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So, you built your garage gym. Now what? To get the most out of the best home gym equipment, consider following an online training plan to stay focused and keep progressing. Not sure where to start?
Our team of certified personal trainers, CrossFit athletes, weightlifting coaches, and fitness enthusiasts have tested more than 20 of the best online workout programs to point you in the right direction. We personally use these programs and then rate them on aspects such as:
- Quality of instruction: Are there certified trainers guiding you through workouts?
- Ease of use: Is the app functionally easy to navigate?
- Interactive features: Are there check-ins, and do you have access to a coach?
We then whittled down the list to find the best online workout apps.
Best Online Workout Programs in 2023
- Best Online Workout Program Overall: Future
- Best Online Workout Program for Motivation: iFIT
- Best Free Online Workout Program: Nike Training Club
- Best Online Workout Program for Strength Training: JuggernautAI
- Best Online Workout Program for Quick Workouts: NCFIT
- Best Online Workout Program for Live Classes: Peloton
- Best Online Functional Fitness Workout Program: Street Parking
- Best Online Workout Program for Bodybuilding: MAPS Anabolic
Best Online Workout Program Overall: Future
Good for: People who need help sticking to a strict workout routine and want extra accountability from a certified trainer
- Virtual training from qualified coaches
- Personal plan designed to help reach your goals
- Great interface
- Use our link for 50% off your first month
Pros & Cons
- Incredible user interface; very well designed and intuitive
- Choose your own coach based on your personal preferences and goals
- Lots of variety in your workouts
- No real-time coaching from your trainer
- $199 per month membership cost
GGR founder Cooper Mitchell and GGR head of content Kate Meier have been using Future for nearly two years and don’t anticipate stopping any time soon. This revolutionary personal training app allows you to pick your own real coach, and work on the fitness goals that matter to you.
One of the best parts about Future? You can take it anywhere! If you’re someone who travels frequently and doesn’t feel like you have a stable workout routine, this app could help you feel a sense of normalcy and continuity.
“The app also works on an Apple watch, allowing you to move through the workout by tapping a button on your watch instead of having to get on your phone,” Kate, who is a certified personal trainer herself, says. “This was SUPER convenient.”
After informing a trainer what your goals are (could be weight loss, cardio, or strength-based), they’ll use the equipment you tell them you have access to in order to create workouts. You can get a workout every day if you want, or ask your coach to program certain days to be lighter days and certain days to be rest days.
Kate found that her coach was extremely flexible and able to switch up or replace workouts based on Kate’s needs and how she’s feeling. Both Coop and Kate love the accountability of a real coach, giving Future a perfect 5/5 in testing.
“My coach is fantastic. She checks in with me almost every day to see how I am feeling, how the workout went, or ask why I hadn’t done the workout yet,” Kate says. “This was a big motivator for me. This worked really well for me in terms of keeping me on track with my workouts.”
Initially, Future only worked on iOS devices. However, the brand has since noted that it will now work on Android devices as well as on watches that operate on WearOS 3.0 or higher.
Future could be cost-prohibitive to some: It costs close to $199 per month. However, if you’re thinking about personal training, this is still more affordable than hiring someone to assist you multiple times a week in person (plus, if you click this link you can get your first month for 50% off).
Read our full Future app review.
|Training Approach||Personal Training|
|Workout Types||Cardio, Strength, Functional Fitness|
|Platform Availability||Android and iOS|
Best Online Workout Program for Motivation: iFIT
Good for: People who want an instructor who will hype them up for any workout
- Over 16,000 live and on-demand classes
- More than 60 types of workouts
- Immersive experience
- Classes filmed worldwide
- Live races and events
- World-class trainers
- Syncs with Nordictrack and ProForm equipment
Pros & Cons
- At-home training
- World-class coaches
- Immersive training experience
- Vast library of workouts
- Record and track workout metrics
- Individual and family memberships available
- Free trial
- Pricey for some
- No true path for progression
Looking for a program that will keep you motivated? We like iFIT for its instructor-led live and on-demand classes. Whether you’re running through a mountain range or taking a heart-pumping studio HIIT class, you’ll be pushed by a certified instructor.
