Les Mills workouts are popular around the world for the wide variety of workouts, the versatility, and the incredible results they can help individuals to achieve. BodyPump is one of the most popular workout classes, which relies on the principle of low weight, high rep movements to build muscle and improve cardiovascular endurance.

Whether you’re working out in a group class or at home, you’ll need a few pieces of equipment to complete the workout. If you find yourself without this equipment for any reason, the good news is that you can easily modify your workout to accommodate.

Perhaps you’re travelling and don’t have access to a gym or your home workout equipment. Or perhaps you are just trying Les Mills workouts for the first time and aren’t ready to invest in the equipment just yet. Read our ultimate Les Mills equipment review here. 

How to do BodyPump without a barbell

The good news is that you don’t need a barbell to get an effective workout. Sometimes you just need to be a little bit creative with your kit. Here are some of the most popular exercise modifications you can try if you don’t have a barbell.

What equipment is available?

The Les Mills workout programme offers a wide range of equipment. With a few pieces of home gym equipment, you can do a wide range of classes from the comfort of your own home. The nature of the low-weight, high-rep workout programme also means that you won’t need to keep investing in heavier weights.

The most popular Les Mills workout equipment includes:

  • Barbell and plates. This unique system allows you to quickly attach and remove weights without the need for barbell clips. The rotating bar also ensures that the weight moves freely with the movement to ensure your wrists always have correct alignment.
  • Aerobic step. An adjustable step is an incredibly versatile piece of kit that can be used for exercises that target the legs and glutes. It can also be used as a platform for bodyweight exercises. 
  • Resistance bands. Resistance bands with handles or simple loop bands are effective for a wide range of exercises.
  • Yoga mats. While not essential for a workout, they can be helpful to reduce noise and ensure better grip. 

Which workouts don’t need equipment?

The following workouts don’t need any equipment, so if you are unable to access a barbell for any reason, you could simply try a different class in the meantime. You’ll still get a full-body workout but the emphasis will be on utilising your body weight, rather than a barbell.

  • Bodycombat
  • Les Mills Grit Cario
  • Bodybalance/ Bodyflow
  • Les Mills Stretch
  • Les Mills Training
  • Bodyattack
  • Sh’bam
  • Les Mills Barre
  • Mind and Body
  • Born to Move

How to do BodyPump without the barbell

The most popular way to follow along with the BodyPump workout without the barbell is to use an alternative weight. You can substitute the barbell for dumbbells, plates or kettlebells. You could also use a resistance band, which is a travel-friendly alternative to using a barbell.

The main thing to consider when switching to another type of weight is that you won’t have the stability provided by a barbell. This can make movements feel less controlled, so you might want to slow down your workout to ensure you don’t get injured.

Resistance band workout

One of the best ways to do BodyPump without the barbell is with a resistance band. Power resistance bands are ideal because they can be used to mimic a lot of the movements associated with a barbell. 

A resistance band is ideal for squats, overhead press, bent over row, tricep extensions and more. Resistance bands are also cheap and portable, so you can take them with you when you travel and never miss a workout again.

Resistance band workout

Alternative weights

Dumbbells, kettlebells and plates can be used in place of a barbell. With a weight in each hand, you can do squats, deadlifts, lunges, clean and press, overhead press, chest press and bicep curls. 

Throughout the BodyPump class, the instructor will give tips on modifications to help you to complete your workout without a barbell. The only difference with using a weight in each hand rather than a barbell is that your movements might not feel as controlled and stable.

Wearing wrist and ankle weights will allow you to get an intense workout without using any equipment. If you’re worried about the stability of the weight during your workout, this option can be highly effective. If you are short on space in your home, this can be a highly effective way to follow the classes without needing to make space for large bits of equipment.

Can you do BodyPump without the step?

Some people choose to omit the step from their workout because of the fear of falling, so there is no reason you need to have a step to complete your BodyPump class. If you are travelling and don’t have access to your equipment, you could also use any sturdy box as a replacement for the step. You can also use ankle weights to increase the difficulty of your workout without needing to use a step.

Summary: Yes, you can do BodyPump without a barbell

If you’re on the fence about investing in equipment, if you don’t have space in your home, or if you’re travelling and don’t have access to your Les Mills barbell, then there are simple modifications you can try to ensure you don’t have to skip your favourite workout.

  • Use a resistance band, dumbbells, plates or kettlebells to replace your barbell
  • Add ankle and wrist weights to do the workout without free weights and a step
  • Try an alternative bodyweight workout from the Les Mills library

You don’t have to let a lack of equipment get in the way of you completing your favourite workout. The Les Mills online programme is very accessible, so there are always modifications to try. Some people complete the workout using bodyweight alone, so you don’t have to feel you have to skip your workout entirely if you don’t have access to equipment.