An at-home workout is performed in your home and might require only your bodyweight or equipment such as a treadmill, dumbbells, or mats. Instructor-led classes are also available via the internet and DVDs.
Working out at home offers a number of lifestyle benefits, but can also come with some drawbacks. This article explores the best at-home workouts, their benefits, side effects, and more.
FitnessBlender is our top choice for its free full-length videos, membership classes, selection, and new videos weekly. It allows users to choose workouts based on the training method, difficulty level, and length.
FitnessBlender also provides information on fitness, health, recipes, personal stories, weight loss and community discussions on lifestyle choices. For these reasons, it’s our #1 pick.
2. BodyFit by Amy
Led by a fitness instructor or YouTuber, BodyFit by Amy offers a variety of free exercise videos including HIIT, free weight, and bodyweight programs.
Amy gives extensive cueing to ensure your technique is effective and that you have options according to your own fitness level and abilities.
3. Bikini Body Guide
BBG (Bikini Body Guide), is led by personal trainer Kayla Itsines and is a paid subscription. Her Sweat app is compatible with the App Store and Google Play.
BBG workouts are flexible, designed to increase fitness and strength with progressions from beginner to advanced levels. The BBG site further provides information on recipes, lifestyle, and personal transformations.
4. JennyFord Fitness
Certified ACE Health Coach, Group Fitness Instructor, and YouTuber Jenny Ford presents free workout and informational videos. Workouts include full body stretches, total bodyweight routines, core workouts, and stability ball workouts.
This channel also provides higher intensity Tabata and Bootcamp classes which are appropriate for those wanting a fitness challenge.
Insanity is a 60 days DVD Workout led by personal trainer Shaun T that includes bursts of high-intensity exercise, short intervals of rest, and plyometric drills. Insanity is for those who are ready to take on a new physical challenge.
No equipment is necessary to participate in the 45-minute classes. Time may be needed to build your mastery of the routines.
This website provides yoga practices set against British Columbia’s outdoors. It provides meditations, yoga challenges, and forums, and your choice can be filtered by the level of difficulty, class length, the style of yoga, and the class instructor.
By joining the DoYogaWithMe paid membership community you receive access to subscriber-only videos and exclusive challenges.
HASfit Heart and Soul Fitness is a free website providing beginner, high-intensity, low impact, muscle building, and flexibility classes. This site’s full-length videos address many fitness needs: senior, rehabilitation, beginner, and strength training.
HASfit videos are led by two instructors; one offers modifications of the exercises for beginners.
8. Heather Robertson
Led by a certified personal trainer, fitness cover model, and wellness expert Heather Robertson, this YouTube channel offers a range of free workout videos highlighted by her free five days per week 12-week plan.
Equipment needed includes dumbbells and a stability ball. Other videos include full-body stretch, kettlebell and resistance band workouts, Tabata, and HIIT workouts.
FiiT is a highly rated paid membership app comprising over 500 workouts led by trained fitness leaders. Programs taught include HITT, pilates, yoga, weight-based, and combat style classes, ranging from 25 to 40 minutes in length, and for all fitness levels.
The app allows you to track your progress and access their online fitness community and training plans.
10. LesMills On Demand
LesMills has over 800 different workouts led by top instructors via a paid membership. Programs include martial-arts inspired, yoga fusion, sports conditioning, dance fitness, HIIT, ballet-inspired training, and more.
Plans are designed to address frequency, intensity, and style, and each advises what equipment, if any, is required to participate fully in the program.
How We Ranked
Each of our top ten includes workouts that offer exercise options and the ability to work out at your own pace. We included FitnessBlender, Bodyfit by Amy, and BBG for the variety of class types, and quality instruction. HASfit was chosen for its ability to meet the needs of specialized populations such as seniors and those recovering from an injury. A sense of being part of a community is also an important factor in motivation and adherence to your exercise goals. For example, LesMills members can join their Facebook community, which offers updates and discussions. FitnessBlender also provides an online community.