“When that little voice in my head was telling me to quit, the instructor was offering encouraging words,” says Kate Meier, GGR head of content who has done the Hawaiian Islands Endurance Series on iFIT.
RELATED: Best Running Apps
Similar to Peloton, the iFIT app may have been designed to work with NordicTrack and ProForm cardio machines, but even people who don’t own one of those can use this app. iFIT also offers countless live and on-demand workouts mindfulness, high-intensity interval training, strength training, and much more. We’re big fans of all the music used in iFIT classes, and it’s clear they spent a lot of time and money to get some high-profile artists on board.
If you own a ProForm or NordicTrack treadmill or other cardio machines, be aware that your trainers can adjust your incline/decline adjustment (if your machine has it) and speed. Kate experienced this while running on a NordicTrack Commercial 1750.
“The first time the machine started adjusting when we were climbing the hill, I was like ‘whoa!'” she says. “I knew it was going to happen, but I still somehow wasn’t ready for it. It isn’t jarring in the sense that I wasn’t afraid of falling off the machine or anything.”
The breadth and quality of live and on-demand options iFIT does offer is impressive. There’s something for everyone, no matter your time or equipment constraints, and the instructors are great at what they do.
At $180/year for an individual plan (which only gives you one user profile) and $39 a month for a family plan (multiple user profiles), you get pretty good value considering how many options iFIT has. With motivating instructors and quality workout programming, it’s one we recommend you at least take for a test drive.
We should point out that this isn’t personal training. iFIT can start to learn your fitness level and adjust intensity, but you won’t receive customized programming.
Check out our full iFIT reviews for more thoughts.
|Training Approach||Group classes, live and on-demand workouts|
|Workout Types||Cardio, strength, yoga, cross-training|
|Cost||Yearly Family Plan for $396/ year; a Monthly Family Plan for $39/month; and a Yearly Individual Plan for $180/yr.|
|Platform Availability||iOS, Android|
Best Free Online Workout Program: Nike Training Club
Good for: Trainees looking for a robust workout library with live and on-demand workouts at no cost.
Free Online Workout Program
- Completely free
- Massive library of on-demand workouts and live classes
- More than 10 workout categories
- App is easy to use
- No individualized programming
Pros & Cons
- Completely free to use
- Previously premium/paid content is available for free
- More than 10 workout categories
- Most workouts taught my certified trainers and instructors
- Audio controls can be finicky
- Sometimes hard to see on-screen metrics like reps and time
The vast majority of free online workout programs available are pretty blasé. Most don’t have a very big library of on-demand workouts, live classes led by certified trainers and instructors, periodized programs, or more than 10 workout categories.
Nike Training Club has all of that and more—and it’s all entirely free! It honestly doesn’t get much better than this if your budget is zero dollars. The high-quality content on this app wasn’t always free, but Nike made all of the app’s previously premium content free and available for all members when the COVID-19 pandemic was in its early stages in 2020. Even before this move, the workouts were pretty good, but now the app is unbeatable as far as free programming goes.
I’ve had Nike Training Club downloaded on my phone for years, and while I’ve never exclusively followed a full program on it, I open it up whenever I feel like doing something different or I don’t have the brainpower to write my own workout for the day.
You can choose from cardio, HIIT, strength training, bodyweight, endurance, and more. To make it easy to find what you’re looking for, the app allows you to filter by workout length, fitness level, type of workout, and equipment.
Both the on-demand workouts and live workout classes have good instruction, although it can be hard to hear the instructors if you stream music from a separate app during the class. I never found a way around this solution and just decided it is what it is, since it’s a free workout app.
I rated this app a 3 out of 5 for accountability, because there aren’t really many features to hold you accountable to your workout. Other than this, I have no problems with Nike Training Club, and I think it’s a wonderful free option for people who like to do a lot of different types of workouts.
RELATED: HIIT Treadmill Workouts
|Training Approach||On-demand and live workout classes|
|Workout Types||Cardio, strength, yoga, HIIT|
|Platform Availability||iOS and Android|
Best Online Workout Program for Strength Training: JuggernautAI
Good for: People who are serious about improving their performance on the “big three”: squat, deadlift, and bench press.
Best for Strength
- Use code "GARAGEGYM" for a discount on JuggernautAI training.
