When gyms, yoga studios and other workout facilities shut down in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people developed their own home workout routines.
For many exercisers, that meant shopping for all-body workout equipment.
Fortunately, there’s a wide array of such equipment available, including high-tech gadgets and relatively old-school low-tech gear, says Toril Hinchman, director of fitness and wellness for Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.
“There’s so much equipment on the market right now,” she says. “With the pandemic, all of these companies have come up with new models and new takes on existing equipment. Companies have enhanced the in-home workout experience with new ideas, new equipment and personalized content to give you all the training you need – right in your living room.”
Deciding which piece of all-body exercise equipment is best for you “depends on your fitness goals,” Hinchman says. “It depends on what you want to achieve, how much space you have and how much money you have to spend.”
Popular Full-Body Home Gym Options
Here are four popular all-body workout pieces of equipment for your home:
Bowflex. The Bowflex is compact and affords you the opportunity to engage in strength training for all muscle groups, says Heidi Loiacono, senior director of global training and development for Gymguyz, based in Plainview, New York. Gymguyz sends personal trainers to your home or business.
There are various iterations of Bowflex, including Bowflex Revolution and Bowflex PR3000. The PR300 model is a little more than 5 feet long, about 3 feet wide and not quite 6 feet tall.
It features a bench set to the incline position and includes hand grips for lat pulldowns. The device also has upholstered roller cushions you can use for leg curls and leg extensions.
There are pros and cons to this device, Hinchman says.
- You can use power rods to double your weight.
- It allows for leg exercises and tune-up rowing exercises.
- At about $500, it’s relatively affordable.
- It’s compact, requiring less than 4 square feet of space.
- Upgrading the rods costs about $100.
- The resistance, with a maximum capacity of 300 pounds, may be too light for experienced weight trainers.
- Limited workouts are available.
The Bowflex is geared to strength training, particularly the upper body, Hinchman says. It includes plenty of attachments, which allow you perform a number of exercises.
If you need a trainer motivating you during a workout or prefer to be with a group of exercisers remotely, other options might be a better fit. However, Hinchman notes that you can access a variety of online workout tips and suggestions to help make the most of this piece of equipment.
Once you plug it in, you can perform cardio workout, such as high intensity interval training – an extreme type of workout program that builds endurance and strength – as well as squats and lunges.
It’s interactive: The gadget includes a touchscreen that allows the user to stream different training sessions, including live ones. The device relies on magnetic resistance to control the load on the cables you’ll use during your workout, and it has a flywheel reminiscent of what you might see on an indoor bicycle.
Here are the machine’s pros, according to Hinchman:
- It offers 20 resistance settings.
- The machine includes a removable 10-inch NordicTrac tablet for iFit training.
- It requires just 3.5 by 5 feet of floor space.
- It’s difficult to equate resistance levels to weight-lifting capacity.
- Cables aren’t height adjustable.
With a retail price of about $1,800, this device is on the pricey side but is not the most expensive piece of equipment on the market. It provides strength and cardio workouts, which is a plus for consumers who would like the option of doing both kinds of exercises with one device, Hinchman says.
The fact it’s interactive could be attractive to people who need direction and motivation during their workouts.
The Mirror. This interactive device – which was satirized in a Saturday Night Live sketch – allows you to join more than 10,000 workout classes, according to the company’s website.
The Mirror is actually a screen in which you can see a workout instructor who leads you through your paces. The workouts are available by livestream or on demand.
Classes available include:
- HIIT (high intensity interval workouts).
The Mirror features a screen that shows the instructor for your workout and allows you to watch your form as you’re exercising. It also displays your current heart rate, total calories burned, the number of participants in the class and participant profiles. You can choose from an array of curated pop music playlists or use your own collection of songs.
This device doesn’t take up a lot of space; it can be mounted on a wall or securely placed against a wall with anchors.
The Mirror costs $1,495, though you could get it for about $1,000 on sale. That’s just for the main device. A Mirror membership, which provides access to unlimited live and on-demand workouts for up to six household members, costs $39 a month, with a one-year commitment. You have to pay for accessories. For instance, a Mirror heart rate monitor will set you back $49.95.
According to Hinchman, the Mirror’s pros include:
- An app that allows you to take their classes even while traveling.
- The ability to work out with friends who have the Mirror.
- You can sync the Mirror with a Bluetooth heart rate monitor to get information about your workout.
- You can choose from the curated Mirror playlist or listen to tunes you chose yourself.
- The price.
- You may incur additional costs, depending on the classes you take, and for equipment like a yoga mat or dumbbells for strength training.
With its built-in interaction with exercise trainers, the Mirror is a great option if you would like personal coaching, direct motivation and a friendly, competitive environment, Hinchman says.
Tonal. This device is similar to the Mirror in that it includes a 24-inch interactive touchscreen you can use to choose from a wide array of exercise programs and to follow Tonal coaches as they lead you through a workout.
The Tonal weight machine uses an adaptive weight system – without using weights, barbells or bands – to generate up to 200 pounds of resistance. The device has two adjustable arms and an array of configurations that allow users to replicate whatever exercises they’d perform in a weight room.
Exercise classes include:
- Strength training.
In addition to the base cost of $2,995 and a membership fee of $49 a month with a 12-month commitment, you can purchase a group of accessories for $500. They include a smart bar, a bench, a workout mat and a roller.
Tonal also uses real-time data monitoring to evaluate the quality of each rep and decreases the level of resistance if you’re struggling. The device records your reps, sets, power, volume, range of motion and the time you worked out under tension, which allows you to track your progress over time.
A number of well-known athletes have invested in Tonal, including:
- NBA stars LeBron James and Stephen Curry.
- Tennis stars Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova (who’s retired).
- Golfer Michelle Wie.
According to Hinchman, Tonal’s Pros include:
- Step-by-step instructions for each exercise or movement.
- A quick strength assessment which can help you meet your fitness goals.
- A workout summary is provided after each workout.
- The cost.
- A monthly subscription fee that’s higher than the rates of some competitors.
Tonal “takes it to the next level” if you’re looking for a home workout machine that’s interactive, Hinchman says.