“Nowhere to go, but looking to move.” That’s how a 2021 McKinsey report described the growth of home-based exercise as gyms locked up and consumers hunkered down.
In response, “connected fitness,” which had been bulking up even before Covid-19, got into high gear. The result is a crop of high-end home-exercise equipment that behaves more like a savvy workout partner than a lifeless appliance. Bikes and treadmills are becoming responsive to users, tailoring routines to fitness levels. Exercise science is optimizing regimens, making next-generation machines hyperefficient. And smarter Wi-Fi capabilities are connecting fitness fans with trainers, classes, and fellow enthusiasts. As a bonus, this new generation of home-gym equipment boasts exquisite designs, creating machines you’ll actually want to display near your other objets d’art.
Here are some notable high-tech items on the market to transform both your home gym and your body.
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Tonal calls itself “the world’s smartest home gym and personal trainer.” With six-axis gyroscopes tracking your reps, and Bluetooth technology that lets you control weights wirelessly, it’s hard to argue. Wall-mounted and sleek, Tonal consists of a large, flat touchscreen and two adjustable arms. With guidance from virtual trainers, this minimalist piece of equipment unleashes the power of a full weight setup. The contraption tests your strength to start; based on your performance, it adjusts resistance and suggests your next challenge. If music motivates you to move more, you can even personalize playlists from Tonal’s extensive library.
The minimalist Tonal allows users to control weights remotely through Bluetooth technology.
Tonal is available from $2,995.
Friends may ask about the museum piece in your living room. But this elegant stainless-steel-and-crystal assemblage is actually the world’s most beautiful exercise bike, and one of the most advanced. Italy’s Ciclotte is already known for its one-wheeled stationary bicycles in smart materials like carbon fiber. To kick it into even higher gear, the company teamed with compatriots Teckell, which designs home-gaming tables, for this transparent marvel. The bike adopts five spinning positions, and you can control resistance via Bluetooth technology. Ciclotte syncs with the Kinomap app, which tracks your progress and offers hundreds of virtual routes.
Ciclotte Teckell is available from $20,500.
This art gallery-worthy contraption is actually a Ciclotte Teckell exercise bike.
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What would you pay to get an hour’s worth of fitness benefits in just eight minutes? For $2,395, that’s what CAROL promises. The scientific basis of this apparent miracle is reduced exertion high-intensity interval training, or REHIT, a souped-up form of trusty HIIT. If it sounds too good to be true, REHIT’s been the subject of peer-reviewed studies, and CAROL boasts a basketful of endorsements from exercise scientists. Powered by artificial intelligence, the bike also monitors your performance to adjust resistance just enough to keep pushing you. CAROL, by the way, stands for Cardiovascular Optimization Logic, a kind of next-generation high-intensity interval training.
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Eight minutes of high-intensity training on the CAROL is equal to a 60-minute workout.
CAROL is available from $2,395.
Some swear by stair climbers for furious full-body workouts that marry low impact and high efficiency. But these machines, which engage your arms, legs, and core, are less common in home fitness setups. Denver-based CLMBR aims to change that. Its connected climber is a handsome machine that blends effortlessly into modern home decor; more importantly, its comprehensive app sets your benchmark metrics, tracks your performance, and links you with instructors. Challenges like “Climb El Capitan” keep even the most experienced climbers motivated, and your phone and fitness trackers can join the fun by syncing with CLMBR itself.
CLMBR is available from $2,799.
As one United Kingdom reviewer put it earlier this year, Technogym’s MyRun is “the best home treadmill if money is no object.” Its sleek, almost minimalist design conceals roaringly powerful hardware, and its smart tech connects with a raft of features nearly unmatched by home running machines. The Technogym Live app gives you access to trainer-led classes; hundreds of visuals transport you to natural and urban landscapes, helping alleviate the running blahs. Pair a Bluetooth heart-monitoring device to tailor workouts based on your heart rate. Soundtrack your runs with Technogym’s playlists, or hook up with Spotify through the app. MyRun also links with virtual-training apps like Zwift and Rouvy.
The Technogym MyRun connects to Bluetooth for heart monitoring.
Technogym MyRun is available from $3,450.
Among the best-designed rowing machines on the market, Hydrow combines smart technology with effective mechanics for a powerful workout. Wi-Fi–enabled, Hydrow offers live-streaming workouts—for a monthly fee—and lets you choose the scenery you’re rowing through, promising “chance encounters with boats, sea creatures, and other surroundings as you sightsee, while you sweat in breathtaking destinations around the globe.” The Hydrow syncs with Bluetooth devices like heart-rate monitors; its social features let you check out other Hydrowers’ performance on a leaderboard, cheer them on, and float on encouragement from them.
The Hydrow rower’s livestreamed workouts, right, mean possible encounters with sea creatures.
The Hydrow rower is available from $2,295.