A mix of high quality free and pay for usage options have been included in our top ten, including Heather Robinson and HASfit, which both offer an array of free options. If your budget is limited, there are more than enough free classes to achieve your fitness goals. Many of our top ten, including BBG, FiiT, and LesMills offer 14-day free trials, so if you are unsure if a site is right for you, you can give the class a try before you make a financial commitment.
Not all of us are comfortable with dance type workouts, nor are all of us comfortable with aggressive, military-style training workouts. LesMills was included because it offers the ability to apply multiple factors when choosing your fitness program. This means you can go with the option that you are comfortable with. In addition, our #1 ranked FitnessBlender includes over 500 videos to choose from.
Further variations in the workouts chosen for our top 10 included options for pregnant women and options for those short on time. BodyFit by Amy offers a number of pre and postnatal exercise videos and includes classes such as Postnatal 5 Minute Standing Bodyweight Workout and Third Trimester Prenatal Core Workout. Meanwhile, BBG offers effective 28-minute sessions. There are also many videos that do not require any fitness equipment.
Accessibility and the ease with which you can access the various exercise programs are also considered, since variety, great visuals, and world-class instructors come with the need for technology. In order to have access to great programs, you will need a smartphone, the internet, Bluetooth, and similar tools. Heather Robertson, like other YouTube channels, is easily accessed. Having said that, there are some noteworthy DVD options, such as Insanity, for those who want a more simple technology option.
At-home workouts are convenient and meet your needs. Working out at home allows you to take the time to care for yourself without it taking up a large portion of your day. Gyms can be crowded and noisy spaces, but working out at home allows for privacy and quiet.
At a gym class, you may also not get the workout you want or require. When you can choose your own at-home workout, you get the exact style workout you want and need.
Working out at home may improve your quality of life. One study shows that a home-based walking and resistance training program improves the quality of life in patients with heart failure. However, such benefits are not limited to those with medical conditions (1).
In fact, everyone can reap these benefits through regular at-home workouts.
At-home workouts save time. Working out at a commercial gym often takes a lot longer than working out at home, which can be a real issue for certain individuals. Studies suggest that a perceived lack of time can be a barrier for many to adhere to an exercise program, but that once a positive habit is established, this perception is minimized (2).
At home, there are never any line ups for equipment, so you won’t be wasting your time waiting for someone to finish their exercise. At the gym, there are always people who are keen on having a chat, to give you unsolicited advice, or those gym attendees who leave equipment covered in sweat. These are never concerns when you workout at home.
Working out at home also saves time by avoiding driving and public transportation. It is also a great way to finally get fit, as studies show that one of the biggest barriers is accessing a gym (3).
At-home workouts can help you save money. Working out at home and taking advantage of the many free exercise programs available can save you money. While some of the classes require paid memberships, there are so many free videos you can do to stick to your budget and get fit.
Gym memberships and class fees can be costly, and once you have signed a contract, it may be difficult to cancel without even more fees. You may also find that the gym you have paid membership for doesn’t meet your needs. With at-home workouts, you can save that money and hassle, and get the workout you need completed within the comfort of your own home.
At-home workouts ensure you always have the right equipment and facilities at your disposal. One of the main reasons (other than a lack of time), which leads to people skipping their gym day is when they have forgotten their workout gear. Working out at home means this isn’t a problem.
By working out at home, your gear is always ready. There is no need to spend time the night before packing your gym bag or getting to work and realizing you forgot your gear altogether. There is also no need to worry if you have packed all the personal hygiene, wardrobe, and accessories you might need.
At-home workouts allow you to go at your own pace. You won’t need to keep up in a group setting. Instead, you can go at a pace that you feel comfortable with. You can also pause the video when necessary.
No one is judging you when you perform a workout at-home. Many individuals feel self-conscious about working out at the gym. If this sounds like you, an at-home workout may be more suitable. You have privacy and can get your exercise done without the fear of being judged.
