Two years ago COVID-19 closed gym doors across the planet, forcing many of us to start working out at home for the first time. As unexpected as it was, moving our exercise regimes to our living rooms and basements comes with a bunch of benefits, many of which aren’t related to the pandemic at all.
Home workouts require no gym memberships, there’s no commuting, you can do them whenever you please, and there are no bad weather excuses. In fact, even if you have a membership but can’t get to the gym, a quick home workout will do the trick.
Home workouts also have some major flaws, though: we often lack ideas, equipment, or motivation to exercise on our own. Fortunately, fitness apps can solve all of these problems.
There’s an issue with workout apps, however: there are thousands of them. Every major fitness brand has its own app, and most fitness celebrities have theirs too. Browsing through the sea of fitness apps isn’t a replacement for working out, and will mostly just overwhelm you with choices.
That’s why we’ve done the hard work for you, cutting through all of the low-quality options to come up with our picks for the best home workout apps for Android and iOS. We’ve tried to cover the full range of exercise options and budgets, as you’ll see below.
How We Chose The Apps
Here’s what we looked at when making the difficult decisions about which apps to include and which to leave out:
- Workout variety – in general we tried to find apps that provide multiple workout types, although those that specialize in one type of exercise (for example, calisthenics or yoga) also made the cut if they were particularly good. Each app has options for all fitness levels, making them suitable for both beginner-friendly and more advanced exercise regimes.
- Required equipment – realizing that most people have limited exercise equipment in their homes, we focused on apps that are suitable for bodyweight workouts. Some also work well when you have access to a full gym, though, letting you switch between them with ease.
- Tracking and progression – being able to track your progress is incredibly motivating, and you’ll notice that some of these apps are primarily intended to be exercise logs. Progression is extremely important, as improving is the whole point of exercising. We picked apps with workout programs that will keep you engaged as time goes by.
- Pricing – we realize that some people can’t afford extra costs, especially at the moment, which is why we included some completely free options. Fitness should be accessible to anyone! If you have deeper pockets, there are some premium options, although most have a free or trial version as well.
Peloton – at home fitness
Peloton, as a company, is known mainly for its famous spin bike. It revolutionized home cardio workouts by bringing an immersive spin class experience right into your living room.
What many people don’t know, however, is that this fitness giant also has a great home fitness app that you can use even if you don’t own a Peloton bike, or indeed any fitness equipment at all.
The Peloton app has workouts organized into groups, which is ideal for getting started. You can choose from cycling, stretching, boot camp, strength, cardio, meditation… the list goes on.
The workout database is rich, with thousands of on-demand workouts available at any time. There are options for all skill levels and equipment, as well as bodyweight-only workouts. Workouts vary in length, which means you’ll find something suitable no matter how busy you are.
This app lets you add friends and work out alongside other people, making your experience more enjoyable and helping you push through the pain. There are also live classes you can access, to make working out even more dynamic.
If you own a smartwatch, you can connect it to the Peloton app to gain access to live tracking and analytics. The app also has an achievement system to keep you motivated: when you unlock a milestone, you earn a badge for your profile. There are also group challenges to get you involved in the Peloton community.
It’s worth noting that you can use the app for outdoor activities too, such as running, Obviously, if you own a Peloton bike, you will be able to utilize the app to its full extent.
The Peloton fitness app is a terrific fitness companion, with only one flaw: the price. There’s a 30-day trial period for new users, but you will need to pay $12.99/month + taxes after that, making it one of the most expensive apps on our list.
If you have the budget for it, though, the tens of thousands of workouts will keep you busy and fit forever.
What makes Boostcamp unusual is that it offers some of the most popular workout programs out there, designed by renowned coaches. With Boostcamp, you already know what you’re going to get: all workouts on offer are tried and tested by thousands of people to help guarantee results.
Although most workouts require a well-equipped home gym, there are a few bodyweight-only programs (such as Reddit’s recommended bodyweight routine, discussed below) that make it suitable for home use.
