Dossier: Trend sports

Train together at home: workout apps

Do you love workout apps but miss training in a group? Social workout apps may be the solution. They let you train in the comfort of your own home – while interacting with other people. We present some of the most popular apps.

Text: Paul Drzimalla; photo: iStock

Training apps are booming. A stop-gap solution during the COVID-19 pandemic for working out at home instead of at the gym or in a club, they’re now very popular as everyday gadgets. However, not everyone likes to work out at home alone. And it’s not only the fun that’s missing. Studies show that training is more effective when you work out in a group. For example, test subjects training in a group managed to hold the plank 24% longer than those who worked out alone. The social workout apps below are the ideal solution for those who enjoy the comfort and convenience of working out with an app at home, but miss the motivation of group fitness. 

Which is the right training app for you?

It’s not easy to choose an app from the huge range of products on offer. Some are highly specialised, while others offer a broad range of features. They also differ in terms of performance and pricing model. The following apps are particularly popular – each has a specific focus, and many are free, at least for the basic version*.

Wherever a route is covered – be it running, road cycling or mountain biking – Strava is on hand to help. The app can plan and track routes. Most importantly, it offers the opportunity to connect and compare with others, with Strava evolving into a social network for sports enthusiasts. It allows users to track, comment on and praise others’ training and competitive activities.

The app for Android and iOS is free, a membership for CHF 60 a year provides personal heatmaps (the routes that are completed most frequently), the integration of bike computers and wearables, and analytics.

Zwift is a great choice for those who want to power up their road bike sessions with an app at home. However, the app is only part of the system, because to use Zwift you need a compatible training bike, either as a roller for a standard racing bike or a stand-alone smart bike. Treadmills are also supported. 

Once installed, Zwift transports riders or runners to virtual worlds where they compete alone or with the community. The data can be connected to Strava. Zwift is available for Android, iOS, Mac and Windows. A subscription costs USD 14.99 a month.

No time for long workouts? The Seven app puts together a workout every day that can be done in only seven minutes. This way, you get the maximum benefit in the shortest time possible. If you want a bit of extra motivation, you can challenge your friends.

The Seven app is available free of charge for Android and iOS. However, various training sessions cost EUR 11.99. And you can join the “7 Club” for EUR 39.99 a year and get personal training recommendations. 

With Virtual Mission, participants cover real distances, but in a virtual world. You set yourself a personal goal on the world map – and reach it in stages. You can choose whether you want to run, swim or cycle. My Virtual Mission adds up the kilometres you do in each session. You can track your progress on the map and share it with friends in the app, working as a team to reach the same goal or competing against one another on the same route. 

My Virtual Mission is available free of charge for iOS and Android.

*Prices as at November 2022; they may be subject to change. Monthly subscriptions are available in some cases.