The JRNY Workout App’s New Motion-Tracking Feature Basically Turns Your Tablet Into an AI Personal Trainer

Photo: Getty Images/Westend61
Wish you could afford the luxury of a personal trainer at home whenever you felt in the mood for a workout? Yeah, us too. While we can’t grant all your wildest personalized fitness wishes, we can let you in on some news: the JRNY app just announced the debut of motion tracking.

Developed by parent company Nautilus (aka the company that owns Bowflex), JRNY is a membership-based workout app that offers personalized recommendations in terms of exercises, intensity, duration, and more. It takes into consideration how much time you have and your current abilities (like whether or not you can perform a full push-up). While the app has been beloved for its tailored fitness regimens and accessible approach to lifting, the developers behind it recently decided to take it a step further.

Enter: JRNY with Motion Tracking. Nowadays, many at-home workout programs (like Peloton and Lululemon Studio) include rep counting. But these often require ultra-expensive machines and memberships. In contrast, JRNY with Motion Tracking is designed to be used with any tablet (iOS or Android) so that you don’t have to go out and buy a high-tech mirror to analyze your form and fitness progress.

How does it work? JRNY with Motion Tracking gauges a user’s movements with video access. When the tablet is propped up at around waist level, with the user’s full body in view (about eight feet away), the app analyzes skeletal movement to provide audible feedback on form while also keeping track of reps. So, for instance, if you don’t lower your chest all the way down to the floor in a push-up, you're gonna hear about it.

“The JRNY app with Motion Tracking provides not only verbal coaching but also a view of your movement so that you can make accurate adjustments as you work out, and that goes a long way toward building a balanced body and long-term fitness,” Wes Citti, the senior digital product manager at Nautilus. Inc., said in a press release.

In other words, JRNY with Motion Tracking basically turns your tablet into an AI personal trainer—and it costs just $19.99 per month (or $149 per year).

What to expect when using JRNY with Motion Tracking

Within the JRNY app, users will be able to detail what equipment is in their home gym, which will trigger the app to provide a series of workouts for those pieces. I have the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells—when I added them to my profile, my workouts tab was automatically updated with a variety of dumbbell-based workouts, ranging from 10 to 34 minutes long. Any workout tagged as an “Adaptive Program” (which all of mine were) is capable of motion tracking.

I selected the Short Total Body Workout—a 10-minute, 2-circuit sitch—and got to testing.

When you begin a workout, the app guides you through a series of questions to determine weight selection and overall ability. Some of the questions that I was asked included how much weight per side I would use to comfortably complete 10 bent rows, 10 reverse lunges, and 10 front squats, as well as whether I prefer to do push-ups on my toes or my knees. Then I got to choose my music preferences.

JRNY with Motion Tracking — $19.99

$19.99 per month, or $149 for a year

I’ll be honest: If you don’t have ample space (and a tablet stand) in the area that you’re working out, JRNY with Motion Tracking may not be your best bet. I tried it in my home gym, where I have a bench, punching bag, and other equipment (in other words, it’s fairly spacious but somewhat crowded). But you really need about a 10-foot by 10-foot area to comfortably perform the workout. Otherwise, you’ll have to move the tablet around to get the right view for each exercise.

While you might not think that being perfectly in view matters, it does. The app will only track reps that are performed within the window. And it’s important to get perfectly in position before beginning, since the app doesn’t wait for you—it only gives you the amount of time that the instructor takes, with just a few extra seconds for good measure.

If you have poor form, the app won’t count the rep and will instead provide guidance on how to improve it. For example, I squatted a bit more hunched to see what it would do, and I was met with feedback on needing to squat with a straight, lifted spine. In that sense, the app holds users accountable so that they won’t cheat themselves and count bad reps. (That said, between each set, the app does give you the option to adjust your reps and the weight you used, so if you’re confident in your form and want to update your stats, that is possible.)

One more thing: It’s worth noting that if you choose music, it drowns the instructor out. At the beginning of the workout, it tells you to turn up your volume so you’ll be able to hear them, but I found that even when doing so, it was a struggle to hear everything my instructor, Molly, was saying. Additionally, if you have less than stellar eyesight, trying to focus in on a small tablet roughly 10 feet away can be a tad distracting.

So, is it worth it?

For $19.99/month—and so long as you have a tablet, equipment, and plenty of space to move around—I think JRNY with Motion Tracking is worth it. The price is hard to beat and the verbal cues really do help when aiming to improve your form.

But beware the fine print: JRNY with Motion Tracking can only be used on a tablet and with Bowflex dumbbells like the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells ($429). So users may have to spring for new equipment if they don’t have any by the brand—and that’s not exactly cheap.

Deciding if you’re ready to splurge? For a limited time, JRNY members can get $50 off SelectTech 552 Dumbbells and $100 off SelectTech1090s (making them between $379 and $699)—and with the purchase of the dumbbells, you get a complimentary 1-year membership to JRNY.

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