Best Online Exercise Classes

These digital classes let you work out with ease

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Online exercise classes are changing the way we think about fitness. Instead of getting in line early at the gym to secure a spot in your favorite HIIT class or cutting your time short to get to work, you can log on and get fit on your timeline. 

The best online exercise classes offer variety, multiple class levels, experienced instructors, affordable subscription plans, free trials, and minimal equipment. They also give users the option of taking classes live or on-demand. Here, we take a look at the best online exercise classes, pros and cons of each, what to consider before signing up for a membership, and review some frequently asked questions.

Our Top Picks

Best for Yoga: Gaia

"You can choose exactly the class that you’re craving for the movement your body needs."

Best In-Studio: Classpass

"This service is perfect for people that want access to a wide variety of in-studio experiences."

Best Live: Tracy Anderson

"You’ll get to sweat with both Tracy and her trainers, who are specially trained to teach the TA Method."

Best Variety: Daily Burn

"Daily Burn offers more than 1,000 classes ranging from options for beginners to advanced athletes, all taught by expert trainers."

Best with Community: Alo Moves

"Through this app, you are given the opportunity to connect with encouraging coaches and other hardworking members."

Best for Cardio: Booya Fitness

"Every workout is set to live streamed pop music to keep you upbeat and moving throughout the class."

Best for Meditation: Glo

"You can find videos that range from 5 to 120 minutes and that span all sorts of mindfulness and meditation."

Best for Cycling: Peloton

"There are new classes every day, and thousands of classes in the on-demand catalog to choose from."

Best for a Time Crunch: Obé Fitness

"Tapping some of the best instructors in New York City to lead the classes, Obé Fitness encourages users to vary their classes throughout the week."

Our Top Picks

Best for Yoga: Gaia

Gaia

 Gaia

Why We Chose It: Gaia earned the top spot for yoga because of its extensive library of classes and commitment to providing classes for all levels.

Pros
  • Budget-friendly monthly membership

  • All yoga levels welcome

  • Easy-to-use menu for choosing classes

Cons
  • Site includes a lot of non-yoga content that can be distracting

  • Shorter free trial period than other online exercise subscription programs

It can be hard to make it to the studio to practice yoga on top of a busy schedule. But you only need a few minutes to reap the benefits of an asana practice. Plus, since yoga uses practically no equipment, you can easily do it anywhere. When you’re looking for a little instruction, follow along with one of the teachers on Gaia.com. The website offers classes with themes such as Simple Yoga for Stressful Times and Twist Your Way to Bliss, so you can choose exactly the class that you’re craving for the movement your body needs.

There are two payment options, you can pay $11.99 monthly, or you can pay $99 annually, which saves you some money per month. Both options give you unlimited streaming on your laptop, phone, tablet, and TV, with absolutely no advertisements, so you can take your practice on the go with you. If you don’t love it, Gaia will let you cancel either plan at any time.

Best In-Studio: Classpass

Classpass

 Classpass

Why We Chose It: Classpass offers subscribers access to online and in-person exercise classes, making it our best pick for in-studio exercise classes.

Pros
  • In-studio and online classes

  • Access to a wide variety of workout types

  • Strong community following online

Cons
  • Classes cost different “credits,” making it confusing to track

  • In-studio classes not available in all areas

  • Some online classes offer minimal instruction and technique

This service is perfect for people that want access to a wide variety of in-studio experiences. Here’s how it works: subscribers buy credits online that can be redeemed for workout classes. Each class is worth a specific number of credits, based on their instructor popularity and time, with more in-demand time slots costing more credits than less busy slots. Longer classes may also cost additional credits.

Classpass is available in 30,000 studios in more than 30 countries around the world, so while it’s not available everywhere, it’s becoming more widespread, especially in major urban areas. For those that don’t live in participating areas, Classpass recently announced that they are launching the in-home system Classpass Live, where subscribers will be able to workout live in their own homes with a heart rate monitor that pits them against other participants, so you can let your competitive side shine as you work hard to rank on the leaderboard.

Best Live: Tracy Anderson

TA

 TA

Why We Chose It: Fans of the Tracy Anderson Method can access high-energy live classes that make it feel like an in-person experience.