- Smart powerlifting and powerbuilding program from Chad Wesley Smith, an accomplished strength athlete and owner of Juggernaut Training Systems.
- Uses information such as your weight, training history, current fitness level and training load, personal records, goals, and ideal training schedule to create strength and hypertrophy blocks to prepare you for powerlifting or bodybuilding meets.
Pros & Cons
- Extremely intuitive app experience
- Super smart and responsive AI
- Offers a two-week free trial to see if you like it
- Not the same as working with a real coach
- Dashboard is a little confusing at first
- Only for strength training (no cardio workouts)
If you’re looking to get stronger at the “big three”–back squat, deadlift, and bench press–look no further than JuggernautAI. This AI-based powerlifting program (or power-building, if you choose) is the closest thing you can get to personalized coaching from an elite athlete without actually paying for personal coaching from an elite athlete.
JuggernautAI is the product of Chad Wesley Smith, a wildly accomplished strength athlete who can squat numbers most people never even dream of. Using the JuggernautAI app is like having all of the knowledge and experience of an expert personal trainer for a palatable price of $35 per month (get a discount if you use code GARAGEGYM). Plus, using the app is incredibly easy; I give it a perfect 5 out of 5 in this category.
I followed JuggernautAI for more than a year now and noticed ample improvement in my compound lifts. I not only PR’d my squat, deadlift, and bench press, but I also began to move more weight on accessory lifts such as lunges, good morning, Romanian deadlifts, bent-over rows, and so much more.
Programming is personalized to your goals, current fitness level, and daily readiness (AKA, how sore or fatigued you’re feeling on a given training day). You can modify workouts based on your readiness level, the equipment available to you, or simply if you want to try a different exercise in the prescribed movement pattern. For example, you can sub back squats for Bulgarian split squats if, say, your hips are extra tight or you want to add some more unilateral work to your day.
My only qualm with JuggernautAI programming is that there’s no conditioning element, but to be frank, if your goal is to become a better powerlifter, you don’t need conditioning. I just personally prefer a mix of strength and conditioning, and that’s why I don’t exclusively follow JuggernautAI.
Read our full JuggernautAI review.
|Training Approach||Personalized programming|
|Platform Availability||iOS and Android|
Best Online Workout Program for Quick Workouts: NCFIT
Good for: Students, parents, professionals, or anyone who needs quick but effective 30- or 45-minute workouts.
Best for Busy People
- Virtual training program
- 4 different tracks to choose from
- Vast library of workout movements
- On-demand classes and workout tracks
- World-class coaches
- The app is available on iOS
Pros & Cons
- Easy to use
- Anyone at any fitness level can join
- Monthly subscription you can cancel anytime
- Unlimited access to four workout tracks
- Affordable at just $19.99/month
- On-demand classes
- No individualized programming
- No live feedback or cues
- Must have your own equipment
NCFIT is CrossFit Games athlete and former Fittest Man on Earth Jason Khalipa’s programming. People immersed in the CrossFit world may already know that many CrossFit affiliate gyms use NCFIT programming. What most don’t know is that you can sign up for NCFIT programming as an individual.
What I want to emphasize is that all of these tracks can be completed in 60 minutes a day (or less). There’s also a competitor’s track, but it goes without saying that training to compete takes more time than training to be fit.
On the NCFIT app, you have access to four tracks: NCMETCON, which feels pretty typical of what you would do at a CrossFit affiliate gym (warm-up followed by a skill or strength session followed by a metcon and a cool-down or accessory work); NCFLEX, a bodybuilding program, NCX, a strength and conditioning program, and NCGO, a high-intensity interval training program that only requires dumbbells.
Sam “AsSAMbly” Presley, GGR’s facilities manager, has used NCFIT for months and rates it high for instruction, though he has one important callout:
“For the daily workouts, you view a short, three-minute video that walks you through what you will be doing,” he says. “For a beginner such as myself, the daily workouts are more difficult because I find myself jumping over to the movement library to make sure I am doing the movement correctly.”
If you’re a parent, professional, student, or any combination of these things, a fact of life is that it’s hard to fit your workout in sometimes. I think NCFIT is the best workout program for busy people because it offers much more variety and intentional programming than most fitness apps marketed for busy people.