There are also programs for cardio training and mobility, which means all aspects of fitness are covered. The app is relatively new on the market, at least compared to other names on the list, so you can expect more programs to be added as more coaches join up.
Boostcamp is entirely free. This is phenomenal, since the app lets you use some of the best workout programs out there without paying a dime. The tracking and progression system is excellent too, and the app has a community where you can ask questions and express opinions. All of this is entirely free, with no catches.
Although other apps on this list offer more home workouts, Boostcamp is a highly-polished app that gives access to some of the best workout programs at no cost, making it one of the best free fitness apps out there. It will likely get even better as its workout database continues to grow, but it’s very easy to recommend even now.
With more than eight million users, JEFIT is one of the most popular apps for workout tracking, but it also has a terrific exercise and workout database. That makes it the go-to app for all skill levels: beginners benefit from learning exercise form and getting workout ideas, and more advanced users can use it for careful workout planning and progress tracking.
JEFIT is very generous when it comes to pricing. The free version is excellent, as you can access the exercise database, and there’s a good amount of free workout plans you can try too.
JEFIT Elite gives you more workout plans, along with HD video guides and detailed progress reports. You also get cloud backups and no ads. An Elite subscription costs $6.99 per month, or $3.33/month if you choose to pay annually, which makes it quite an affordable choice.
You can also use JEFIT from your computer via a web browser, which makes workout planning even more accessible.
Overall, JEFIT is excellent value, with an impressive free tier and an affordable premium option. Yes, the app could do with a design overhaul to make it look more attractive and modern, but considering how much you get for the price, we really have no complaints.
Fitbod has one distinctive feature that sets it apart from most apps on this list: it automatically creates custom workout plans for you, based not only on your current fitness ability, but also on the equipment you own.
This is crucial for people who only own a pair of dumbbells but don’t know where to start or how to program their workouts. All of the exercises are shown in HD video, helping ensure you perform them with good form. Fitbod can also create bodyweight-only workouts, which means you’re able to use it even if you don’t own any equipment.
Not only Fitbod will create a workout based on your current fitness level, but it will also make sure you’re progressing over time. That means your workouts will remain challenging, since Fitbod will increase reps and sets, using different exercises and intervals to ensure your workouts will never get boring, and you’ll keep improving.
Fitbod will also track your progress, and you can access the details in the analytics section of the app. You can connect it to a smartwatch or fitness band to keep track of the intensity live.
Fitbod has a few minor flaws, with users complaining it doesn’t remember changes you’ve made to your workouts, meaning you will often have to edit them manually. Even so, overall Fitbod is one of the best home workout apps out there, and indeed one of the best fitness apps in general.
Fitbod is a premium app: there’s a free trial, but after that, you’ll have to pay $9.99 per month, or $59.99 if you opt for a yearly subscription. An excellent investment, if you ask us.
Freeletics is similar to Fitbod, with a clever algorithm that suggests workouts based on your current fitness level, the number of times you want to work out per week, and the type of exercise you are interested in. This makes sure you get a plan that you can actually stick to, which helps keep you accountable and delivers better results long term.
Upon finishing a training session, you will give the Freeletics virtual coach feedback, which will ensure your next session is at the right intensity. Freeletics workouts are challenging, that’s for sure (some might say grueling,) so don’t be worried about things getting too easy and stale!
Freeletics used to be for calisthenics only, but now it also supports training with weights. Even so, it shines for intensive bodyweight-only routines, and if that’s your main focus, you will find Freeletics more than sufficient.
If your plan is getting big via weight training, though, some other apps on the list are probably a better choice. Freeletics is predominantly HIIT-focused, aiming to build endurance and get you shredded through strength training.
Freeletics has a separate nutrition app, but it isn’t as good as the training app. You’ll get smoothie recipes, tailored advice, and nutritional plans suitable for your needs, which is good as far as it goes, but there are established nutrition apps, calorie counters, and calculators that are much more comprehensive.
Freeletics has a limited free version, which is fine for getting started. It has 20 HIIT bodyweight workouts and 25 exercises, plus you gain access to the community. If you want to unlock all of the features, though, you’ll need to pay.
