As the popularity of strength training surges, so too does the diverse array of ways to get strong. How can you be sure you’re choosing the best approach for your body?

You become stronger, live longer, grow healthier bones, feel happier, calm your mind, enjoy long-term fat-burning benefits – need we go on? Given the endless benefits of resistance training, it’s no surprise more and more people are channeling their energy into getting strong.

In just two years, strength training has shifted from being the 10th most popular group workout to Gen Z’s number one group workout of choice. But it’s not just Gen Z driving this trend, members of all ages are taking to strength training in their droves, inspired by the many reasons to love lifting. In particular, the trend has been bolstered by growing numbers of women taking up strength. Social media-savvy strength lovers are taking to TikTok for inspiration, with the hashtag #girlswholift sitting at a whopping 12.8 billion views as of November 23. Similarly, the search term 'weightlifting routine for women' has risen by 350% over the past three months. There’s clearly an appetite for guidance in this space – which is no surprise given the myriad strength training options at our fingertips.

Combining HIIT with lifting during LES MILLS GRIT Strength

So what are the different ways to build strength?


Fundamental strength is the ground floor of strength training, covering movements like squats, lunges, and hinge exercises like deadlifts. These activities are great starting points for anyone new to strength training, as they help you replicate how your body moves in everyday life, to improve stability and power. Starting with this type of training helps minimize injury, allowing you to finesse the basics, before attempting to lift heavy weights. Building fundamental strength is especially important as you get older, improving cardiovascular health, bone density and joint health – all crucial benchmarks for healthy living in later life.


Weight training is probably the activity most people think of when it comes to strength, and it’s one of the most popular strength categories. 81% of Gen Z exercisers are using free weights in the gym, motivated by the desire to feel strong, get fit and reduce stress. Dumbbells, deadlifts and other pure strength exercises are suitable activities for any ability (if you’re just starting out, following the guidance of an instructor or trainer can help ensure correct form). Training with weights will build strength, power and endurance and is a winning way to make hypertrophy gains, increasing your lean muscle mass and reducing body fat.


Unlike pure weight-based strength workouts, this type of strength training targets a healthy core, for improved balance, posture and stability. A typical core strength workout designed to improve stamina will feature planks and other static exercises that require you to ‘hold’ or activate your core. Yoga and Pilates are both popular core workouts that can be tailored to suit every stage of your strength journey. If you’re a beginner, there’s the opportunity to tackle breathwork and adjust to training that requires mental, as well as physical, strength. And if you’re already advanced, exercises like mountain climbers and side planks with rotation will begin to challenge core muscles in more complex ways.


If you’re feeling confident with fundamental strength movements, you can begin to increase your speed and power by training for explosive strength. Typically, these are movement patterns that combine maximum energy with minimum duration. The benefits of explosive strength include enhanced strength, power and speed, culminating in increased athleticism. Plyometric exercises like box jumps and weighted step-ups and jumps can be complemented with speed-based activities like sprints to generate quick bursts of maximum effort. As well as improving performance, explosive strength is beneficial for reaction times – moments when moving at speed unexpectedly is necessary.

How to choose the right type of strength workout for you?

Whatever type of strength training you do, your body is going to benefit. But the benefits will be amplified when you start doing strength training that you really enjoy – after all, the best workout is the one you actually do (and keep doing). By exploring the full scope of LES MILLS™ strength programming, you can choose what you enjoy most.


BODYPUMP is the original barbell workout

This is the original barbell workout. The high rep volume, lower weight training of BODYPUMP™ is based on a formula called THE REP EFFECT™, which utilizes time under tension and fatigue to generate muscular adaptation. It’s the winning prescription for boosting strength, fitness and metabolism. Working all your major muscle groups, you do between 15 to 100 repetitions of each exercise, building strength and endurance so you feel stronger, for longer.

The fast-tempo resistance training of BODYPUMP is shown to expend more energy than lifting heavier loads at a slower rate.

Ideal for: any age, stage or ability. It will help you learn fundamental strength movements, build strength endurance – and boost your fitness along the way.

Learn more about BODYPUMP


Hypertrophic strength training during LES MILLS STRENGTH DEVELOPMENT

This progressive strength program helps you build muscle using the principles of strength and conditioning science. As you progress through each of the 12 workouts, you challenge your muscles with slow and controlled movements. The low volume of reps and relatively heavy weights create the perfect parameters for hypertrophic muscle growth.

Ideal for: anyone serious about getting strong. It will help improve your technique and confidence so you can train more powerfully in the studio and on the gym floor.



LES MILLS FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH fuses lifting with power

A hybrid of pure strength training and explosive power, this workout challenges you with innovative exercises, cleverly designed to amplify athleticism. Compound movements using heavy weights are mixed with explosive movements that raise your heart rate. You can expect a moderate volume of reps and a real focus on offset lifting and stability work.

Ideal for: anyone who loves to train hard. It’s also a great option if you want to get strong for life, but are intimidated by heavy lifting. This is a challenging workout, but you can start with light weights and there are options for all abilities.

Studies show eight weeks of LES MILLS FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH can improve your squat, deadlift, bench press, and boost your jump power. Plus, it helps you train more confidently with more motivation.



LES MILLS SHAPES uses light weights for serious muscular burn

Fusing the best of Pilates, barre and power yoga, this workout uses small, controlled movements and lots of repetition to sculpt and strengthen. Each workout uses only very light weight plates and a resistance band (sliders are optional). While it’s low-impact and grounded, the intensity is high and you can expect real muscular burn.

Just six weeks of LES MILLS SHAPES can lead to a 35% increase in abdominal endurance, a 26% increase in back endurance.

Ideal for: anyone who wants full-body strength but doesn't enjoy training with a barbell. Beginners can follow the options and can progress at their own pace. It’s really all about finding your hot spot and making it work for you.

Learn more about LES MILLS SHAPES


Targeted strength training during LES MILLS CORE

This targeted core workout is designed to build strength, stability and endurance in the muscles that support your core. It will help improve balance, assist injury prevention, and increase sports performance.

Ideal for: anyone and everyone! A strong core can help you become better at everything you do.

Learn more about LES MILLS CORE

Other workouts with a strength element:

LES MILLS GRIT STRENGTH: Although technically a cardio workout, this form of high-intensity interval training uses resistance exercises to dial up the intensity. Each 30-minute workout fuses a high volume of barbell, weight plate and bodyweight exercises to blast all major muscle groups and take your fitness to the next level.

LES MILLS TONE: The ultimate all-in-one workout, LES MILLS TONE™ is a dynamic way to train that mixes cardio intervals with core training and strength exercises.

BODYBALANCE: A scientifically-backed combination of simple yoga moves, Tai Chi and Pilates that is carefully curated to strengthen your entire body and increase flexibility. A low impact, low intensity and calming way to feel mentally and physically stronger.

Strengthening yoga moves during BODYBALANCE


A global analysis of 16 individual studies spanning three decades shows that as little as 30 – 60 minutes of muscle-strengthening activity each week can help you live a longer and stronger life. The maximum life-lengthening benefit comes when you combine muscle strengthening and aerobic activities.

The ideal prescription for a well-balanced weekly routine is two resistance exercise training sessions focusing on the major muscle groups, with three to four cardio sessions and one flexibility and mobility-based session. It’s important to avoid strength training on consecutive days.

Try LES MILLS™ strength workouts at a club near you, or explore the options at home using LES MILLS+.


Build strength with Les Mills Equipment