Sure, I could download a different app and do a random 20-minute workout each day, but will I really get anywhere? NCFIT lays out everything you need from warm-up to cool-down so you can maximize your workout time and make good progress without spending too much time in the gym.
Read our full NCFIT review for more thoughts on this online training program.
|Training Approach||Daily online workouts and coaching tips|
|Workout Types||Strength, conditioning, HIIT|
|Platform Availability||iOS and Android|
Best Online Workout Program for Live Classes: Peloton
Good for: People who want to shake up their workouts on a daily basis
Live Class Option
- World-class workout classes
- Variety of fitness routines
- On-bike and off-bike workouts
- Don't need a Peloton bike to sign up for the app
Pros & Cons
- World-class programming
- Not just bike workouts
- Can be used all over the world
- Keeps tracks of all training metrics
- Train from the comfort of your own home
- 30-day free trial
- Costs $39 per month
- Required to access Peloton Bike's features
If you’re thinking, “Oh, I don’t do cycling classes so this isn’t for me,” then just give us a minute of your time before you click away. Peloton offers workouts across multiple categories, including running, meditation, yoga, strength training, boxing, Pilates, and so much more.
And just like their iconic cycling instructors, each one is taught by an instructor who won’t only get you the results you’re looking for but also make you want to do the work. Our content publisher started swearing by this online workout program when it got her to like tempo runs, which took her marathon training to a whole new level.
Even better, you don’t need a Peloton bike to use the Peloton app. The one downside is that if you want to take live classes and use the leaderboards for even more motivation, you’ll have to upgrade to the $44 all-access monthly membership.
RELATED: Peloton Bike Review
Caroline tried out the Peloton app during the 2020 lockdown (ahh, memories), and she actually looked forward to connecting with her favorite trainers every day. No matter what workout she was doing, she found every instructor to be thorough and engaging in their instructions, to the point where some of their trademark phrases are still stuck in her head, “How you do anything is how you do everything.”
We will say if you’re someone who’s looking for barbell training, this ain’t it. There’s a lot of strength training classes that use dumbbells, but if you’re looking to improve on the Big Three then we recommend you look at our strength training pick.
Check out our full Peloton app review for our full look at one of the best online workout programs.
|Training Approach||Live and on-demand classes|
|Workout Types||Strength, cardio, yoga, HIIT, Pilates, and more|
|Cost||Starts at $12.99/month|
|Platform Availability||Android and iOS|
Best Online Functional Fitness Workout Program: Street Parking
Good for: People who want traditional “constantly varied” programming to do in their home gym.
- Affordable at-home CrossFit-style programming ($19/month)
- Membership pricing goes down if you commit to a longer time frame
- Can achieve a lot with basic fitness equipment
- Great for conditioning
- Very metcon-focused and less strength-focused
- No individualized training
Pros & Cons
- Doesn’t require a lot of equipment
- Workouts usually don’t take longer than 30 minutes to complete
- Price goes down if you commit to a longer time frame
- Strength and skill work aren’t part of the main programming
- No individualized coaching
If you have a CrossFit-centric home gym, Street Parking could be the best online workout program for you. Street Parking follows a very typical functional fitness format with a prescribed workout of the day (WOD) that is highly focused on conditioning. Street Parking workouts tend to be AMRAPs (as many reps/rounds as possible) or “for time” chippers or circuits.
Street Parking does provide alternate workouts based on equipment access. For example, each day’s programming has a barbell version and a dumbbell version. There’s also a “coaches’ notes” section that provides alternative ideas based on weather conditions and space limitations. It seems like the Street Parking programmers try to keep common limitations in mind and work hard to make the programming accessible to everyone.
In addition to the daily metcons, which usually last between 15 and 25 minutes, Street Parking also provides optional strength, endurance, skills, and mobility programming. If you do all of the day’s suggested work, you’ll be completing a very well-rounded CrossFit-style program that encompasses all 10 of the “general physical preparedness” skills: cardiovascular endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy.
For just $19 per month, Street Parking is a steal compared to the cost of going to an in-person CrossFit or boutique gym. Also, there is a members-only Facebook group to ask questions and feel like part of a community.
|Training Approach||Daily workouts and programming|
|Workout Types||Functional fitness, HIIT|
|Platform Availability||iOS only|
Best Online Workout Program for Bodybuilding: MAPS Anabolic
Good for: People serious about getting strong and gaining muscle mass.
