Your home is a gym: The best at-home fitness tech you can buy
Nothing beats the feeling of a completing a tough workout at the gym or a grueling run in the great outdoors.
But if the last year has taught us anything, it’s that having some go-to fitness equipment in the comfort of your own home is a useful backup.
Understandably, a lot of companies are now finding ways to make our home-based workouts as similar to a gym sweat sesh as possible.
From connected devices through to smart, space-saving gadgets, there’s a whole heap of great fitness tech to choose from.
We’ve laced up and put some of the best ones through their paces to find out what to get to turn your gaff into a fitness paradise.
The running replacement: Echelon Stride
Thoughts of buying a treadmill for home will be followed by the inevitable ‘where the hell are we going to put it?’ conversation — but the compact Echelon Stride is designed for small spaces.
Arriving assembled, its impressive auto-folding feature is the icing atop this cardio cake, making it eminently storable, with wheels that mean it is easy to move around.
While it has several incline and speed buttons, and preset workout options, it lacks a display. So for the full experience, subscribe to the app for instructor-led classes.
Classes range from timed walks and hill sprints to endurance runs, while the boot camp ones involve spending half the time on the treadmill and the other half doing push-ups and squats.
For a chilled session, run in scenic locations.
Gamifying your runs while competing against the Echelon community will bring out your competitive side. But if you don’t want to spend £39.99 on a monthly subscription and prefer to use it as standalone treadmill, a digital touch console for all the usual metrics is on hand.
From £1,599, echelonfit.uk
The flash light fitness: BlazePod Trainer Kit
If you like the idea of gamifying your workouts with challenges offering various degrees of difficulty, these rugged, touch-sensitive pucks make up a flash reflex training system that’ll bring an element of competition to workouts.
The Bluetooth-connected pods light up, providing visual cues for drills and exercises to help improve your reaction time, coordination, balance, strength, agility and more, as you tap the touch-sensitive pods with your hands, knees or feet during a workout.
Fire up the companion app and there are hundreds of drills, workouts for sports, home workouts and competitions. The app keeps track of progress and lets you design custom exercises.
The Wi-Fi weights: JaxJox Kettlebell Connected 2.0
The connected Kettlebell links with your phone and provides space-saving convenience by combining six weights into one fully adjustable stacking system. As innovative as it is easy to use, this modular kettlebell sits on an electronic base that adjusts the weight (from 5.4kg to 19kg) at the press of a button. Even better, built-in sensors give real-time updates on form, reps, minutes exercised and average power output directly to your phone.
If you’re not sure what to do with your new connected equipment, subscription-based classes and training programs will have you swinging along to instructors for £12.99p/m. The numerous workout videos highlight how versatile the Kettlebell is.
The travel trainer: MaxPro SmartConnect Portable Cable Machine
This Shaquille O’Neal-backed cable machine is a deceptively compact platform that can emulate an entire gym’s worth of bulky equipment. With 50 resistance settings, it can reach an 68kg of resistance on each side. Pretty impressive, given this thing weighs less than 5kg and can slide into your rucksack.
It allows you to do a variety of exercises with varying levels of resistance, depending on how you set it up. So you can place it on the ground, anchor it to a bench or even secure it to a door mount, and switch between ankle straps, handles and a bar attachment.
It offers free professionally preset workouts, coached classes and customised resistance workouts, which are really helpful if you don’t know what you’re doing. Smart sensors then detect things such as resistance levels, rep count and calories burned with the help of a dedicated app. With a tool like this in your workout arsenal, there really is no excuse for not hitting the gym. If it’s good enough for Shaq…
Switch up your fitness regime...with video games
Nintendo Ring Fit Adventure
A fitness experience disguised as a video game, Ring Fit Adventure delivers a full-body workout by combining RPG-lite elements with gym, yoga and pilate-inspired reps.
Tailored to your ability, you’ll spend time running on the spot with instructions to squeeze, rotate and pull apart the Ring-Con as you jump, glide and smash crates on screen. Expect things to go up a notch when you encounter enemies, choosing from a range of exercises — from squats to yoga poses — to dish out damage.
£69.99 (Switch console £279), store.nintendo.co.uk
FitXR on the Oculus Quest 2
Imagine strapping a VR headset to your face and being transported into a futuristic fitness club. The class begins and you throw punches at virtual objects hurled your way while squatting to avoid others, and doing it all synchronously to music. You’re sweating and, as you look around, you can see other people doing the same thing — only they’re in avatar form. Welcome to FitXR.
The digital fitness start-up has been fine-tuning its total-body cardio experience, with boxing and dance cardio workouts and a new HIIT studio. For the rhythmically challenged, following a trainer during a cardio dance workout class is a welcome feature, while having words of encouragement bellowed into your ear helps you keep going during an intense HIIT class.
If you enjoy exercising with others, multiplayer classes (up to seven members) allow you to enter a private virtual room with Oculus Quest-owning pals.
Free/£7.99p/m (Oculus Quest 2, from £299, oculus.com)
ACCESSORISE YOUR EXERCISE
Even if you don’t want to go the whole hog and fill the spare bedroom with apparatus, there’s plenty of space-saving fitness tech around.
These portable gadgets can be used to accessorise a standard workout and squeeze more efficiency out of your session.
Whether you’re looking to increase strength or firm up your tone, these gadgets will lend a helping hand.
MuscleSquad Adjustable Dumbbell
Who really has room for an entire rack? This set of adjustable dumbbells provides all the weight you need in an ultra-compact form that won’t clutter your living room.
The dumbbell can be adjusted between 5kg and 32.5kg in 2.5kg increments — perfect for gradual progression.
This interchangeable, app-connected heart-rate monitor solves the cardio-based conundrum of whether wrist-based or chest strap-based tracking is better by offering both.
So expect an ECG for chest measurements and a PPG shining light into your wrist/arm to measure blood flow for more accurate tracking.
SixPad Abs Belt LL3L
If you like the sound of sending electrical pulses to your abdominal muscles for 23 minutes while you work out, all in the name of carving out a six-pack, this EMS belt has you covered. It’s not for the faint-hearted but you’ll have washboard abs like ambassador Cristiano Ronaldo in no time.
This portable strength-training pebble guides sweatband-clad users through five minutes of full-body isometric strength sessions anywhere you’ve got a few metres to move.
The app features more than 100 seated and standing force-based training drills, all measured by the Activ’s pressure sensors.
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