The best workout apps in 202312 min read
The best workout apps provide an accessible workout wherever you are. So, if gym membership fees aren’t doing it for you right now, why not hit download on one of the best apps for exercise instead?
Having health and fitness at your fingertips has never been so easy, and some items of home gym equipment now come with a handy partner app. But how do you choose the best workout app for you? Find one that aligns with your goals and preferred workout style. For example, if you want to learn how to train for a marathon, your focus will be on running apps like Strava.
We’ve tested some of the best workout apps, including ones to suit the best exercise bikes or best treadmills and options for mindfulness and recovery. Some apps (like Peloton) require a monthly subscription, while others are completely free — or at least offer free trials. We’ve also detailed the pros, cons, and landmark features of each one.
Here are the best workout apps to use right now.
The best workout apps you can download today
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Apple Fitness Plus is one of the best workout apps for Apple users. With HIIT, strength, core, yoga, Pilates, and meditation classes amongst others, there’s a huge variety of workouts to choose from, taught by a range of different trainers. During testing, we also liked the fact there were two instructors in the background during classes, showing modifications for beginners, or those looking to push themselves harder — this is particularly handy as there’s no option to filter classes by difficulty.
The app can feel a little overwhelming at a first glance, but classes can be filtered by trainer, time, and the music you prefer to work out to. You can also add classes to your library, which lets you select classes you’ve taken before, or plan on taking in the future, at a glance.
During a workout, if you’re wearing one of the best Apple Watches, you’ll be able to see stats from your Apple Watch on the screen. Following an update in 2022, you don’t need to wear an Apple Watch to be able to access Apple Fitness Plus classes, however, and even without wearing a watch, you’ll still get access to thousands of fitness classes you can do at home or in the gym.
The Apple Fitness Plus app won our best fitness app/subscription award in our 2022 Tom’s Guide Fitness awards because of the huge variety of workouts on offer, and for its seamless integration for connecting with the iPhone and Apple Watch. We were also impressed with how often Apple adds new workouts to the platform to help prevent users from getting bored.
Read our full Apple Fitness Plus review.
In March 2020, Nike made its Nike Training Club app content completely free for 90 days, to help people keep fit while they stayed at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the app has been completely free for users, and unlike others on this list, there’s no paid version anymore.
However, with the update, Nike removed some of their training programs, which used to be a popular feature of the app. Instead, you now have the option to filter workouts by muscle group — abs and core, arms and shoulders, or glutes and legs, workout focus — endurance, mobility, strength, and yoga, and by equipment. There is also the option to filter by duration, level, and intensity.
During testing, we found the instructor-led workouts to be engaging and motivating, and also enjoyed the whiteboard workouts, which show you the entire workout so you can follow at your own pace. There’s also the option to connect the workout to your Apple Music. It’s not perfect, but for a free app, there’s plenty to keep you moving here.
Read our full Nike Training Club app review here.
Download Nike Training Club: Android (opens in new tab), iOS (opens in new tab).
If you can’t afford a Peloton exercise bike or Tread to stay in shape, the Peloton workout app is the next best thing. There are thousands of interactive classes to take that’ll help you strengthen, sculpt, and get that post-Peloton buzz. The instructors stand out from the crowd in terms of their enthusiasm, and there’s also the option to join live classes, and compete with friends.
From strength to yoga, to HIIT cardio, when testing this app, we found it difficult to get bored. The option to stack classes is great, and lets you add multiple classes together so you can seamlessly add a cool-down or stretch to your workout. The classes are easy to follow on a phone or tablet, but to get a real Peloton experience, we’d recommend streaming the workouts on the TV.
The Peloton programs give you a longer schedule of classes to help you reach your goal, whether that be to get stronger, or to “crush your core” in four weeks. There are also different collections of workouts, which make it easier to find a range of workouts by type, for example, strength for runners, resistance band training, or Pilates classes.
Of course, to get the most out of Peloton, it’s worth having access to one of the best exercise bikes, or the best treadmills to take the bike and tread classes, but even without, this is a great workout app with some of the most motivating instructors around. Newbies can get 30-days free to see whether the app is for them.
Download Peloton now: Android (opens in new tab), iOS (opens in new tab)
Read our full Peloton app review.
The brainchild of Australian personal trainer Kayla Itsines, Sweat started as a series of downloadable “Bikini Body Guides” in 2015 and has now grown into an extensive training app with a number of different programs and recipes to help you reach your goals. There’s a structured program for every woman — from the new mom taking her first steps into post-baby fitness, to the girl looking to gain more confidence in the weights room at the gym.
Trainers include Kayla herself, as well as the likes of Kelsey Wells, Chontel Duncan, Britany Williams, and Stephanie Sanzo. You can switch your program easily and take on-demand classes if you feel like adding the odd barre session to your planner. The workouts are also compatible with Apple Watch. There’s no free version of the app, although newbies can sign up for a 7-day free trial.
During testing, we loved the range of workouts but found it a little irritating having to bend down and manually skip between exercises, although it wasn’t enough to put us off using the app regularly. We’d also say this app is definitely aimed at women, but there’s no reason why guys couldn’t follow the training plans.
Read our full Sweat review here.
