After months of the 2020 COVID-19 quarantine we’ve all (hopefully) found our new and improved socially-distanced fitness routines. You may have been a Barry’s Bootcamp fanatic, an Equinox lover or done the ClassPass route and made your rounds at all of the major boutique fitness studios in town — no matter what, things have changed. Whether your thing is weightlifting, running, swimming, cycling or a combination of all of the above, you’ve had to make some adjustments to your routine to abide by the stay-at-home safety guidelines.
Some people have opted to just workout outside, others run with some sort of athletic face mask on and some have expanded their home gym setup. A home gym is a convenient and worthwhile step towards keeping up with your fitness goals and routines, and taking care of yourself in the process. Exercise doesn’t just help us with our humble gains, it boosts our immune system, gives us that endorphins surge, increases energy and may even help us sleep better. There are a lot of perks to a home gym, so why not upgrade your equipment and make your home gym a smart home gym.
Hear us out, there’s a lot of great basic equipment out there like dumbbells, kettlebells and resistance bands. We love this equipment, it’s served us in so many ways throughout the years — the drawback? Sometimes it can be hard to get and stay on an expert-backed regimen with this equipment. You need guidance and instruction to make sure you’re getting the most out of your time spent in the gym, doing the moves correctly and, at a basic level, keeping yourself safe and avoiding injury. This is where the best smart home gym equipment comes in.
What Makes Smart Home Gym Equipment Smart?
The short answer is, the replication of an in-gym or in-studio experience at home — both through the quality of the equipment and the access to the instructors. As more people are working out and fewer people have time to make it to these expensive, high-end fitness studios there’s been a rise in smart home gym equipment over the past couple of years. Companies like Peloton, NordicTrack and Bowflex have all come out with equipment that not only helps you workout but tracks your moves, metrics and progress along with you. You can connect to virtual, instructor-led classes, engage with other members of the community on the platform and even get live feedback on your form in some cases. There’s smart home gym equipment for cycling, running, rowing, weight lifting and nearly ever other type of workout you could want whether on a bike, treadmill or through a mirror display you hang on your wall.
The convenience of these machines can’t be understated, as well as the quality of experience that you can get in the comfort of your own home on your own schedule. I personally ride a Peloton bike pretty much every day, and it has transformed my fitness routine. Not only is it fun, effective and challenging — the connection to the instructors and community that I feel is real. If you think you can’t replicate your experience in a gym or studio at home, think again. It’s never going to be exactly like meeting with your trainer — but you can get very close.
We’re going to break up the equipment by type of workout and discuss the best machines available in each category. One note is that these machines are expensive, there’s no way around it. The added technological elements definitely come at a premium, but if you break up the cost relative to the cost of a boutique fitness class a few times a week over the course of a year, the numbers start to make way more sense. Not only are you saving yourself the time spend going to and from these studios, you’re raising the likelihood that you’ll be able to consistently exercise and move on a daily basis.
Regular treadmills are great — they make a running workout indoors possible and have made large strides (mind the pun) towards technological sophistication over the years. Now, there are smart treadmills. These offer a whole new level of quality of machine as well as access to running classes with expert instructors from a studio as well as around the world.
1. NordicTrack Commercial X22i Treadmill
If you love to run and are looking for a smart treadmill for your smart home gym, NordicTrack makes a great machine. This Commercial X22i treadmill has a 22 inch interactive touch screen and incline-matching tech that can go up to 40%. The smart-response motor makes personal training easier and takes care of your body in the process. You get access to on-demand studio workouts with elite trainers that go beyond running classes into strength-building, yoga, stretching and more. This treadmill has Google Maps technology built in that enables you to run anywhere in the world as well as in-depth stat tracking that’ll keep you engaged and give you insight into exactly where you are in pursuit of your goals.
This treadmill does clock in at just under $2,000, so it’s an investment. However, if you run every day and want a treadmill that can open numerous doors for your already dedicated practice, this is a great investment.
2. Peloton Tread
Another great option, of course, is the Peloton Tread. Peloton is known for their cycling program but they also have a great running branch that includes this state-of-the-art treadmill. This machine, even without the smart capabilities, would be an incredibly high-quality treadmill. It’s made of carbon steel and has a 32″ 1080p HD touchscreen attached that streams in their on-demand classes with elite instructors that range in difficulty, length, musical theme, training style and overall challenge level. The tread tracks your real-time metrics including distance, speed and output and the shock-absorbing slat belt propels you forward for an extra spring in every step without the added impact on your joints.
The one downside of the Peloton program? It is not cheap. The basics package with this treadmill costs just over $4,200, and the extra accessories only get more expensive from there. But, if you want a stellar community of instructors attached to a high-quality machine that’ll make you actually want to work out, this treadmill is a great smart home gym option.
3. Peloton Cycling Bike
Peloton also makes an amazing cycling bike that measures up and even exceeds what a SoulCycle class offers through the quality of the bike itself as well as the extensive library of classes the platform offers. Classes vary in terms of instructor, length, music and training style with options for climbing, training in power zones, Tabata, HIIT and more. Each class tracks your cadence (leg speed) and resistance, both of which combine to produce your output, or your power in the class. The slim bike is also only 4′ by 2′ and can fit in compact spaces in your home easily if space is at a premium. You can connect to a Bluetooth heart rate monitor or smartwatch to track your body’s exertion and the belt drive is almost completely silent, so your workout won’t disturb others in your home.
