Les Mills+ Review: Tested With The Les Mills SmartBar

Les Mills+ offers an extensive range of home fitness workouts at a great price, along with a beautifully designed (if expensive) barbell set-up

Les Mills App+ on laptop next to Les Mills SmartBar home barbell
(Image: © Les Mills)

Our Verdict

Les Mills+ offers an extensive range of on-demand classes, which are accessed through a professional-looking, responsive and good-value app. The SmartBar is comfortable, secure and well-designed, though its high price will be off-putting to some.


  • Access to more than 2,000+ workouts
  • Motivating instructors
  • Variety of music
  • Recreates gym class at home


  • Branded equipment is expensive (but not required for the app)

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If you’ve ever belonged to a gym, the chances are that you’ve enrolled in at least a few Les Mills classes. If you haven’t taken one, you'll almost certainly have heard their music blasting from a fitness studio.

Known for its for peppy instructors, upbeat music, and fast-paced workouts, Les Mills has been involved in group classes for years. The original program, BodyPump, is based around weight training, but you’ve likely also heard of BodyCombat (martial arts-inspired), BodyBalance (inspired by yoga and pilates), and BodyAttack (high-energy cardio workout).

The brand was founded in 1968 by four-time Olympian Les Mills, who set up a local gym in Auckland, New Zealand. His son and daughter-in-law, Philip and Jackie Mills, saw the opportunity to jump on the aerobics workout trend and introduce weights, creating the fast-paced group workouts that the brand is renowned for.

You can now access workouts from the convenience of home with a Les Mills+ subscription and equipment. But how does the app compare with the best workout apps? Is it worth the ongoing subscription fees? What about the substantial upfront investment required for Les Mills-branded workout gear? We tested the app and the SmartBar to find out.

Les Mills+ App And SmartBar: Price And Availability

There are two tiers of subscription—Base and Premium—and it’s cheaper to pay annually, rather than monthly, for both. With the Base membership you can access 16 fitness programs, including BodyAttack, BodyBalance, BodyCombat and Core, but not BodyPump. Users are limited to three workouts per program. Base users can stream from web and mobile, but not TV. A Base membership is $6.99 a month in the US and £6.49 a month in the UK for a rolling contract, or $59.99/£59.88 annually.

With the Premium membership you can access all programs and can choose from the entire library of more than 2,000 workouts. You can stream from web, mobile, and TV. A Premium membership is $14.99/£12.99 a month for a rolling contract or $119.99/£119.88 annually.

The SmartBar and weight set costs $479/£399. The bundle includes the bar, two 2.2lb/1kg weight plates, two 5.5lb/2.5kg weight plates, and two 11lb/5kg weight plates. Delivery is available anywhere in the continental US, the UK and Ireland. The SmartBar is designed to be used for BodyPump, Core and Grit workouts, though it is a great addition to any home gym and can be used for any freestyle home workout. 

If you want extra weight plates you can purchase them separately. Les Mills offers a step, bands, workout and yoga mats, and other accessories. For this review, I tested the SmartBar.

How I Tested The App And SmartBar

I tested the Les Mills+ app for eight weeks, using the SmartBar during various workouts. I streamed workouts on my laptop, phone and TV.

The Set-Up

Les Mills SmartBar

(Image credit: Sarah Lienard / Future)

The SmartBar comes in a slim-looking but heavy box and doesn’t require assembly. The design is sleek and minimalist, and it’s easy to get to grips with changing the weight plates. It’s an aluminum bar with a durable, scratch-proof ionized coating. The bar is 27mm in diameter, which Les Mills says reduces hand and forearm fatigue and aids muscle activation and good technique. 

Setting up the Les Mills+ app is quick and easy. I effortlessly connected it to my TV for streaming.

The App Experience

There’s an array of workouts to choose from on Les Mills+, including strength-training options such as BodyPump and Core, cardio workouts including BodyCombat and BodyStep, and flexibility sessions that feature the Les Mills Stretch.

After signing up, you receive an email that explains how to get started. There’s also a handbook with further information and technique videos. The BodyPump technique video walks you through the proper form for the squat, deadlift, dead row, clean and press, chest press, alternating backward stepping lunge and triceps push-up.