Download Sweat: Android (opens in new tab), iOS (opens in new tab)
If you’re someone who likes to mix up your workouts, alternating between cardio or weights, Pilates or HIIT, the gym, or workouts in your living room, EvolveYou is a workout app worth considering. Designed for women by personal trainer Krissy Cela, the app has six different trainers on board, all of whom have a number of different workout plans to choose from.
During testing, we found the app was easy to navigate around, although we did find it a little glitchy now and again. The workouts were simple and extremely easy to follow, making the app well suited to complete newbies, and more experienced gym-goers alike. There’s also the option to play your own music or listen to a podcast while working out, as you don’t have to follow along with a video, which we appreciated.
The app has a 14-day free trial, which allows you to access all areas and give the workouts a try before subscribing.
Download Evolve You: Android (opens in new tab), iOS (opens in new tab),
When looking for a fitness regimen, you could do a lot worse than opt for the own favored by Thor. Actor Chris Hemsworth has thrown his weight behind Centr, an app that looks to combine exercise with meal planning and mindfulness to help both your physical and mental shape.
Centr offers daily workout videos that you can practice either in the gym or at home, covering a variety of disciplines (HIIT, strength training, boxing and even yoga and pilates). Meal plans let you find healthy, tasty recipes, while guided meditations and sleep tips work on putting you in the right mental space.
During testing, we loved the variety of classes available on the app, but wished there was the option to play our own music during classes. We also wished there was the option to download workouts for when the WiFi in the gym wasn’t working.
Centr features a 7-day free trial, with monthly subscriptions costing $29.99. However, you might want to consider an annual subscription, which offers a very generous discount on the monthly rate, cutting it down to $10 a month.
Read our full Centr review here.
Download Centr: Android (opens in new tab), iOS (opens in new tab)
Strava is one of the best running apps on the market, with a free and a paid subscription to allow runners, cyclists, and walkers to keep track of their progress. That said, despite its reputation as an app for runners and cyclists, you can track a total of 31 different sports. The list includes hiking, canoeing, an E-Bike ride, rowing, alpine skiing, swimming, stand-up paddleboarding, and yoga.
Of course, it’s important to point out that there are no actual workouts on Strava, so unlike other apps on this list, don’t log on and expect to follow a strength training session — this is an app for tracking your progress.
While the free version of the app is brilliant, the paid version gives users the option to use the Routes tool on Strava, which gives you suggestions based on where other runners in your area have clocked their miles, as well as segments, advanced performance metrics, and training plans.
Strava supports a variety of running trackers in addition to Wear OS devices and Apple Watch. (Just make sure you opt out of the location tracking features if you happen to be around restricted areas. There are also handy features like Strava Beacon, which are designed to keep you safe, by allowing your friends or family members to track your live location on a run.
Download Strava: Android (opens in new tab), iOS (opens in new tab)
Read our full Strava review here.
Whether you’re a CrossFit fanatic, or you’re taking your first tentative steps into the world of weight lifting, you’ll find something for you on the HWPO training app. Designed by Mat Fraser, the only CrossFit Athlete in history to win five consecutive CrossFit Games, the workouts are clearly written out and easy to follow, with instructional videos to help you master the perfect form.
We’ve been testing the HWPO Sweat program for the past month and have been impressed with how quickly we gained strength following the app — these workouts work. HWPO stands for “Hard Work Pays Off” and it really does — we quickly gained confidence and strength in the gym following the plan. They can also be done both in the gym, or at home, as they don’t require endless equipment.
The downside here is that the app is definitely on the expensive side, but if you can afford it, you’re getting a lot for your money here and being trained by one of the fittest men on earth. Want a taster? Here’s a workout Fraser wrote for Tom’s Guide.
Download HWPO: Android (opens in new tab), iOS (opens in new tab)
How to choose the best workout app
The best workout app for you covers the exercises you’re interested in doing at a level that’s accessible to you. Ideally, a good fitness app will support multiple levels of expertise so that as you get fitter and more comfortable, you can push yourself to the next level.
While a handful of apps are free, many of these workout apps require a subscription. Take advantage of any trial period and then try a monthly subscription to see if the app meets your needs. If you like what you see, you can always switch to an annual subscription, which usually lowers your monthly cost.
If you’re someone who likes to mix up your workout routines regularly, it might be a good idea to look for a well-rounded workout app that has a good mix of workouts to suit your mood and prevent you from regretting your monthly subscription.
Several of the options on our best workout apps list will log your exercise data. If you’re an iPhone user, pay special attention to any apps that integrate with the built-in Health app on your phone.
How we tested the best workout apps
To help you make the best decision when choosing a workout app, we put them to the sweat test by using them for a number of different workouts. For each of the apps, we tried multiple workouts and looked at how easy the workouts were to follow, the range of workouts on offer, and how often new workouts were added to the app.
We also looked at the little extras that make using the app more enjoyable — for example, the option to sync the app with third-party music platforms to allow you to listen to your own playlists as you work out, or the option to download workouts to do without phone reception or wifi.
Finally, we’ll look at the cost of the workout app to download or subscribe to, and what you get for your money.
What are the best free YouTube workouts?
If you’re not ready to subscribe to an app, YouTube has plenty of free workouts to try. Don’t believe us? Our Fitness team has been putting a few to the test in a bid to hone the gym bod of their dreams.