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Les Mills Pump Review: Step

Of all the bonus workouts I was reluctant to try out of fear of looking “prancy”, Les Mills Pump: Step was first on the list. I know there’s a theme going here (ahem-sportsattack!) but I quickly changed my tune after reading the description in the Les Mills Pump Fitness Guide:

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) including plyometrics, burpees and weighted lunges. This is an athletic workout that uses a step for added challenge.

HIIT as in Insanity and Asylum. Plyometrics as in P90X, P90X2. And with the pic of Les Mills’ Dan (heyo!) looking intense while holding a weight plate on the cover… I put my reservations behind me. And truthfully, Step has become one of my favorites: Intense, fun and sweat-tastic.

Les Mills Pump: Step Review

Les Mills Pump: Step Overview

Les Mills Pump uses the step and four risers that comes with the Ultimate Cross Training Deluxe Kit. If you’re familiar with the Les Mills’ worldwide BodyStep classes taught in gym group fitness environments, Les Mills Pump: Step won’t come as a surprise. Still, at only 30 minutes, Pump: Step is a full 25 minutes shorter. Which isn’t to say you won’t work. You will.

Pump: Step breaks away from more traditional “dance-style” step routines. As a fan of dynamic, sports-based plyo training, Step delivers the goods in a way where–as a dude who runs away from fancy hands twinkle toes footwork– I walked away with dignity. Aside from some arm raising and marching in place, Step completely avoids “dancy, twirly” movements that are also a popular step form of exercise. Personally, I’m very grateful for that. Step is a real-deal plyo workout (even more so with added intensity) that always leaves me drenched and legs screaming by the time cool down begins.

Time

As mentioned, Les Mills Pump: Step is a superfast 30:00 minutes from first “DJ scratch” to last stretch. A fantastic workout to really get the blood pumping in a short amount of time but one that also makes you feel the full 30 minutes.

Warmup/Cooldown

The Step warm-up is a brisk four and a half minutes that doesn’t start all that promising with marching in place, boxer’s bounce and a few ice skaters. But as Pump has shown at this point, warm-up is basic movements and is assured to ramp up the intensity to fever pitch as the workout moves along.

Cool down is short at about a minute with calf stretch static stretching as built into the last track.

The Les Mills Pump: Step Workout

While Les Mills Pump: Step begins slow, it really picks up intensity– building with each track to the point of Insanity level moves. I usually go hard out of the gate with added jumping and spring-loading “go down to go up” moves and am pretty gassed by the time some of the peak “I’m a gonna kick your butt” sequences come along in the last three tracks. This is by design but is totally adjustable– all five trainers demonstrate the moves at different intensity levels.

As usual, full enthusiasm fills the whole workout from A-Z.  Step has six total tracks– one warm-up and five “workout”:

  •  Warm Up: (4:30) Pretty low impact stuff with stepping and bouncing to get the blood pumping and hear rate up.
  • Basic Stepping Track (4:00) A little more marching with added jumps build to jump squat moves toward the end. It’s here I start ramping up intensity and adding jumps and high knees to the movements.
  • Interval Training Track (6:00) Here’s where the intensity begins ramping as you begin with burpees to boxer bounce. I add pushups to my burpees to really amp intensity. Interval step jogs are also included in addition to squat pulses and knee lifts.
  • Circuit Training Track (6:00) – Burnination. This one is tough and really focuses on leg-burning endurance courtesy of plyo lunges, power jumps and weighted  jump squats. This will test you.
  • Peak Circuit Track (5:00) – Peak is the right name– as you’re at your peak hear rate, they pour on the fire at what may feel like the point you wonder if you can do more at the same intensity. Speed squats, toe taps and side leg extension off step will gas you out.
  • Lower Body Balance Track (4:00) Not a relaxation track by any means. Balance lunges and side taps designed to bring your endurance up through the home stretch. Finished off with short stretch cool down.

The last four tracks are really where I fell in love with this workout. They’re surprisingly intense and will push you– especially if you up your game with added intensity. Step is easily my favorite Bonus workout of the Les Mills Pump bonus series.

Tips

Adjust Intensity. If you don’t feel like you’re heart rate is where you want it, add more movement. Jump higher, bounce wider, burpee lower. But keep in mind things really kick up at the end.

The Verdict

I know I’m coming off as overly positive but Les Mills Pump’s enthusiasm is pretty contagious. Still, with a name like “Step”, I wasn’t all that enthusiastic about kicking off this workout and the marchy, arm-swingin’ warm-up didn’t get me hyped but once that was finished out… FUN. In the month since trying Les Mills Pump: Step, it’ss become my go-to “fun” plyo workout on Tuesdays. If I’m feeling extra rugged and enthusiastic, I’ll combine it with Asylum Overtime to really deliver the pain in a full 45-minute round of booty kicking.

Still, on its own, Step should be more than enough for beginners and intermediate and makes the bonus workouts (Ultimate Cross Training Deluxe DVDs) well worth the investment. Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun.

Interested in picking up Les Mills Pump?

If you don’t own the program, be sure to check out the details on Les Mills Pump here. Beginning your Les Mills Pump journey? Have questions? Feel free to email me here or at coachdan74@gmail.com. Better yet, let’s get you the support you need to line up your nutrition goals right now. Make me your (free) Beachbody Coach right here and we’ll get crackin’! 

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