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Our experts reveal some of the best workout solutions to transform your routine in 2022.
It’s time to get more WFH — workouts from home! — on the calendar. Creating a safe and efficient space in your home is easier with your trusted Good Housekeeping Institute pros providing you with everything you need for your home gym. Even if you plan on returning to the health club, our expert picks and tips will set you up for peak fitness in 2022. The following selection offers something for everyone, whether you’re hoping to jumpstart a new 2022 goal, solidify an existing workout regime or up the ante with some new large-scale equipment picks.
The second annual Good Housekeeping Institute Fitness Awards are proof-positive that this product category, as much as any we cover, keeps getting better and better. Testing the latest running shoes, for example, with their cushioned heels and lightweight design, our experts couldn’t help but recall the chunky, flat-soled forerunners from decades past. Or consider interactive fitness apps, which only recently burst onto the scene, but have already transformed how we work out at home. The same way many people are leading longer, healthier lives, fitness equipment is on a steady path of improvement, often with advanced technology that gives users personalized feedback in real time.
That’s not to say every new piece of equipment that hits the market deserves a place in your exercise plan. And of course, personal fitness is not a one-size-fits-all category. But as you look to take your health to new heights in 2022, this is the gear that our experts say stands to give you the biggest lift.
How We Tested
As part of GH’s annual Fitness Awards, our product pros and consumer testers put the latest gear through its paces to find the best of the best. The Good Housekeeping Institute has a host of product and wellness experts, ranging from in-house registered dietitians, certified personal trainers and instructors, fiber scientists, mechanical engineers and more. When we vet fitness and nutrition items we look at them comprehensively. They have to deliver on what they’re intended to, but also make sense in our reader’s busy lives. We strive to deliver products that perform well, but also engage and delight to the user. To that end, for our awards program we also enlisted the support of consumer testers, helping us assess how easy the products are to set up and use, and whether they offer improvement to their lives. After getting hands on with well over a hundred products and thousands of data points collected, we feel confident this list will provide you with the right tools and advice to power you through your 2022 workouts happily and efficiently.
WRKOUT delivers premium personal training right at home, no physical contact required. Searching and filtering among trainers to find the right one to suit your fitness style is easy, and when you’re ready for a video session, all you have to do is join through the website’s portal.
Lab Results: Testers raved about the initial consultation, which paired them with a coach compatible with their workout goals and preferences. One-on-one video sessions with trainers offered live personalized feedback to improve fitness technique. When one of our testers mentioned he wanted to improve his fitness for soccer, he was matched with a coach who was a former Division One soccer player in college.
Beachbody On Demand impressed us with lively classes and programs led by high-quality instructors. Its new premium platform offers live activities ranging from challenging boot camps to Pilates as well as tons of nutrition tips. You can also get support from a free personal coach, and the group access provides community, nice for finding motivation — and inspiring others!
Lab Results: Testers especially enjoyed the energy of the live-streamed Bod-cast as they worked out as well as the variety of on-demand classes offered. That includes core, cardio, meditation and more. One user said that they loved “the instructors, fast-paced workouts and how easy it is to modify the exercises.”
The Peloton app isn’t just for those who own the brand’s bike or treadmill. The app features seemingly endless class options, including cycling and running, yoga, HIIT, strength training, stretching and more. The range of coaching is also quite diverse, so whatever your mood and goals for that day, Peloton has the right instructor to meet you where you are.
Lab Results: Testers loved the varied workout categories, the duration of classes, the motivational trainers and the general sense of community the app provided. One tester told us, “It was quick and simple to find whatever type of class you were in the mood for, and for however long you’d like the class to be. I was very impressed with the selection!”
Track your meals, PersonalPoints and daily activity as well as tune in to live coaching sessions, podcasts and other motivational content on the WW app. Fun workouts through Obé fitness are available as part of the subscription, and syncing with a smartwatch or fitness tracker is seamless.
Lab Results: Though the interface can feel overwhelming for some, testers loved the range of high-quality content and resources offered. One tester told us, “I found it easy to use, and I love that I can track not only my food but also my activity and sleep! This app makes it fun to track, and I feel happy to see ‘wins’ for tracking healthy habits!”
