Guest Blogger: Scott Darnell – Wax Lyrical

What does music do for you? Does it make your foot tap… your heart race… your hips sway… your lungs burst into song? Does it make you smile?

Does music make you stronger…?

The brain geniuses behind the international fitness brand Les Mills plan quarterly routines and carefully craft the music to accompany the high-impact moves. Each routine displays unique bursts of energy, flavoured with uptempo sounds to invigorate the mind, body and soul. It’s well-known that music affects the brain in different ways and the way the body reacts to rhythm, beats and mood of a song can have surprising benefits for the way we train and workout. The Bodycombat routines certainly fuel the fire to burn away those calories and thanks to its musical repertoire, you’re instantly transported into the “zone” from the first warm-up tracks!

Having done all my Bodycombat practising and training here in Spain, something I have noticed, perhaps even a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ factor missing from the full magical, mystical explosion of an entire class is that most instructors are unable to understand and connect with the lyrics. This is due in part to the tracklist mainly being in English and no instructors I have come across in Spain are bilingual to fully harness the power of the spoken word in English. So what impact has this had on my training? Well, none really, given that I am a native speaker of English who is able to “zone in” to the words being sung whilst listening to the commands in Spanish. The power of music and how much you are “tuned in” to the words really does have a correlation with the power and endurance exerted during a workout.

Let’s take Bodycombat 72 – the latest release from Les Mills and by far my favourite! Why? Because the song choices, the lyrics and the martial arts movements accompanying the tracks resonate from the first song: the journey we start together, we end together: it has the wings and propellers of a double-decker Boeing to jet your workout to new heights! This reference to aviation here is poignant given that in each of the tracks, the journey you go on gets bigger, harder, faster and tougher. This in turn makes you more focused, stronger and fitter. The dissociation from reality lifts you off the runway, ears popping and trays stowed away: forget the pain and forget the fatigue. That very first jab bob in the upper body warm-up and the the Muay Thai leg check gives you that defensive shield when otherwise sensations of tiredness would have crept in.

Music and lyrics whilst training give you flow. Track 2 in BC 72 takes us to the clouds of Muay Thai and kickboxing, working all muscle groups and improving coordination – you get the flow and the energy through “I’m believer”. When all else around you fails to believe in you: “when the valley couldn’t hold me, they throw me in the river, thinking I would drown, but man, I’m a good swimmer. When the river didn’t drown me, they throw me in the fire but the fire (is) just cool, I could never burn, ‘Cause I’m a believer”. This internal, intrinsic motivation powers the jab-cross hook and shoots your wings up for the jump kick. Track 3 throws us into synchronised evasive boxing combinations – the first high peak power and speed training of the workout – the body moulds to the rhythm. The repetitive vibes lead to increased output as shown through the ‘wall of protection’ – a boxing guard where you twist you body and raise your back heel to load the power cross. Finally, the noticeable impact to training with music, for me, has to be the release of endorphins in the blood stream. Those hormonal chemicals pump the blood brimming with emotions and positive feelings often evoking memories whilst working out. The fusion of music and movement connect the brain and the heart; they fire out the power and energy needed to endure a Bodycombat, or any other, intense workout.






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