For the last two months, I’ve been working out to videos played on my 11-inch laptop, which has been known to lose charge mid-sweat sesh and crash to the ground during particularly raucous exercises. It’s not great, and the situation isn’t likely to change anytime soon given that I may never have a desire to return to the gym. Respiratory droplets + confined space = no thanks.
Everyone has to assess risk differently as we move into new phases of 2020’s strange reality, but if you’re looking for something you can safely do at home that better approximates in-person workouts than your laptop—and isn’t a spin bike, because not. everyone. likes. to. spin.—I’ve got you covered. Below, six at-home fitness machines that’ll convince your body—and maybe your mind—that you’re experiencing the real, live deal.
The Mirror, $1495
The Mirror is probably the most aesthetically lovely piece of workout technology ever invented. It looks like, well, a mirror, but it operates like a home library of live and on-demand boutique fitness classes ranging from kickboxing to barre to Pilates and beyond, all at various experience levels. A recently-added feature allows personal training sessions, wherein trainers can use the Mirror’s camera to watch you work out in order to correct your form, etc. (should you so desire). And if you need to modify your workout due to injury or pregnancy, you can add that preference into the device’s settings and receive alternate moves specific to your scenario rather than having to avoid the workout altogether. Monthly membership is $39/month.
The LIT Strength Machine, $1950
Popular Los Angeles-based sweatbox LIT Method recently made its signature rowing machine available for consumer purchase. The low-impact workout for which it’s made combines cardio on the machine with mat work and resistance-band training, and I can personally attest to it being the perfect mix of challenging, fun, and fast-moving. Purchase of the machine includes resistance band attachments and three months of LIT on-demand membership, which thereafter costs $14.99/month.
The DB Method Machine, $229
This bootie-targeting machines is deceptively burn-inducing. When you first hop on and start “squatting,” you’re like, “LOL, this is easy!” and then a few minutes in and you’re like, “&*#^$#”—or at least that’s been my experience. I positioned mine in front of the TV and make it a point to hop on for at least ten minutes at the start of every binge. It’s designed to shift weight from your quads to your glutes so they are forced to do all the work, all the while putting less pressure on your knees than a typical squat would. Plus, guided workouts are free on the brand’s YouTube page.
The Tempo—which one Well+Good writer described as “if Peloton and the Mirror” had a baby”—utilizes a 3D light-pulse sensor to track users’ movements. It then uses this data to count reps, track progress, and correct form. In other words, it offers the real-time feedback you’d get from a trainer in the coronavirus-era safety of your living room. The device comes with weights, plates, a heart rate monitor, a workout mat, and a foam roller, too. Classes are offered live or in-demand and feature a variety of workout methods at a range of difficulty levels for $39/month.
Those who want to be seriously challenged might decide to spring for this, the most premium of all offerings. If this wall-mounted weight-training machine thinks you’re not working hard enough, it will add heft to your lift—just like the personal trainer you called in “sick” to prior to the pandemic. It will also spot you if it senses you’re struggling and there are buttons to release the weight load if it gets to be too much, but your virtual trainer will offer as much encouragement to keep you going as he or she possibly can from the internet ether. A monthly subscription to Tonal’s on-demand trainers runs $49/month.
Let’s say you live in a densely-populated area without a lot of easily accessible nature that allows you to remain socially distant—or you just miss traveling. In either of these scenarios, you might want to consider Hydrow, the “live outdoor rowing reality rower.” Its touchscreen video enables the illusion of rowing through water rather than your living room via both sound and visuals. You can opt for guided or unguided workouts, and while the former may be peaceful, the latter is best for keeping you motivated throughout. Membership is $38/month.
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