Best for Bodybuilding
- No subscription fees; buy once and you have lifetime access to the program
- Carefully periodized programming
- Come with a free “at-home mod” for people with minimal equipment
- Traditional version requires a full gym setup
Pros & Cons
- Pay a one-time flat fee (no subscription required)
- Simple online web portal
- Comprehensive instruction and demo videos for all exercises
- Broken up into smartly programmed phases
- No app available (must use web browser)
- No individualized programming
MAPS Anabolic is one of many programs from Mind Pump Media, which designs MAPS Fitness Products. MAPS stands for “muscular adaptation programming system,” and it’s essentially a collection of targeted periodized fitness programs that range from four to 16 weeks. There’s a MAPS program for everything: building muscle, losing body fat, strongman training, powerlifting, obstacle course racing, mobility, and more.
After following the MAPS Anabolic program to completion, I think it’s one of the very best online workout programs for building muscle. MAPS Anabolic is one of Mind Pump’s first fitness programs and it’s extremely foundational in nature, meaning it mostly focuses on essential compound movements, as well as tried-and-true isolation exercises.
If you choose to follow MAPS Anabolic, be prepared for lots of heavy squats, deadlifts, overhead pressing, and bench pressing. You’ll also be doing weighted pull-ups, sit-ups, and other calisthenic movements, plus barbell curls, triceps extensions, good mornings, and more.
As a personal trainer, I really appreciate and value Mind Pump’s dedication to simplicity with MAPS Anabolic. If you want to try all of the latest crazy exercises and spend a ton of time doing grueling HIIT workouts, this isn’t the program for you. But if you want to get really strong and pack on some serious muscle, this is definitely a solid choice.
Perhaps the best part about MAPS Fitness Products is that you buy the program once for a flat fee and it’s yours forever. You can follow the program as many times as you like, and you’ll keep making progress as long as you continually overload where appropriate and stick to a proactive rest day schedule.
The one downside is that this isn’t the most user-friendly app I’ve ever seen. I gave it a 3 out of 5 in this area simply because I don’t think the website delivers the most user-friendly experience.
|Training Approach||Online workout programs|
|Cost||$117, no subscription required|
|Platform Availability||No app required|
Other Online Workout Programs We Tested and Researched
Our team has tried and researched dozens of workout programs, but not all of them were able to make our “best of” list. That’s not to say they were bad, and we’re sure a few people out there would enjoy giving them a shot.
Power Athlete is a training regimen created by former NFL athlete John Welbourn. Power Athlete isn’t just one program; there are several targeted toward different goals, such as on-the-field athleticism, strength, conditioning, and mobility.
Grindstone includes strength training, accessory and skill work, and conditioning. It’s designed to be flexible and accommodate busy professionals, parents, and everyday athletes. The app is easy to use and it’s simple to track your progress. Instruction is also good, with demo videos and written instructions included for each exercise in your workout.
CompTrain is a popular functional fitness workout program designed by Ben Bergeron, a renowned coach in the CrossFit world. Bergeron has coached many elite CrossFit athletes to success, including Katrin Davidsdottir, Brooke Wells, and Cole Sager. As you might imagine, CompTrain follows a pretty typical CrossFit format with strength, skill, and conditioning segments. None of our team members have personally followed CompTrain for an extended period of time, so we can’t currently recommend it on our top list.
However, Senior Editor for Garage Gym Reviews, Kate Meier, followed the classroom training option for months at a time in various CrossFit gyms. While she loves the metcons, she said you’ll definitely notice some slight periodization in the programming as Bergeron tends to go weeks at a time programming a few movements heavily, and you won’t see other movements at all until the next “cycle” rolls around.
Another functional fitness program, Misfit is geared toward aspiring competitive CrossFit athletes. Like other CrossFit programs, Misfit Athletics provides a daily workout of the day with strength and conditioning prescriptions. There are several Misfit tracks, including a teen, masters, and “anywhere” program. Misfit also offers remote coaching for those who want extra accountability and personalization. Based on our research, the Garage Gym Reviews team thinks Misfit offers great programming, but we can’t recommend it until one of our team members tries it out.
