Today, people are prioritising their physical health more than ever! We are becoming more aware of just how vital our physical fitness is to our overall health, encouraging many people to start a regular workout routine.
However, when it comes to getting fit, the hardest part is often deciding which group fitness class is best for you. The Les Mills program is one of the most common in the world, so you may be choosing between different Les Mills classes at your local gym, wondering which is best for your fitness needs.
Les Mills GRIT Strength and Body Pump are both promoted as effective classes for building strength and aerobic fitness. Both use barbell training and elements of HIIT, and are set to an upbeat soundtrack. But between GRIT Strength and Body Pump, which gets the best results?
Les Mills GRIT Strength is a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) class that improves your cardiovascular wellness, strength and lean muscle development. In contrast, Body Pump only integrates some elements of HIIT. Relying on high-rep weight training, it aims to boost overall athletic performance by getting you fit, lean and toned.
Key differences in the style and type of exercise may mean you prefer either GRIT Strength or Body Pump.
If your primary goal is to burn fat, GRIT Strength is a great go-to workout. It will help boost your body’s metabolism, helping you to see physical changes in your body over time. As a HIIT workout, GRIT Strength also increases your cardiovascular fitness, though it’s not as cardio-focused as GRIT Cardio.
Body Pump is a low-load, high-repetition HIIT workout for your entire body. This training style helps you develop all your major muscle groups, offering more holistic benefits than targeted workouts. Body Pump is therefore a good choice if you want to achieve a lean, athletic body.
Both workouts can help tone your body, but which is best for you depends on:
- how many calories you want to burn
- your purpose in doing high-intensity training,
- and how much time you have
Keep reading for a breakdown of Les Mills GRIT Strength and Body Pump. We’ll take a deeper dive into these two workouts, helping you decide which one is better for your unique fitness goals.
What Is a Les Mills GRIT Strength Workout?
Les Mills GRIT Strength is one of three Les Mills GRIT classes. This class series is Les Mills’ take on HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and each has a slightly different focus. However, all GRIT classes follow interval training principles, alternating intensive training with recovery periods throughout the 30-minute class.
GRIT Strength consists of bodyweight exercises; GRIT athletic is a conditioning workout ideal for athletes, and GRIT Athletic (previously known as GRIT Plyo) is a power agility training class based on plyometrics.
A GRIT Strength class consists of an accelerated warm-up followed by various exercises, like dead rows, clean and presses, lunges, and squats, while using barbells and weight plates. These exercises unlock your fast-twitch muscle fibres responsible for giving you bursts of energy. In addition, the sets are designed to push your heart rate to its maximum before you get a 15-second recovery in between sets.
Because of the intensity of GRIT Strength classes, you are advised to take a GRIT class twice a week at most. You can complement your workout schedule with other types of exercises or take a complete break between sessions.
Les Mills updates its GRIT training choreography with new moves and music every three months.
What Is a Les Mills Body Pump Workout?
Les Mills Body Pump was created by combining aerobic dance and weight training. This HIIT training is done with set choreography while lifting dumbbells or using machines for circuit training.
The effectiveness of Body Pump relies on the ‘Rep Effect’, which revolves around the idea of light load, high repetition. Each class includes 800 to 1000 repetitions of various exercises, like dead rows, squats, press pullover combos, reverse curls, and lunges. A class can be 30, 45, or 55 minutes long.
Consistent attendance in a Body Pump workout class is the key to getting defined muscles through your entire body. Research has shown that you can tone your body from the shoulders down to your legs by doing these classes. Because of the lighter weights used in Body Pump, you don’t have to worry about getting too bulky.
In the long run, Body Pump also improves the level at which you burn calories and fat, your core strength, and your bone health. It is also an excellent exercise choice for those who want to lessen their risk of muscle and joint injuries, avoiding ‘overloading’ and focusing on repetition instead.
You can do your Body Pump workout two to three times a week but never on consecutive days. Instead, allow your body to rest between sessions or add in some light aerobics on your off days to get the best results.
