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RPM 75 Review

Here’s my quarterly RPM review post giving some details and thoughts about the 2017 Q3 release, RPM 75. I’ll start with my general thoughts for the release, and if you’re interested in a track-by-track breakdown, keep on reading.

General Thoughts

RPM 75 is the twentieth full release of this program that I’ve coached.

As for the music, this release is almost entirely comprised of new-to-RPM artists. Only two tracks are from regulars: Shapeshifter (which has been in three releases in a row) and Train (which haven’t been in RPM for more than 2 years). I’ve really enjoyed connecting with the music in this release, and I believe it’s one of the better sets of tracks we’ve had lately; the Outro track is the only one I don’t care for.

This quarter’s educational section focused on the prevalence of training injuries and the pitfalls of weight monitoring:

  • According to the American College of Sports Medicine, the best way to avoid injury is to have multiple modalities of training, ideally with 60% focused on cardiovascular training, 30% on strength training, and 10% on flexibility. The most common cause of overuse injuries is doing too much of one kind of training.
  • When just starting a new exercise program, don’t focus too much on weight at the beginning. It typically takes longer than most people think to see true changes in weight once you change the amount of physical activity you have in addition to diet changes. Additionally, incorporating healthy habits (e.g., regular exercise) can impact other health indicators (i.e., cholesterol levels, body fat percentage) yet have very little impact on the number on the scale. Therefore, you can’t rely on lower body weight as the only measure of success.

The masterclass has three presenters — Glen Ostergaard (Program Director), Brent Findlay (RPM trainer from New Zealand), and Dee Tjoeng (RPM trainer from New Zealand).

As Les Mills doesn’t seem to provide the release overview on their website, here’s what the program directors have to say:

Welcome! This is such a fun ride where we focus on coaching people through the journey to enhance their enjoyment and fitness goals. Simple as that.

The music is modern, driving, rhythmical and uplifting. As usual! Of course! Dillon Francis with Anywhere sets the tone and beat, Kaiser Chiefs kick us into gear, Ariana Grande and Side to Side provides a unique twist in the Hills track, Birdy provides that uplifting feel we love in the Intervals track, Jai Wolf and Indian Summer is a standout speed track, beautiful and engaging. Basically a perfect list, we have to say!

And as for the moves, we’ve used heavy and slow to fast and funky — it all matches the feel and creates the fun and intensity in Side to Side. Short, fast accelerations provide a trance-like state in Indian Summer and all systems are go with a true test of fitness in the Mountain Climb.

For instructors, here’s a video from Les Mills with coaching tips:

See you next time for RPM 76!

Track-by-track Breakdown

Pack Ride

Anywhere – Dillon Francis feat. Will Heard

  • Cadence: 117 bpm
  • Genre: electro pop
  • Origins:
  • Released: September 2016
  • Other releases:
    • Dillon Francis is new to RPM, but is on heavy rotation for BODYJAM
      • BODYJAM 60 (We Found One Close to Me) – Feel So Close (Dillon Francis Remix)
      • BODYJAM 73 (Jam in Love) – When We Were Young (Zomboy Remix)
      • BODYJAM 73 (Jam in Love) – Runaway (U & I) (Dillon Francis Remix)
      • BODYJAM 73 (Tribal Love) – We Make It Bounce
      • BODYJAM 73 (Bonus Block) – Jealous (I Ain’t With It) (Dillon Francis Remix)
      • BODYJAM 77 (Tropical Hip Hop)- Pull It
      • BODYJAM 77 (Recovery) – Omen (Dillon Francis Remix)
      • BODYJAM 78 (Dirty Salsa) – Bun Up the Dance
      • BODYJAM 79 (A Downtown Lituation) – No Money (Dillon Francis Remix)
      • BODYJAM 81 (Warmup) – Shut It Down
    • Will Heard is new to RPM and BODYJAM
  • Thoughts
    • This track has a good, upbeat feel to welcome us into the warm up — definitely something to sing along with as you ride
    • As far as the choreography goes, there’s not much to set up; this gives you a chance to connect with the riders in the room, or simply let the music speak for itself to welcome people into the workout
    • It’s good to see Dillon Francis crossing over into RPM
    • Point of difference: first 15 seconds of the work phases in Blocks 2 and 3 are at 1/1+
  • Good lyric cues
    • I’ll take you anywhere I go, anywhere
    • You make me someone I would not have been


Hole in My Soul – Kaiser Chiefs

  • Cadence: 131 bpm
  • Genre: indie rock
  • Origins: Kaiser Chiefs (Ricky Wilson, Andrew White, Simon Rix, Nick Baines, Vijay Mistry) is from Leeds, England
  • Released: October 2016
  • Other releases: Kaiser Chiefs is new to RPM and BODYJAM
  • Thoughts
    • The music sets the tone and gives us a good energy to ride with; the melody and lyrics are pretty catchy as well
    • The format of the track is fairly straightforward — races and short climbs. The last two rounds have a short period of Aero Racing.
    • Point of difference: the two phases off the saddle are very short
  • Good lyric cues
    • Take it all from the top (perfect for the transition from Standing Attack to Racing)
    • Give yourself a great big hand and all together now
    • We’re just the same (promotes the feeling of a pack/peloton)


