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RPM 72 Review


Here’s my quarterly RPM review post giving some details and thoughts about the 2016 Q4 release, RPM 72. 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 72 is the seventeenth full release of this program that I’ve coached, and it continues on several trends we’ve seen from previous releases — fast (i.e., 140 bpm) Mixed Terrain and Speed Work tracks, the “surge” technique during sprints, and moving faster out of the saddle in the Pace track.

As for the music, we have a mix of regulars and new artists. The regulars are Coldplay, WALK THE MOON, and the artists for Speed Work (Seven Lions & Lights) have been in three releases in a row. Our newcomers are in the Pace, Intervals, and Mountain Cimb tracks, and a surprise Justin Bieber track for Ride Home / Stretch.

There are three education items for this quarter: a study about Les Mills SPRINT (high-intensity cycling training on the bike), tips about how to use body language for power and performance (adapted from Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges), and the RPM science update that’s been in the past several quarters’ education.

The masterclass has three main presenters — Glen Ostergaard (Program Director), Sarah Ostergaard (Head of Training for RPM), and Lee Smith (RPM Instructor and Trainer from Perth, Australia); there were also two shadow presenters — Laura Rossi and Tommi Wong. Glen, Sarah, and Lee have been on several RPM masterclasses; they coach the program well. As for the masterclass itself…

  • Glen was better at riding at slower speeds. If you’ve followed my blog about previous RPM releases, you’ve heard me mention that he often rides faster than what the choreography states.
  • The big display behind the bikes had some old-timey, artsy footage of traveling along roads.
  • The camera work doesn’t seem to give a sense of how many people are in the studio for filming; there didn’t seem to be that many riders in the audience.

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

See you next time for RPM 73!

Track-by-track Breakdown

Pack Ride

A Head Full of Dreams – Coldplay

  • Cadence: 123 rpm
  • Genre: alternative rock
  • Key: B major
  • Origin: Coldplay (Chris Martin, Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman, Will Champion, Phil Harvey) is from London
  • Released: December 2015
  • Other releases
    • RPM 54 (Mixed Terrain) – Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall
    • RPM 55 (Ride Home) – Paradise
    • RPM 56 (Mixed Terrain) – Charlie Brown
    • RPM 71 (Ride Home / Stretch) – Adventure of a Lifetime
  • Thoughts
    • The music eases you into the class — no punchy beat or driving up-tempo feel.
    • There’s lots of opportunity to let the music shine; you only need minimal coaching to get people started, and the rest of the talking is about connecting with people in the room.
    • Point of difference: overgearing (bigger than Racing gear) in the last 2 rounds
  • Good lyric cues
    • “It’s not what it seems.”
    • “You can see the change you want to be what you want to be”


Place on Earth – A-Trak & ZooFunktion

  • Cadence: 131 rpm
  • Genre: big room
  • Key: F major
  • Origins:
    • A-Trak (Alain Macklovitch) is from Montreal
    • ZooFunktion (couldn’t find the person’s name) is from Los Angeles
  • Released: December 2015
  • Other releases: Both artists are new to RPM and BODYJAM
  • Thoughts
    • I love the contrast in the music from the Pack Ride; it’s work time!
    • The style of the piece has clear delineations in the choreography: lyrics when we climb, instrumental synths when we race.
    • Lee Smith (the presenter for this track) gave a good imagery cue about how the last two rounds are different, by stating that we’re going to veer off into another direction just before the fast Standing Attack.
    • This Pace track revisits techniques we’ve seen in the past two releases:
      • Every round starts with Standing Climb
      • Medium pace off the saddle (Standing Attack)
  • Good lyric cues
    • “You have a love that lifts me higher”