Like GRIT Strength, expect new choreography and music every three months if you continue your Body Pump sessions.
Les Mills GRIT Strength vs Body Pump: What Are The Differences?
Though GRIT Strength and Body Pump both utilise weights and help to tone muscle, they do have some key differences.
GRIT Strength classes are usually shorter than Body Pump classes. GRIT Strength lasts only 30 minutes, while Body Pump classes vary between 30, 45, or 55 minutes depending on the level you choose.
You should take fewer GRIT Strength classes than Body Pump sessions in a week. For GRIT Strength, take two classes at most; for Body Pump, you can take two or three (or up to four if you are experienced).
It’s not a good idea to take both GRIT Strength and Body Pump classes in one week. It’s best just to pick one HIIT workout and give your body a break with aerobics or a full day’s rest in between classes.
Both GRIT Strength and Body Pump are done with energetic music. However, for the former, tracks are specially designed to get your heart pumping to its maximum. For the latter, the tempo of the tracks is designed to be in sync with the movements, making it ideal for weight training.
Body Pump vs GRIT Strength: Cardio or Strength Focus?
GRIT Strength is more cardio-focused, while Body Pump is strength-focused.
Sure, you can still develop your strength with a GRIT Strength workout – but despite the name, you’ll get better results with Body Pump. As a HIIT workout first and foremost, GRIT Strength is explicitly designed to maximise your heart rate.
Do note, however, that most, if not all, HIIT exercises are essentially cardio exercises.
Body Pump vs GRIT Strength: What Weights Are Used?
In general, only a barbell and weight plates are used for both GRIT Strength and Body Pump classes. However, in some cases, a bench or a step, kettlebells, and resistance bands are also employed.
You can opt to get the Les Mills Smartbar™ if you plan to stay on brand, but an ordinary fitness bar can do the trick for either workout. The Les Mills Smartbar™ weighs 2.64 kg, and plate weights range from 1kg (small), 2.5kg (medium), to5kg (large). Heavier weight plates of 3.7kg and 7.5kg are available for progression.
Depending on the sets you’re doing and the changes applied to the workout choreography, you essentially need the same equipment most of the time. Although in most gyms, you only need to bring yourself, and they will provide the equipment.
Body Pump vs GRIT Strength: Which Class Is Faster?
The workout style of GRIT Strength is faster and more explosive than Body Pump. The pace of GRIT high-intensity training is designed to maximise your heart rate and boost your aerobic fitness.
GRIT Strength classes are quicker than Body Pump classes, though, lasting for only 30 minutes. GRIT Strength burns around the same number of calories in around half the time by upping the intensity.
Body Pump vs GRIT Strength: How Many Calories Do You Burn?
In GRIT Strength, Les Mills has confirmed you generally burn 340 to 400 calories per workout.
For Body Pump, the calories burned depends on the duration of the workout. For example, the standard 55-minute workout can burn an average of 400 calories, though some claim to burn up to 560 calories! But, of course, the figures only go down from there if you’re a beginner taking only the 30-minute Body Pump session.
Body Pump vs GRIT Strength: Which Is Better For Weight Loss?
HIIT workouts are known to be effective weight loss regimens because of the efficiency—a lot is done in a short amount of time. Though both workouts promise to develop lean muscle and improve metabolism, how does each one fare when it comes to weight loss?
There is no clear-cut answer for this, as caloric burn happens differently for different people. Weight loss is, after all, not streamlined.
In general, a higher level of lean muscle means your body burns more calories in a workout. While GRIT Strength can deliver lean muscle development, Body Pump focuses on toning and defining the muscles you already have. GRIT Strength might be a good starting point for your weight loss journey if you currently have a higher body fat percentage.
Still, take this with a grain of salt. You know what they say: different strokes for different folks! The most effective workout for weight loss is one that you enjoy doing, so you’re motivated to do it consistently.
Body Pump vs GRIT Strength: Which Is Best To Strengthen Muscle?
