If you’ve maintained the motivation to plan a varied, balanced and progressive series of home workouts completely by yourself throughout every COVID-19 lockdown, and then actually do them as well, then we salute you.
However, many of us have neither the expertise nor the zeal to push through without some external help. Luckily, that help has been in plentiful supply, thanks to the boom in home exercise apps and online workouts brought about by gyms being forced to shut during lockdown.
If this boom has passed you by, or your usual standbys have gone a bit stale, let us point you in the direction of more workout ideas. You can check out our best workout apps round-up to find an array of brilliant options for guided home sessions, and we also have round-ups of the best workout channels on YouTube and the boutique gyms currently offering an at-home service.
Below you’ll find the best workouts to stream on your desktop or laptop from some of the biggest gym chains in the UK. Most have developed live and on-demand workout platforms to support their members – and happily have extended these services to non-members as well, with completely free workouts available from some providers, and at least a free trial available from others.
There are two places online where you can find free video workouts from Fitness First. The first is the website’s home workout hub (opens in new tab), where you can search through an extensive workout library that also includes options for kids. The second is the FitX Player (opens in new tab), which launched recently and contains the gym chain’s signature classes like Shred and Bolt, as well as Pilates and yoga sessions. As of now, the workouts are free to access and you don’t need to enter any details to do so.
As well as making its workout app for members available to all during the pandemic (App Store (opens in new tab) and Google Play (opens in new tab)), PureGym also hosts a range of simple video workouts (opens in new tab) on its website. These are simply brief overviews and demonstrations of each move, but they’re straightforward enough to memorise so you can press play on your favourite workout tunes while you do them.
There are over 70 workouts available on the Anytime Fitness platform AF Connect Online (opens in new tab), which is available to all via a 30-day free trial at the moment. Most of the workouts are short, sharp affairs, and symbols denote the difficulty level and whether you’ll need equipment. You will have to enter your details to sign up for the trial.
You can currently try Virgin Active Online+ (opens in new tab) for free with a 30-day trial, which requires you to enter your details. The range of workouts includes yoga and Pilates alongside the usual strength and HIIT sessions, and you also get access to a podcast through the online platform. Those seeking more guidance can upgrade their membership to get online personal training.
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.
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