9 Types of At-Home Smart Gym Equipment Trainers Love
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It seems like the smart gym home equipment just keeps coming. Here are some options to consider, including Mirror, FightCamp, Tonal, Hydrow Rower, Clmbr, and JaxJox smart kettlebells.
Skipping the gym
One of the lessons 2020 taught us is how important it is to take care of our health. It also taught us that we don’t necessarily need to leave our homes to do it.
Witness the reports of delayed orders on Pelotons and other exercise bikes, weights, and other products that have been sold out for months, and the steady stream of new launches in the connected at-home fitness space. We’ve clearly leaned into the idea of exercising at home.
The at-home fitness boom of 2020
Peloton’s success is probably the best example of how we embraced at-home fitness in 2020. The company’s total revenue for fiscal year 2020 was more than $1.8 billion, a 100 percent increase from 2019. The demand quickly outpaced supply. And it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon: Peloton is projecting $3.5 to $3.65 billion in sales for 2021 as fitness buffs continue to invest in pricey home gym equipment.
Some experts expect the at-home fitness trend to stick.
“I think that we are going to continue to see people working out at home post-pandemic,” says Sarah Taylor, certified personal trainer and owner of Fitness By Sarah Taylor. “People have realized that they can get effective workouts at home without all the travel and extra work to get to the gym.”
There’s also a lot of apprehension about when it will be safe to go back to a gym, and how long capacity limits will be in place, adds Taylor. She’s so confident that the at-home fitness market is here to stay that she closed her studio in Toronto and plans to teach classes and train clients completely virtually moving forward.
But the at-home smart gym market goes well beyond Peloton. Countless other companies launched or updated their own high-tech, at-home workout equipment and tools to take advantage of this huge industry shift.
If you’re looking to bring the gym into your own home, too, you’ve got options. Lots. Here’s how to figure out which ones might be right for you.
The power of connection
One of the biggest benefits of smart at-home fitness equipment is how it fosters connection, even if it’s just virtual.
Renee Peel, certified personal trainer, kettlebell specialist, and founder of PeelFit Training, notes that many people—herself included—miss the experience of training in person. The sense of community and energy you get from spending time with other people in the gym or studio can’t be beat.
“While nothing will compare to the in-person options of having a trainer or coach right in front of you, the smart options are pretty amazing,” she says.
One of the biggest benefits: how much easier it can be to get into a routine. “Having equipment sitting right in your home serves as a constant reminder. And it makes it harder to come up with excuses,” she says. “If you stare at that row machine long enough, you’re bound to get on it, right?”
Being able to squeeze in a workout without having to first travel somewhere can make it a lot easier to exercise consistently. And that consistency is key for turning exercise into a habit and reaching fitness goals, Peel says.
Some people are also just more confident working out at home. “Some people don’t feel comfortable in gyms and studios, even pre-pandemic,” she adds.
It can be hard to get motivated when you’re not with a trainer or group of classmates helping to hype you up. But high-tech fitness solutions can help with that. “These smart options can give a similar sense of community that you get from a gym or studio, but with less pressure,” Peel says.
Being able to livestream a workout and feel the instructor’s energy—even if you can’t interact—makes a huge difference, especially compared to regular at-home workouts where it’s just you and your weights.
High-tech gym equipment options
It can be hard to figure out what’s worth your hard-earned money, especially if you can’t try out a piece of equipment first. Both Taylor and Peel recommend reading lots of reviews and getting personal testimonials about a product before you decide to buy.
“Reviews tell a good story about a product,” Taylor says. “You want to see how people enjoyed using the equipment, the quality—did things fall apart, have they lasted a long time—if they are comfortable to use, easy to put together, and so on.” If possible, look for a trial option and/or warranty, she suggests.
Resist the temptation to buy something just because everyone else is. “It’s worth the price tag if it fits into your budget, into your space, and you will use it,” says Peel. “Everyone is different so you should invest in what you know you will use.”
Popular at-home smart gym equipment
To help you get started, we rounded up the most-talked-about, smart at-home fitness equipment that can help you crush your fitness goals this year—without ever leaving home.
Mirror is literally a big mirror that you hang on your wall. As you take a class, the mirror doubles as a screen for you to watch the instructor and also see yourself move—which is a great way to make sure you’re doing each exercise correctly. Workouts span all genres, from yoga to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to boxing. You’ll sign up for a Mirror Membership ($39/month with a one-year commitment), which gives you unlimited access to new live workouts weekly and a library of thousands of on-demand workouts. Classes range from five to 60 minutes and cater to all experience levels.
Peloton Bike and Bike+
Starts at $1,895
Peloton now offers two bike models: the original Bike and the new Bike+, which features a larger rotating touchscreen, more speakers, resistance that auto-adjusts when the instructor tells it to, and integration with Apple GymKit. Delivery and assembly are included in the price. And the bikes come with a 30-day risk-free trial. If you’re not happy with it, you can return it for a full refund.
