Apple Fitness+ is a pretty great workout app. The trainers are good, the workouts are hard, and you don’t need a huge amount of equipment to get started with most classes. But—for the workouts that do need a bit of extra gear—we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to do any Apple Fitness+ workout you want.
An Apple Watch
One of the few negatives in our review of Fitness+ was that you needed an Apple Watch to sign up. It’s not that the integration between Fitness+ and your watch is bad, it just feels unnecessary. Seeing your heart rate and calorie burn live on screen is interesting, but it doesn’t add a lot to the awesome trainers and great follow-along workouts.
If you don’t already have an Apple Watch, you’ll need one to use Fitness+. We have a full guide to the three models available now—the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch Series 3, and Apple Watch SE—so check that out if you’re in the market.
To my mind though, the Apple Watch SE is the best model for most people. It doesn’t have the Series 6’s always-on display, EKG, or blood O2 tracking, but it’s otherwise pretty similar—and more than $100 cheaper. The only feature that comes close to justifying the extra price is that always-on display, and even then, it’s a stretch.
Best Apple Watch for Most People
An iPhone Stand (or Apple TV)
In every Fitness+ workout, the trainers are doing all the exercises along with you. It makes it really easy to just switch your brain off and get a sweat on. But it does mean you need to be able to see your phone.
I started by just propping my iPhone up with a couple of coasters, my sunglasses, or anything else I had on hand. It’s not an ideal solution. Instead, if you’re serious about your workouts, you should get a proper phone stand like this one from Nulaxy. It fits every iPhone—and even iPads—and can rotate to pretty much any angle you need. It’s also foldable so if you want to workout in the park you can bring it along.
A Good iPhone Stand
If you find your phone screen is a bit small and want to see the workouts on a TV screen, you’ll need an Apple TV. There are a few different models available but the entry-level Apple TV HD is all you need for a home gym.
A Yoga Mat and Yoga Blocks
Not all of the Fitness+ classes are intense sweat-fests. There are also relaxing Mindful Cooldowns and flowing Yoga classes. For both of those, a yoga mat and some yoga blocks will go a long way towards making you more comfortable—and better able to get deep into a stretch. You can also use your mat for classes like Core and Strength, which can involve floor work.
Yoga mats don’t have to cost a lot of money. The simple BalanceFrom GoYoga+ is our pick for the best-bang-for-your-buck mat. Of course, if you get serious about your asanas you can go all in something like the Liforme Original.
A Basic Yoga Mat
It’s the same with yoga blocks: You don’t need anything fancy to get started. This set of lightweight, high density foam blocks from Clever Yoga will give you all the support you need—and are easy to wipe down afterward. You can always upgrade to some cork blocks in the future.
Some Small Dumbbells
The HIIT and Dance Fitness+ workouts are proof you can do a serious workout without any fancy equipment. However, for the slower, more deliberate strength workouts you will need a pair of dumbbells to get the most out of them.
With things like dumbbells, it’s easy to go too heavy. It’s better to start with a pair of 3-pound (or even 2-pound) weights and build up as you need to. You can always do more reps or move the weights slower if you want a tougher workout.
This set of Amazon Basics dumbbells has two main options: a set with a 2-pound, 3-pound, and 5-pound weights, and a set with a 3-pound, 5-pound, and 8-pound weights. If you’re just starting out with strength training, go with the lighter set. Otherwise, the slightly heavier set will give you a good range of options, depending on what exercises you’re doing and how long the workout is.
A Stationary Bike, Rower, or Treadmill
A fairly big chunk of Fitness+’s hundreds of classes are dedicated to indoor cycling, rowing, and running. They’re also some of the best workouts. This kind of cardio work is associated with a lot of really positive health benefits, like a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and some cancers.
If you’ve got an old stationary bike or treadmill gathering dust in your garage, dig it out. Otherwise, you can pick up some kind of entry-level cardio machine for a few hundred dollars.
Indoor Bike Options
Peloton is the big name with the big price tag. In theory, you could use one of its bikes with Fitness+, but it makes almost no sense.
Instead, you’re better off picking an affordable model like the Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Bike. It’s got eight levels of magnetic resistance, a comfortable upright riding position, and, best of all, folds away when you’re done.
If you’re looking to upgrade from the most basic of indoor bikes, though, we recommend going with the robust and proven Schwinn IC4. This is one of the best indoor exercise bikes you can buy today. Alternatively, you can also pair a regular bike with an indoor bike trainer—basically, a bit of kit that converts your regular bike into an indoor bike.
An Affordable Indoor Bike
An Indoor Rower
Rowing is one of my favorite cardio workouts. It’s full-body, low impact, and rewards hard pulls, so it can also build your strength. Unfortunately, indoor rowers are notorious for taking up a lot of space because, well, they’re kind of huge even when folded up.
The Concept2 Model D is the biggest name in rowing, however, it’s not the most affordable. Unless you’re completely sold on the indoor-river life, you’re better off starting with either the budget or compact picks from our roundup of the best rowing machines.
The XTERRA Fitness ERG200 is the most compact rower we recommend. It folds down to 20.7″ x 36.4″ x 47.3″ (width, length, height), so it can tuck away in a reasonably sized cupboard.
Our budget pick, the Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RW5515 is an excellent rower without the exclusive price tag. It’s sturdy, has eight adjustable levels of resistance, and, with guidance from the Fitness+ coaches, guaranteed to give you a great workout.
A Budget Rower
As a general cardio machine guideline, we’d steer you away from treadmills and towards a stationary bike or rower; treadmills are just higher impact on your body. Also, you don’t need any extra gear to go for a walk or jog outside, so indoor cycling or rowing is a great way to add variety to your workouts.
However, if you love to walk or run and want to be able to keep that up whatever the weather, then take a look at the XTERRA Fitness TR150 folding treadmill. It can speed up to 10mph and there are three manual incline settings. It’s affordable but won’t stop you from pushing yourself hard.
A Good Treadmill
Space to Move and Sweat
If you’ve got an Apple Watch and a bit of space to jump around, you can do a lot of Fitness+ workouts. It’s really only the Strength and cardio-machine-based classes that require any extra gear. And, even then, you can always bring your phone to the gym and use the equipment there.
So, don’t let not having dumbbells or a treadmill be the reason you don’t work out. Strap on your watch and get going.