- At-home workout programs can be as effective as gym workouts and you don't even need a room full of expensive equipment to use them.
- Many online programs are designed specifically for the at-home user and only require the use of a gym mat, some resistance bands, or a small set of dumbbells.
- From weightlifting to dance cardio, there's an at-home workout program for every exercise style — and we've sweat-tested a variety of classes to find the best currently available.
With social distancing guidelines still in effect, there continues to be a massive shift in the way people approach keeping fit. Despite gyms and studios starting to reopen, not everyone is comfortable just jumping back into their old routine — and understandably so.
Luckily, there are alternative methods to get and/or stay in shape from the comfort and safety of your own home. This includes creating your own exercise space with minimal equipment, following an at-home workout program to hold yourself accountable, or just getting creative in how you keep active.
Contrary to popular belief, you don't actually need a gym membership to score the same results you'd find by frequenting your local 24-Hour Fitness. There's an at-home version of nearly every type of exercise via virtual classes or downloadable fitness guides. So, while your gym membership remains frozen for the foreseeable future, it might be worth investing in an at-home program that keeps you moving and feeling your best.
From cardio sculpting exercises to weightlifting guides, at-home workout programs truly run the gamut, and we've done the sweat-tested research needed to narrow down the best options currently available.
Here are the best home workout programs for gym-level results:
- Best at-home weightlifting program: CrushFit Crush60 at Home
- Best at-home cardio program: Megan Roup + The Sculpt Society
- Best at-home bodyweight program: Sarah's Day Sweat It To Shred It
- Best at-home yoga program: Glo App
- Best at-home program for a tight schedule: Kayla Itsines BBG
The best at-home weightlifting program
Crush60 at Home is an excellent program for weightlifters of all levels thanks to the program's design and extensive tools for perfecting lifting form and technique.
Powerlifter and personal trainer, Ben Williamson, founded Crush Fit back in 2014 and started as a one-guide workout program. Now, Crush60 evolved into a comprehensive workout program designed to enhance your performance in the gym. This expansion now also includes four additional ebook guides: Booty Bootcamp, Go!, Mass Effect, and Crush60 Home. After countless rounds of Crush, I can confidently say these strength training programs deliver results, in and outside the gym.
Williamson took his best-selling guide and tweaked it so anyone, anywhere could reap the benefits of the program. You simply choose the weight you're most comfortable with and move through the sets at your speed. There are no weight restrictions or time constraints, though there is the occasional burst of HIIT or Tabata.
I was brand new to the lifting spectrum of fitness when I first discovered Crush, but by the end of the program, I felt like I'd been weight training for years. Each page has cartoon illustrations demonstrating the exercises for that day's sequence, but also comes with interactive features through Adobe Acrobat, including videos of every exercise included in the program.
The entire program costs $44.99 which includes 60 days of guides, hand-drawn illustrations, interactive videos, bonus tips to help you achieve your goals, and a progress tracking worksheet. Some workouts do require equipment but if you don't have dumbbells, you can always get creative and use water bottles or canned food. Since it's a one-time purchase, the PDF lives on your computer or phone and is accessible whenever, wherever.
Pros: Affordable, purchase includes a 60-day guide, plus videos breaking down each exercise, a progress worksheet to track your results, and a nutrition guide, accessible forever
Cons: Requires some equipment.
The best at-home cardio program
The Sculpt Society focuses on keeping you moving the entire time through its intense workouts by incorporating fun dance moves and routines.
Take it from someone who was born with two left feet and zero rhythm: Megan Roup's The Sculpt Society is the best at-home cardio workout program I've yet to come across.
I first took one of Roup's classes in New York City in 2019 after being drawn to how the professional dancer and celebrity trainer makes dance cardio look so easy and fun. I was instantly hooked. Roup's energy and the athletic approach she took to dance-based fitness quickly made me a loyal fan of her methods.
When you log into your Sculpt Society account, you're met with a ton of cardio, sculpt, and combination sessions to choose from. Members can also enjoy guided meditations and yoga practices. You're able to pick and choose from the library of videos, or commit to The Sculpt Society's 10-week program if you're looking for something more regimented.
While Roup's classes are enjoyable, they're also challenging. Her method of exercise consists of dance cardio with bursts of sculpting movements for maximum results and toning. The dance moves are simple enough that anyone at any level can join in, and while Roup uses hand weights, resistance bands, sliders and ankle weights during sculpting sessions, equipment is never required.
Pros: Cheaper than a gym or studio subscription, available through Android, iOS, Apple TV, Roku, FireTV, and Amazon.
Cons: Dance sequences can be fast paced, modifications aren't always explained.
The best at-home bodyweight program
Sarah's Day Sweat It To Shred It is flexible to anyone's busy schedule and delivers a fun yet intense 8-week schedule of workouts.
When Sarah Stevenson titled her at-home workout program, Sweat It To Shred It, the Australian YouTuber wasn't just being cute. Having been one of Sarah's 1.45 million loyal subscribers for years, I was pumped when the bubbly holistic wellness and fitness guru released her ebook back in May of 2017.
Sarah describes her 8-week program as an "active lifestyle challenge" that's been "designed to be flexible to your lifestyle." It doesn't require any equipment and can be done in your bedroom, living room, backyard, or anywhere you have a little space to move around.