Fitness equipment company Sorinex sponsors Squatober and Deadcember, two-month-long powerlifting programs in which you solely squat and deadlift (along with some accessory exercises) during the months of October and December, respectively. The programs are free on Instagram, and they’ve helped GGR staff writer Anthony O’Reilly add at least 20 pounds to his lifts each time he’s run them.
RELATED: How to Survive Squatober
But, the programs lack an educational aspect and assume people know the intricacies of powerlifting programming. The coaches try to answer as many questions as possible on the social media platforms, but there are some that go unaddressed.
Who doesn’t love a good throwback? P90X is an at-home workout that combines weightlifting, bodyweight exercises, HIIT, and cardio all in one. The program is really effective in that it helps you lose fat while building lean muscle to get a toned physique. The problem is P90X hasn’t kept up with the times, and it’s still only available as a DVD set.
You can get access to it through the Beachbody on Demand app, but that requires a membership that costs $99.99 a year, or $59.99 for three months. We would love to see it made available on a more streaming-friendly platform.
HWPO stands for Hard Work Pays Off. This is five-time CrossFit Games champ Mat Fraser’s programming, offered through Hybrid Performance Method. There are three HWPO tracks: the traditional one, HWPO 60 for people who are tight on time, and HWPO PRO for elite level athletes. Garage Gym Reviews staff writer Sosha Lewis has been following HWPO for about 4 months and is a huge fan.
The programming is intentional and each week builds on the last. “I have definitely gotten stronger with the strength portion, but where I’ve seen the most results is in my endurance,” she says. “There is a daily video that includes a warm up, details about the wod and movement demos. There is a reason that Fraser was the five-time ‘Fittest Man in the World’ and it shines through in his online program.”
To begin, this app has a bit of an advertising problem in that it markets itself as a free app but you have to pay $19.99 a month to get the training programs–which isn’t really made clear until you download it and go through a quiz meant to design a training program “just for you.”
The quiz asks you about your fitness experience, goals, and your height and weight before recommending a training and diet regimen. In full honesty, the training suggestions are spit out by an algorithm and while they’re effective (you will get results with this app) they’re nothing that special and, in our mind, not worth the money.
If you want to follow what a fitness champ follows, follow PRVN. This programming is led by coach Shane Orr and Tia-Claire Toomey, five-time CrossFit Games champion. PRVN60 is intended for the everyday athlete, while PRVN remote coaching is reserved for competitive CrossFit Athletes. With PRVN60, you get strength training, skill work, and conditioning packaged neatly into a one-hour workout.
CENTR has a lot of features, and GGR staff writer Anthony says it has one of the best recipe sections he’s seen in a fitness app (especially the kimchi fried rice and the tempeh Reuben). There are a number of coached or self-guided workouts, apparently designed by the training actor Chris Hemsworth underwent for his roles, including Thor.
But one of the biggest complaints we, and many other people, have is that it’s a buggy app. Even if you have notifications enabled it often doesn’t remind you of your daily workout goals, which could be vital for some people who’d otherwise forget, and it freezes up during use. If you’re doing the self-guided workouts you also have to click a button to progress to the next move (and who wants to constantly pick up their phone during a workout?).
With 20 daily live classes and more than 8,000 on-demand options, Obé Fitness seems to be a great option for anyone looking to shake up their workout regimen. None of us have tried it yet, which is why it didn’t make this list.
However, if you’re someone who’s looking for prenatal or postpartum workout classes, Obé Fitness has many classes dedicated just to this and many online reviews swear by it for those cases.
P.Volve is a movement-based, low-impact workout program that promises to help sculpt and tone muscles while helping you progress in your “personal evolution.” To be honest, none of us here at Garage Gym Reviews have tried it yet so we’re not comfortable weighing in on it.
Daily Burn is an online workout program dedicated to making fitness fun and accessible for everyone (which is a mission we support 110 percent!). Again, we just haven’t tried it our for ourselves but there are countless online reviews and testimonies saying it’s one of the best online workout programs out there.
