Last updated on July 19th, 2021 at 01:06 PM
The last decade has seen the stratospheric rise of boutique fitness studios across the UK – but with many gyms shuttered during the pandemic, home workouts have become the next frontier in wellness.
Gone are the days of bicep curling a dusty set of dumbbells that roll around underneath your sofa, however.
Thanks to advancements in technology, you can now recreate the authentic gym experience right in your own living-room, and unlock the same enjoyment as getting sweaty at your favourite studio.
You only have to look at the rise of cult exercise bike Peloton for proof, which now boasts over 4.4 million members across the globe, and celebrity fans including David Beckham, Megan Rapinoe, Alicia Keys and Miley Cyrus.
The number of options has exploded in recent months too, with a range of connected devices promising to link users up with first-class trainers, as well as other members of the fitness community, while tailoring training to your personal workout goals.
Here, we rundown the fitness technology that’s transforming home workouts in 2021…
Hyrdrow is a sleek, at-home rower that brings some of the world’s most famous stretches of water right to your living room, like the London Thames and Cairo’s historic River Nile. Aiming to take the boredom out of repetitive rowing workouts, it has a 22-inch HD touchscreen that displays live and on-demand classes out on the water.
Bringing the live outdoor-reality experience further to life, it’s fitted with an electromagnetic and computer-controlled drag mechanism that mimics the feeling of stroking your oars through a real waterway, without the need to worry about weather conditions.
Hydrow’s sessions are tailored for your fitness level and coached by some of the world’s top rowing athletes, and there’s a lively community feel with competitive races and team virtual events. Hydrow certainly isn’t a cheap investment though, it costs £2,295 for the rower, plus an extra £38 per month for the class subscription.
Tonal promises to help you work on your strength, outside of the weights room. The technology is currently only available in the US (where it costs around £2173 for the machine, plus an extra couple of hundred for the weight accessories), but smart mirrors are having a moment and there’s a huge uptick in purchases and engagement across the pond – which means it’s probably only a matter of time until they start flooding the UK market.
Focusing on weight training, the smart home gym system offers a full-body workout that’s designed to replace using dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands and bench presses. What’s more, it’s discreetly mounted onto the wall with a digital screen that streams personal trainers and fun workouts direct to your space.
The system uses a combination of electricity and magnets to digitise weights, allowing you to lift up to 200lbs. Tonal measures your reps, sets, range of motion, time under tension, power and volume to track gains over time, and adjusts workouts so users are constantly making progress.
3. NordicTrack Treadmill Commercial X32i
NordicTrack are one of the original pioneers of smart home workout equipment, and they’ve gone all-in when it comes to upgrading the treadmill. The Commercial X32i, the brand’s latest launch, has an impressive 32-inch smart HD touchscreen, so you can stream on-demand studio workouts around your own schedule.
There’s no slacking off in secret either, as the treadmill features interactive tech where elite trainers automatically adjust your machine’s speed, incline and decline, as you sweat along with their classes. It’s also fitted with sled grips so you can add resistance to your treadmill band and really feel the burn.
The NordicTrack Treadmill Commercial X32i is available to purchase in the UK and costs a hefty £3,499, but this includes an iFit Family Membership which gives you access to all of their classes.
At first glance, Vaha looks like your average wall mirror, but switch it on and it doubles as a digital personal trainer. As mentioned, smart mirrors like Tonal, Mirror and Tempo have been gaining popularity in the US, and German-based fitness company Vaha are the first to launch one here in the UK.
The mirror comes pre-loaded with 100 on-demand classes, as well as a rolling timetable of live classes (including cardio, weights, yoga and Pilates) that you can book through an accompanying app. You can also book one-to-one personal training with a live fitness expert who guides you through the programme.
The 43-inch full HD touchscreen mimics the feeling of watching an instructor at the front of a class, while the mirror shows your reflection back to you, so you can check your posture.
The smart mirror costs either a one-off fee of £1,950, or can be purchased in monthly instalments of £50 over 39 months. Users then pay a monthly basic membership of £39 to access the full whack of classes, which includes a free personal training session each month.
Versaclimbers became a huge gym trend in 2018, so it’s no surprise you’ll be able to access the same calorie-torching workout at home.
The upright machines utilise the same natural cardio movement as rock climbing, without the risk of having to navigate a windy cliff face.
Arriving on the market earlier this year, CLMBR is an at-home unit that’s fitted with a high-definition screen and surround sound that mimics the experience of a trendy boutique gym.
The designers say the tech logs intuitive real-time metric visualisations; including elevation power, tempo and reach so you can track your achievements over time, and they claim its workouts will help you burn 60% more calories than you would running or cycling.
CLMBR is only available in the US right now, where it costs around £1812 to purchase. But with the home fitness boom seemingly going nowhere, get ready to see lots more of these devices on your Instagram feed.