BodyCombat is a mixed martial arts workout. Like BodyPump, you can sort for videos by length and type. The shortest videos are also about 10-20 minutes long, and the longest videos take about an hour.

These exercises are high energy and involve a lot of punching and kicking. Luckily, they are no contact moves, and the moves aren’t too complex to master. Personally, I think these workouts would be a great stress relief too. :)

You don’t need any equipment to do this program. Les Mills recommends people start with 1-2 BodyCombat workouts every week, and then build up from there.

BODYCOMBAT BASE VIDEO

This workout is made for those who are new to the program. It is 30 minutes long and of moderate intensity. The combination of moves are pretty simple, which helps you grasp the basic timing and techniques in the program.

It includes:

  1. Upper body warmup 
  2. Lower body warmup 
  3. Combat 1 
  4. Power training 1 
  5. Combat 3 
  6. Muay Thai

Some of the workout moves in this video are cardio scissors, uppercuts, roundhouse kicks, side kicks, and high knees.

RELATED POST: Which is Better for Weight Loss – Cardio or Strength Training?

BODYCOMBAT #84 CARDIO BLAST

This video is only 18 minutes long, but it will push you in terms of cardio. :) The video features multiple presenters, and you don’t need any equipment.

The video follows this structure:

  1. Lower body warm-up: This includes moves like shuffles, roundhouse kicks, and sidekicks.
  2. Power Training: In this section, two sets of trainers show different types of moves at the same time. The first set shows a standing option with moves like squats, high knee runs, and split jacks. The other trainers show a floor routine with moves like bridges. Eventually, the sets combine and they do the same one.
  3. Muay Tai: This includes workouts like power knees, jump knees, and hooks.

BODYCOMBAT REMIX 30 MINUTES

This 29 minute video also requires no equipment. It follows this structure:

  1. Upper body warm-up with workouts like jabs, scissors, hooks, and power hooks.
  2. Lower body warm-up with moves like front kicks, combat stances, and side kicks.
  3. Combat with moves like side kicks, L-step fronts, and jump kicks.
  4. Muay Thai with moves like descending elbows, running man knees, and propulsive knees.
  5. Conditioning with moves like planks and crunch combos.

MY FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Just like the videos in BodyPump, BodyCombat videos are well produced and include a good variety. The workouts are high energy and high impact, and I think they are an excellent combination of different types of exercises.

In general, I like these videos, but they do include a lot of jumping. Jumping is an excellent way to get a cardio workout in, but it will also make your calves bigger. Because of this, I prefer walking for cardio. :)

I enjoy boxing style workouts, and I actually have some on my YouTube channel. This kind of mixed martial arts workout is similar to that, but at times these videos are probably too high impact. Also, the modification exercises for the jumping all involve squats.

The jumping, squats, and intensity can cause bulk, especially if you do these videos frequently.

FINAL THOUGHTS

These programs are full of variety. If you do these workouts, you’ll definitely notice that you get in better shape. You’ll probably see yourself become stronger and your cardio health should improve too.

However, the workouts also involve a lot of jumping, weight lifting, and lower body moves like squats and lunges. These moves can make your lower body bigger, especially if you’re doing them frequently.

If you choose to do this program, you will probably notice your strength improving at the same time as your legs and thighs get bigger and bulkier. Some girls will want this, while others prefer to focus on programs that keep them fit and their legs slim. :)

Remember, you don’t need to combine this program with my Lean Legs Program. Doing that will cause you to overwork your body and cause a lot of bulkiness. My program was designed to be a full-body program done all on its own.

I hope you enjoyed learning more about the Les Mills program! Let me know if you have any other programs you think I should review.

Love Rachael xx

Picture of Rachael

Rachael is an Australian born certified personal trainer and nutritionist who holds a Bachelor degree in Science.

After struggling for years to find an exercise and diet program that is tailored to women striving for lean and toned body with no bulk she designed her Lean Legs Program. This program is tailored to each body type and focused on helping women get toned but feminine bodies, without getting bulky.

Her mission is to empower women and help them stay in shape in a healthy and balanced way.

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6 comments on “Les Mills BodyPump and BodyCombat Review”

    Lisa says:

    Hi Rachael
    I just bought your program and haven’t started yet. I have been doing body pump for 10 years and I really like it for cardio and upper body. For lower body it doesn’t do much for me. Could I combine your program with body pump if I leave out squats and lunges or would I overwork myself doing both your program and body pump ?

      Len - Lean Legs Support says:

      Hey lovely,

      Thanks for reaching out!

      Our program is a full program with workouts 6 days per week. So it would be difficult to fit in any other training. If you want, you can still add them but please avoid overtraining because it could lead to unwanted bulkiness. It’s also important to listen to your body and give it a rest if needed. :)

      Love,
      Len

    Penny says:

    Will boxing (via Bodycombat or your videos) broaden the back/make one’s back bulky? Thanks! Love your program

      Len - Lean Legs Support says:

      Hi lovely,

      That will depend on your body type or how often you do it. If you’re the type who could gain muscle rather quickly and you over-train, it can cause unwanted bulkiness. Boxing is still a great workout but you should monitor the other exercises included in the training.

      I hope that helps. If you have more questions, feel free to email us at info@rachaelattard.com

      Love,
      Len

    Estella says:

    Are you able to do a similar review on Shaun T’s Insanity Programme please?

      Len - Lean Legs Support says:

      Hi lovely,

      Thank you for your amazing suggestion. We will make sure to forward this to Rachael for a future review. :)

      Love,
      Len