The Fitbit Premium app features access to video workouts from a variety of platforms such as Fitbit itself, LES MILLS, Daily Burn, Obé Fitness and more. Other features unique to Premium include recipe inspiration, advanced sleep analytics and mindfulness sessions to help you wind down. It’s a worthwhile upgrade to your Fitbit tracker or smartwatch.
Lab Results: Testers loved the look and feel of the app, and were able to find the workout they were looking for quickly. One tester claimed that they liked how “everything was in one app: food tracking, workout classes, step counter. It made it easy to access and keep everything in one place.”
Most fitness apps offer body-weight classes, including Nike Training Club, which doesn’t cost a penny! Nike’s app offers a workout for everyone, from quick core exercises to yoga flow to strength training. The app also gives you exclusive access to the latest Nike merch, from shoes to apparel, often with special offers.
Lab Results: Testers found the interface easy to use and liked being able to search and filter by workout type, muscle group or equipment on hand. One tester commented that “this service was very easy to use and perfect for a quick at-home workout. You can do it with or without equipment, which makes it great for wherever you are.”
Sweat Factor offers a range of workouts including HIIT circuits, low impact, strength, dumbbells and kettlebells among unique programs and challenges. There’s even a curated schedule you can follow every day of the week to stay on top of your fitness routine, along with free workouts.
Lab Results: Our experts liked being able to filter by workout length as well as by trainer and class type, and testers raved about the diversity of workouts available. As one tester told us, “There’s something for every level of athlete.”
Our testers liked Core by Hyperice, a meditation app with a handheld device that vibrates gently to center your attention and guide your breathing. From the app you can pick which meditation session to join, whether for sleep, anxiety, or stress.
Lab Results: Testers appreciated Core’s natural wood design, which not only looks beautiful but also contains ECG biosensors to measure your progress. They found the vibrations soothing and instructive. One tester thought Core is a very useful tool for “busy people with time constraints to slow down and get in a quick meditation.”
A treadmill is good for those new to exercise. “It’s easy to use, especially if you start with basic walking,” says Vanessa Kercher, an ACSM-certified exercise psychologist and a clinical assistant professor at Indiana University.
Lab Results: The Horizon Fitness treadmill is a great value, and runners can pair it with their workout of choice via Bluetooth.
There’s a reason there are so many Peloton loyalists–the program offers top-notch instruction in a compact, quality design.
Lab Results: Our team appreciated that the brand has incorporated new safety features like a four-digit lock. Testers loved the intuitive speed and incline control knobs and the seamless experience offered with the nearly 24″ HD touchscreen.
The 55″ belt on this Matrix foldable treadmill makes it ideal for home walkers and runners alike. It integrates with iFit for access to incredible live and recorded trainer-led content.
Lab Results: Our engineers noted the solid construction of the frame and belt, and our testers liked the 16″ screen for entertainment purposes.
Designed for dedicated riding enthusiasts, this commercial-grade equipment includes a rotating 22″ touchscreen that can flip for off-bike training.
Lab Results: Our analysts appreciated the impressive build quality, and one tester raved, “It’s compact, easy to use and super quiet. It’s ideal for apartment dwellers, but obviously great for any home.”
This budget-friendly smart bike pairs with popular cycling apps and features auto resistance capabilities.
Lab Results: Our testers found that the bike was able to automatically and intelligently adjust the resistance through the connected software and that it was pretty comfortable.
Tonal affords you a full gym in a compact form and can provide resistance of up to 200 pounds. It features a robust library of live or on-demand strength-training classes from motivating trainers.
Lab Results: Our technologists were impressed with how intuitive the digital interface was, and our engineers with the variable capabilities of the weights using magnets and electricity.
The latest entry in the large-equipment category, futuristic mirrors provide a full gym experience in compact form. The NordicTrack Vault Complete’s iFIT integration gets you access to thousands of workouts from world-class trainers.