Freedom – Pitbull

  • Cadence: 60 rpm
  • Genre: pop rap
  • Key: E major
  • Origin: Pitbull (Armando Christian Pérez) is from Miami
  • Released: January 2016
  • Other releases
    • BODYJAM 45 – The Anthem feat. Lil Jon
    • BODYJAM 48 – Krazy
    • BODYJAM 50 – I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)
    • BODYJAM 52 (Warmup) – Now You See It
    • BODYJAM 54 – Natural Born Hustler feat. Pitbull
    • BODYJAM 55 – DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love
    • BODYJAM 55 (Show Me Jam) – Hotel Room Service (03 Remix)
    • BODYJAM 56 (NY Jive) – Bon, Bon
    • BODYJAM 61 (Warmup) – Throw Your Hands Up (R3hab Mix)
    • BODYJAM 61 (Hip Hop) – It’s Not You (It’s Me)
    • BODYJAM 63 (Dance Hall) – She Doesn’t Mind (Pitbull Remix)
    • BODYJAM 65 (Warmup) – Last Night
    • BODYJAM 66 (#makethecrowdgo) – Don’t Stop the Party (R3hab & ZROQ Remix)
    • RPM 58 (Pace) – Get It Started
  • Thoughts
    • Musically this song is not one of my favorite Pitbull tracks. It’s not very original, plus the way the track is choreographed, we get the same song twice.
    • It almost sounds like the music got past the censors (“godfather of my own ship, man it’s crazy”). Most of my members probably don’t notice it (or care), and it’s fairly easy to talk over it by describing what we’re doing in the current round. Aside: I don’t think it’s an S-bomb because the music video is a promo for the Norwegian Cruise Line.
    • As is the case when you have one half of the track musically identical to the other, it challenges me as an instructor to give different cues.
    • I’ve been a Les Mills instructor since 2012, and the company has been consistent that we don’t talk about body image — e.g., doing this exercise will make you look good. I was a bit disappointed to hear Sarah (presenter for this track) say, “This puts the ‘hot’ in hot shorts.”
    • Point of differences:
      • Slower than the past two releases
      • Progressive climbs (no reductions during each block)
  • Good lyric cues
    • “Somebody, anybody, everybody.”
    • “Are you with it, girl?”
    • “…have a good time.”

Mixed Terrain

Work This Body – WALK THE MOON

  • Cadence: 140 rpm
  • Genre: new wave
  • Key: E major
  • Origin: WALK THE MOON (Nicholas Petricca, Kevin Ray, Sean Waugaman, Eli Maiman) is from Cincinnati
  • Released: February 2016
  • Other releases
    • RPM 57 (Mixed Terrain) – Anna Sun
    • RPM 67 (Mixed Terrain) – Shut Up and Dance
  • Thoughts
    • This is such a fun track — the energy of the music and vocals is unique.
    • Like from RPM 70, we deliberately hold back (medium or building pace) during the high energy instrumental part.
    • Even though the lyrics say “burn this flame,” it really does sound like “burn this fat,” which makes for a great cue.
    • I totally used several coaching ideas from these instructors — I love how they use the song to get some physical humor.
    • Point of difference: short Standing Attack phases at medium pace
  • Good lyric cues
    • “One day I’ll beat you fair and square.”
    • “Show me what you got!”
    • “Work this body…”


Work It Out – Netsky feat. Digital Farm Animals

  • Cadence: 87 rpm
  • Genre: drum and bass
  • Key: D major
  • Origin:
    • Netsky (Boris Daenen) is from Belgium
    • Digital Farm Animals (Nicholas Gale) is from London
  • Released: January 2016
  • Other releases: Both artists are new to RPM and BODYJAM
  • Thoughts
    • So either Glen (presenter) has some amazing lung power, or he doesn’t have enough load on. He’s able to belt out those tenor A notes and sing along for quite a bit during the chorus.
    • This track has four rounds of pretty similar choreography — 20 seconds at Standing Attack, 20 seconds Racing. To keep this from getting repetitive, you really need to think about four different objectives for each round.
    • The music has good contrast between the work phases and recovery phases; this song makes you want to move.
    • Point of difference: each round starts out of the saddle
  • Good lyric cues
    • “We can work it out, even if we try, and it all burns down.”