One of our summer interns, Claire, actually tried out the Barre3 free trial, and here’s what she had to say: “The thing I liked most about Barre3 was how organized it was, it was really easy for me to find the type of workout I wanted…No matter how much time I had to workout, I could find a video to fit.”
She says she would’ve signed up for the full version, but as a college student the $29 monthly subscription cost was just a bit too much for her. She does recommend it for others, though, even if you’re not someone who has Barre or dancing experience (though she would’ve preferred a bit more dancing incorporated into the workouts).
If you’re someone who primarily does yoga, meditation, or Pilates, Glo seems to be the choice for you. There’s a 7-day free trial to check it out, and at $18 per month it’s not the most expensive training program out there. Some online reviews, though, say Android users have been pretty frustrated with the app’s interface.
Workout Programs Our Community Loves
Because we always want to know what our community is up to, we posted a poll in our Home Gym Community Facebook group asking what fitness programming our members follow. A whopping 148 members voted that they create and follow their own programming, but many also voted on these programs. Our team hasn’t tried all of these, but since our community loves them, we want to make sure our readers know about them.
Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 is a simple but effective strength training program that involves doing a full-body resistance training workout three days a week. The 5/3/1 is the rep scheme for each exercise. Each day, you’ll perform a set of five, a set of three, and a set of one for each exercise you do. Day one includes squat and bench press; day two includes deadlift and overhead press; and day three includes squat and bench press again. On each day, after completing your big lifts, you’re supposed to do 50 to 100 total reps of accessory work, splitting the reps between two exercises.
Pen and Paper offers nearly 40 different strength-focused training programs, some generalized and some specialized for a goal, activity, or muscle group. You can filter plans by training frequency, upper or lower body, limited equipment, or fitness level.
The Conjugate Method was created by powerlifter Louie Simmons at Westside Barbell, and it’s sometimes called Westside Barbell Conjugate Method or Westside’s Conjugate Method. The Conjugate Method alternates between max-effort lifts and dynamic exercises in three-week cycles to refine strength and skills.
Starting Strength is a book about training methodology written by Mark Rippetoe, who is perhaps one of the most well-known strength coaches in America. Many fitness coaches use the Starting Strength method and you can be matched to one of these coaches through the Starting Strength website. Starting Strength is a long-term systematic type of programming that follows several macrocycles and mesocycles with a focus on barbell training.
RP, short for Renaissance Periodization, is one of the original functional fitness online workout programs. With RP, you can choose to work with a remote coach or simply buy a customizable training template. With the custom templates, you choose your number of training days per week and which muscle groups you want to focus on.
Mountain Tactical Institute designs online workout programs for tactical professionals and outdoor athletes. There are programs specific for law enforcement, fire and rescue, military, and mountain, which includes climbing, snow, wilderness professional, mountain guide, and more. All Mountain Tactical Institute plans include strength, conditioning, and mobility aspects relative to the goal at hand.
RELATED: Outdoor Training Guide
How We Picked and Tested the Best Online Workout Programs
Most of the Garage Gym Reviews team has been working out for years. We’ve followed our fair share of training programs at box gyms, CrossFit affiliates, and our own home gyms. Just in the last six months, for example, members of our team have run cycles on JuggernautAI, NCFIT, Future, and more.
We started with our own experience with various online workout programs, creating a list of plans our team members have personally used in the past. We then did online research to compile a list of programs that we haven’t done ourselves, but we thought were worth including due to the creator of the program or the research behind it. An example of this is HWPO, which is CrossFit Games champion Mat Fraser’s programming.
We also polled our community to see what online workout programs they use and considered those results in our research. Finally, we collaborated among team members at Garage Gym Reviews to choose the best online workout programs you see in this guide.
When finalizing the list, we accounted for a number of factors that include the following:
If you’re looking for an online workout program, one of the factors could very well be money. Personal training can be expensive, and getting your workouts online is often more affordable and more convenient. We favored programs that offered a good value based on their offering. If the app offers personal training, it needs to be more affordable than a personal trainer.
We looked for programs that offer workouts that are easy to understand both in presentation and through expert instruction. If you can’t understand what you have to do, the program isn’t worth it.
Our goal was to find programs that most home gym owners could do with minimal equipment. True, some of the programs on this list cater to people with barbells and treadmills. However, in most cases, the programs above can be modified for most people’s equipment.