Side by Side – Ariana Grande feat. Nicki Minaj

  • Cadence: 80 bpm
  • Genre: Reggae-pop
  • Origin:
  • Released: August 2016
  • Other releases:
    • Ariana Grande is new to RPM
      • BODYJAM 71 (Isolations) – Problem
      • BODYJAM 71 (Break the D Floor) – Break Free
      • BODYJAM 72 (Groovedown) – Best Mistake
      • BODYJAM 79 (Recovery) – Into You
    • Nicki Minaj is new to RPM
      • BODYJAM 66 (Isolations) – Roman in Moscow
      • BODYJAM 66 (Recovery) – Freaks
      • BODYJAM 68 (Ilovebooyah) – Turn Me On (David Guetta & Laidback Luke Remix)
      • BODYJAM 71 (Too Turnt Up) – Dance (A*$) Remix
      • BODYJAM 72 (Rage the Night Away) – Bang Bang
  • Thoughts
    • These two pop artists are new to RPM and they bring a different (yet welcome) style to the Hills track; as a side node, you should watch the music video — we definitely aren’t bringing that kind of groove onto the bike yet!
    • We only add two gears above Climbing Resistance in the two longer blocks, so it’s important to make sure those changes are big enough to challenge us through the entire block
    • This track has a few options for a gear addition, and riding 1/1+ during the Standing Attack phases
    • Points of difference:
      • Deliberate changes of cadence from 1/2 to 1/1
      • Blocks 2 and 3 have two work phases divided by a brief standing recovery
  • Good lyric cues
    • Feeling like I wanna rock with your body
    • Side to side (pretty much a softball cue for good Standing Climb technique)
    • This the new style with the fresh type of flow

Mixed Terrain

Her – Shapeshifter

  • Cadence: 137 bpm
  • Genre: liquid funk
  • OriginShapeshifter (Nick Robinson, Dan Mcgruer, Sam Trevethick, and P digs) is from Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Released: October 2016
  • Other releases:
    • RPM 73 (Hills) – In Colour
    • RPM 74 (Intervals) – Stars (Radio Edit)
  • Thoughts
    • The musical style and instrumentation of this song gives me goosebumps pretty much every time I listen to it, especially during the recovery periods at the beginnings of Blocks 2 and 3. The build-ups to the drop (i.e., where we transition to Racing) are amazing.
    • This is an excellent track to practice good position and technique during the longer racing phases
    • Point of difference: longer continuous racing phases (60 seconds)
  • Good lyric cues
    • When I’m with you I’m flying high
    • Nothing to lose, it’s just a ride
    • I like the sacrifice
    • And it feels like we’re flying at light speed


Wild Horses (Matrix & Futurebound Remix) – Birdy

  • Cadence: 87 bpm
  • Genre: drum and bass
  • Origin:
    • Birdy (Jasmine Lucilla Elizabeth Jennifer van den Bogaerde) is from Lymington, England
    • Matrix & Futurebound (Jamie Quinn (Matrix) and Brendan Collins (Futurebound)) are from London and Liverpool, England
  • Released: April 2016
  • Other releases: All of these artists are new to RPM and BODYJAM
  • Thoughts
    • This is a pretty standard intervals track — a solid, upbeat drum-and-bass track to get the body moving
    • The first block’s transition to Standing Attack doesn’t quite fit the music; it makes sense, but you have to remember it starts quietly
    • The 60-second work phases in the last two blocks are intense, but you can make it manageable by breaking it into three 20-second sections
    • Point of difference:
      • Last two blocks start with Standing Attack and then change to Standing Recovery
      • There are three phases of effort in the last two blocks: Standing Attack, Racing, and Racing at 1/1+
  • Good lyric cues
    • I will survive and be the one who’s stronger
    • It’s not giving up, it’s letting go, and moving to a better place

Speed Work

Indian Summer – Jai Wolf

  • Cadence: 85 bpm (although surges are around 130 bpm)
  • Genre: indietronica
  • Origins: Jai Wolf (Sajeeb Saha) is from Long Island, New York
  • Released: June 2015
  • Other releases: Jai Wolf is new to RPM and BODYJAM
  • Thoughts
    • Musically this track reminds me of Million Voices from RPM 60; also the rhythm slightly reminds me of the chorus from Paper Airplanes
    • The choreography is easy to follow, so the expression and the workout live in the 1/1++ phases. I like that the riders can choose how fast they want to ride.
    • Point of difference:
      • Not entirely new to Speed Work, but we have phases of surging above the rhythm and then pulling back to 1/1
      • The base cadence seems deceptively slow, which is what the surges are for (1/1++)
  • Good lyric cues
    • N/A