Speed Work

Falling Away (MitiS Remix) – Seven Lions feat. Lights

  • Cadence: 140 rpm
  • Genre: progressive trance
  • Key: B-flat major
  • Origins:
    • Seven Lions (Jeff Montalvo) is from Santa Barbara, California
    • Lights (Valerie Anne Poxleitner) is from Ontario
  • Released: August 2015
  • Other releases
    • Seven Lions
      • RPM 59 (Mountain Climb) – I Don’t Deserve You (Seven Lions Remix)
      • RPM 71 (Speed Work) – Cusp
    • Lights
      • RPM 70 (Speed Work) – Zero Gravity
  • Thoughts
    • The first round gives you about 2 minutes to recover and connect with the music.
    • As is the case with the releases in the past year, the “surge” approach is still in play. Glen coached this very well by counting out the phrases, which gives riders a clear indicator of how much longer they need to work.
    • This is a beautiful track that clearly pairs with the work and recovery sections.
    • Points of difference:
      • Round 1 has more time than usual at 1/4 pace
      • The 60-second sprints have four surges onto the pace with chances to recover in between
  • Good lyric cues
    • “We have it all in front of us”
    • “Take me to a beautiful day”

Mountain Climb

Rise of the Era (Digital X Remix) – Andrew Rayel

  • Cadence: 65 rpm
  • Genre: progressive trance
  • Key: f# minor
  • Origin: Andrew Rayel (Andrei Rață) is from Moldova
  • Released: May 2015
  • Other releases: Rayel is new to RPM and BODYJAM
  • Thoughts
    • Like other tracks in this release, we play with the tempo; during the recoveries between rounds, we’re at 1/2 pace which seems incredibly slow.
    • Musically, this is a solid track; it’s not one of my favorites, but it makes for a good climb. With purely instrumental tracks, it can be harder to connect the workout to the music.
    • Point of difference: There’s only one gear change for the last big two 75-second efforts.
  • Good lyric cues
    • N/A

Ride Home / Stretch

What Do You Mean? – Justin Bieber

  • Cadence: 124 rpm
  • Genre: pop
  • Key: A-flat major
  • Origin: Justin Bieber is from Ontario
  • Released: August 2015
  • Other releases
    • BODYJAM 56 (Warmup) – Somebody to Love
    • BODYJAM 63 (Recovery) – Boyfriend
    • BODYJAM 64 (D.R.E.A.M Two) – As Long As You Love Me
    • BODYJAM 66 (Warmup) – #thatPOWER
    • BODYJAM 76 (Groovedown) – What Do You Mean?
    • BODYJAM 77 (Tropical Hip Hop) – Sorry
    • BODYJAM 77 (Groovedown) – I’ll Show You
  • Thoughts
    • I believe this is the first Bieber track in RPM. Say what you will, the track has a lighthearted feel and the style works well for the end of the class.
    • The recovery modes and stretches are the usual ones you’d see in a Ride Home / Stretch track, so nothing new to report here.
    • Point of difference: None
  • Good lyric cues
    • “Tryna catch the beat, make up your heart”


Middle – DJ Snake feat. Bipolar Sunshine

  • Genre: EDM, electronic trap
  • Key: A major
  • Origins:
    • DJ Snake (William Sami Etienne Grigahcine) is from Paris
    • Bipolar Sunshine (Adio Marchant) is from Manchester, England
  • Released: October 2015
  • Other releases: (DJ Snake) BODYJAM 70 (Straight Up Hip Hop) – Turn Down for What
  • Thoughts
    • This isn’t quite a typical EDM song, so it fits the pattern of going a little out of mainstream for the Outro tracks; musically, I don’t think it blazes any new trails.
    • I’d probably have more interest in this song if it wasn’t on heavy rotation on BPM for the brief period of time I had a satellite radio subscription.
    • RPM 63 was the first release where the Outro track was introduced, so it’s been part of the program for over two years now.

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