Lab Results: Our pros particularly liked this NordicTrack, with its integrated storage compartment to keep equipment neat and the intuitive touchscreen to stream on-demand programming.
Want a low-impact full-body workout? Look no further than Hydrow. “Rowing uses about 80% of major muscle groups,” says Tony Maloney, an ACSM-certified trainer and head coach at Orangetheory Fitness in Noblesville, IN.
Lab Results: Experts liked the easy fold-up storage (with Upright Storage Kit, $80) and solid tech. They were also impressed by the scenic splendor of many of the virtual workouts. Plus, it’s low-maintenance.
For those looking for a beautiful wooden rower that uses water for resistance, CityRow’s unique rower delivers.
Lab Results: With hundreds of new classes added each week, including dozens of live ones, at-home rowers were able to access desirable content for an energizing, functional workout. Testers noted how they loved the varied workouts, enjoying both high-intensity sweat sessions on the rower and cross-training off the equipment with yoga, mobility and stretching classes.
A high-quality yet affordable machine, the Metro IQ reformer allows for a smooth carriage experience in the comfort of your own home. Its two-position shoulder rest can be removed for easy storage.
Lab Results: Rothman, a certified Pilates instructor and a mechanical engineer, noted that she loved how the reformer could be set up in seconds and stored minimally under her bed! The Metro IQ can also be stored vertically.
Boxing is an incredible workout, helping improve balance and strength. FightCamp combines cutting-edge tech with expert-led training to track and improve boxing workouts.
Lab Results: Sassos loves how “boxing is an incredible workout that boosts endurance and builds full-body strength.” Having experience with many platforms, she notes the quality in programming offered by this system.
Combining a rower, a reformer and other strength-training elements into this versatile machine allows for multifunctionality. The custom LIT (Low Impact Training) workouts are designed to empower anyone, regardless of fitness background or goal.
Lab Results: Testers noted how it was able to deliver whatever their fitness goals were, thanks to the highly customizable experience, from rowing to cardio, barre, strength training, physical therapy, Pilates and more. One certified rowing instructor raved “It’s durable, efficient, and effective, and it feels and looks great!”
Looking to take your fitness routine in a whole new direction? The Brrrn Slide Board, with its emphasis on low-impact, lateral movements, is one to consider. Slide board training has been used by professional athletes for decades (Olympic champion speed skater Apolo Ohno is a Brrrn investor and strategic partner), but now the concept is being targeted at consumers. Once you’re set up with your board, the $15-per-month all-access subscription allows you to choose from hundreds of classes across 10 categories, from bootcamp to high intensity “brrrnouts.” Feel it!
Lab Results. The uniqueness of the Brrrn board was the big appeal for our testers, though some admitted to a learning curve. “A great way to insert some variety into my normal workouts,” one noted. Others talked about the efficiency of the board (“After just 20 minutes I felt like I’d worked out for an hour”) as well as how quiet it was—good if there are neighbors downstairs. Easy storage is another benefit of the Brrrn.
Strength training at home is often limited to smaller free weights, like dumbbells and kettlebells. Those are great starting points, but if you want to take your strength work up a notch, a barbell is key. That’s why we love the Bowflex SelectTech 2080 Barbell with Curl Bar. We’ve seen the “click-weight” deign on dumbbells, but it’s newer to barbells. In this case, you can choose from 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, or 80 pounds, adjusted with a simple turn of the selector dial. That allows for a wide range of strength work, including curls, presses, and front-rack lunges.
Lab Results. In terms of setup, our testers noted that the shipping box was a bear to get into the house and that assembly took about an hour. But once the Bowflex was up and running, users were highly satisfied with the experience, with one 5-star review calling the equipment “compact and very useful for a variety of workouts.”
Compression therapy has been around for decades as a treatment for various kinds of swelling. More recently, it’s been embraced by fitness professionals to assist with muscle recovery and pain reduction. The RecoveryAir pneumatic compression system is straightforward: simply zip up the compression boots, set the pneumatic device to the desired time and pressure level, then kick back and relax. The system uses a “true negative gradient,” whereby pressure travels up the limb from the foot to the heart in overlapping chambers for maximum circulation.
