The Best Home Workouts Of 2021
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced most of us to radically change our way of life. Many people began working from home, schools shut all over the country, and restaurants, cinemas, and theaters shut their doors. For fitness enthusiasts, COVID lockdowns meant bidding farewell to weights, treadmills, and yoga studios.
Fortunately, working out at home has become easier and easier in the past year thanks to some incredible apps and home workout subscriptions. In fact, as Fortune noted in 2020, 9 out of 10 Americans planned to continue at-home exercising even after gyms reopened. We’ve done a round-up of the best home workout apps, YouTube channels, and gurus to help you get active and feel great even when you’re cooped up at home.
Whether your goals are to build muscle, lose some excess lockdown weight, get in tune with your body, or simply re-energize, there’s bound to be a home workout option that suits you. Here are our favorite home workouts for 2021.
Get your heart rate up with Apple Fitness+
Apple always seems to lead the pack when it comes to personal technology. So, when it comes to home fitness, it’s no surprise that Apple’s fitness app stands out from the crowd. As one reviewer wrote for The Guardian, “Short of getting a personal trainer, Fitness+ is at least good at getting me to push myself during cardio workouts.”
GQ explained in a review that the platform launched in December of 2020 and quickly became one of the most exciting new additions to the home workout industry. The app is integrated with the Apple Watch. This means that you can track your heart rate, calories, and other metrics while working out, making it the perfect option for people interested in setting specific goals. Of course, the downside to this is that the app is only available for people who actually own an Apple Watch.
The app features a wide variety of classes, such as yoga, HIIT, and strength training, that range from 5 to 45 minutes. Each class comes with its own Apple Music playlist to get you in the zone. The app is geared towards people of all fitness levels and abilities, though the classes may feel a little basic for more experienced exercisers.
Fitness+ costs $10 a month.
Use Alo Moves to perfect your downward-facing dog
Alo Moves may initially seem a little intimidating, but judging by the reviews, once you’re hooked, it’s hard to stop. The fitness app is an offshoot of the L.A. activewear brand Alo Yoga and streams on-demand yoga classes taught by beautiful yoga instructors from naturally-lit, plant-filled studio rooms. It also offers barre, HIIT, strength, and restorative stretching.
In one review for Glamour, a user explained that the app’s extensive workout library means that there really is a home workout for everyone. Plus, the app has classes for beginners along with advanced classes for more experienced yogis. There are also video series that focus on specific skills and specific body areas, so you really can target your workout routine to what your body needs.
We spoke to Emilie Nasseh, a NASM-certified personal trainer, who is a huge fan of Alo Moves and who used the app for herself when gyms closed. “I always love their yoga flows and even their HIIT workouts,” she gushed. “I would recommend the platform for any of those interested in learning more about Yoga or pilates based workouts,” she said.
You can access Alo Moves for $20 a month.
Get pumped with the Peloton App
Peloton became infamous in 2019 when their Christmas ad went viral for what some claimed were its sexist undertones (via The New York Times). Whether you loved the ad or hated it, Peloton’s exercise app has definitely proven itself. As PopSugar reported in a review, the app is filled with simple workouts at a decent price. With its sleek interface and its intuitive categories, this app is perfect for people who want their home workout to be as simple as possible. Plus, this app can be used in a gym, so you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.
The Peloton App has a huge variety of workout styles. Some classes require basic equipment, while others can be done with nothing but an exercise mat. However, as the app was initially designed for people with a Peloton bike, there will be a few workouts that you can’t do unless you get the bike, too. As Reviewed noted, the app is especially good for outdoor running and walking classes.
The Peloton App costs $12.99 a month.
You can count on Nike for more than just sneakers thanks to Nike Training Club
We all know Nike as the athletic wear company with the famous tick logo, but you may not have realized the company also has an extensive workout app, too. Nike Training Club is a little different to many other class-based workout apps. As The Guardian noted in a review, it “feels less human than its competitors” as instructors tend to remain silent while showing how to do specific moves. This app is especially good for fitness enthusiasts who have their own equipment — think dumbbells, a jump rope, and so on.
