Over the past year, shelter-in-place orders and intermittent gym closures have prompted many fitness buffs to beef up their in-house workouts. In turn, many at-home fitness brands have hit the ground running, amping up both the technical capabilities and the design quotient of their products to distinguish them from the pack. Think super-sophisticated stationary bikes, inspiring interactive mirrors, even dumbbells made of marble. Here are five recent releases as effective as they are eye-catching.
Launched in 2012, the American brand Peloton became a global phenomenon over the last 12 months, its software-loaded exercise equipment resonating with locked down gym rats everywhere. Seizing the day, the company rounded out 2020 by unveiling the Peloton Bike+, a significantly enhanced version of its popular spin cycle offering on-demand access to livestreamed fitness classes. The most important feature of the new bike, which includes a four-speaker sound system and new workout options, is a larger swiveling touchscreen that can be rotated 180 degrees for easy transition between riding and floor exercises, such as yoga and stretching. It can also be integrated with Apple Gymfit, making it compatible with Apple Watches.
Housebound desk jockeys no longer have an excuse for poor muscle tone: Australia-based Addition Studio’s paperweights cum dumbbells, designed and crafted Down Under, make bicep blasting from the comfort of one’s office chair a snap. Carved from a variety of natural stones, including limestone, black marble and beige travertine, each of the dumbbells weighs a kilogram and is 170 millimetres tall. No two are exactly alike. According to the studio, which was founded in 2010 and is led by designer Ryan Hanrahan, they just may be “the most stylish of all gym accessories.” It’s hard to argue with that.
Early in 2020, design guru Yves Béhar unveiled Forme Life, a full-length AI-powered mirror that doubles as a personal trainer. This one, by Montreal-based HILO, is smaller (800 millimetres high by 596 millimetres wide) and therefore takes up less space, making it better suited to a variety of settings, especially compact ones. What it offers in terms of versatility, however, doesn’t come at the expense of function. Thanks to its intuitive platform, users can upload their favourite fitness apps (not to mention entertainment and lifestyle ones) to the mirror, while the fully interactive display screen brings on-demand activities such as cardio classes, yoga sessions and boxing lessons to vivid life. The touch screen is also generously sized, taking up almost the entire mirror frame whether it’s mounted vertically or horizontally. And it’s fingerprint-proof and water-resistant to boot.
To paraphrase the founders of CLMBR, “some ride, some run, they climb.” And to prove it, they’ve created what is probably the most advanced climbing machine on the market. Made of cast and extruded aluminum, the imposing yet lightweight unit (each weighs only 68 kilograms) offers what’s billed as “one of the most efficient full-body workouts ever.” And like most interactive fitness machines, it provides the now-ubiquitous classes on demand, but with unusual sensitivity to user experience. As Cactus — the multidisciplinary firm that designed CLMBR’s digital interface and branding — puts it, “the user (either in gym or home setting) gets a welcoming, truly unique… experience” via said interface, through which “shapes, rhythm and colours balance abstraction for distraction and data visualization for motivation.” In other words, CLMBR is among the newest of today’s new-wave home gym equipment, aiming to soothe the mind as it shreds the body.
By focusing on “soft,” low-impact activity, EVER Life Design of Italy had a twofold purpose: “to promote the importance of exercise at all ages” and to do so via gear that sits easily in domestic settings. To those ends, the studio has turned out not just a collection of uniquely handsome accessories — durable suspension belts with solid-beechwood handles, mats and bricks made of eco-friendly cork — but also the storage solutions, from wall brackets and hooks to bags both big and small, that contain as well keep them within easy reach. The ultimate goal, says EVER Life, citing “the evolution of domestic spaces,” is to encourage “the practice of fitness in every space, as a positive everyday habit.” Its Tape Fit line does that, with style as well as substance.
Battling lockdown listlessness is that much easier with extra-stylish in-house workout gear.