Home workout apps are a great way to get moving when you're unable to get to a gym. It can be tricky to know which ones are worth your time, though. The App Store and Google Play Store are both packed with apps that promise to help you improve your flexibility and fitness at home, but only the best are made by qualified professionals with a real understanding of what makes a workout safe and effective.
The best home workout apps provide clear instructions in video or audio form (or both), and provide encouragement from real coaches as you progress. They also provide a wide range of different workout ideas so you never get bored, and let you create custom plans and monitor your progress.
Some workouts will require some basic kit like a yoga mat, dumbbells and resistance bands, whereas others need nothing extra at all.
Here we're looking at apps that offer workouts you can perform indoors at home, though many also offer ideas, guidance and support for exercising outdoors or at the gym. We've also included a mix of free and paid-for options so there's something for every budget.
The best home workout apps at a glance
Peloton is best known for its spin and sessions, led live by professional coaches, and these are all present and correct in the app. There's also a lot more on offer though, including plenty of workouts you follow with minimal equipment or none at all.
Classes are split into activity types, including strength, yoga, cardio and meditation to name just a few. All are professionally filmed in a studio, with enthusiastic coaches offering plenty of advice and encouragement along the way.
Live sessions are visible with a quick tap of the 'Schedule' icon, and last between 10 and 60 minutes each (most are half an hour). Repeats of recorded sessions are marked 'Encore'. To sign up for one, just tap the checkbox on the right.
Unlike most home workout apps, Peloton also includes outdoor workouts that you can follow. These are audio-only, so you can put in your earbuds, tuck your phone into an armband or pocket, and get going. There's a great range of activities too, including everything from intense HIIT sessions to power-walking.
Peloton is also currently running a workout-based challenge called Pelothon, which will support hunger relief efforts around the world. Peloton's 33 instructors are split into six teams, who will lead sessions on different days. Pick one to join, hit your weekly goals, support one another and track the progress of your whole team, and Peloton will donate to one of its non-profit partners each week. Find out more on Peloton's website.
If you own a Peloton bike then the app subscription is included. If you don't, you can sign up for a digital subscription for $12.99 / £12.99 (about AU$) per month, which is a surprisingly competitive price considering how much is included, and how often new content is added. Not sure? There's a 30-day free trial available so you can take it for a spin first.
While most home workout apps use videos to demonstrate what you should be doing, Aaptiv talks you through every activity, which means you don't have to prop up your phone or tablet and peer at your screen mid-stretch. It features licensed music too, so you don't have to worry about setting up a playlist in a different app.
The first time you log in, you'll be prompted to set a goal (such as running faster, losing weight or just keeping fit) and provide a little information about your current fitness level and exercise habits. You'll also be asked what equipment you have access to, so you'll only be recommended workouts you can do with what you already have.
Workouts are split into categories such a strength training and stretching, and each one comes with an estimated duration and difficulty level, plus star ratings from other users to help you make your choice.
All trainers featured in the app are relentlessly cheerful and encouraging as they encourage you to push yourself, which can really help when you're working out alone away from the buzz of a real gym.
All this comes for a monthly fee of $15/£13 (about AU$26), with a discount available if you pay for a whole year up-front. That's quite a financial commitment, but there's a lot on offer here, including over 3,000 classes to ensure you never get bored, plus group challenges to keep you motivated.
Interested, but want to try it first? Each subscription begins with a free trial period, and you won't be charged if you cancel before it's over.
Workouts in Fitbit Coach are led by professional, enthusiastic instructors (you choose yours before beginning the fitness test), who guide you through each movement with clear video instructions. Not sure how to perform a particular exercise? Just tap it, and you'll be shown exactly how to do it safely (an invaluable feature when you're working out alone).
The first time you launch the app, you'll be prompted to sign up for a Fitbit account (or log in with your existing one), then run through an eight-minute fitness test. After that, you'll be able to get stuck in properly, and take your pick from a range of programs designed with different goals in mind.
You can sign up for Fitbit Coach Premium, which offers more workouts, personalized plans based on your progress and goals, audio coaching for running and walking, a wider pool of trainers to choose from, and several music stations. It costs $9.99/£7.99 (about AU$15) per month, or $79.99/£79.99 (about AU$122) if you pay annually.