Mountain Climb

All Systems Down (Extended Mix) – Andrew Rayel & KhoMha

  • Cadence: 64 bpm
  • Genre: progressive trance
  • Origins:
    • Andrew Rayel (Andrei Rață) is from the Republic of Moldova
    • KhoMha (Robert Alzate Pasos) is from Medellin, Colombia
  • Released: August 2016
  • Other releases:
    • Andrew Rayel
      • RPM 72 (Mountain Climb) – Rise of the Era (Digital X Remix)
      • RPM 73 (Speed Work) – Once in a Lifetime Love (Extended Mix)
    • KhoMha is new to RPM and BODYJAM
  • Thoughts
    • The key to success in Block 2 is small resistance changes in Block 1; the fitness test with ever-increasing cadence is quite a challenge otherwise!
    • If it weren’t called out specifically in the program notes, I don’t know if I would have taught this class from a military/army style. The drum beats are sort of march-like, but that wouldn’t have been my first perception. An example where this style works well is Army of Hardcore, the Hills track from RPM 60.
    • The energy and the movement make this a powerful end to our working section of the class
    • Point of difference:
      • Fitness/beep test without any reduction in resistance before starting
      • No Standing Attack positions
  • Good lyric cues
    • N/A

Ride Home / Stretch

This Girl – Kungs & Cookin’ on 3 Burners

  • Cadence: 122 bpm
  • Genre: funk
  • Origins:
    • Kungs (Valentin Brunel) is from Toulon, France
    • Cookin’ on 3 Burners (Jake Mason, Dan West, Ivan Khatchoyan) is from Melbourne, Australia
  • Released: February 2016
  • Other releases: both Kungs and Cookin’ on 3 Burners are new to RPM and BODYJAM
  • Thoughts
    • This track has a nice groove to bring things back down to a recovery level
    • Pretty standard recovery sequence
    • Point of difference: some of the stretches span an atypical phrasing (e.g., 6×8, 7×8)
  • Good lyric cues
    • None seem to apply


Play That Song – Train

  • Genre: pop
  • Origins: Train (Patrick Monahan, Hector Maldonado, Jerry Becker, Drew Shoals, Luis Maldonado) is from San Francisco
  • Released: September 2016
  • Other releases:
    • RPM 56 (Pack Ride) – Drive By
    • RPM 66 (Pack Ride) – Angel in Blue Jeans
  • Thoughts
    • It’s a bit disappointing to have a release with solid musical tracks (different styles, artists) and end it with this track. My biggest complaint is that it’s unoriginal on two musical levels: The lyrics follow the trope of “demand something from the DJ” and the tune is Heart and Soul, which was written in 1938.
    • On the flip side, I’m grateful that the core working tracks are top-notch, as this song is just quietly playing in the background while people wipe down the bikes and pack up.


  1. Heather

    Your comments are quite interesting. I did this release for the first time today and came away looking forward to when the release won’t be required to use (ie, when other releases can come back into play).

    None of the tracks stuck with me (musically). Almost always I include one or more in my own personal playlists. The instructors and the music really make the workout for me (usually)!!

  2. Jacob

    This release let me down a little bit. Track 1 may be my favorite warm up track of all time, that beat is absolutely addictive. Track 2 is excellent for seated racing and brief climbs (although I don’t love the typical heartache country lyrics) and overall it’s just “average.” But Track 3 is where they began to lose me. Seems like Les Mills was just trying to get a pop song in there somewhere to stay “relevant.” The lyrics are suggestive (and occasionally flat out rude), and honestly it’s hard to climb to this track. The music isn’t “powerful” like some of the other hill tracks we’ve seen. Track 4 feels like it has no substance. Fine for “mixed terrain” riding but Shapeshifter missed the mark in production. The beat is dull, the lyrics are indiscernible, all around a weak track that technically meets the criteria rhythm-wise but lacks the “spirit” I consider necessary for RPM. Track 5, Intervals, was decidedly average for an interval track; nothing to write home about but certainly more than capable of pushing you to your cardio peaks. Track 6, Indian Summer, may be the saving grace of this release, in fact probably one of the best racing tracks ever. It was a welcome change. And as for Track 7, the Mountain Climb, well even though the second and third “verses” gave me absolute chills, nothing can excuse those horrific beeps midway through the track. Hard to do much of anything with them and they are just painful to listen to. The cool down tracks are acceptable, although I agree, the Train song is just infectious and will play all day in your head if you’re not careful, and the lyrics and beat are dumb. Overall a 2.5/5. Maybe 3/5 at best.

    • Hey Jacob, thanks for sharing your thoughts on the music. I’m always curious to see what other people think, and I can definitely empathize with your comments about the shortfalls of the music this go-around. Check back again in late October for the RPM 76 post!

      • Jacob

        Definitely! I always enjoy new releases because even if I don’t love all the tracks, there’s always a couple good ones to put in the library. Certainly not the last time I’ll be warming up with “Anywhere” or sprinting with “Indian Summer.”

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