The program involves four different training styles: Sweaty Shredders, Toning Power (TP), Activity A, and Challenge C. Sweaty Shredders are brutal, but in the best way possible. If you like the feeling of being drenched in your own perspiration, you'll live for these types of workouts. They consist of seven exercises that you'll perform for 30 seconds, followed by a 10-second rest, and repeat six times. These types of workouts are fat burning and really push your body to the limit.
Toning Power days are my personal favorite. They're all about sculpting your muscles and toning. Each individual exercise targets a different muscle group through explosive movements you perform for one full minute at a time. Each of the three supersets you'll perform on Toning Power days features one power exercise followed by a fat-burning exercise that's meant to get your heart rate climbing (which it easily succeeds in doing).
Active exercises are choose-your-own-adventure days when you get to choose an activity you love — sports, running, swimming, walking. They're meant to benefit both your physical body and mental state. Then there are the Challenge days where Sarah lays out a unique challenge. These are optional but will still kick your butt if you're looking to put in some extra work.
The program is broken down by day of the week, but you don't have to follow it so strictly. Listening to your body means it's important to take rest days when necessary.
Pros: Recommends rest days, gets creative with its exercises, features scheduled choose-your-own workout so you don't feel tied down to one program throughout the entire eight weeks, offers plenty of variety
Cons: The moves aren't broken down anywhere, so if you're unsure how to do an exercise, you have to dig through the internet for an explainer.
The best at-home program for a tight schedule
The Bikini Body Training Guide focuses on strength and cardio routines designed for anyone who's constantly busy or working on a tight schedule.
If you've not yet done one of Kayla Itsines's BBG workouts, it's time to start. The Australian trainer launched the Sweat With Kayla app, where she continues to roll out strength-and-cardio workouts that do well to get you sweaty on a time crunch. It's the perfect at-home exercise program for anyone looking to get in shape on a tight schedule.
Itsines's Bikini Body Training Guide is a 12-week program with four weeks of pre-training. It's also the most thorough exercise document I've ever seen. A quick scroll through the whopping 190 page packet proves Itsines isn't just a physical trainer but also a fitness and health educator. Her mission is to help women keep healthy and live active lives by providing information gathered from personal experience, through client testimonials, and research articles.
In addition to the educational material, the Bikini Body Training Guide also includes a glossary that breaks down each of the exercises included in the program, step-by-step, so beginners can perfect their form (which helps prevent injury). Itsines also includes a list of equipment you can gather before starting her program. But what makes this section of the guide even more helpful is the subsequent list of equipment alternatives.
BBG was designed in a way that it can be done in a gym or at home, and because not everyone has access to a flat bench or medicine balls, Itsines goes the extra mile to make sure anyone and everyone benefit from her program.
The biggest drawback of the BBG program is the fixation on societal standards of a bikini body. While the BBG community is a god example of women supporting women, it can also be triggering for someone who struggles with their body image, as there are countless progress pictures floating around Instagram. Itsines addressed this issue in the past, acknowledging that she regrets naming her program the Bikini Body Guide, as it implies there's only one body fit for a bikini (a notion we know to be false).
Pros: Supportive community of women on and offline, affordable, offers 12 weeks of workouts.
Cons: Focuses a lot on aesthetics, might be triggering for anyone with body image issues.
The best at-home yoga and pilates program
Whether you're a seasoned yogi or new on the mat, experimenting with meditation, or interested in giving pilates a try, Glo has a plan for your practice.
The creators of Glo understand that mindfulness practices are about the individual as much as they are about mastering a technique, and that's why the app caters to your unique preferences. You can either choose your path and follow programs already laid out for you or use the search bar to filter videos based on your preferences. Narrow down your search by practice, time duration, your focus for the day (i.e. waking up in the morning, relaxing before bed, strength training, breathing exercises, etc.), teacher, experience level, and more.
Glo also allows you to create your own library. Here, you can favorite classes, group them together to create collections, return to programs you've joined and enjoyed, and stay connected to the teachers that resonated with you.
One of the most unique aspects of the Glo app is its course inclusion. Users can browse through classes that deep dive into techniques and the practice of yoga, how to teach yoga, and even seminars exploring how the body works and how to live a more mindful, connected life. They are in-app purchases and cost anywhere from $54 to $499.
Pros: Affordable, classes and programs taught by renowned instructors and experts, customizable to your preferences, workouts for all fitness levels.
Cons: In-app purchases are very expensive.
What else we considered
There is no fitness movement quite like the Pound movement. Following the lead of founder Kristen Potenza, this exercise program puts Ripstix (quarter-pound drumsticks) in your hands and proves that rocking out and working out can be synonymous. This style of working out gained a following thanks to its appearance on the NBC show, This is Us, and is now being taught across the country.
It's a unique workout experience designed for all fitness levels that combines cardio and strength training into a 45-minute session. During each class, you'll perform up to a whopping 15,000 reps, perform over 30 extended interval peaks, and run through more than 70 techniques to the music. It's a particularly useful program for stress relief — something everyone could benefit from once in a while.
Centr is a unique, all-in-one fitness source that's jam-packed with a variety of programs and exercise videos that range from yoga and HIIT to boxing. When you sign up for the app, you're asked to input details like your weight and fitness goals and based on this information, Centr generates a plan catered to your needs consisting of daily workouts, meal suggestions, and meditative practices. You have the option to stick to the plan, or explore the app's catalogue of programs, classes, recipes, meditations, and podcasts.