Orangetheory 2G vs. 3G: Which Is Better?

Orangetheory 2G vs. 3G

You may have heard of Orangetheory before. In fact, I’m sure you have. This popular group fitness, instructor-based workout method has gained great traction over the last decade. If you don’t know much about it, the classes are based around heart rate interval training and are curated to get members in the best shape they can.

Orangetheory 2G classes include 2 groups that use 3 stations and offer a slightly more private experience. The 3G class accommodates 3 big groups at a time that can use 3 stations. Each option includes access to the same equipment and workout routine at the same difficulty level.

If you’ve been thinking about joining Orangetheory but want some more information on two of the main class types, this piece is meant for you. We’ll dive into comparisons and similarities, difficulty of classes, and some other aspects of Orangetheory that are good to be aware of.

Orangetheory 2G vs 3G

Orangetheory’s 2G and 3G options are two of their most popular and common classes. Seeing how they compare to one another may help you decide which is the right fit for you.

Each class type is 60 minutes long and focuses on a rotation between 3 stations: the treadmill, rowing machine, and strength training floor.

 Orangetheory 2GOrangetheory 3G
Workout Expectations· Rotation between the rowing machine, the treadmill, and the strength training floor

· Coaches demo the exercises before members complete them

· Endurance, strength, and power (ESP) are pillars of fitness that workouts focus on
Same as 2G
BenefitsMore flexibility in the rotation of stationsOpen to larger groups, slightly more structured
DrawbacksClasses hit capacity fasterLess flexibility in rotating stations
Similarities· 60-minute class

· Members rotate between 3 main stations, focusing on different areas
Same as 2G
Differences2 groups between 3 stations· 3 groups between 3 stations

· More generally combine the ESP workout styles


One of the main differences between 2G and 3G is that the classic style, 2G, works with 2 groups that rotate between the 3 stations. This leaves a bit more flexibility for individual rotations.

3G accommodates more people. Locations with more members will often incorporate this option that has 3 groups in the rotation, so a group is at all stations at any given time.


While there are some slight differences between Orangetheory 2G and 3G, you’ll see that the class types are both quite comparable.

Orangetheory workouts will focus on 3 main tenants of fitness that can be categorized as endurance, strength, and power.

Depending on which of the 3 your session highlights, you may use lighter weights and more repetition or heavier weights and fewer repetitions. This will be based on whether it’s an ‘endurance day’ or a ‘strength day.’

On power days, for example, you’ll find that there are less breaks between weights and then you’ll also be utilizing different intervals and speeds at the other stations.

Orangetheory also likes to combine these 3 elements (E.S.P), so you may take a class that highlights portions of all 3 of these.

Is Orangetheory 2G or 3G Harder?

So, we see that Orangetheory 2G and 3G are comparable, but is one harder than the other?

There is no significant difference in the difficulty of the 2G and 3G classes. 

Classes are personalized to your own fitness level. You’ll expect to be pushing yourself and working hard no matter which of these class types you are taking.

Your heart rate goals will remain the same no matter which class you are in. While the intensity and time split between stations will vary between 2G and 3G, your overall workout is going to be designed to have you work hard.

What is the Main Difference Between Orangetheory 2G and 3G?

The biggest difference between Orangetheory 2G and 3G classes is the class size itself. Orangetheory 2G might have space for 24 members while 3G can accommodate for 36 members.

Ultimately, this impacts the length of time that is spent at each station. While you may spend about half of your time on the treadmill and the other half on either the rower or the strength training floor in Orangetheory 2G, this is not possible in 3G.

With 2G, members will be split as 12 and 12 and can go between the stations. In 3G, members are split into 3 groups of 12, meaning that stations are always full.

So, with a 3G class you’d expect to spend time at each of the three stations. You’ll spread your time evenly, 1/3 of the class at each station. This means that you will have less overall time at each station.

Which Is Better for Beginners?

Orangetheory 2G is going to be the best option for beginners because the balance of the stations is a bit less intensive.

By that, I mean that there is less rowing.

Typically, with 2G, members will spend about half of the session on the treadmill and half on the strength training floor. Some rowing will be incorporated into one of those two halves of the class.

So, while there is rowing (and some coaches may push this a bit more than others), it isn’t as evenly focused on.

With 3G, rowing becomes a third of the class by default, as the 3 stations are evenly rotated between by the 3 groups.

Beginners especially might find this to be quite intense, so Orangetheory 2G is a good starting point.

What is Lift 45 at Orangetheory?

If you aren’t looking to do a full hour-long workout that focuses on ESP (endurance, strength, and power), Lift 45 could be a good option.

L45 is a newer Orangetheory Fitness addition that is 45 minutes long and solely dedicated to resistance training.

Dumbbells, medicine. Balls, BOSU balls, TRX straps, workout benches, and other equipment is utilized in order to create a well-rounded, strength-focused workout.

What is the Orangetheory 60 Workout?

The Orangetheory 60 workout is just what it sounds like. It is the 60-minute workout session that Orangetheory 2G and 3G both fall under.

In the same way that Lift 45 means a 45-minute functional strength course, Orangetheory 60 is the 3 station, ESP-based, 60-minute session.

Can Orangetheory Make You Gain Muscle?

This high intensity training style is great for those who want to lose weight in a sustainable way with a supportive community around them.

That doesn’t mean that building muscle is out of the question, though!

Orangetheory can help you gain muscle. As you burn calories and melt fat, you’ll also be building and toning muscle through your rotation of exercises. These are designed to help you not only get fit, but also stay fit.

Muscle-building will depend on your body type and ability to gain muscle, your diet, and how consistent you are.

Like anything fitness-related, balance is key. By making sure to eat well and keep showing up, you’ll be able to see your muscles become more defined.

As a bonus, you’ll feel and be stronger, too.

Do I Need Special Equipment for Orangetheory?

When you join Orangetheory, you don’t need anything but some workout clothes, a water bottle, and yourself to be successful.

There are some workouts that may incorporate bands or small weights for those who have them available. However, routines can always be completed without any extra equipment necessary.

Members are typically required to purchase and wear their heart rate monitors. These are used to thoroughly track each workout and progress made over time.

These monitors, called OTBeat Burn, can be found on Orangetheory and at your Orangetheory location.

How Should I Prepare for My First Class?

1. Arrive Early

When you are first showing up to Orangetheory, it is important to show up early. Especially for your first class, you should plan to arrive about 30 minutes early.

Arriving early will give you time to get acquainted with the space and feel comfortable before your first workout. You’ll also be able to get any paperwork signed and be shown around the studio.

A coach will take this time to walk around with you so that you can see the space. They will offer you some tips for the class, get to know your personal fitness goals, and help set you up with your heart rate monitor. You’ll also be shown proper rowing form, so you don’t go blindly into that section of the class.

2. Wear Comfortable Activewear

You should wear activewear that makes you feel comfortable and gives you a good range of motion. Leggings or biker shorts are ideal, because you’ll be moving a lot. You will likely feel more comfortable in pants that aren’t too short. A tank top or Dri-FIT t-shirt are ideal tops because you don’t want to overheat, either.

3. Keep an Open Mind

These classes are meant to push you, so know that it is normal to feel like you are going full speed for the entire class.

Rotations help mix things up so you don’t fall into a repetitive cycle, but you will be sore after class. This is a good thing! It means you’ve done your best and your body will benefit.

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Here at Choosing Nutrition, our goal is to help people with making smarter food choices. Whether you're wondering about vegan, keto, paleo, or other diets, we'll help you determine which options fit your nutritional lifestyle. Our staff is composed of registered dieticians, nutritionists, and health-conscious individuals.

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