With restrictions placed across the globe throughout the majority of 2020, the way individuals have trained and maintained their fitness journey has been forced to adapt. The closure of gyms and universal training locations has seen a rise in the number of individuals training from home, with minimal equipment, through online platforms.
In the first quarter of 2020, Health and Fitness App downloads grew worldwide by an astonishing 46%, supplementing the demand created by people being forced to stay (and subsequently train) at home. Given the spike in downloads, there are a wealth of options to choose from, both for free and for a price, so knowing exactly what you want from your home workout app is crucial. Given the strain of the last 12 months on the global fitness industry, it has been identified that virtual home workout apps could be the future progression of the industry, even after gyms re-open.
We’re going to take a look at some of the best offerings on the market today.
Although known for their spin classes on and on demand content, Peleton provides a plethora of professionally recorded sessions specialising in strength, yoga, cardio and meditation, as well as indoor and outdoor workouts. Regular new content keeps your fitness journey fresh and exciting and, considering the content, is reasonably priced at £12.99 per month or included in the price of one of their custom spin bikes (priced from £1,750 or £45/month).
Whilst sessions can be utilised through their spin bikes, there are plenty of workouts available using minimal equipment or even none at all. Optimised for just about every platform, Peleton works seamlessly with Apple, Android, Roku, Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV. In addition, they are currently offering 2 months free trial membership through their app, packed with content.
Moving away from the idea of visual demonstrations, Aaptiv utilises voice only. Monthly membership comes in at £13 (rather expensive for no visual content) and this can be an annual purchase for a discount. Over 3,000 classes keeps your challenges new and motivating and a free trial period gives you the opportunity to decide if a screen-less workout is right for you.
Motivational coaches talk you through every aspect of a workout so you don’t need to keep glancing at your screen to understand what you need to be doing. Aaptiv gives you the chance to select a goal (running faster, losing weight or just keeping fit) and recommended workouts help you to specifically chase your fitness goals, as well as tailor your experience depending on the workout equipment that is available to you. Being optimised for Apple and Android does limit the platforms on which Aaptiv can be utilised but with the majority of phones falling within these parameters, the majority will not be effected.
Adidas’ venture into the home workout app is conducted through Runtastic. With a decent range of free features, the budget conscious are able to be supplied with a well-balanced workout offering variety and excitement. Although not exclusively for home workout (it was initially developed as an app for tracking run data), it can provide a useful tool for a complete workout.
The app provides lots of ready-made workouts to choose from plus the option to create a custom workout by choosing body parts to train and setting a duration to train. On top of this, subscriptions are available for £7.99 per month or a £39.99 for an annual fee (providing a healthy saving), where you can unlock premium training plans to reach your fitness goals. Unless you have a specific training focus in mind however, the free platform provides more than enough to cover the average user, being led through workouts with videos and audio narration. There is a lack of motivational coaching that other apps utilise and no shortage of branding throughout the marketing ploy of the app but Adidas have created a well-balanced entry to the field.
Nike Training Club
Not to be outdone, sporting powerhouse Nike have compiled an impressive list of free content and a big selling point of no subscription; everything on the app is free. Established as a marketing tool (with no shortage of the famous swoosh) in the same way the Adidas training app is, Nike have created a space in which workouts can be utilised through recommendations upon sign up after basic information and activity levels have been set up.
In addition to this, the option to browse for muscle groups and workout types provides a greater range of variety to workouts and it is possible to limit those searches to short workouts or specify minimal or no equipment. With over 200 workouts available through the app for free and Nike’s integration into their other apps and platforms, the Nike Training Club provides a comprehensive mix of fitness opportunities without breaking the bank.
(Credit: Apple App Store)
Those New to Home Workouts
For those that find themselves new to home workouts and fitness in general, Sworkit provides a perfect entry into the world. A simplistic user interface, breaking down fundamental bodyweight workouts into 4 categories; strength, cardio, yoga and stretching gives a great introduction into the process of a home workout without providing a plethora of complicated or intimidating movement workouts. Easy to follow demonstrable examples of movements and a handy timer provides the perfect way to start your fitness journey. With minimal other distractions on the screen, Sworkit provides a fantastic way to build a base of understanding and confidence in the movements required in your home-based fitness journey.
With the aforementioned issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, a host of trainers and influencers found their platform otherwise unavailable to them. To create content for free, many now utilise their social media platforms and following. Instagram and IGTV has therefore become a beacon for on demand, free fitness content.
Creators such as Belle Hut, Barrys, Psycle London, Third Space gyms and Variis provide a varied approach to content from individuals in their living room to private gyms and trainers. Equally, a search of #Fitness or similar terms on IGTV will provide a plethora of opportunities to harness the knowledge of the fitness industry.
What is right for me?!
The best bet in the modern climate is to trial as many different apps as you would like. Each provides a personalised and unique experience that will suit different individuals in different ways. From the energy and motivation of a specific trainer, to the colours and visuals provided on the app, see what works best for you and helps you kick-start your home workout routine!