The homepage shows you how many days you’ve been active in a month, your average workout duration, recommended workouts and series you might like. You can scroll through new and popular workouts, inspiration and information, and curated edits of workouts such as mood boosters.

Under the Explore tab, you can access workouts by program, such as Strength, Cardio and Martial Arts, HIIT, Yoga and Flexibility, Dance, Cycle, and Low Impact. When you “favorite” a workout, you’ll see it in the My Workouts tab. You can also download workouts for offline use.

The Plans tab provides a pre-set series of workouts designed around different challenges and goals. These include Fast Fit, a four-week program for beginners, Wellness Reset, a six-week yoga and meditation program, and Optimal Mixes for each month, which include a balance of three cardio, strength and mindful workouts each week.

When you click on a workout, you see the duration, intensity and required equipment at a glance. The music tracks are listed, and you can scroll through comments from other users. You can also make your own workout or session notes.

The app is intuitive, well designed and responsive. The workout videos have high production values and professional-looking, engaging instructors. The experience is on a par with the rival Peloton app. There is also a Les Mills+ Facebook page, which has more than 180,000 members. If you’re looking to replicate the community spirit of a local gym this is worth joining.

I enjoyed all the workouts I tried on the app. BodyPump left me feeling sweaty and shaky (in the best possible way), the Core classes destroyed my abs, and BodyBalance offered a satisfying blend of yoga and Pilates. I didn’t try the Sh’Bam or Barre classes because I’m terrible at dancing and didn’t want to trip over my coffee table.

The SmartBar Experience

Les Mills SmartBar

(Image credit: Sarah Lienard / Future)

I primarily used the SmartBar for BodyPump. This is Les Mills’s original barbell workout, which features high reps using light to moderate weights, aiming to work all the major muscle groups in every session. Other workouts in the app that use the SmartBar include Grit, hybrid workouts and low-impact strength sessions.

The SmartBar has several features that make it enjoyable to use. It feels sturdy and well made. I had no trouble switching the weight plates or getting them to lock securely during use.

One of the best features of the SmartBar is the clip-free design. There aren’t any separate parts to secure the weight plates to the bar, which means less time grappling with getting fiddly clips on and off during workouts. Instead, the weight plates slide onto the plastic “gator” teeth and lock securely with a satisfying click. To release, you simply pull the red release lever back and slide the plates off. As Les Mills workouts are fast-paced with quick changes between movements, this helps to keep the flow without needing to pause and restart the video.

Les Mills SmartBar

(Image credit: Sarah Lienard / Future)

The rotating bar end is designed to aid muscle isolation and make the movement feel smooth. It also means that the weight feels consistently and evenly distributed during use.

The weight plates are square, so they stay put when you place the bar on the ground between sets. They can also be used as hand weights, and have a textured area to help with grip. The middle bar can be grasped to allow for dumbbell-style movements, while the outer edges have grips to allow them to be used in kettlebell-style movements. Even when my hands were sweaty, I was able to grip the weights and the bar with ease.

Are The Les Mills+ App And SmartBar Worth It?

I was impressed with the app, which I think is as good value as the Peloton app. An all-access monthly membership gives you a lot of content: The instructors are fantastic, the music is great, and it’s going to be hard to get bored thanks to the variety of workouts on offer. You may not be able to replicate the exact camaraderie of a group class at home, but you can get close.

I thoroughly enjoyed using the SmartBar and found the design features useful for keeping up with the fast pace of the workouts. However, at £399 for the bundle, it is a pretty serious investment. If you’re a Les Mills fan and you’re planning to reap the rewards for years to come, it’s likely to be worth it, but if you’re just getting started, you may want to consider an entry-level barbell set-up first.

Sarah Lienard

Sarah is an experienced health, fitness, nutrition and beauty writer, and was previously health editor at BBC Good Food. She has contributed reviews, interviews and features to Coach since 2019, covering exercise bikes, fitness trackers and apps, among other topics. In her free time, she can be found hiking, swimming, cycling or trying (and failing) to do a headstand on a yoga mat.