Pros
  • Live classes give fans a way to access the popular TA Method from home

  • Classes grouped by level and include a program to follow

  • New classes weekly

Cons
  • Costly monthly membership

  • Classes limited to dance cardio and muscular structure

While lucky residents of New York City, London, and Los Angeles are able to workout at a Tracy Anderson Method studio, the reality is that most of us aren’t able to get there. The best compromise: streaming the live classes online, so you can workout with the famous studio from the comfort of your living room.

There are three payment options offered: $90 monthly, $457 semiannual, or $808.50 for an annual subscription, so it’s definitely more expensive than some of the other at-home options on this list, but you’re really getting an in-studio experience for that price. You’ll get to sweat with both Tracy and her trainers, who are specially trained to teach the TA Method. There are two kinds of classes offered: a Muscular Structure Class and Dance Cardio options, so you’ll be getting both cardio and strength in one subscription.

Best Variety: Daily Burn

Daily Burn

 Daily Burn

Why We Chose It: Daily Burn is our pick for best exercise routines due to its comprehensive library of fitness classes, daily live classes, and access to tracking apps.

Pros
  • Comprehensive workout app with hundreds of classes available 24/7

  • Easy to sign-up and navigate

  • Offers daily live classes

Cons
  • No individual training options

  • Can be difficult to reach customer service

  • Requires additional fees to access certain programs

If you want the freedom to workout at home but don’t want your workouts to get repetitive, try a premium online streaming service like Daily Burn. Daily Burn offers a 30-day free trial, so you can get a feel for the classes and instructors before you make a financial commitment. The monthly price is not available on the website, however.

Daily Burn offers more than 1,000 classes ranging from options for beginners to advanced athletes, all taught by expert trainers. There are classes that are 10 minutes and ones that are an hour, so you can do a workout that’s perfect for your schedule.

Best with Community: Alo Moves

Alo Moves

 Alo Moves

Why We Chose It: The Alo Moves app takes fitness one step further and focuses on connecting members with each other and their coaches.

Pros
  • Category dedicated to beginners

  • Live and on-demand classes

  • Over 20 styles of classes available

  • Strong online community following

Cons
  • More expensive than similar online exercise subscription programs

  • Might be better suited for intermediate to advanced levels

If heading to a yoga class with a friend or team helps keep you on track to meet your practice goals, you’ll love the community support you get with Alo Moves. Through this app, you are given the opportunity to connect with encouraging coaches and other hardworking members, and take more than 2,500 diverse yoga classes of all styles and all difficulties. You can even take classes or practice yoga with any of your friends online.

At a price point of $20 per month, or $99 for the first year, it’s definitely one of the more reasonable at-home options on this list. Alo Moves' videos are compatible with a web browser, iPhone, iPad, Android, and Apple TV, so you can move freely from one device to another. You can also take the classes to go when you don’t have Wi-Fi. With Offline Access, you can take your devices on the move and practice when it works best for you.

Best for Cardio: Booya Fitness

Booya Fitnes

 Booya Fitnes

Why We Chose It: We chose Booya Fitness due to its extensive offering of cardio-related workouts like HIIT, sports conditioning, dance, and bootcamp.

Pros
  • One of the most affordable online exercise class subscription plans

  • Minimal equipment required

  • Sample workout plans for cardio and other types of fitness

Cons
  • Selective with the music they play

  • Do not add new classes as often as other online programs

If you love the high intensity of a large group cardio class but hate bumping elbows with the girl moving next to you, take the group experience to your living room with Booya Fitness. Classes offered include barre, pilates, cardio kickboxing, HIIT, sports conditioning, dance, yoga, body weight sculpting, boot camp, and even more. Even if that sounds like you’ll need like a lot of fancy equipment, Booya promises that 75 percent of their workouts can be completed with just a yoga mat.

Booya is also very selective with the music they play because they know a good song can make or break your cardio workout. Every workout is set to live streamed pop music to keep you upbeat and moving throughout the class.

Best for Meditation: Glo

Glo

 Glo

Why We Chose It: If yoga and meditation are your jam, then Glo is the answer. This online program is packed full of various yoga levels and mindfulness classes to help clear your mind and boost your wellbeing.

