A whopping 73% of us own expensive fitness equipment that we never use, says a new survey by AI-based fitness and lifestyle coaching app Freeletics.
In fact, 26% admit they purchased kit on a whim during lockdown and 24% said they splashed out on items they had no real interest in.
According to the survey, the least-used piece of kit is a yoga mat, followed by kettlebells, dumbbells and treadmills.
So, now the cold weather is setting in, we look at three of the biggest industry launches in terms of at-home fitness equipment and review whether they really live up to the hype.
Dimensions: L170 x W62 x D4cm
What they say: The first interactive fitness mirror, this acts like a personal trainer in your living room.
Classes are streamed with a hologram in the mirror and there are 2,000 workouts on offer with 40 new live workouts added every week. Sessions range from cardio, strength, stretching, yoga, bootcamp, Pilates, barre and meditation and kids – family-friendly workouts.
You can also book a personalised training session with a real PT who connects live to the mirror.
What we think: It’s an incredibly slick piece of kit, however, it’s rather cumbersome and I’m petrified my kids are going to knock it over despite the sturdy stand.
The smaller S version can be wall mounted which might be a better option for some. Once it’s linked to the VAHA app via your phone, the touch screen is incredibly easy to use and it’s super reactive. The homepage and writing come through clearly and the holograms can be seen even when the sun is on the mirror.
By linking your VAHA to Spotify you can choose to listen to VAHA’s pre-recorded beats for a workout, or pick something on your playlist.
The device also links to Instagram, Skype, Zoom and TikTok in case you want to view content on the 43-inch touch screen.
The workout filter is great for fine tuning what I need on the day, although this can make choices limited, perhaps due to VAHA not being as established as other brands yet. Despite this, there’s an abundance of choice and I love that the instructors do the session in real time.
Perhaps not as motivational as others, the USP here for me is form. It’s a great way to see if you’re doing an exercise correctly and really helped with technique for things like squats (I drop my chest) and a tricep kickback (my arm was too high).
The real-time instruction also lets you see if you’re slacking with reps and I had to pick up the pace a few times.
On the flipside it can be quite disconcerting watching yourself sweating in the mirror!
I also loved that VAHA’s sensors capture your movements to provide feedback to help you improve, and end of sessions tells you what muscles you’ve worked.
Buy it for £1950 (VAHA S, £1,150; subscription, £39 per month)
Dimensions: L173 x W84 x H157cm
What they say: This is an interactive fitness platform with thousands of on-demand and live classes added daily.
It offers real-time motivation, performance tracking and a live leaderboard. There’s also the chance to video call friends during sessions thanks to a 23.8-inch HD touchscreen with 8-megapixel front-facing camera.
Classes include running (DIY and scenic), walking, bootcamps, strength training, cardio, stretching, yoga and meditation.
What we think: This is a truly awesome piece of kit. It’s a lot smaller than expected, but big enough to feel comfortable when running. Once you have set up a Peloton account you can link it with your social media and music accounts to train with friends and save ‘liked songs’.
It’s incredibly easy to navigate the touchscreen and there’s an abundance of on-demand classes which can be filtered by everything from duration and difficulty to music preference.
The frame is carbon steel and feels very strong when I need to use it to jump off the belt, while the speed and incline dials are perfectly positioned to allow for a gentle roll up or down as you’re running – a button in the centre of each dial allows for a more dynamic change.
The screen is plenty big enough for an immersive experience, with lots of features allowing you to track your progress.
What I love most about this piece of equipment is that it’s not just a treadmill. This is multi-functional training at its best and a new stacking system makes it possible to select multiple workouts, including warm-ups and cool-downs to run one after the other as part of your session.
The biggest draw for me was the real-time motivation. If you find the treadmill boring, or lack enthusiasm to push yourself, these guys will make you faster and stronger. It’s an incredibly cool piece of kit that’s definitely made us work out more intensely. The only negative is that you can’t pause during on-demand sessions.
Buy it for £2,295 (£54 per month for 43 months with 0% APR; Subscription, £39 per month for unlimited classes) from Peleton
Wattbike Atom Next Generation bike
Dimensions: L124 x W50 x H150cm
What they say: This is an indoor training smart bike that offers pre-programmed workouts, manual cycling and fitness tests via the app on your own device.
From HIIT sessions to hill climbs and endurance, this boasts an electromagnetic resistance system that gives a wider resistance range and faster reaction times. It promises to recreate an outdoor cycling experience inside your home.
What we think: This is very technical bike and a great one when space is tight as it’s easy to manoeuvre around thanks to wheels at the front that engage when the frame is tilted at an angle.
There’s no integrated screen with the Atom, so you’ll either need to link up to indoor cycling apps like Zwift and SYSTM (formerly Sufferfest), book in for a spin class with Peloton or link to the Wattbike Hub to stream workouts.
Thanks to a new cadence sensor and crank angle sensor (hence the Next Generation title), you get better accuracy for simulated gradients in the apps – the crank angle sensor reads 48 times per revolution compared to the Atom’s predecessor, which read two per revolution.
Linking to the Wattbike Hub App gives you an easy-to- navigate home page with options for quick rides, workouts, health and fitness tests, plans and climbs.
Workouts range from Tabata to improve your max power output, and prompts on the screen instruct you during the session, while an endurance workout allows you to increase your aerobic efficiency.
All the sessions allow you to monitor everything from your pedal stroke and left/right leg power to cadence and FTP (Functional Threshold Power) etc.
The bike itself is incredibly sturdy and even at my fastest pace or standing up, the base felt reassuring.
The only negative with this for me is the lack of personal interaction in the Hub, but if you’re more into precision data and improving technique, that won’t matter. This is a great technical rival to the Peloton bike.
Buy it for £1,999.99 (Wattbike Hub subscription is free) from Wattbike
More at-home kit worth investing in
Higherdose Infrared Pemf Mat
No time for a yoga class? It’s claimed that a quick session on this mat can get the same results.
It uses something called PEMF (Pulsed Electromagnetic Field), which sends electromagnetic waves through your body to help promote the recovery process.
The addition of infrared also penetrates the body to promote healing, increase circulation and reduce inflammation.
Buy it for £859 from High Dose
JaxJox Dumbbell Connect
These digital dumbbells could replace a whole rack of weights. With a touch of a button you can change the weight from 3.6kg to 22.6kg, which makes it great for anyone with limited space.
Synch to the app (30-day free trial) and you can track your workouts and take classes.
Buy it for £499 from JaxJox
Bowflex Selecttech 840 Adjustable Kettlebell
Another no-brainer when it comes to home equipment, it combines six different
kettlebells in one.
It’s great for couples who might be at different fitness levels or those who want to progress as the weight range is 3.5kg to 18kg.
Buy it for £222.79 from Fitness Superstore
Les Mills MBX Mat
Convert your space into a multi-gym with a mat with two purpose-built surfaces. The red yoga side is cushioned, which is kinder to joints but still stable and supportive.
The grey side is for dynamic exercise and has an anti-slip coating to keep your feet anchored.
Buy it for £60 from Les Mills
This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on purchases made through one of these links but this never influences our experts’ opinions. Products are tested and reviewed independently of commercial initiatives.
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