As one reviewer noted on Reviewed, the app offers a wide range of workouts that can be done while you listen to a playlist. The app helps you to set goals and create a workout schedule so that you can take control of your fitness plans. Plus, the app is now available for free, so it’s hard to find many flaws!
Blogilates is an enthusiastic approach to fitness
Blogilates is a much-loved YouTube channel run by Casey Ho. If you’ve ever come across Ho before, you’ll know that she’s the epitome of the bubbly, energetic fitness instructor, complete with an unwavering ear-to-ear smile and cheerleader-levels of encouragement. The workouts center around the principles of Pilates and aim to train and tone the body.
One reviewer for The Guardian explained that Ho’s ab workouts definitely stood out. “Ho puts just enough focus on form to stop beginners feeling too far out of their depth,” the reviewer wrote. However, this reviewer found that the saccharine nature of the videos wasn’t for her.
It seems like this at-home workout routine is best suited for those of us who enjoy a bit of sugary sweet, overly enthusiastic instruction and don’t feel the need to roll the eyes at the slightly cringeworthy words like “bubble butt” or indeed “Blogilates.” This program is probably aimed at younger exercisers — but for those who like this sort of thing, Blogilates is sure to be a hit.
Yoga with Adriene will help you complete a relaxing home workout
Adriene Mishler of Yoga With Adriene is undoubtedly one of the most beloved YouTube fitness instructors out there. With over 9 million subscribers, it’s clear that Mishler has a seriously dedicated fan base — her yoga videos must be doing something right. Unlike some of the more hardcore fitness apps, Yoga With Adriene’s mantra — “find what feels good” — sums up the chilled-out, body-positive vibe on the YouTube channel. Mishler takes it back to basics, focusing on form, breathing, meditation, and healthy movement. As Vox noted, Mishler’s famously silly and breezy attitude helps to set the tone for these encouraging and rejuvenating home workout videos.
We spoke to Louise Hoare, a London-based Ashtanga-trained yoga instructor, about the benefits of Mishler’s yoga videos. “She is accessible for every fitness level, and delves sensitively into more of the spiritual and philosophical side of yoga with little sayings, mantras, and breath work,” she said. While other instructors may focus on the physical side only, Mishler is different. “She reminds us that maybe it’s not about that,” Hoare said. “Maybe it’s about connecting to the breath, stilling the mind a little, becoming more aware of our bodies and truly arriving in the present moment.”
Les Mills On Demand offers a variety of classes for at-home workouts
Les Mills is a globally recognized fitness brand from New Zealand known for its strength, cardio, and HIIT classes. Its on-demand option offers the same workouts at home. As Coach pointed out, Les Mills workouts are pretty specific — you may have heard of Bodypump, Bodystep, and Bodycombat — but this at-home option offers both beginners classes that will ease you into the Les Mills rhythm and more advanced classes. With Les Mills, you’ll find a huge variety of classes, only a few of which require extra equipment. Other perks of Les Mills include the amazing playlists and the kids’ exercise classes.
On Women’s Health, one reviewer noted that the best way to commit to Les Mills was by investing in their basic equipment, such as the Smartbar. By the sounds of things, this app is ideal for people who are either familiar with the Les Mills workout style or want to leap into the Les Mills way of life.
Les Mills On Demand is available for $14.99 a month.
P.volve can help you get the coveted "ab crack"
P.volve is famous for its celebrity-endorsed, low-impact workouts. As one reviewer noted in Women’s Health, the exercises are about realigning the way we think about fitness — gains do not have to be painful. As the founder Stephen Pasterino said, “You don’t need to hurt yourself to transform your body.” The workouts at P.Volve promise that coveted sleek physique with round glutes, toned slender arms, lean things, and so on.
In 2020, British Vogue reviewed the studio’s home workouts. As the reviewer explained, the app is filled with hundreds of workouts that range from 10 minutes to an hour in length. Unlike other at-home workouts, P.volve’s at-home app requires you to invest in some equipment. While this may seem a little excessive, for fitness enthusiasts, the extra equipment means that you can really target certain muscle groups and get the same quality of workout that you would in the gym. The good news is, this equipment seems to work just as well as the heavy dumbbells you find in the gym. This reviewer found the at-home workouts improved her joint pain, increased her flexibility, and even gave her an “ab crack.” Sounds pretty good to us!