Pros
  • Specific focus on yoga and meditation

  • Educational classes and lectures to improve yoga knowledge

  • Live and on-demand yoga, Pilates, and mindfulness classes

Cons
  • Shorter free trial period than other online exercise subscription programs

  • Content more limited than other yoga apps that offer cardio and strength

A huge part of self-care and wellbeing revolves around mindfulness, and it’s important to set time aside to do some sort of inner workout in addition to working out your body. A meditation practice can feel super overwhelming at first, especially when you’re not sure at all where to begin. But on Glo, you can find videos that range from 5 to 120 minutes and that span all sorts of mindfulness and meditation, from incredibly slow to fast-paced vinyasa flows.

Glo also offers videos of lectures and workshops from teachers and yoga scholars, so you can round out your physical practice with learning about the origins of yoga.

Best for Cycling: Peloton

Peloton

 Peloton

Why We Chose It: If you’re looking for an online cycling class that builds stamina while having fun, Peloton is a solid option. The app also has yoga, Pilates, HIIT, stretching, and strength workouts.

Pros
  • World-class cycling instructors

  • Can use any stationary bicycle

  • Digital app includes yoga, Pilates, cardio, running, strength, and stretching

  • Ability to personalize your practice

Cons
  • Several fitness classes require equipment

  • Peloton bike is expensive

If you've ever been to a cycling class with loud music, motivational instructors, and immersive lighting, you know how intense and exciting cardio can be. Now, thanks to Peloton, that cycling class can come right into your home – along with one of the stationary bikes you'll need to do the pedaling. Peloton's service is based around live classes streamed out to anyone who has a bike, and they require the Peloton branded equipment to join in. There are new classes every day, and thousands of classes in the on-demand catalog to choose from.

Peloton doesn't just offer cycling classes, though. There is also a treadmill users can purchase for running- and walking-based classes, and a TV app for yoga and strength classes that requires no external equipment. Peloton's in-house equipment is top-of-the-line, meaning that it can run users upwards of $2,000, so be ready to invest in your home gym.

Best for a Time Crunch: Obé Fitness

Obé Fitness

 Obé Fitness

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Why We Chose It: We chose Obé Fitness because their class line-up includes 28-minute and 10-minute workouts that are easy to fit into any busy schedule.

Pros
  • Extensive library of no-equipment classes

  • Can download classes to use offline

  • More than 5,000 classes available

Cons
  • More expensive than other online exercise class subscriptions

  • Intermediate and advanced classes require equipment for maximum results

  • Classes limited to floor workouts

If your daily planner is filled to the brim with meetings, and you've got no time for a workout, Obé Fitness's web and phone app will come in handy. Focusing on quick, 28-minute and 10-minute long classes that easily fit into any schedule, the workouts center themes of muscle definition, cardio, and flexibility. Sweat-themed classes include Cardio Boxing and HIIT, while Define-based classes include Pilates and Strength.

Tapping some of the best instructors in New York City to lead the classes, Obé Fitness encourages users to vary their classes throughout the week, offering all three types of classes daily. Classes typically start live streaming at 6 a.m. and end in the early afternoon, but guests can stream classes on-demand at any moment.

Final Verdict 

Access to online exercise classes is making it easier to squeeze a workout into a busy schedule. Online classes also help to remove barriers that prevent many people from taking in-person classes. With that in mind, the best online exercise classes should offer different types of workouts, various levels, live and on-demand classes, and come with a free trial. If you’re interested in all types of fitness, the Peloton digital app is a great place to start. It offers a variety of styles, and it’s affordable. Plus, you get a 30-day free trial. Yogis will appreciate the extensive library of classes and affordable monthly membership from Gaia, and fitness enthusiasts looking for live daily classes will like the line-up from Daily Burn. 

Online Exercise Classes vs In-Person Exercise Classes

Online exercise classes provide a flexible and private way to improve your health and fitness. They’re often more affordable and offer a wider selection of classes than in-person classes. Plus, with live and on-demand options, you can get fit on your time. That said, they do come up short in a few areas that in-person classes excel. For example, taking a class at a studio or gym gives you the opportunity to ask questions and get feedback. It can also help with motivation when other people surround you. And finally, in-person classes might be safer for beginners or certain populations that may require more hands-on instruction.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Online Exercise Classes?

Online exercise classes are instructional workouts offered via livestream or on-demand that you can watch and follow along with at home. Taught by certified personal trainers and expert instructors, the classes may include yoga, Pilates, cycling, barre, cardio kickboxing, HIIT, boot camp, strengthening, and more. 

Some classes are geared toward beginners, while others are intended for more advanced fitness enthusiasts. