Peloton App Review
There are a lot of fitness apps out there of all sorts, but few have the same level of notoriety as the Peloton app. Initially an offering solely for users of their premium (and quite pricey) spin bike, the Peloton App soon evolved as a way for those on a budget to “hack the system” so to speak. Running the Peloton App on your tablet while riding on your own exercise bike (without a big built-in screen) ticks the same boxes in terms of motivation, which is one of the primary pillars that the brand sells itself on.
Recently, Peloton has decided to round out their workout offerings to include much much more than their wide array of indoor cycling classes. While that category will always be their primary focus, strength, yoga, stretching, and meditation are just a few of the brand’s new and expanded catalog. In this review we’ll break down what to expect from the app, what you’ll need in terms of equipment, and what fitness and health goals the Peloton App is best suited for.
What You Need To Know
- The $12.99 monthly subscription-based app comes with a 30-day free trial, allowing users to properly try things out before committing to a subscription.
- If you’re a novice when it comes to indoor cycling, the beginner level classes are fantastic for learning proper form.
- The app contains 11 different workout types to choose from, with several subcategories within those sections.
- In total there are over 10,000 workouts in the Peloton library, with new classes being added daily.
- There’s no in-app heart rate monitoring for training metrics.
- Classes range from 5 to 45 minutes in length, and cover beginner through advanced skill levels.
- Users can participate in both monthly and annual fitness challenges, competing with millions of Peloton app users from around the globe.
- If you’re just running the app and not a Peloton Bike, you cannot connect to your Spotify Premium account for workout playlists.
- Choose from 10 music types for your workouts.
Getting Started — What Equipment Do You Need?
Due to Peloton’s push to being a more comprehensive fitness content provider, users are no longer pinned down to having to have an exercise bike in their homes in order to take advantage of the brand’s offerings. Sure, indoor cycling classes are what made Peloton what it is today, but after a deep dive into their other fitness content, they’re actually worthy of a recommendation regardless of whether or not you want to train on a bike. That said, most potential users who are thinking of Peloton will be coming at this with the idea of indoor cycling in mind, so a good exercise bike to train on will be key. Technically you can follow along on pretty much any sort of exercise bike out there, but our recommendation would be to get a proper indoor cycle/spin bike. If you’re looking at running or walking workouts a treadmill will also be required, but once again you can get away with just about anything there too. Obviously if you’re a runner, you’re going to want something of reasonable quality, with a speed range of 0-12 miles per hour, and an incline range of up to 15%. You can find all of our recommendations for that category here.
As far as other equipment goes, many of their class categories are equipment-free, so you’ll just need your smartphone, tablet, or smart TV in order to view the training classes. The majority of the available workouts do not look at heart rate, so for the most part you won’t need any kind of heart rate monitor to get the most out of these workouts. The one exception is the “Heart Rate Zone” treadmill runs. For these runs, you’ll want to be wearing a fitness tracker of some sorts, though know that it will not connect to the Peloton App itself. Looking at the other workout categories across the app, there are occasionally some equipment requirements to keep in mind. Some strength workouts will require a set of weights (plan for pairs between five and 30 pounds, depending on your fitness level). For Yoga/Meditation a yoga mat and a set of blocks will also be handy to have on hand. Thankfully all of these items are relatively inexpensive, and are also just good things to have around if you’re planning to do any sort of exercise at home.
What to Expect From a Peloton App Workout?
We’re as surprised to be writing it as you likely are to be reading it, but the short answer here is diversity. The range of Peloton workouts available through their streaming app is quite impressive for those looking for a good well-rounded solution to at-home fitness. If you’re just looking for the affordable way to get on Peloton’s wide range of indoor cycling classes you won’t be disappointed, but there’s so much more available here that you can build a proper routine and never be short on options. Outside of the bike and treadmill classes there’s a huge selection of HIIT training in the cardio section, a massive amount of stretching and yoga classes to help work on your overall mobility, and even a healthy selection of strength training options using either bodyweight, resistance bands, or dumbbells. Now, if you’re looking to build serious muscle, you’re going to want to look at an app that’s more focused on that category—we’d likely recommend something like the Fitbod App that puts strength training front and center.
The other big play when it comes to Peloton is the community and competition aspect of its training system, however it’s a bit of a different experience when solely running the app. Due to the lack of available metrics, you won’t be able to compete on Peloton leaderboards unless you’re riding on the Peloton Bike or Bike+. That said, you can still find friend and fellow riders either via username or by connecting your Facebook profile, which in turn allows you to see who’s working out more or less than you are. Personally, we’ve found that the real value in the Peloton app is the quality of training instruction over any of its “competitive” elements, however for those who want that sense of community competition to keep their motivation up, Peloton’s 4.4+ million users make it the largest virtual fitness community of its kind.
Peloton Workout Types
All told there are 11 different class types available via the Peloton app, with a number of subcategories within each. We’ll go through a brief overview of sections below. Thanks to the app’s user-friendly search filters, you are able to search through each category by class length, class type, instructor, music genre, and then sort them by date, popularity, rating, and difficulty (select sort by Easiest or Hardest).
Odds are, a lot of you came looking for the Peloton app with indoor cycling in mind, and rest assured that the app doesn’t disappoint. Their indoor cycling classes are still top notch, with great trainers leading you along the way. You can follow these workouts on any exercise bike, so long as you have some sort of tablet mount handy for safe viewing. In our testing, we loaded the Peloton app onto the Stryde Bike, which allowed us to view the classes on a large screen, all while seeing our cadence and resistance metrics from the bike’s “free ride” section. The more time we spent riding in this “hack” Peloton setup, the more we were left to wonder if blowing the bank on the full-bore Peloton bike could ever really be worth it.