P.volve’s digital membership costs $19.99 a month.
Personalize your at-home workouts with Aaptiv
Aaptiv is a workout app that involves structured home workout routines combined with carefully tailored motivating playlists. As Healthline reported, this app is especially good for people with specific personal fitness goals in mind. When you begin your workouts, you’ll get to input your relevant details — your current fitness level, your goals, your available at-home equipment, and your preferred types of workouts. The app has everything from yoga to HIIT to cycling to running. The app will then create a completely unique workout routine just for you. Think of it as your very own AI personal trainer.
It’s easy to see why Aaptiv is so popular. With it’s highly personalized workouts, it’s easy to stay motivated while enjoying yourself. Plus, you’ll likely start seeing your desired results quickly. As one reviewer for Into The Gloss said, “I’m in better shape than I’ve been in since I was in high school.”
A monthly subscription to Aaptiv will cost $14.99 a month.
Focus on your strength with StrongLifts
Many of the fitness apps you’ll come across will focus on providing a well-rounded selection of home workout options. StrongLifts does the opposite. This app is entirely focused on strength building. If building strength is your goal, this is the app for you. Of course, you’ll need a fair amount of equipment, which, for some, may be a downside.
As The Guardian wrote in a review of the app, “StrongLifts is the best introduction to this type of workout there is, providing basic coaching and tracking, as well as just enough motivation to get you to lift the next set.” Remarkably, the app helped the reviewer go from “struggling with a 20kg [44 lbs.] bar to reliably squatting my own weight.”
While this app provides you with motivation and will also help you to track your gains and your workout routines, making it easy to build towards specific lifting goals as quickly as possible. As the StrongLifts website explained, the app “replaces pen and paper by keeping track of your workouts” and then saves them in the cloud where they’re synced up to all of your devices.
You can use the StrongLists app for free, though there is a Pro version that will charge you every three months or yearly.
Dance your way to a healthier you with The Sculpt Society
The Sculpt Society stands out for being exceptionally fun. Let’s face it — lots of workouts can be pretty tough to get through. This app provides uplifting dance cardio and low-impact sculpting workouts by NYC trainer Megan Roup that rarely require weights. A reviewer for Repeller was blown away by just how great the workouts left her feeling. As she put it, “I feel like a superhero in the comic that is my life after finishing one of these workouts.”
By the sounds of things, this app is ideal for people who tend to dislike working out but also want to feel that their workouts are doing something. As the Repeller reviewer said, “I definitely sweat, but not to the point that I’m ready to give up halfway in.”
Another reviewer for Byrdie also gushed about the app’s ability to put a smile on her face. As she explained, even though she found Roup’s quick dance moves hard to follow, she found that they became easier over time and always left her feeling wonderful. What more could you want from a home workout!
You can sign up for a monthly plan with The Sculpt Society for $19.99.
Find your center with Chris Hemsworth's workout app, Centr
Centr is the fitness app by Chris Hemsworth. So if you’ve ever wanted Thor as your personal trainer, now’s your chance! As Coach explained, the app does more than just offer at-home workouts. It also helps you plan your meals and practice mindfulness. The app has roughly 1,000 workouts along with 493 recipes and 137 mindfulness exercises. You could call it the whole package. After all, what good is training the muscles if the rest of the body and the mind don’t also get a workout. This app is ideal for people who are willing to put themselves in Hemsworth’s very capable hands and spend some time and money in the process.
As a reviewer for T3 explained, the workout section is probably the best aspect of the app. With both self-guided and coached exercises available, the app caters to all levels. Notably, every workout includes cardio. In the meal planning section, you can select from a range of simple recipes and add the ingredients needed directly to your shopping list.
This app promises to get you looking, eating, and even thinking like Thor — sounds pretty good to us!
A monthly subscription to Centr costs $29.99.
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