You may be more likely to adhere to an at-home workout. Since you don’t have to worry about commuting, what you wear, or anyone else watching you, your excuses are almost next to none. This means you might be more likely to complete each workout and possibly stick with it.
At-home workouts can improve your overall health. Exercise has been shown again and again to decrease your risk of chronic disease, improve heart health, improve respiratory function, and so much more. When you include regular exercise, such as an at-home workout, in your day-to-day routine, you inevitably improve your overall health and wellness.
An at-home workout may help decrease stress. Many individuals may stress about making it to the gym on time. On top of this, they may be stressed out about their day-to-day life. While exercise helps decrease this, having to make it to the gym for a certain time or during their opening hours may become a stressful experience as well. By performing your workout at home, you alleviate this additional stress and combat the stress that has accumulated over the course of your day.
Certain at-home workouts may not be suitable for those with specific health conditions. If you are working out alone in your home, it is important to keep in mind a few safety considerations. The most important consideration is your own personal safety. Analyze the potential risks that you may encounter by working out in your home. Try to schedule your workout when there is another person available to help, especially if you are at a high risk, such as you have a pre-existing health condition.
Check with your physician before beginning any exercise; ensure that the workout you have planned is right for you and your health. You should also have a plan for contacting someone should you begin to feel unwell or become injured while exercising if you are alone at home.
At-home workouts may have a lot of distractions. You may face interruptions or distractions during an at-home workout that you wouldn’t normally face at the gym. This can cause a lot of wasted time.
As such, it’s important to discuss your plans with others, and then come up with a plan to avoid, minimize, or eliminate any potential disruptions to your workout. Once you have decided on a workout and the length of time you want to spend exercising, choose a time of day and days of the week that will minimize interruptions to your workout.
At home workouts often don’t offer social interaction. Working out at home can feel a bit isolated. Further, left to your own devices; you may find it challenging to stay engaged. Consider where you draw your motivation from, and if you can be your own best coach. Perhaps you can draw enough motivation from your exercise instructor, or perhaps your home gym is spacious enough to have a friend exercise alongside you.
At-home workouts may lead to exercise plateaus and ruts. Often, exercise routines have you doing the same workout over and over again, which can lead to exercise plateaus and motivation issues. Thankfully, with the power of the internet, there are now a million varieties of progressions, styles, and disciplines, all led by numerous instructors. The best at-home workout for you may use a blended combination of many different types of programs. This ensures you remain engaged, and that you don’t face any plateaus.
As with exercise done outside of the home, your home workout should follow a safe and appropriate exercise prescription. Most experts recommend a substantial amount of moderate aerobic activity and vigorous aerobic activity every week (4).
As such, you should engage in 30-60 minutes of physical activity on most days. If you are resistance training, you may want to take a day of rest between weight training to allow your muscles to fully recover. It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with your chosen workout, make your space ready, then give it a try. As you think about your home and the many activities that may happen there (entertaining, meals, sleep, work), consider which days of the week and what time of day you would like to do your workout and see if there are any conflicts between your home’s regular activities and your workout.
Stretching and core strength at home workouts can be done a few days a week as well. Many people will find great benefits from the meditation and mindfulness that comes with stretching.
Who should use at home workouts? At home workouts are great for individuals of all ages, sizes and fitness levels, as their are many programs that tailor to specific needs. They are also greet for frequent travellers who might not always have access to a gym.
There are also many programs that are specifically for pregnant women and other special populations.
What should I do for an at-home workout? There are many videos available online offering guidance and instructions on how to perform your at-home workout. You can simply select a video at-home and follow along.
How does working out at home benefit climate change? By working out at home and not using a vehicle, you are contributing positively to climate change.
What equipment should you have in a home gym? There may be many pieces of fitness equipment that you will never need or use at your local gym. Some of the best and most versatile equipment includes dumbbells, resistance bands, a mat, kettlebells, a power rack, and a pull-up bar. If you have more space, then you can also consider including some turf where you can add battle ropes and sleds.