The premium version, Freeletics Coach, is only available in 3/6/12 month plans, and starts at $35 per quarter. Although there’s a 14-day trial period, the payment scheme is a bit inconvenient, as it’s inflexible if you change your mind later. Even so, Freeletics is a solid home workout app, especially if you like bodyweight HIIT.
The Strong app is primarily intended as an advanced workout and progression tracker, but it does have some workout templates to get you started. It really shines when it comes to monitoring your progress, though, and is the best workout tracker on this list.
The app tracks everything, and it is incredibly intuitive to use even mid-workout. It’s like a digital notebook that keeps everything organized and is easy to search through later. You can enter sets, reps, rest times, and how the exercise felt. At the same time, you’ll see your previous personal best, so you know what to aim for this time around.
If you opt for Strong Pro, you get more advanced stats and analysis to help you push your boundaries even further. You will also be able to track your body measurements to see your progress in a different way. Everything is shown in easy-to-understand graphs and charts, and you gain access to advanced calculators to help you set up optimal warm-ups, as well as a weight plate calculator.
Overall, if you already know what you’re doing and need a detailed tracking system to push you to the next level, you will love Strong. The free version is useful, but you will need Strong Pro to unlock all of the tracking features. It’s pretty affordable, at $4.99/month or $99.99 for a lifetime version.
Strong is the best workout tracking app on this list, with the only real issue being that it’s more intended for weight training. Not many people have the necessary equipment in their home gyms to make full use of it, but if you do, this is the only tracker you’ll ever need.
Just 6 Weeks
If you’re a complete beginner and feel overwhelmed by apps that offer thousands of workouts for your preferences when you don’t even know what those preferences are, Just 6 Weeks is the app for you. As its name suggests, it will give you a plan that lasts just six weeks, cutting out the complexity to help focus on results.
This is a very simple app, with eleven programs focusing on core bodyweight exercises. Programs are straightforward: for example, “100 pushups” aims to improve the maximal number of pushups you can perform. You can opt to use one program at a time, or you can combine them and improve on multiple exercises simultaneously.
Before you start your workout program, the app will ask you to test your current ability, creating a plan based on the result. Because of this, you are guaranteed to make progress, as it will start at your current strength level.
The free version of the app only has one program: 100 pushups. If you want other programs, you will need to pay for the Pro version, which costs $5/month. Considering you get only basic plans for some bodyweight exercises, that might seem expensive. If you only want to increase the number of pushups you can do, though, look no further than the free version of Just 6 Weeks.
The Down Dog app lets you enjoy yoga from the comfort of your home. Besides traditional yoga routines, it also has meditation, barre, prenatal yoga, and HIIT workouts to keep you busy.
Down Dog has more than 60,000 workout combinations, which means you never have to do the same routine twice if you don’t want to. You can set parameters and your current yoga level, along with the type you want to practice: Vinyasa, Hatha, Gentle, Restorative, Yin, Ashtanga, Chair, and Sun Salutation.
All workouts are voice-guided, and you can choose any of the six voice packs. In the background, you will hear soothing yoga music. Down Dog also has a convenient web version you can access from your computer.
The free app is pretty good, but if you want to unlock all of the features and customizations, you need to purchase premium, which starts at $7.99 per month.
If you need a yoga app, Down Dog provides everything you could hope for. Don’t expect too much from its HIIT and barre workouts, however. If you want to train for strength and size alongside yoga workouts, we recommend downloading another app from this list as well.
🧘♀️ If yoga’s your thing, we’ve got a full set of recommendations for the best yoga apps as well!
If you take one thing away from this article, it’s that there’s a home workout app out there for everyone, no matter how much equipment you own or what your current fitness level is.
Your job now is to pick one app and start working out today. The app will help you stay consistent and keep improving, which is the only thing that will get you results. Get to it! 🙂
Main image via antoniodiaz/Shutterstock.com, app screenshots via respective developers