You can also upgrade your package to include other equipment, like clip-in bike shoes, headphones, weights, and a heart rate monitor. The cost does not include a Peloton All-Access Membership ($39/month), which you’ll need in order to stream workouts and access your performance metrics. The workout options go well beyond the bike. You can stream everything from stretching to bootcamp, and even a guided run outside. (Be sure to check out these Peloton-compatible shoes that could save you some cash.)
Starts at $1,219
FightCamp comes with everything you need to turn your living room into a boxing gym, including a freestanding bag, mat, wraps, and gloves. The punch tracker sensors go inside your gloves so that every jab, cross, and hook is tracked throughout class.
The FightCamp Membership ($39/month) gives you unlimited on-demand access to a library of 200-plus workouts and tutorials, which you can cast on your TV or an iOS device, curated music stations, and more. Workouts are similar to what you’d expect at a boxing gym, combining punches, defensive moves, bodyweight strength moves, and some heart-pumping plyometric work thrown in.
Starts at $2,995
Tonal is a smart strength-training system that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to adjust your weight digitally, check your form, and give you feedback—just like a real trainer would. The system also measures reps, sets, range of motion, and more statistics so you can see how your strength changes over time. The base system uses cables, but adding the smart accessory bundle—which includes smart handles, a bar, rope, bench, roller, and mat—opens you up to more workout possibilities. You can also purchase adaptors to hook up your own accessories.
The Tonal membership ($49/month with a one-year commitment) is required to access the library of strength workouts and AI features like automatic weight adjustments and strength assessments, tracking, and reporting.
JaxJox KettlebellConnect 2.0 and InteractiveStudio
This digital adjustable kettlebell lets you choose from 12- to-42 pound weight, without needing to buy and store multiple pieces of equipment. The kettlebell also tracks your performance, so you can see your reps, volume, power, and more when you sync it to the companion app. You can use the kettlebell for any of your regular workouts. Or, for $12.99/month, you can upgrade to the premium app and get access to on-demand workout classes.
JaxJox also just launched an all-in-one interactive studio ($2,199) that includes a huge screen, the smart kettlebell, and smart dumbbells for a total of 142 pounds of adjustable digital weight, plus a smart push-up bar and foam roller. For $39/month you can access livestreamed and on-demand cardio, strength, and recovery classes, plus AI performance tracking and live coaching. (Here’s how to use a foam roller for back pain.)
Tempo is another smart gym system that aims to be a one-stop shop for all your fitness needs. It’s good for beginners because it focuses heavily on the personalized feedback component, and uses infrared and 3D-modeling technology to give precise, real-time feedback. It also tracks weight and lets you know when it’s time to increase, and offers personalized class recommendations based on the goals you set.
Unlike other similar devices on this list, Tempo comes with a barbell, dumbbells, and plates that store neatly into a little locker under the screen. Like most other smart systems, you’re required to sign up for a membership to access live and on‐demand classes, which include strength training, HIIT, cardio, mobility, and recovery.
Starts at $2,245
The Hydrow was built to be a high-tech rowing machine. But it also looks pretty good in your living room, from the sleek body to the crisp touchscreen display. The electromagnetic and computer-controlled drag mechanism mimics the feel of rowing on water, and is extremely quiet.
The machine gives you access to live workouts (membership is $38/month), allowing you to row in real-time on the water with the instructor and fellow classmates. There are also on-demand rows, unguided rows through scenic waterways, and access to other workouts that complement rowing—like yoga, pilates, and strength training. (Here are the best at-home rowing machines at every price point.)
NordicTrack Commercial 1750 Treadmill
NordicTrack has an impressive selection of connected treadmills that come equipped with the iFit fitness platform (a one-year membership is included with the purchase price), which offers a huge selection of live and on-demand workouts. The Commercial 1750 model has a relatively small touchscreen display, but is one of the more affordable options. Updated technology in this new model makes for a quiet and smooth ride. And the belt lets you choose a more cushioned run or one that mimics road running. The iFit platform offers live and on-demand workouts for both on and off the treadmill.
If you’re curious, NordicTrack also sells connected stationary bikes, ellipticals, rowers, and a Mirror-like strength system called Vault. They all use the iFit platform for streaming and on-demand class options. You’ve got lots of options depending on what you like and want.
A stair-stepper on steroids, the Clmbr machine is not for the faint of heart. Vertical climbing machines offer a really unique, high-intensity cardio workout that are often used in-studio to complement strength training or activities like boxing. The sleek machine comes with a large touchscreen and built-in sound system so you can crank up the music and immerse yourself in your workout.
Real-time metrics and a community leaderboard make it easy to “climb with friends” and engage in some friendly competition. Unfortunately, there aren’t live class options. But you can access hundreds of prerecorded workouts and choose what you want based on your desired workout style, music type, or instructor.
- U.S. Securites and Exchange Commission: "Form 10-K Peloton Interactive, Inc."
- Sarah Taylor, certified personal trainer and owner of Fitness By Sarah Taylor
- Renee Peel, certified personal trainer, kettlebell specialist, and founder of Peelfit Training
- The New York Times: "Peloton’s Rapid Rise Is Threatened by Its Slow Delivery"