If you’re looking to get in shape but don’t have the time to go to the gym, at-home workouts offer an ideal alternative. While some people might be motivated enough with a killer playlist and a set of dumbbells, others might need a little more structure. That’s where programmes like Les Mills On-Demand come into play.
The pandemic popularised at-home workouts, with the likes of Joe Wicks paving the way for individuals to get hooked on Peloton, P.Volve and Insanity. Finding a way to move and challenge yourself in your own home offers some unique challenges, the first often being motivation.
Les Mills+ (formerly Les Mills On-Demand) offers all of the benefits of a group workout class without ever needing to leave your living room. You’ll enjoy an upbeat playlist, motivational instructions and a range of workouts to challenge you, no matter your fitness level.
What is Les Mills?
Les Mills is a group fitness programme offered in over 20,000 health clubs around the world. The instructor-led programme combines elements of high-intensity interval training, bodyweight and weights to help individuals build strength, flexibility and endurance.
Les Mills classes offer curated playlists and energetic instructors to provide motivation and a sense of community. Perhaps the most well-known class is Bodypump, which is a full-body weights workout to build strength and cardiovascular endurance. Other classes include Barre, a modern take on ballet training; Grit, a HIIT workout; and Bodycombat, a martial arts-inspired workout.
In 2015, the company announced the launch of Les Mills On-Demand. This opened up Les Mills to a world of new potential fans. Access to a gym was no longer necessary, as customers could access a wide range of regularly updated classes in exchange for a monthly subscription fee. In 2021, the name changed to Les Mills+.
Customers can also purchase at-home gym equipment to enhance the Les Mills+ experience. In this guide, we’re going to look at some of the equipment available and why it could be the ideal addition to your home gym setup.
Do you need equipment for Les Mills on demand?
Some classes don’t require any equipment, and others can be modified to work with alternative pieces of equipment. But most people find that the Les Mills Equipment is so versatile that it’s worth the investment.
The Les Mills programme is built on something called The Rep Effect. This is a type of resistance training that uses high reps at low weight to achieve high-calorie burning effects. Since you won’t be worried about progressive overload in your workouts, you won’t need to worry about increasing weights too much as you progress.
What equipment is available?
The core pieces of equipment include a barbell, aerobic step, yoga mat and resistance band. These would all be considered staple items in your home gym. So, what makes the Les Mills collection unique, and should you consider investing to help step up your home workout game?
Read on to learn more about each piece of Les Mills Equipment and our thoughts on whether you should love them or leave them.
Les Mills Smartbar And Weight Set
The Les Mills Smartbar and Weight Set is a barbell for people who hate barbells. The unique gator release mechanism provides stability and ease of use, allowing you to quickly change weights without ever grappling with a clip. And the rotating ends mean that the weights are able to move throughout the workout, which puts less pressure on your wrists.
The standard weight set includes 2x 1kg plates, 2x 2.5kg plates and 2x 5kg plates. For those looking for a little extra weight, there are 7.5kg and 10kg plates available. With the weight of the Smartbar, you could potentially max out at 62.64kg, which would be gruelling for an 800-1000 rep workout.
The plates are also unique as they are designed to be used individually as hand weights, eliminating the need to purchase a separate dumbbell set. There are textured rubber grips on two sides and in the centre to give plenty of flexibility of use. This means better grip strength and improved performance over long workouts.
Shop the GTLN Smart Bodypump Barbell Collection.
Les Mills Smartstep
The Smartstep is an adjustable platform that is perfect for a cardio and bench platform. The riser system allows it to stay together when you need to move it all in one piece, but the risers are also easy to detach if you need to change something mid-workout. The target line down the centre of the step is also ideal for ensuring optimum foot placement during workouts.
The shock-absorbing platform is designed for intense use. These typically last around 5 years in a high-use gym environment, so should last a long time for home use. The shock-absorbing rubber upper and risers also help to keep the noise down, which is perfect if you have downstairs neighbours to consider.
Shop the GTLN Bodypump Aerobic Step collection.
Les Mills Smartband
The Les Mills Smartband is essentially a resistance band with ergonomic handles on both ends. It’s available in two levels of resistance; low-to-medium, and extreme. Unlike many resistance bands, the Les Mills Smartband is flat, so it avoids the annoying tubing effect that digs into the skin and moves around. And a twist in the band won’t impact your workout in the least.
The structure of the band is also unique. The connection between the band and the handle is not fixed, so the webbing and handle are free to move, offering more mobility and flexibility. The compressible rubber handles are also more comfortable to hold and can be compressed underfoot.
Les Mills Yoga Mats
There are three yoga mats available, and the most popular and versatile is the Les Mills MBX Mat. This double-sided mat offers a grey surface for crushing your HIIT workout and a red surface for slowing things down with a yoga workout.
Every home gym setup should contain a quality mat, and this choice offers flexibility to make it work for whatever workout you choose that day. It’s also high density, which means you’ll enjoy protection on hard flooring, without the sinking feeling that goes hand in hand with a thicker mat.
If you’re serious about your Les Mills journey, there’s also the Stages SC2 studio bike. This includes a carbon fibre belt and perimeter weighted flywheel to provide a real outdoor cycling feel, but without the associated maintenance.
The handlebar is designed to accommodate the hand positions you’ll need to adopt in your favourite RPM, Sprint and The Trip classes. It also includes a quick SprintShift gear, which allows you to quickly change between three levels, so you can add or drop resistance quickly and easily.