With more of us working from home than ever, we’re finding more time in our days to dedicate to fitness. To meet this growing demand for exercise sessions without the expensive gym fees, the at-home workout revolution has produced a wealth of apps designed to amp up or inspire your routine.
From yoga to running, kettlebells to spin, and even WWF-style “bro’ga”, there’s an app here to suit every style of workout. We tested a variety of apps to get down to this shortlist, using reviewers of all fitness levels and ages – from workout gurus with home gyms to mid-morning power walkers.
As well as variety, excellent instruction and safety, we looked for apps that offered something significantly better than what you can get for free online. Because most of these apps have a subscription cost, we looked for measurable added value: plenty of subscriber-only content, bespoke personal-trainer style programmes, and online communities.
The apps broke down into two groups: workout libraries, great if you have some experience in a gym and want to manage your own fitness, and programme-led apps that curate classes for you. This last type – epitomised by Chris Hemsworth’s CENTR app – are more like a personal trainer in your pocket, include nutrition guidelines, and tend to be more expensive.
The other apps we tested tended either to be sport specific – we looked for a good range across running, yoga and cycling – or, like the Nike and Peloton apps, offer a little bit of everything.
One issue we ran into while testing was the level of knowledge and ability that some apps assumed, even at the beginner level. If jumping, squatting or swinging a kettlebell is out of the question for you, or if running or yoga feels intimidating, there are still plenty of options. We’ve deliberately included apps here for absolute fitness beginners – Couch to 5k, for example, as well as programs targeted at people with injuries or limited mobility – DDP Yoga and Sworkit are excellent for this.
Finally, we wanted to include something for exhausted parents and carers: a number of these apps have child-friendly offerings, like Sworkit. But Cosmic Kids Yoga is a real gem: at the very least, you’ll get to lie down for a couple of minutes at the end.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
The best fitness apps for 2021 are:
- Best overall – Peloton app: £12.99, Onepeloton.co.uk
- Best for meditation – Find What Feels Good: £7.99, Fwfg.com
- Best for beginners – Couch to 5k: Free, Nhs.uk
- Best for quick workouts –DDP Yoga: £21.57, Ddpyoga.com
- Best for fun –Zombies Run: £14.99, Zombiesrungame.com
- Best for yoga – Glo: £16.91, Glo.com
- Best free fitness app – Nike Training Club: Free, Nike.com
- Best trainer in your pocket – Centr: £22.99, Centr.com
- Best for kids –Cosmic Kids Yoga: £7.78, Cosmickids.com
- Best for HIIT –Sworkit: £49.99, Sworkit.com