Lab Results. Testers described the experience as between therapy and massage, depending on the pressure intensity. As one noted, at low-pressure settings, “the sessions were a very enjoyable stress reliever at the end of the day.” Another told us that she and her husband, a professional athlete, both used the boots and became instant converts. “RecoveryAir does for us in our home what we used to be able to get only by paying a professional,” she said.
If you’ve ever had a good beating and pounding during a massage, you get the idea of percussion-therapy instruments like the Hypervolt Go. Designed for use before and after working out, the handheld device accelerates muscle warm-up and recovery by increasing blood circulation, muscle temperature, and tissue elasticity. Besides preventing injury and improving performance, the 3-speed Hypervolt Go can help relieve the stress and tension of everyday life. It’s easy to take with you too, weighing just 1.5 pounds and measuring 5.5 x 5.5 x 2 inches.
Lab Results. “I love this thing!” one of our testers raved. “It feels so good when you’re sore after a workout.” Others appreciated the quiet motor and the smooth ergonomics, including how easy the Hypervolt Go was to handle and switch speeds on.
Ever wonder what it’s like to stand in the batter’s box and stare down at a 103-mph fastball? With WIN Reality, the Virtual Reality (VR) baseball and softball training experience, you can do just that. Designed for the Oculus VR headset, WIN Reality is geared toward players who want to improve pitch recognition, like the ability to differentiate the movement of a curveball from that of a split-finger fastball. During batting practice simulations, users get feedback in real time, so they know if they’re late on a pitch or chasing balls out of the strike zone.
Lab Results. Sure, it’s the gamification of an actual game, but our testers got into the WIN experience. Of course there’s nothing like the fear factor of live pitching, and one of our testers who plays college ball did admit that making contact on WIN was “much, much easier.” But he found the pitch recognition drills very helpful and the overall experience highly engaging.
Since its launch in 2017, P.volve has attracted a steady stream of followers to its method, which is based on low-impact workouts designed to tone, sculpt, and strengthen. Our favorite accessory is the p.ball, an inflated rubber ball that sits between your legs, where it targets the inner and outer thighs, abs, glutes, and pelvic floor muscles. The exercise movements are all compact, making ball workouts perfect for apartments, bedrooms, and other small spaces.
Lab Results. Praise for the p.ball was particularly high from testers who already knew and liked the P.volve method. As one put it, “The ball is a great piece of equipment that’s fitted to make the experience easier, with proper resistance.” Others noted that the p.ball’s straps helped it stay in place unlike other stability balls, which can slip around, especially on slick, sweaty skin.
Boxing and kickboxing have become part of the craze around cardio-based workout classes. Wearing actual boxing gloves is a way to keep the experience real. Society Nine’s Bia Boxing Glove was created with lady sparrers in mind, with a narrow, shallow fit that prevents smaller hands from floating. The low-profile Velcro won’t snag on performance apparel, and the ventilated mesh palm help with drying.
Lab Results. The gloves landed every punch for our ring-experienced testers. As one noted: “I was afraid the gloves would not fit well because of how small my hands are (a consistent problem in the past), but they were perfect!” Our experts also lauded the Bia’s lightweight design, enabling them to do intense workouts, and confirmed that the ventilation helped with drying and sweat prevention.
Like a cross between a foam roller and a resistance machine, MOTR is a compact piece of workout equipment that allows for a variety of exercises. It’s no surprise that it was developed by a Pilates instructor, since it incorporates elements of the Pilates reformer, the machine used to maximize mobility, strength, control, and balance. But while reformers cost thousands of dollars and can take up half the bedroom, MOTR is relatively affordable and slips under the bed when not in use.
Lab Results. The versatility was a huge selling point with our testers. “It’s like having a whole gym in my apartment,” one tester raved. Others liked the compact design, noting that the MOTR stored easily beside a rolled-up yoga mat.
Cardio and strength training combine to positive effect in this unique weight system from Les Mills, one of the more innovative brands in on-demand, at-home fitness. The Smart Bar & Weight Set is geared for high-repetition training, with a variety of fast-paced workouts available through the $15 monthly subscription. The ergonomics of the bar, including its rotating gator ends, is designed to minimize the risk of injury that can come with too much repetitive motion.