You don't need a Fitbit device to use Fitbit Coach, although if you do own one, connecting it is a piece of cake. The app can also link to Facebook and Google Fit, allowing you to share your efforts with friends; another great motivation to get up off the couch and moving.
Asana Rebel is primarily a yoga app, though it's also packed with tools to help you develop better sleep hygiene and other lifestyle habits.
As with most home workout apps, you'll need to start by registering for an account and entering a few details about yourself (including height, weight and age). There's an assumption that you're aiming to lose weight - it prompts you to enter a goal - but you can always just make this the same as your current weight.
While you can download the app and browse through its scores of yoga practices free, accessing them all requires a premium subscription. This will also unlock meditation sessions, regular reminders, and guided meditations to help you sleep better. Membership costs £9.89 per month, or £47.88 for a full year if paid up-front, making it one of the most affordable home workout apps around.
Workouts are broken down into categories, such as core work and relieving tension, with detailed descriptions to help you pick one that suits your current mood. It's very much about picking something that meets your needs right now, though you can add any practices you particularly enjoy to your favorites for quick access later.
Videos are beautifully shot, and while many yoga classes and apps seem to be aimed primarily at women, Asana Rebel's developers have made sure to include plenty of guides from male instructors as well, plus options for all abilities.
Adidas Training and Running by Runtastic has one major advantage over most home workout apps: if offers a decent range of free features. As you might expect, the Adidas brand is heavily promoted throughout, but this isn’t just a marketing tool – it’s a seriously good app when you peel back the three stripes.
There are plenty of ready-made workouts to choose from, and if you can’t see anything that appeals, you can create a custom one by selecting body parts and setting a duration – a thoughtful feature that could save you a lot of scrolling.
You’re led through workouts by videos and audio narration. There’s little in the way of motivational speaking here; you’re simply told what to do, and for how long. It’ll help to have your phone at eye level the first time you try a new exercise so you can check your form against the video provided, but once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll be able to get by with the voice instructions alone.
Paid subscriptions are available for $9.99/£7.99 a month (about AU$15) or $49.99/£39.99 (about AU$75) for one year if paid up-front if you want to unlock premium training plans, but for basic fitness, the free app has a lot to offer.
Like Adidas Training and Running, Nike Training Club offers an impressive archive of free content in exchange for burning the sportswear brand into your consciousness – and it’s another impressive app below the branding. There’s no paid-for tier, either; everything is completely free.
Registration is straightforward, and after entering just a few details about yourself and your current activity levels, you’ll be presented with a helpful set of workouts (complete with timings) that might suit your needs. Can’t see what you want? You can also browse for options by muscle group or workout type (endurance, strength, mobility or yoga). It’s also possible to limit your scope to short workouts, or ones that can be carried out without any extra equipment. There are over 190 available at the time of writing, with more added regularly.
The videos in this home workout app are well made (though not quite as polished as some premium offerings) and offer lots of customization options. Like working out to music? There’s a switch to toggle it on. Want to turn off the audio guidance and just be told the drill timings? That’s possible too. You can even switch off audio entirely and just use the visuals.
Many of the apps here can cast video to your TV, but Nike Training Club is the easiest to use, letting you send workouts to a big screen with a couple of taps.
The only real downside is that each workouts has to be downloaded before you can start (they're not all included when you install it) so you'll need an active internet connection, but this does mean the initial install size is smaller.
Zwift's home workout app covers both running and cycling, so unlike most apps here, it requires a little hardware to get started. For running, you'll need the tiny Zwift RunPod (a cadence sensor that attaches to your running shoe) plus a suitable treadmill. Just about any treadmill will work provided you have the RunPod, though there's an increasing number of smart treadmills that will connect with Zwift directly (check out the full list).
For cycling, you'll need a bike and a trainer. If you have a cadence sensor, heart rate monitor or power meter, so much the better. Check out Zwift's full guidance.
Whichever type of workout you choose, you'll be able to explore a variety of virtual courses, running or riding alongside other app users from around the world. You can give them a friendly boost as you pass, join group rides, earn badges (and extra virtual kit) and generally bring indoor training to life.
There's an opportunity to run for a good cause, too. Zwift is currently hosting a mission in partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital, where you can sign up to help meet a community running goal of 18,000 miles and unlock a donation of $25,000 to help the 18,000 sick children who visit the hospital every month.