With gyms still shuttered — or, even if they’re open, questionably safe — around the country due to Covid-19, home gyms have never been more popular. After all, it’s much safer to work out at home right now than in a gym surrounded by other heavily-breathing people. But not everyone is the home gym-type. Some people prefer to work out in a gym, be it for the sense of community, the state of the art equipment, or the added motivation of taking part in an activity outside the home. These people are the likely culprits for the current boom we’re seeing in smart home gyms, which bring more of an authentic gym experience into the home. The number of available options has exploded as of late, but what are the best smart home gyms to buy?
There are many types of smart home gyms currently on the market offering several different approaches to getting you in shape. Some are more traditional pieces of cardio equipment, like exercise bikes and treadmills, that bring the experience of attending a gym class into your home. Others try to turn working out into more of a game via the use of the latest technology. And some go even further, utilizing artificial intelligence to analyze your workouts and tailor programs specifically for you. It can be tough to find the best smart home gyms with so many to choose from, but this guide ought to make it easier.
The Benefits Of A Smart Home Gym
More Brains = More Brawn
Motivation: One of the biggest benefits of going to a physical gym is the added motivation it gives you to work out. Whether you belong to a class or are simply propelled to go to the gym by knowing that other gymgoers will see you working out, the added motivation of belonging to a gym is powerful. That’s why many smart home gyms have similar motivating effects built-in. Many offer live classes and robust online communities that you won’t get from a normal home gym setup, meaning you can feel like you’re a part of a gym again with a real support system and accountability — even from the comfort of your own home.
Insight: If you use a personal trainer at the gym, you know that they can offer you powerful insight into your fitness and wellbeing. Whether it’s correcting your form, instructing you on exercises, or figuring out your sets and reps, trainers are a resource that isn’t so easily replicated in the home. At least, that used to be the case. Some modern home gyms are able to act as virtual personal trainers, either through the use of real live trainers or fitness-calibrated AIs that learn how you workout and offer ways to improve. It’s bad news for the personal trainer business, but it’s good news for you.
Fun: Even when going to a gym, working out can be monotonous. Whether you’re running endlessly on a treadmill or lifting weights, doing the same old routine can get very old and very boring very quickly. Some smart home gyms look to solve this problem by making fitness fun, often through the use of gamification. Whether you’re trying to beat your own high score or competing against other weekend warriors, some modern-day smart home gyms incorporate what are essentially calorie-burning video games into their framework. And there’s not a person alive who doesn’t think video games aren’t fun.
MYX Fitness The MYX
MYX’s business model is offering a high-quality smart home gym experience at a price that undercuts the competition, and they make a great case. Their base studio includes a gym-quality Star Trac Bike outfitted with a rotating 21.5” HD touchscreen, while you can upgrade to a costlier model that throws in other workout equipment. $29/month gets you access to a library with hundreds of classes (and new ones added weekly), one-on-one coaching, customized heart rate-based training, and the SmartMYX AI engine that tailors workouts specifically for you based on your body and goals.
Without Peloton, it’s unlikely that the smart home gym space would be as robust as it is today. The purveyors of smart exercise bikes have become one of the leading forces in home fitness, with a massive library of live and on-demand classes, a thriving and passionate community of users, and a roster of world-class instructors; some of whom are fast on their way to becoming fitness celebrities. You’ll need to pony up $39/month for an All-Access membership that offers you the most interactive and customizable experience, but if you’re interested in the workouts only, then a $12.99/month Digital Membership will work just fine.
NordicTrack Commercial X22i
NordicTrack has been a player in the home gym space since long before any other company on this list, but they’ve recently gone all-in in the smart home gym segment, offering smart bikes, treadmills, rowers, and more. This treadmill is one of their best offerings. It’s the same quality as one you’ll find in a gym, with the added bonus of a 22” smart HD touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity for wireless headphones, and a free one-year membership to iFit personal training that allows trainers to digitally adjust your machine’s incline, decline, and speed during workouts.
Peloton isn’t just for spin junkies, they also make a pretty revolutionary treadmill. The Tread+ has a shock-absorbing belt that consists of 59 individual slats, softly cushioning your feet so you can train harder with less fatigue. There’s also a massive 32” touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity, and a 20W soundbar in case you feel like really having a party on your tread. And since it’s from Peloton, you get access to the same top-of-the-line classes and community as bike owners.
Echelon Reflect 40
Echelon is a company that has irons in many smart home gym fires (figure of speech, none of these products are known fire hazards), offering smart versions of almost every piece of gym equipment at competitive prices. And it seems to be working, as their $39.99/month Echelon United Membership offers the world’s largest connected fitness studio, with thousands of classes and celebrity trainers like Mario Lopez. The Reflect is Echelon’s compact take on a trainer mirror, as it weighs just 26 pounds and can be hung on your wall.
Mirror From Lululemon
Mirror from Lululemon invented the trainer mirror, and it’s still the one to beat in the space. When deactivated, it looks like a slick piece of home decor, but when turned on the Mirror offers you the ability to follow along with your trainer, getting unprecedented visual feedback in real-time thanks to its innovative design. The $39/month Mirror membership includes access to a vast library of live and on-demand classes covering a whopping 50+ different genres, meaning you’re pretty much guaranteed to find a workout that works for you — and you’ll know you look good doing it, too.
