It is no news that regular physical activity is crucial for sustained health and wellbeing. The benefits of keeping fit are many, from improved heart function to stress reduction. But what happens when you suddenly start spending all of your time inside, like most of us are due to the current coronavirus crisis?
It may be more difficult to stay physically active under the given circumstances, but if anything, it’s even more important to do so. A lot of us have suddenly switched to working from home, awkwardly bending over our kitchen counters and slowly working our way towards back pain and burnout.
The good news is that the Internet is flooded with online exercise options. There are hundreds of YouTube accounts to follow and dozens of apps to download. And yes, the sheer choice can be overwhelming, which is why we’ve compiled a list of our 15 favourite online workout classes, spanning everything from cardio to barre.
If you know what you’re looking for, hit the navigation links below to jump right to the section of your interest:
All-in-one exercise platform: Fitness Blender
Cardio + Strength training | Free with paid options | Unique feature: Great variety, professionally shot
Offering hundreds of free videos on anything from HIIT and cardio to yoga and barre, Fitness Blender is your one-stop shop for online workouts. Founded by a personal-trainer couple whose goal was to make fitness widely available and affordable, the platform is a true gold mine of professionally shot workouts featuring precise and informed instruction and a calm and reassuring manner of presentation.
We particularly like how user-friendly the platform is – you can filter the content by duration, body focus, type of exercise, difficulty level, or even the equipment needed. We also love that they offer many full-length sessions, so no need to spend time putting together a full-body workout yourself.
Cardio & HIIT
Cardio (short for cardiovascular) refers to any form of activity that raises your heart rate, like walking, jogging, running, dancing, or swimming. You know you’re doing cardio when you break a good sweat.
HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is a type of cardiovascular exercise consisting of alternating intervals of short but very intense activity and less strenuous recovery periods. Since they’re very physically demanding, HIIT workouts don’t tend to last longer than 30 minutes.
Here’s what will get your heart pumping:
Kick-boxing, cardio, barre, HIIT | 60 days free, then $19.95/month | Unique feature: Group workouts
If you’re one of those people who get their motivation from the collective high of the aerobics room at your local gym, you will love Daily Burn’s full-body group workouts. Energetic and zesty, they get as close to being among fellow gym-goers as possible to achieve from your living room.
They have close to 2000 workouts on streaming through their platform, which is currently offering two full months of free access to all content.
Boxing | Some free workouts + monthly packages starting at $37 | Unique feature: Focus on boxing
Fight Camp is an app aimed at boxers and boxing enthusiasts alike looking for home practice options. In addition to their standard monthly subscription ($37/month), they offer packages with equipment included, such as a punching bag and gloves, to get you started.
This app is all about boxing, which will certainly get your heart pumping. Their workouts are led by professional fighters and are based on high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which combines cardio and body-weight exercises.
They also offer a selection of home workouts on their YouTube channel, such as this beginner boxing playlist, teaching you everything from how to take the correct boxer stance to throwing the jab and avoiding most common mistakes.
Cardio | Free | Unique feature: Fun and low-impact
Who said exercise isn’t fun? Don’t you remember how much you loved jumping up and down on elastic beds and trampolines when you were little? Well, the good news is that it’s been shown that rebound workouts are excellent for your heart health and your joints.
Even though we should all be responsible with our online purchases right now (delivery staff are already working very hard), ordering an affordable rebounder online may be a very good idea if you suffer with joint pain. Considered a low-impact activity (if practised correctly), hopping on a trampoline for a few minutes a day is an excellent way to break a sweat without breaking your knees (or your neighbour’s patience for that matter).
Yoga & Tai Chi
Yoga is too wide of a concept to succinctly sum up in our introduction, but let’s just say that it’s one of the fastest growing fitness-related activities in the world right now. It’s particularly well suited to practising from home, given how much content is freely available online and how little space it takes up. Here are some of our favourite teachers and platforms.
Yoga | Free | Unique feature: Variety
Featuring hundreds of mid-to-full length yoga sessions and over 6.5 million subscribers on YouTube, Yoga with Adriene is probably the most famous yoga account on the internet. The sessions vary in length from short 15-minute videos to full-length workouts, and target different body parts and levels of experience. Given the variety, it’s almost impossible not to find something to suit your needs and preferences.
Yoga, Pilates, Barre, HIIT | Free until May 1st, then $7.99/month | Unique feature: Customisability
Down Dog is a collection of apps dedicated individually to yoga, yoga for beginners, HIIT and barre. They’re currently offering all of their app content for free until May 1st.
What we love about these apps is that you can adjust just about anything to your personal liking: you can tweak the music-to-voice-volume ratio to ensure you hear the instructor clearly over the music; you can browse different music styles to accompany the instruction; the amount of instruction is itself adjustable; you can also flip the video to mirror yourself, display name poses, and much more! Oh, and you can download workouts for offline viewing – what’s not to love?
Pilates, Yoga, Meditation | Temporarily free, then $18/month | Unique feature: Minimalist and easy to follow
The platform is well curated, minimalist in style, and very easy to find your way around. If you tend to get overwhelmed by too much choice and too many colours, you will love the soothing aesthetics of Glo.
They’re currently offering a selection of their yoga and pilates classes free of charge, which also includes two guided meditation sessions. The videos are well guided and range between 15 and 60 minutes in duration.
