The 7 Best Workout Apps You Need to Try
We tested paid and free subscriptions to find out which apps are worth the download.
It seems like every day there’s a new workout app in the app store. And with so many influencers, trainers, and brands partnering on social for promotional purposes, it’s never quite clear who has actually used an app and which apps are really worth the download. (We get it—it can be hard to take anyone’s word seriously when there may be financial incentives involved.)
So Health decided to jump in to help by spending a couple weeks testing out a slew of the workout apps offered. We weeded through the paid and free subscriptions to find out which apps will help you reach your fitness goals. Here’s our list of the best workout apps.
Tone It Up
As a planner, I love that you can browse upcoming classes and add them right into the Tone It Up app’s in-app calendar. You can even invite friends who have the app to join you for the workout, so it’s like you’re exercising together. Classes have descriptions as well as equipment you’ll need (which is minimal and includes things like dumbbells and a mat) to participate in the workout, and the same class is offered all day long, so if you can’t make the 7:30 a.m. class, you’ll have another chance at 8, 8:30, 9, etc.
$12.99 per month or $83.99 per year
You can download the Playbook app for free, but you’ll be prompted to choose a way to pay immediately (though you can do a free seven-day trial) for workouts. It’s worth the price though: The platform was built to bring some of the biggest names in training—who you’d normally never have access to—to your living room.
You choose to follow one “partner” (or trainer) so you have access to all the workouts they put on the app, but you can switch at any time and as many times as you’d like. I love that you’re able to message the trainers directly if you have a question about the workouts or to give them feedback on what you like or don’t like.
You also have the ability to download workouts directly onto your phone, which I love, because you don’t always have service when you want to use an app with video, so this allows you easy access on or offline.
$14.99 per month, $39.99 per quarter, or $99.99 per year
Sweat: Kayla Itsines
Chances are you’ve heard about Kayla Itsines. The Australian trainer is known for her Bikini Body Guides (BBG) workout e-books, which have transformed numerous women’s bodies. She moved her workouts into an app, where you can choose to do the original BBG—which includes resistance workouts paired with high- and low-intensity cardio sessions, all of which use minimal equipment—or her newer BBG Stronger program, which is specifically for individuals who love to work out at the gym.
I love that the Sweat app workouts are only 28 minutes, and they’re always challenging, which is why they work. You can mix and match from the two programs if you can’t make a definitive decision between the two. And by joining, you’re teaming up with a community of millions of women with similar weight loss and body goals as yourself.
Let Apptiv know what your goals are—losing weight, running a race, building strength, or reducing stress—your level of fitness, where you do your workouts, and the days and times you prefer to sweat, and the app will recommend programs to you. Or opt to pick individual workouts from categories like treadmill, outdoor running, strength training, yoga, rowing, and so many more.
I love that the workouts are focused around music. Each one has a playlist that’s timed to the exercise you’re doing, and you can decide up front if you want to run to rock or pop. The music is interrupted by an instructor who will coach you through intervals or exercises, providing helpful tips and motivation, which I appreciated during short sprints. And if you end up enjoying a specific coach, you can see when you choose your workout who is teaching it, so you’re able to stay loyal or try working out with different people.
$11.99 per month or $49.99 per year
Nike Training Club
If muscular endurance is what you’re looking to build and you’d like more basic workouts that can be done at home or in your building’s gym, check out this Nike app. Tell the app how active you are and it will suggest workouts for you, or browse what the app has to offer by muscle group, workout type, workout length, or equipment.
Play the workout and the app will display how moves are done and cue you through timed sets, or just scroll to the bottom to view the list of moves and timing for each exercise and do it without instructor cues.
I personally like to exercise on my own, but I need new workout ideas, so I love to browse the workouts on this app, check out the moves list, and decide which I’d like to do at my local gym.
Don’t let a time constraint keep you from getting in some fitness. All you need is a half hour (well, 28 minutes to be exact), and an area where you can do moves like a plank or glute bridge—no equipment required!
Because there’s no equipment in any of the obé app workouts, it tends to be my go-to when I’m traveling and just need to move a bit after a long day on a plane. There are over 1,000 workouts covering categories ranging from HIIT to strength to yoga sculpt—one of my favorites because I’m not great at flowing on my own.
You can even add weights to some of the workouts if you have them available—instructors give that option when applicable. If you’re never going to join a commercial gym but need some workout motivation and inspiration, you can’t beat what this app offers.
$27 per month or $199 per year
Instructors are one of the most important things to me when I’m choosing a fitness class—whether it’s in person or on an app. I want someone who is knowledgeable, motivational, but also someone who programs challenging workouts—and the NEOU app gives me just that. (Note: There are also a ton of beginner classes available, so all levels are welcome!)
Take a class from the live schedule, where you’ll work out with the instructor in real time, choose a past trending (aka popular) workout, or pick one by target body part. You may find a favorite series, like InTime (high-intensity interval training) or Go, which combines cardio and strength training for a sweaty session.
There are classes on NEOU of all lengths, which I love, because I can use this app for my entire workout for the day, or I can use it to add on a 10-minute ab series at the end of another class.
$7.99 per month or $79.99 per year
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