The class type options in the cycling category are a bit all over the board. There are more standard categories—beginner, low impact, intervals, heart rate zone, and pro cyclist—that are more clear in terms of the format to expect. On the other hand, sections like groove, music, live DJ, and theme rides are much more about the soundtrack and instructor experience than anything else. Under the theme section you’ll find interesting workouts that cover everything from a “Best of Live Concerts” soundtrack, though to more mindfulness focused “Mood Ride” options. Generally speaking we found ourselves more often sticking with a handful of instructors that we liked and working through their catalogs, rather than sticking with a particular class type and changing trainers.
Another item of note is the fact that a lot of the more intense classes don’t have a very long cooldown period to wrap up with. Thankfully there are dedicated short cooldown rides available, as well as quick pre and post-ride stretching workouts to help you loosen up both before and after your ride.
Peloton also has bootcamp-style workouts available for indoor cyclists, where the workout routine alternates between on and off bike exercise. These will be a bit more tricky to follow along with depending on your viewing medium, mind you. If you’re using a tablet, you’ll have to have somewhere practical to place your tablet when moving off of the bike, or in a perfect world, you’ll be streaming training from a smart TV with room beside the bike to complete the additional elements of the workout.
Walkers and runners also have a great range of workout options available in the Peloton app, regardless of whether the plan is to run outdoors or on a treadmill. Treadmill workouts are split into separate walking and running categories, each with their own subset of available class types. For novice runners, the best starting point is the Running Skills section. This is a brief educational series of videos focusing on running basics, including lessons on form, pace, cadence, and other categories. Looking at the other categories, we have some of the usual Theme, Music, and Interval runs, offered alongside Heart Rate Zones, Endurance, Speed, and Warm Up/Cool Down rides. Under Endurance you’ll find some of Peloton’s longest workouts, clocking in at a full hour. In total there are over 2,000 running classes available, but only 202 for outdoor running at time of publishing.
The walking category is a bit more limited, but then again how complex does a walking workout need to be? Category offerings include Warm Up/Cool Down, Music, Power Walk, Walk + Run, and Hiking. The Hiking walks in particular are a good one for fat/calorie burn, as they tend to focus on a steady push up a relatively significant incline. Much like the cycling category, there are also bootcamp-style workouts available for treadmill runners. These are split between full-body workouts, workouts dedicated to specific muscle groups (core, lower body, upper body, etc), and more general workouts categorized based on their playlist genres. There are over 700 workouts available in bootcamp format.
Once again, the diversity in the strength category is quite impressive, as is the ability to easily filter workouts. The usual suspects are all here—core, upper body, lower body, arms, bodyweight, and warmups—and options are available for those with either resistance bands or free weights at home/in their workout space. The strength category is also where you will find a range of Barre, Pilates, and Prenatal workouts as well, though there are only 43, 42, and 8 workouts available between these three types. The one thing you’ll see echoed through the categories is that you’re likely best served by trying a couple of instructors that you like in the workout category you’re after, and sticking with them throughout your workout plan.
Yoga & Meditation
Though fundamentally different from one another, we’re going to lump these last two workout categories together. Starting with Yoga, you’re looking once again at over 2,000 class options ranging from introductory level classes, though to some rather advanced Flow, Power, and Hanumansana. In contrast, the Meditation section is much more focused on relaxation, breathing, and mindfulness. In this category you’ve got over 1,000 options to choose from, though “difficulty level” is less of a factor.
Our Experience With the Peloton App
All told, the overall experience of using the Peloton app was a positive one, and one that left us with a handful of takeaways that will benefit any new user. First things first, don’t ever be afraid or ashamed of picking out “beginner” workouts. They’re a great way to get your feet wet and get a feel for the category without feeling like you’re constantly playing catch-up. On the indoor cycling side, a good 20-minute beginner ride still left us as a sweaty mess by the time we were finished, and they also provide great guidance in terms of form and bike setup for those who need it. Thanks to the diversity of content, it’s also worth trying out a range of trainers as you get started. Some trainers will have a warm, soft, and welcoming approach, whereas others will be super pumped and bordering on pushy. Depending on how you get motivated, some trainers will be a better fit than others.
From an ease of use standpoint, the app is about as seamless as it gets, and its filtering options work great when it comes to narrowing down your class selection. You can search by length, type, instructor, music genre, and available subtitles in all categories. Where it gets a little confusing is when it comes to difficulty. In the cycling category, “beginner” is considered a class type, whereas in strength training, difficulty is its own filter. Once you get past that little hiccup it’s smooth sailing. You can also sort the classes by what’s new, what’s trending, and what has the highest rating from fellow users.
Though Peloton advertises the fact that you can link Peloton with your Spotify or Apple Music accounts, based on our testing there’s no such connection if you are running the Peloton app without one of their bikes or treadmills. This was a bit frustrating at first, however the playlists available with each workout are generally pretty good, and offer a solid range of current and classic song selections.
Is The Peloton App Worth It?
The short answer? Yes. The long answer? Still very much a yes. The instructors, the range of options, the music choices, the seamless operation of the app; all of these things point towards the Peloton app being a great resource for at-home fitness. If you’re a heavy lifter, or you only care about a particular niche of fitness, then you might get a little less out of it, but if overall fitness is the key, this app is definitely a winner.
For those looking to the app as a “Peloton Hack”, so to speak, check out our Peloton Bike alternatives story here to help select the best bike to be running this app on.