Lab Results. Our testers praised the easy assembly and overall simplicity of the Smart Bar. “Great starter weight set for someone looking to build out their home gym,” one said. Our experts also liked the full-body workout that’s possible with such a compact piece of equipment
Kettlebells are a favorite of trainers, as the swinging action adds range of motion and an increased cardio workout. KettlebellConnect 2.0 makes it easy to adjust weight levels with the touch of a button between 12 to 42 lbs. in 6 lb. increments. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) with the free weights can burn hundreds of calories in less than 20 minutes.
Lab Results. Testers loved the space-efficient design (the system is basically six kettlebells in one). Our fitness experts were also impressed by the companion app, with its wealth of on-demand workouts and integration with your smartphone for easy tracking of reps and workouts. The app also connects with Apple Health.
The benefits of these Resistance Booty Bands are many, from improved muscle tone to better flexibility. “No home gym is complete without a set of resistance bands,” says Tony Maloney, an ACSM-certified trainer. “They provide tension through the entire range of motion for an optimal workout.” Plus, they can be hung on a hook for easy storage, and you can bring them anywhere.
Lab Results. The 3-piece set, including light, medium, and heavy resistance, allows for a range of activities, from presses and pull downs. Our experts were impressed by the quality and durability of the bands, especially given their low cost. The carry pouch is an added perk.
No matter what pace you prefer, Ryka’s flexible shoes have a foam pad at the toe to help you speed up and extra cushioning in the heel for shock absorption.
Lab Results: Whether on power walks or running errands, our testers noted how lightweight and breathable these felt. Testers also appreciated that they were comfortable from the very first wearing.
This beloved Brooks option is designed for speed, with soft cushioning that reduces the feeling of impact when the foot hits the ground.
Lab Results: GH reviewers wore them for treadmill and outdoor runs, reporting that they were comfortable and supportive. One raved that she couldn’t even feel the pavement beneath her feet. Our experts like the brand’s commitment to sustainability.
With a cushioned sole on the bottom, a stretchy knit on top and extra stability around the heel, Reebok’s footwear is ideal for quick movement in multiple directions.
Lab Results: Testers liked wearing these during strength and interval training, saying they supported their ankles during high-intensity exercise—and loved how stylish they looked.
Still innovating after all these years, this new Nike shoe combines maximum shock absorption with a breathable upper for runners who like to log a lot of miles.
Lab Results: Our testers raved about the “bouncy” feel of the Flyknits. One went so far to say that the fit was so comfortable—even on hard surfaces—that she forget she wearing shoes at times.
Geared toward runners who care about comfort and cushioning and not necessarily winning the race, this neutral shoe from Hoka is the latest innovation in its popular Clifton 8 Series.
Lab Results: Testers praised the cushioning and support as well as the Hoka’s versatility. One even commented how she liked that she could wear them on a variety of surfaces.
Part of the new trend around “recovery footwear,” this version from Kane was designed with muscle care and healing in mind, combining solid support with ample cushioning.
Lab Results: Testers were impressed by the comfort and the therapeutic effects. One reviewer even wore them the day after running a marathon and said she didn’t have to worry about her feet hurting while wearing them the next day.
The brand best known for orthopedics also makes an impact in the high-performance category, as you’ll find with these Dr. Scholl’s insoles designed specifically for runners.
Lab Results: Exceptional comfort and fit were the key accolades from our testers. “They added extra support to the arch of my foot while I was running as well as working out,” one noted. Dr. Metzl added that the off-the-rack insoles offer excellent value, saying “there’s not much evidence that most patients need anything that’s tailor-made.”
As functional as it is flattering, the buttery-soft, slightly compressive fabric from Nike wicks away sweat and stretches with you like a second skin. The high waistband and opaque fabric give you plenty of coverage.
Lab Results: This style earned high scores across the board from our consumer testers, who said it hugged them the perfect amount, felt lightweight as they moved and stayed dry despite lots of sweat.
