Some of the new high tech training options – Peleton and Hydrow

We’ve never been anti-gym as we’ve stressed in our training approach page. Our mission has been to try to help people whose busy schedule meant they couldn’t, or personal preference meant they didn’t want to, join a gym. We’ve always recognized that for every person who may want to train at home there are others who get a ton from a gym.

That’s why it is sad to see so many gyms struggling in the current crisis. But as the saying goes, “it’s an ill-wind that blows no one any good”.

A number of high-tech, premium priced fitness equipment have recently broken through into the public consciousness. Although interest in equipment such as Peleton and Hydrow had been growing for some time, the pace has accelerated sharply. At a minimum these companies will benefit in the short term from people’s new lifestyles but they’ll likely experience a longer benefit if some gymgoers decide they don’t want to return to the gym.

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The basis premise of Peleton and Hydrow is the integration of visually attractive equipment with technology allowing the simulation of a workout in a beautiful locale and/or with a group of other people. Of course there are other companies in this space too such as Mirror, Tonal, and NordicTrack to mention just a few. With Peleton and Hydrow, you can do a virtual class with a top instructor and/or in an iconic location. Peleton are primarily focused on their spinning bike although they do also have a treadmill while Hydrow has a rower as its central piece of equipment.

If you love spinning or indoor rowing and believe it’s something you’ll stick with for the long-term then an investment of a few thousand along with a monthly subscription obviously isn’t the worst thing you could do with your money.

Saying that, rather than buying the equipment integrated with the streaming technology, a lot of people choose to get either a normal spinning bike with a separate online spinning class subscription or a rower (such as a Concept 2 or WaterRower) with a separate subscription. For people that may wish to cycle outside and inside, a turbo trainer which you can use with your normal bike and a Zwift subscription is a very popular choice. These non integrated options will be significantly cheaper but, saying that, some people like the plug-and-play, connected offering aspect of the integrated equipment.

One thing to consider with both cycling and rowing is that we’d recommend mixing in some other training just to avoid boredom and/or overuse injury from concentrating exclusively on one movement pattern. A great option for example would be to have a spinning bike you use some days and then the modest equipment setup which allows you a huge variety of resistance training on other days, you can see some samples here.

The resistance training integrated equipment is harder to evaluate. Tonal, for example, has resistance of up to 200lbs which is enough for 99% of people to get in a decent strength workout. How flexible the workouts are might be a consideration though e.g. if you wanted to do a fast-paced resistance circuit, we’re not sure it’d be possible to transitions quickly enough.

You should be absolutely certain, though, before spending a lot of money on any of these options. It’s one thing to buy something relatively inexpensive on impulse and to have it just lying around gathering dust, it’s quite another for an expensive piece of equipment to sit around unused.

Consider also how durable the equipment is. If it breaks outside the warranty period, is there a convenient repair option? Remember, it’s very hard to break something as low-tech as a kettlebell.

If you just want a work-along resistance or conditioning workout then there are other popular alternatives such as BeachBody’s suite of workouts or Athlean-X , to name just two. These kind of solutions involve a lot less expense than the options above and are more portable.

Our preference, still, above all of the options listed, is to invest in a small amount of equipment e.g. the modest equipment setup and to do some of the programs on this site and, over time, learn enough about your body and the type of workouts you like to be self-sufficient and flexible.

Whatever option you choose, though, best of luck with your workouts.