Rowing is one of the best full-body workouts you can do, but it can also be one of the most mind-numbing. Ergatta solves this problem by way of its 17.3” Android-powered HD touchscreen that displays various types of rowing-based video games. Some of these games allow you to work toward achieving an ultimate goal, while others pit you against members of the Ergatta community. $29.99/month gets you access to the full Ergatta experience, which also includes Active Intelligence that calibrates challenges and feedback to your fitness profile. Plus, unlike most pieces of exercise equipment, Ergatta is legitimately beautiful and is easy to store.
Hydrow is another rower that aims to take the boredom out of rowing, but it takes a drastically different approach than Ergatta. This rower is engineered to feel not like you’re at the gym, but like you’re out on the water in an actual rowboat thanks to its electromagnetic and computer-controlled drag mechanism. To further immerse yourself, Hydrow’s 22” HD touchscreen displays live and on-demand classes on the water, with instructors who are actual competitive rowing athletes. Access to these wild and wet classes requires an all-access membership at $38/month.
Full Body Training
Bowflex Max Trainer M9
Like NordicTrack, home fitness trailblazer Bowflex has had to change with the times to stay competitive. And they’re definitely competing with this high-level HIIT machine. The WiFi and Bluetooth-connected M9 offers an intense full-body workout with access to Bowflex’s proprietary $19.99/month JRNY fitness platform that includes customized plans, trainer-led classes, and real-time digital coaching that automatically adjusts as your fitness improves. And if you’re in the mood for a little entertainment during your workout, you can also stream Netflix, Disney+, and more content directly on your machine.
One of the more unique and innovative smart home gym options, CLMBR brings the climbing machine experience into the home. A favorite workout of pro athletes for the way its high-rate of muscle engagement and natural movements, CLMBR is also compact, taking up just three square feet of floor space. Its sweatproof HD touchscreen is positioned to be front-and-center during your workouts, offering you a more immersive experience for the on-demand library of instructor-led classes and community challenges. Membership is $39/month for access to classes, with app-integration also coming in the near future.
Boxing has left the confines of dusty old gyms run by old men in sweatsuits and has come into the home — and frankly, it’s never looked better. FightCamp consists of a free-standing heavy bag, premium boxing gloves, hand wraps, a heavy-duty workout mat, and professional-grade punch trackers. The trackers record your punches in real-time, with your stats showing up on your preferred device’s screen as you follow along during your workouts. You’ll need a $39/month FightCamp membership to unlock the trackers, but it’s a necessary expense if you want to experience what makes FightCamp special.
Another home boxing experience, Liteboxer doesn’t try to replicate the experience of going to a boxing gym so much as it tries to make boxing fun. It does this by, essentially, turning boxing into a futuristic video game. Its punch pad features patented Rhythm Technology that syncs lights, music, and tempo to create an immersive workout that feels like you’re at the arcade. Connect your phone or tablet via the Liteboxer app, and you’ll be able to follow along to workouts, gain insight into your stats, and join in a gaming-focused community. Of course, you’ll need to pay $29/month to access everything, but that does include content that’s updated daily.
If you’re looking to try and replicate an entire gym in your home, then this is a great place to start. The JaxJox InteractiveStudio includes 142 lbs. of adjustable weight thanks to its included KettlebellConnect 2.0 and DumbbellConnect systems, plus there’s a beastly 43” rotating, 4K touchscreen. And you’ll need that huge screen after paying $39/month for your JaxJox membership that includes daily live and on-demand classes, live coaching, and personalized workout recommendations. There’s also AI performance tracking that calculates your data into a Fitness IQ score, giving you unprecedented levels of insight.
NordicTrack Vault: Complete
We mentioned that NordicTrack has gone all-in when it comes to smart home fitness, and this new product is proof of that. The Vault: Complete combines a trainer mirror with a full home gym in one compact unit. The rotating 60.5-inch mirror houses a 400 square-inch touchscreen that offers access to tons of personal training classes — a year of iFit is included — plus premium dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, yoga/pilates accessories, an exercise mat, and a towel that are all neatly and conveniently stored within its sleek shelving.
Like the Vault, Tempo is both a cabinet for workout equipment and a digital personal trainer. But instead of including a mirror, Tempo taps its advanced AI and 3D mapping technology to give you real-time feedback during your workouts. The system corrects your form, counts your reps, recommends weight, and personalizes your workouts — after you purchase a year of the required $39/month membership. And hiding behind Tempo’s 42” touchscreen are real dumbbells, a barbell, and plates totaling 115 lbs, plus a workout mat and a foam roller.
Matching a remarkably innovative “digital” weight system — which uses magnetism rather than traditional plates — with AI machine learning and a space-saving, wall-mounted design, the Tonal is something of a game-changer in the home gym industry — especially if you’re looking for strength training. And while it certainly can be considered a pricey purchase when factoring in the required $49/month membership, the difference is made up by a squad of top-level trainers, unrivaled versatility, and loads of workouts — both individual and program-based — that Tonal is constantly adding to and improving upon.
The 12 Best Workout Shirts For Men
Now that you’ve figured out which smart home gym you want to buy (hopefully), you’re going to need something to work out in. And the same comfy sweats you’ve been working from home in for the past year aren’t going to cut it. So have a look at our guide to the best workout shirts for men to get some technical duds to go along with your technological gym.