Wacoal‘s underwire prevents movement in every direction, not just up and down, and the bra is thoughtfully designed to prevent irritation. Plus, the wide straps offer good support for larger cup sizes.
Lab Results: Our textiles analysts were impressed with its encapsulation to avoid bounce, and it wicked moisture quickly in our tests, meaning you can wear it even for high-impact and intense exercise.
Packed with features, Swiftwick‘s smart design has snug elastic to support your ankle and heel. Its quick-drying fabric and back tab help prevent friction and blisters.
Lab Results: Testers loved wearing these socks, saying they fit perfectly and stayed dry through miles of running and walking. They also liked how they didn’t slip down at all, and several told us they wanted to buy more.
A seamless undergarment to wear for workouts, EBY‘s bikini excelled in our tests. This version offers a mid-rise front with a narrow side, and it’s available in thongs, briefs and other styles to meet a range of preferences.
Lab Results: This underwear earned perfect scores from testers for comfort and for not being visible, restricting movement or feeling bulky. One noted, “They were undetectable. I forgot I was wearing them. And they didn’t budge. I’d wear these every day.”
This stylish yet functional headband from Treadbands is adjustable and designed to keep sweat and flyaways away from your face. Lightweight and breathable, it’s easy to stash in your gym bag.
Lab Results: Our testers unanimously loved wearing it, saying it stayed in place and kept the sweat out of their eyes. They also told us it performed much better than other exercise headbands they’d tried.
Lightweight and quiet, Nathan‘s performance jacket provides cover for outdoor walks or runs even when it’s windy or misty. It’s ultra-portable, with the ability to pack into its own pocket for transit.
Lab Results: Our panel of reviewers appreciated the comfort, fit and appearance. They said it was perfect for keeping them warm without being too hot and agreed that it was silent, without any annoying swishing sounds whatsoever.
If you have special dietary needs, try Gainful, a powder formulated based on your responses to an online questionnaire. Each personalized protein formula contains 7 ingredients or less. With lots of different flavor options, you can customize your protein powder to your tastes. The company also offers ongoing support from a team of registered dietitians to help you meet your dietary and fitness goals.
While food first is always the gold standard, it can be hard some days to eat a balanced diet and meet your daily protein needs. Protein powder can serve as a balanced meal or snack when you’re short on time. Our experts loved the smooth taste, transparent label and third-party testing of Gnarly Whey Grass-Fed Protein. This protein powder contains all essential amino acids and is meant to be consumed post-workout.
There’s a lot of buzz about metabolic awareness, or understanding how food affects blood sugar. We looked at Levels, an app that works with a glucose monitor to track blood sugar in real time, which can help you maintain a healthy diet. One tester noticed that when she drank juice, her glucose spiked, but when she ate a balanced snack of an apple with cheese, her levels stayed stable. Scores can be improved through sleep, diet and exercise. A few users noted how exercise kept their glucose in a healthy range and in turn provided motivation for them to work out daily.
At 72 oz, you can almost meet your entire day’s hydration requirements with one of the Good Housekeeping Institute pros’ favorite water bottles, the Hydrojug. It’s available in a wide selection of colors and sleeve patterns, and our testers loved how lightweight this bottle was and that it was dishwasher safe. Great for bringing to the office or gym; the carrying case makes it easy to travel with or take on hikes.
This Takeya water bottle is considered a favorite gym accessory by the Good Housekeeping editors because of its easy-to-open lid and ability to keep water cold or hot for long periods of time. Our testers loved the easy-carry handle, the grip accents around the lid and on the bottom that provide stability. The wide mouth allows for adding ice cubes easily. Available in multiple color options and styles; the only small inconvenience it that is not dishwasher safe.
You can’t get any lighter than this stainless steel Hydroflask bottle, the lightest of Hydroflask’s 21-oz bottles. Testers loved that it kept their beverages cold longer and that it was lightweight. They also loved the slim design and that it could fit in most cup holders and backpacks. If you’re not bothered by the hand-wash-only aspect, this very well could become your new favorite accessory.