Yoga | $20 monthly | Unique feature: Workshop-level yoga series
Featuring some of the most aesthetically stunning yoga videos on the internet, Alo Moves is a well-known platform among the more experienced yogis. They offer thousands of professionally-shot videos taught by some of the world’s most famous teachers.
Their classes range from single-session videos to workshop-level yoga series featuring some interesting content such as power yoga or handstand masterclasses. New classes and workshops are added daily to the app.
If you want to get a taste for what Alo Moves is like, head over to their YouTube channel where in addition to yoga they share other fitness sessions (pilates, HIIT, barre), as well as mindfulness and nutrition tips.
If you’re a beginner, though, start slowly and see how it feels, as a lot of Alo Moves content is aimed at more experienced yoga practitioners.
Strala Yoga, Tai Chi, Shiatsu | Free and paid sessions (price per session) | Unique feature: Shiatsu and Tai Chi
If you’re up for something different from your regular YouTube yoga routine, check out courses offered by Tara Stiles, the founder of strala yoga, a practice that combines yoga, tai chi, and traditional Chinese medicine to help you tackle stress and overcome challenges with ease. Sounds exactly like what we need right now, doesn’t it?
In addition to a selection of free yoga, tai chi, and shiatsu classes, Tara sells a wide variety of courses and workshops starting at as little as $15 per session. We love her flowy style and a good variety of beginner classes. Even more free courses are available on her YouTube channel.
Pilates falls into the category of low-impact exercise, which means that your joints are protected while you’re strengthening your muscles and developing better flexibility and posture. It focuses heavily on core work, as the centre of your body (abdominal and back muscles) is the true centre of your strength and postural alignment. It can be practised on pilates machines (in studios) or on the mat.
Here’s what we recommend:
Pilates | 16-day free trial, then $20/month | Unique feature: Pilates in its original form
If pure pilates is what you’re looking for, look no further than Pilatesology. They offer over 4000 workouts, the vast majority of them performed without any special equipment. Some of their trainers have learned from the founder of pilates himself, so they pride themselves on “keeping pilates true to its source”. The workouts can be downloaded for offline viewing, and you can even find teacher training sessions included with your subscription, if that’s something that could interest you.
Pilates, Fitness | Free | Unique feature: Short and powerful
If you tend to struggle with motivation to get moving, definitely give Blogilates a try. The founder and instructor Cassey Ho is fun and peppy and her energetic presentation style is bound to shake you up and get you hooked. Most of her workouts are short and target a specific muscle group, so you can easily combine them to create your own fitness cocktail.
You will find fun extras on the Blogilates website, such as healthy recipes, fitness challenges, and printable workout planners.
Functional training is a form of exercise where you train your muscles to work in unison and prepare them for daily activities outside the gym, such as walking or lifting heavy objects. It’s a way to make your body stronger so that it can serve you better in anything you do. Kind of what it’s all about, right?
Functional training | 2-week free trial, then $19/month | Unique feature: Low-impact, high-intensity
In the words of Stephen Pasterino, the founder of P.volve, the main focus behind the exercise system offered by the platform is activating all the muscles and making them function as they would in real life. What makes the approach unique is that physical therapy and rehabilitation movements are incorporated into the exercises, giving you the long, lean muscles with minimal impact on your joints.
The platform offers over 200 classes on streaming, with new videos added weekly. The workouts feature the proprietary P.volve equipment, but if it’s hard to make new purchases right now, you can make do with a regular elastic band and a pilates ball as well.
If you’re curious, take a peak at their Instagram account, where they’re currently streaming 20-minute sessions every day.
Functional exercise, Physical therapy | Free | Unique feature: Help treating injuries
Now, this is a bit different from what we’ve listed so far, but we think this hilarious physical therapist duo and their daily YouTube show definitely deserve a place on our top list.
If you struggle with any of the very common ailments resulting from our sedentary lifestyle, such as lower back pain or neck tension, you’re sure to find something of interest on this YouTube account of close to 2 million subscribers. And the tips aren’t limited to physical therapy practices – Bob and Brad also share many workout playlists, from tips on how to stay fit with back pain to countless variations of the ever-popular plank.
And to round it off, we’re looking at two platforms offering barre workouts, a popular form of exercise based on ballet dancers’ conditioning training. Even though it incorporates some movements derived from classical ballet, it’s not dance, but more of a dance-based fitness workout. Since it quickly gained popularity in fitness studios from London to New York in recent years, we wanted to include two platforms that help you bring barre from your local studio into your living room.
Barre | 15-day free trial, then $29/month | Unique feature: Custom-developed method
Offering hundreds of workouts and carefully curated exercise collections, Barre3 is an easy-to-use workout app with a particularly soothing aesthetic. Their signature approach is based around a 3-step sequence of holds, small movements, and big movements, aimed at giving you a strong and lean body, just like a dancer’s.
Barre | 14-day free trial, then $19/month | Unique feature: Input from physical therapists
Offering full-body workouts created with the help of physical therapists, The Bar Method is a safe option for any level of fitness. The classes use the typical barre props, such as the barre itself and an exercise ball, but you can easily replace them with a sturdy chair and a firm pillow.
So there you have it, our top 15 picks for online exercise classes. With little to no equipment needed and all of the time on your hands, you can hardly come up with excuses. For more tips on how to make the most of your time while in quarantine, check out the rest of the articles on the Badi blog.