Body Pump is the best option when you want to strengthen your muscles. Each set is designed to challenge a specific body part using barbells. Though Body Pump prioritises high rep instead of high load, this workout is guaranteed to give you stronger muscles.
On the other hand, GRIT Strength revolves around the HIIT approach to training, and while it does help build lean muscle, the aerobic and calorie-burning benefits still take centre stage.
Body Pump vs GRIT Strength: Which Is Best For Beginners?
Beginners can do both GRIT Strength and Body Pump workouts, but there are some differences. For one, GRIT Strength workouts consist of easy movements, but the pace of the workout is what’s challenging. So if you already do cardio exercise, GRIT Strength may be a good level up for you.
The 30-minute Body Pump session can also be done by beginners. The class will continue until the 55-minute mark, but beginners can stop at the 30-minute mark.
This means you get the entire workout with GRIT Strength every time, even as a beginner, unlike when you first start Body Pump. However, this does mean you don’t have the ‘official’ option to bail out early in GRIT Strength.
Alternatives to LES MILLS GRIT Strength & Body Pump
Not all gyms use Les Mills group training programs, and you may be wondering what other group fitness options are out there. If you’re looking for a workout style to achieve similar goals, such as:
- Building lean muscle
- Increasing aerobic fitness
- Boosting metabolism
- High calorie burn
consider searching for one of these GRIT Strength and Body Pump alternatives in your local area.
- HIIT classes are offered by a wide range of local gyms and group fitness facilities. Compared to GRIT Strength, HIIT classes can be longer – up to 60 minutes, in some cases – and may use complete rest periods between high-intensity exercises rather than lighter movements.
- Circuit Training consists of 6 to 12 exercises per station, designed to target different muscle groups. This is a little different from HIIT, as HIIT generally focuses on cardio, but circuit training can be customised for a wide range of fitness goals. However, some studies do claim that circuit training burns fewer calories than HIIT exercise.
- CrossFit is another popular form of HIIT that involves a variety of challenging exercises. It is a conditioning workout designed to boost cardio, power, and speed, to name just a few benefits. With CrossFit, you do not focus on only one aspect of your body; instead, sessions aim for full-body fitness and capability.
- 4×4 is similar to GRIT Strength as the sets are intended to boost your heart rate to its maximum while you’re doing the exercises. Some movements involve weights, but there are variations where weights are not necessary.
- Some gyms offer AMRAP (“as many rounds as possible”) training. This can last for 10 to 40 minutes and involves exercises like kettlebell swings, burpees, and box jumps.
- EMOM (“every minute on the minute”) training relies heavily on your speed. You have to do a set number of reps per minute, and your rest time depends on how much time you have left after you finish your reps. It’s a good idea to talk to your trainers about which workouts will work best for your fitness goals. If you do not have a trainer yet, don’t be afraid to consult one! Some gym instructors can even help you with your weekly workout structures, mixing HIIT with core or strength workouts.
Don’t be afraid to look around, try different classes and ask what’s best for your goals. As long as you’re seeking help from a qualified instructor, you can get some great advice on which group training class works best for your body.
How Many Times a Week Should I Do Body Pump?
Start with two non-consecutive sessions per week. Once you get the hang of it, you can increase your Body Pump sessions to three or four. Monitor your body to make sure you don’t overexert yourself, and gradually work up to heavier weights in class.
What Equipment Do You Need for GRIT Strength?
In its simplest form, GRIT Strength workouts only require you to have a fitness bar and weight plates. However, some GRIT Strength choreography requires a bench or step, kettlebells, or even resistance bands.
This article is published for general informational purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice and does not take into consideration your individual circumstances, medical conditions or abilities. Always consult a medical professional before beginning any program of exercise. A fitness industry professional can provide personalised advice to suit your needs.
Caity Dungey founded Pretty Brave Fitness in 2017 with one simple mission: giving everyday women the chance to be fitter and stronger, ready to tackle whatever life brings. Our workouts can be adjusted to challenge the fittest of gals or to go easy on first timers. As soon as you walk in the door, you’re a valued part of our fitness fam.