Even if we weren’t all quarantined, it’s springtime, which means it’s time to start sweating our way towards the perfect summer body. With exercise apps for all kinds of home workouts, you can get in shape without hitting the gym.
Most of these workout apps require don’t any special equipment (save for Zwift and TrainerRoad, but we’ll talk about that in their respective sections)—just a bit of free space in your home. However, some have more workouts they can offer you if you have things like dumbbells, resistance bands, or a yoga mat. And don’t worry if you’re new to working out (or just trying to settle back into your previous routine), each of these apps is friendly towards beginners and advanced users alike.
What to Look for in Workout Apps
Every workout app has the same two goals: to motivate you to get up off the couch and to help you complete successful workouts on a regular basis. Here are a few other things every good workout app should have:
- Motivating and Helpful Trainers: A knowledgeable instructor who’s passionate about the class they’re teaching is more likely to get you pumped about the class as well. Whether the video is pre-recorded or you’re taking part in a live class, the trainer running your virtual workout should encourage you and provide plenty of helpful tips to ensure you’re doing things correctly. Some fitness apps even send you motivational text messages or videos from their trainers.
- A Variety of Workouts: Stay motivated by choosing an app with tons of programs. The best workout apps shake things up on a regular basis with fresh classes that target different muscles and areas each time. Ensure your app keeps an updated schedule of upcoming live classes, if they offer them, so you can plan ahead.
- Statistic Tracking: Your body will tell you whether or not a workout is effective, but it’s still fun to track your progress with statistics. Choose an app with comprehensive tracking for details like your best times, average heart rate over a period, and any other element you’re interested in keeping an eye on.
- Low Cost: These apps provide regularly-updated courses designed and led by expert trainers, so they have to cover their costs. This doesn’t mean your wallet should suffer as a result, however. You can always go with a free workout app, but premium-tier upgrades get you access to more courses and features, and they typically cost less than an annual gym membership.
For an All-Around Workout: Nike Training Club
No matter your experience level or fitness needs, Nike Training Club (Free) is the best place to go for an all-around workout. You don’t need any equipment to use the app (though it has extra classes for specific equipment if you do). NTC is currently offering free access to Premium features during COVID-19, so everyone can stay fit while staying at home (normally this costs $14.99/month or $119/year). Premium access gets you additional workout formats, expert guidance on nutrition and wellness, and 4-6 week workout programs led by expert trainers.
Whether you want to focus on endurance, strength, yoga, or mobility, Training Club has your back. The app has a large library of low- and high-intensity workouts ranging from 15-45 minutes that are designed for beginner, intermediate, and advanced users. Nike Training Club also lets you record your activities and workouts, and it can sync with Google Fit.
For Beginners: Jefit
Jefit (Free) is good for anyone looking to squeeze in a workout, but it’s an amazing resource for beginners. It makes tracking easy and doesn’t require any equipment. The app offers over 1,300 exercises accompanied by full, easy to read instructions and HD videos so you can understand each step and see which parts of your body you’re working out.
Jefit offers preset session styles for kettlebells, 5×5, weightlifting, 3 or 4 day splits, and more, or you can create custom sessions. One of Jefit’s most impressive features is its comprehensive tracking. It’s easy to enter workout data—like your weight and how many reps you completed—and it displays which muscle groups you targeted. You can even share your workouts with friends.
For Audio-Based Workouts: Aaptiv
Following a workout video isn’t for everyone. If you just wanna pop in your earbuds and start working out, Aaptiv ($14.99/month) is for you. It gives you access to over 2,500 workouts with 30 new classes added to the existing catalog each week. Aaptiv offers terrific full-body workouts aimed at stretching, strength training, outdoor running, and yoga, as well as equipment-specific courses covering cycling, rowing, treadmills, and ellipticals. The app can even help you train for 5Ks or full marathons. It’s engaging playlists let you listen to the latest tracks from popular artists like Dua Lipa, David Guetta, and more while you train. Aaptiv also offers a 7-day free trial if you want to check it out before subscribing.
For HIIT Workouts: Interval Timer
If you’re into high intensity interval training (HIIT), Interval Timer (Free) has the tools you need for the perfect quick HIIT workout. The app’s minimal, color-based interface and large timing display is easy to see at a glance, and its handy presets let you switch between activities without disrupting your workout. You can create custom timers and HIIT templates tailored to your specific needs, and even share them with others who use the app. And if you like to listen to music while you train, don’t fret—Interval Timer’s music integration allows you to listen to your favorite tunes while you use the app.
For Strength-Training: Sworkit
Whether your goal is to become stronger, fitter, or leaner, Sworkit ($9.99/month, or $59.99/year) is the go-to app for strength training. Sworkit offers over 400 tailored workout programs for all three of those fitness goals (for beginners and advanced users), and you don’t need any equipment. Workouts last anywhere from five minutes to an hour, and you can connect with a professional trainer to see how experts demo a move. Enjoy a free 7-day trial and explore what Sworkit has to offer before starting a subscription.
For Yoga Enthusiasts: Daily Yoga
Yoga is a stellar way to increase your flexibility, tone your muscles, and improve your athletic performance. Daily Yoga (Free) offers yoga classes for beginners and experts alike, offering over 50 workouts and class plans, which include over 500 yoga poses. Every video is in HD, so you’ll have no problem seeing exactly how advanced or extra twisty poses work. Daily Yoga’s classes run anywhere from five minutes up to 70, so you can always find a class that’s just the right length, and squeeze in a sesh any time you’re looking to stretch or de-stress.
For Cyclists: TrainerRoad
If you want to up your cycling game and get faster, turn to TrainerRoad ($19.95/month). With science-backed planning, training, and analysis tools, the app helps you increase your performance and get the most out of your sessions. To use this app, you’ll need a compatible trainer as well as speed and cadence sensors at the very least. If you want the full experience, you’ll need a smart trainer and a power meter.
TrainerRoad has helpful tools for planning your upcoming rides around your goals and lifestyle. It also pushes you during rides with its structured, power-based interval training designed to make you faster (both indoors and outdoors), and it tracks your performance with comprehensive analytics and insights. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist looking to train up for your next cross country marathon, or a beginner looking to train for a triathlon down the road, TrainerRoad can help you reach your goals.
For Gamified Group Runs/Rides: Zwift
Whether you’re into running, cycling, or alternating between both, Zwift ($14.99/month, with a free 7-day trial) is the fun app you need at your side. The app combines video games with serious training to make your journey towards being faster and more powerful a fun and memorable one. Like with TrainerRoad, you’ll need a compatible trainer and speed/cadence sensors or a smart trainer and/or power meter to use Zwift for cycling. For running, you’ll need a compatible treadmill for this app.
With Zwift, you can train alongside a virtual community, and choose from over 1,000 structured workouts and training plans designed by expert coaches. Enjoy riding or running through fun courses set in deserts, atop volcanoes, or within big cities. Zwift makes workouts more exciting and engaging, and it’s the perfect choice if you need extra motivation to work out. You can even run or ride alongside your real-life friends in its virtual world, which is something many of us need right now.