Accessibility and Ease of Use
We rated each program on its accessibility and ease of use, favoring programs with great interfaces and user-friendly apps.
One important factor we evaluated is accountability. Does the program offer ways to keep you on track? Each program received a score from 1 to 5 in this area based on workout reminders, motivating coaches, and interaction with trainers.
Why You Should Follow an Online Workout Program
While many home gym owners are capable of designing their own workout programs, there’s nothing like having a program written for you. These are some of the top benefits of following an online workout program:
Having a coach or, at the very least, paying for a program will help you stay more accountable and not only show up to your workouts, but work harder.
Writing workouts takes a good deal of time, especially if you’re writing periodized programming for specific goals. Following an online workout plan eliminates this time suck.
Designing workouts also takes brain power, and it can become very tiring to program for yourself. When you follow an online fitness plan, you don’t have to think about what you’re doing—you just show up and do it.
Most people tend to do more of what they like and are good at and less of what they don’t like or aren’t good at. If you follow a program, your weaknesses will be written right into your weekly plan, giving you less opportunity to avoid them.
It’s easy to fall into a trap of doing the same rep schemes, tempo patterns, and volume if you program for yourself. An online workout program helps to keep those things varied in a way that supports continual improvement.
Those of us who get super enthusiastic about fitness may inadvertently skip rest days. Following a program ensures you take necessary breaks and avoid overtraining.
How to Choose the Best Online Workout Program
“Best” is subjective when it comes to fitness training. To help you narrow down your choices, here are a few things to keep in mind when looking into online workout programs.
If your goal is to become a better powerlifter, you certainly shouldn’t subscribe to an endurance workout program, and vice versa. The first thing you should look at is your primary long-term goal, whether that’s to build muscle, lose body fat, lose weight, get stronger, get faster, increase your general work capacity, compete at an elite level, or something else.
Most of us are busy. We don’t all have time to train like high-performance athletes, unfortunately. Luckily, most at-home workout plans have 60-minute workouts at the most; many have 30- and 45-minute options and some have workouts as short as 15 minutes. Before subscribing to a plan, make sure it’ll fit with your schedule.
Equipment availability is another big factor to consider when looking at home workout programs. As a home gym owner, you have the ability to add and remove pieces of equipment from your setup at will, but it’s a smart idea to choose your programming based on the equipment you have, and not the other way around.
Some people need more accountability than others and that’s a fact. If you tend to miss workouts when you don’t have anyone to hold you accountable, consider using an app like Future, which matches you to a personal trainer.
Of course, budget remains a top factor. Most home workout programs require subscriptions, so when searching, make sure to verify that the monthly fee falls within your budget. If you don’t have room for a monthly subscription, consider saving up to buy a program with a one-time fee, such as those from MAPS Fitness Products.
Best Online Workout Programs FAQs
Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about the best at home workout program:
What is the best home workout program?
There are a lot of great home workout programs out there. We can’t choose just one as the best online workout program because everyone has different goals and different programs are geared toward varying goals. Our recommendations for the best online workout plans aim to cover the bases and provide you with a glimpse of some of the top training programs for different fitness goals.
What is a good workout program to lose weight?
Any workout program can help you lose weight if you stick to it. When it comes to weight loss, consistency is more important than the specific type of workout you are doing.
Is it OK to exercise every day?
It’s okay to exercise in some capacity every day, but fitness professionals generally advise against working out hard every day. For example, it’s safe for most people to do three to four intense workouts per week and go for a leisurely walk or cross-train with yoga on the other days of the week. It’s a good idea to take rest days or easy days to prevent overtraining.
Most beginners can achieve great results by working out just two or three days a week. In fact, it’s really important for beginners to avoid doing too much too fast, as that can lead to injuries and burnout.
How do I start a workout program at home?
For beginners, the best way to start a workout program at home is by subscribing to an online workout plan or working with a virtual personal trainer.
Are online workout programs as effective as in-person training?
The answer is yes, and it depends. In-person training is often more effective because it’s harder to ignore a real person than it is a notification on your phone. If you’re someone who’s motivated to work out, then an online workout program can help you attain your fitness goals.
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