Any equipment in your home gym should be carefully considered and placed there according to your individual needs.
How do at-home workouts provide a custom experience? When you perform at-home workouts, you can use whatever equipment you want. You don’t have to worry about people taking your spot, or stealing equipment during supersets and tri-sets.
If you want to listen to 80s rock at full volume or have the windows wide open, the choice is yours. If you wish, you can have your dog at your side, fans on or off, the room temperature set just how you like it, or any other amenities that will keep you engaged.
How does working out at home save time? By working out at home, you avoid a lot of time wasters. One of the big ones is driving to your gym and finding a parking spot, which can be a really big problem in bigger cities. You also won’t have to take public transportation anywhere, which can take heaps of time.
How many at-home workout options are there? There is virtually an unlimited amount of at-home workouts available that provide a variety of instructors, exercise styles, and workouts based on your current situation. The number of exercise programs and classes available on the internet is always growing and changing.
Every few weeks, you can review what options are available on the internet, and bookmark those that look like a great fit. If you are only a few minutes into a class and it just doesn’t suit your needs, choosing a new option is simple and will not take more than a few moments.
What kind of technology do I need for an at-home workout? In order for your exercise program to be effective and as similar to that of a gym or class experience, you need to be able to see what the fitness leader is doing so you can replicate the exercise, and you may need to be able to hear what they are saying.
You may need a smartphone, television, DVD player, or tablet on which you can view and hear the exercise class. You will also likely need a reliable internet connection, especially if classes are live or streaming.
Do at-home workouts offer a way to relax and stretch as well? There are a number of great at-home workout websites and YouTube channels that include options for stretching, yoga, and meditation style classes. Yoga, like in some of the top 10 programs above, offers many health benefits, including postural stability, core strength, muscular endurance, improvements to your balance, and can be done on most days of the week.
Research has also suggested that yoga practice can have positive effects on depression and anxiety (5).
Where should I start with an at-home workout? It is a good idea to start with a beginner’s exercise program, and gradually build your strength and endurance than to try an advanced fitness program where you may be pushed beyond a safe limit.
Exercising beyond your current fitness level will not be enjoyable, and you may risk an injury. Further, the chances of you keeping up your commitment to regular exercise are lessened if you don’t enjoy the program, feel that you cannot keep up to the instructor, or if you become injured.
Are at-home workouts effective? Workouts are only as effective as the effort you put into it. If you exercise at a higher intensity, an at-home workout will certainly provide you with the fitness gains that you are looking for. If you are working out at home, you will still need to follow the cues, directions, and movements of the fitness instructor in order to have an effective workout.
One research study showed that home-based exercise was as effective as a community-based exercise training program at improving fitness (6).
How can I have an effective at-home workout? In order to have an effective workout, you need to be motivated and self-disciplined. Think about what motivates you, and incorporate all those motivating elements into your at-home workout. For some, that motivation comes from the right playlist.
For others, it may be a new workout outfit. You may benefit from ensuring you plan your workout well ahead of time, especially if you know you may lack the motivation come time to execute.
How often should I do an at-home workout class? Performing an at-home workout depends on a variety of factors, including the frequency, intensity, repetitions, and resistance levels of each exercise. You don’t want to overdo it, but you also want to ensure you are performing your at-home workout often enough to see results.
You’ll also want to look at how physically active you are throughout your day-to-day. If you are relatively sedentary, it may prove beneficial to do an at-home workout every day with variations in intensity, time, and type (7).
It is also important to set realistic fitness goals and to be aware of all the other demands on your time. When deciding on the frequency of exercise, consult your physician first and follow the researched guidelines on the quantity and quality of exercise suggested for you (8).
How can I make my home ready for an at-home workout? First, you should choose a space that allows you to move several feet in every direction. You should also pick a flooring that offers a little bit of cushion, like a carpet or a large foam mat. Depending on what program you choose, you may need specific fitness equipment, such as kettlebells or a stability ball.