If you love a good high-energy spin class, want to challenge yourself and don’t have a ton of space in your home gym for one of these smart devices — get the Peloton bike. It’s an investment worth making and intense cardio you’ll actually want to do.
If you want a smart home gym device that doesn’t look like a piece of fitness equipment, this sleek option is one of the best available. Mirror is an invisible home gym that streams in workout videos with instructors that you can follow as you watch yourself to monitor your form, reps, and, of course, how jacked you’re starting to look. Certified instructors from all over the country provide expert instruction and lived feedback during workouts that are tailored to you, your needs, skill level and preferences. You can compete with yourself and track your progress right on the Mirror itself as you workout in kettlebell classes, yoga flow sessions, boxing, barre, ab circuits and more. They’ve got everything, and the mirror is only about 2′ wide, takes up minimal wall space and with its simple design it’ll blend in with the decor in your home if you don’t have a dedicated gym space to put it in.
If you want a variety of workout classes to engage with and don’t mind staring at yourself for the majority of your workout, Mirror is one of the best smart home gym investments you can make.
The Tonal is similar to the Mirror fitness system, but designed exclusively for strength training and has coaching for every body and every muscle with up to 200 pounds of resistance built in. Tonal learns your body’s strength and tailors workouts to where you’re at now, and where you’d like to go in the future. They have programs for getting toned, building muscle and getting lean and the all-in-one machine supports over 170 different moves that combine to create the dynamic workouts that will lead you to your goals. The machine has 17 different sensors that’ll cue your form and technique as you go and the bright touchscreen keeps track of your workout in real time. If you’re more of a weight lifting person but don’t want to lug hundreds of pounds of equipment into your apartment, this one machine can offer a lot in a slim, relatively affordable package.
6. Tempo Studio
The Tempo Studio system is very similar to the previous two, but comes with premium equipment that corresponds to their classes. The all-in-one package takes the onus off of you to gather this equipment yourself, and makes the one-time purchase enough to furnish your smart home gym enough to get you started, at least. The Tempo Studio is an easel-style screen with a storage compartment inside for your equipment, that takes up about 3 sq. ft. of space. When you’re working you, you’ll need at least five feet of space out in front of it, not a lot when you consider how much you can do with this machine. Your purchase of the Tempo Studio comes with a heart rate monitor, workout mat and recovery roller, as well as two 7.5 lb. dumbbells, one 25 lb. barbell, six collars, four 10 lb. plates, four 5 lb. plates, four 2.5 lb. plates and four 1.25 lb. plates. Your $39/month membership fee comes with all the personalized, AI training you want along with their daily on-demand classes that include strength, HIIT, mobility and cardio classes with new ones coming out each week. This machine also counts your reps and gives you feedback on your form. If you want a one-stop smart home gym shop, the Tempo Studio is the way to go.
7. Hydrow Rower
Love rowing? Crossfitter who only really enjoys the rowing part of your workout? This Hydrow rower is all about bringing that out-on-the-water experience to you in your home on your own time, at your convenience. This high-power rowing machine has a 22″ HD sweat and dust-resistant touch screen attached where you can stream your workouts and hear the athlete’s instructions combined with high-energy music out of the front-facing premium speakers. The machine itself has an aluminum frame and an ergonomic body that’s built to last and work optimally with your body. The 10-roller seat is cushioned for comfort and support, and the webbed strap makes each stroke as quiet as possible and frictionless. The electromagnetic drag system is controlled by a smart computer that makes it as close to being on the water as possible. The workouts include stunning visuals and sounds that make you feel like you’re actually out on the water, and the Hydrow platform has hundreds of on-demand rows ranging in length, style and speed to suit your needs.
It’s a niche sport, but if rowing gets you going — this smart rowing machine is a necessary upgrade for your smart home gym. It also comes with a 30-day risk-free trial so if you decide you’d rather stay on dry land for a change, you can easily return it.
8. FightCamp Gym
If Rumble, BoxUnion or Shadowbox used to be your thing — we get it. Boxing is not only a great workout for your entire body, it’s fun, cathartic and a GREAT way to burn off some steam in the state of the world today. If you’re craving a few good rounds of punching at home and want to throw on a pair of gloves after months of other types of cardio, this smart home boxing system might be the way to go. The FightCamp system includes a free-standing punching bad that you’ll fill with sand or water, a heavy workout mat, premium boxing gloves and quick wraps to protect your hands. The key is in the smart FightCamp Punch Trackers that count your real-time punch speed, count and output throughout your workout. The FightCamp sensors are sweat proof, and high performance through tracking your hand motions up to 1,000 times per second with a 6-axis inertial motion unit. For $39/month you also get access to FightCamp’s library of over 200+ on-demand classes that correspond to your premium equipment, with more classes being added each week.
If you’re a person who loves to box, has the space to house a punching bag and don’t need a ton of variety in your workouts this FightCamp smart home gym boxing system might be your next great investment.