by Les Mills Asia Pacific

Counterfeiters are preying on our desire for home gym equipment to sell fake LES MILLS™ SMART TECH that could cause injury and leave you with a burning hole in your wallet.

If it looks like a SMARTBAR and feels like a SMARTBAR, it must be the as good as the genuine article, right? Wrong! As Shakespeare wrote in The Merchant of Venice, “All that glitters is not gold”. This proverb remains as relevant today as it was in the 16th Century – especially when said glitter has the potential to shatter and seriously harm you during your BODYPUMP® sesh.

Counterfeit products are low-quality imitations of original items. While the appearance of counterfeit items can closely resemble the authentic SMART TECH products they mimic, the money that you save on products sometimes comes at a tremendous cost. Pandemic-enforced lockdowns have increased the appetite for home exercise equipment, to the delight of the counterfeit market. Sharks have sought to take advantage of this crisis by creating inferior quality ‘Les Mills’ equipment which, for all intents and purposes, appears to serve the same needs as the real thing. Take a closer look, however, and the dangerous differences between the fakes and the genuine article are quickly exposed.

Ben Main - Fake Equipment

Watch Ben Main explain the difference between genuine and fake equipment.

One word – safety. Fake barbell products are not simply a copy of the genuine product. They are not made in the same factory and they are definitely not made using the same materials. They are literally not fit for purpose and dangerous for an activity such as lifting weights.

For safety reasons, we prefer that exercisers purchase genuine products from any of our legitimate competitors, rather than purchasing fake products.

It’s what you can’t see that makes all the difference. From the outside, original and fake products often look remarkably similar, but user safety is the difference when it comes to workout equipment.

The authentic LES MILLS SMARTBAR™, for example, is designed and manufactured to withstand 80,000 drop tests without any mechanical or cosmetic failure before it is deemed safe.

We have tested all the fake barbell products that we have seen using the same test protocol as the genuine SMARTBAR. None have survived more than a single drop without sustaining serious structural damage, or mechanical failure. This is due to the fact that fake products are all made using poor quality (cheap) materials and inferior assembly methods.

The testing procedure for a genuine SMARTBAR involves a sequence of simulations to replicate a typical lifecycle resulting in the bar undergoing 80,000 drops. Under independent tests, fake barbells became structurally unsafe after the very first drop (click to watch video), when dropped from a height of 0.5m with only a moderate weight loading (not the maximum loading the genuine SMARTBAR is certified to withstand). It is immediately obvious that the fake products are made with inferior materials and lack the strength of a genuine SMARTBAR. The plastic parts used in fake products are made of poor quality materials and often lack critical features required for strength. The insides of the ‘gator’ on some fake products are defective, creating a high stress point when under load, causing the barbell to break.

Just one drop of a fake barbell causes significant structural damage to the ‘gator’, rendering it unsafe for further use. Dropping it a second time from the same height, resulted in catastrophic failure (click to watch video) as the entire ‘gator’ head separated from the bar, with the potential for serious injury to a user. .

  • It’s not the same as a fake handbag. A fake barbell product will increase the risk of injury and damage as they are often produced using inferior materials.
  • While the initial purchase price is lower than a genuine item, fake barbell products will need to be replaced more often due to failure. Even if a fake bar is never dropped, during normal use the product will be exposed to fatigue loadings that will result in failure over time.
  • Long-lasting products such as the genuine SMARTBAR have a smaller environmental impact than fake products. Disposing of a broken barbell and weight set is difficult and contributes to increasing consumer waste.

Les Mills provides a three-year warranty on all its SMARTBAR products. In developing the SMARTBAR, Les Mills created a test plan based on what a typical weight bar would need to withstand for use in group fitness workouts in a gym environment.

As part of its product development process, the SMARTBAR is required to withstand these tests without any mechanical or cosmetic failure before it’s deemed safe. The SMARTBAR meets a high safety standard – the same cannot be said for any fake barbell product.

The SMARTBAR is the culmination of years of research and development, and millions of dollars in investment. We understand our product and the needs of our users intimately. Every decision that went into the design of the SMARTBAR is based on user feedback, testing and our goal to provide the best product we can. Every component that goes into a Les Mills product is designed and tested for optimum performance and strength. Where a material couldn’t provide the results needed, we developed our own.

Most fake SMARTBAR products have no logo, or a logo where the E in LES MILLS is replaced with a “6” (L6SMILLS). Fake product listings often refer to a “crocodile mouth” rather than a gator head. If you are unsure, it’s best to contact Les Mills Asia Pacific or our any of our global approved distributors.

Les Mills will investigate any potential counterfeit/illegal sellers and take the necessary steps to shut down the listing, post or site. Please help to report anything suspicious at


Les Mills Asia Pacific