If your workout choice requires a DVD and TV, ensure that this is easily seen, and well-secured on a stand. If you choose a workout streamed on YouTube or another internet platform, ensure the device you have chosen to view it on is large enough to be easily seen as you move through your exercise program, and that you can hear the fitness instructor’s cues, as well as any motivating music they have accompanying their program.
Which types of people would benefit from an at-home workout the most? If you are self-conscious about your coordination, body, and fitness level, an at-home workout may be right for you. No one else will see you as you learn nor be there to judge how much you are sweating or if you need to take a breather.
How do you decide what the best at-home workout is? The best way to decide is to look at the description of the workout beforehand. Most at-home workouts provide a brief description of what’s involved in each workout and give you a quick overview before you dive in. This ensures that you can choose the workout that is right for you.
Not only is this useful and a time-saver, but it’s also an important safety consideration to choose the class that is right for you and your fitness level. By taking a close look, you can determine what equipment will be needed, if the intensity level is right for you, and how much time you will need to complete the workout.
Do I have to buy expensive equipment for an at-home workout? Many at-home workouts are free of any equipment. However, a good quality exercise mat is always a good idea, since it can provide cushion for your joints. Many of our top 10 programs offer workouts that require zero equipment. All you need is the space to move and a floor surface that will cushion your body.
Is an at-home workout right for people that are out of shape? Yes, an at-home workout can be safe for people that are out of shape, as long as they have consulted with their health care team or doctor before starting. Your doctor can also provide guidance on what exercises would be right for you based on your current health status.
Are at-home workouts effective? Yes, research suggests that exercising at home, at a moderate intensity, can significantly increase your functional capacity (9). Often, it is up to you to determine whether an at-home workout is effective by how hard you work and how often you perform it.
Are at-home workouts good for traveling? At-home workouts are ideal for anyone that travels as many of these workouts can be done without equipment or a large space. It can also be customized to your location, equipment, and time period – ensuring you can always get a workout in.
What at-home workout is best for weight loss? A variety of at-home workouts can be excellent for weight loss. If you do a combination of strengthening and cardio, such as through interval workouts, you will burn fat and gain muscles, which is an ideal combination for weight loss.
Can at-home workouts build muscle? Yes, at-home workouts are very effective at building muscle. You also may not need any equipment to do so. Many at-home workouts, including those in our top 10, offer bodyweight programs that help you build strength and tone.
Can an at-home workout replace the gym? Yes, at-home workouts can replace the gym. You may find you get just as much of a workout at home as you would at your gym. This can help you save time and money.
What at-home workouts make you sweat? A variety of at-home workouts can make you work up a sweat. This often depends on the intensity you work at and how hard you push yourself. If you want to work up a sweat, make sure you know your limits but also challenge yourself.
What at-home workout is best for the chest? With many at-home videos to choose from, look for one that specifically targets the chest. There are plenty of them included on various apps, such as some listed above, and on YouTube. For the best chest workout, you want to find a program that works for your specific fitness level.
What at-home workout is best for abs? Similar to the best workouts for the chest, you simply have to search for an ab workout and you will find one. There are many to choose from in various programs and on YouTube. In terms of what is the best at-home workout for abs, this depends on your fitness level and how hard you want to work.
How can you burn fat doing an at-home workout? Fat loss comes down to a combination of factors. Often, it is best to put on muscle weight, since this can help sustain weight loss and improve your metabolic weight. Typically, a mix of strengthening and cardio workouts will help decrease fat.
It is also important to note that decreasing your body fat and losing weight also comes down to what you put in your body.
At-home workouts are software products that provide classes and guidance on how to perform a workout at home. There are many options based on the equipment you have, your fitness level, and your desired workout.
Since performing certain exercises at home may prove hazardous to some people, it is always important to check with your physician before beginning any new exercise program.
For Fitbug’s #1 recommended at-home workout, click here.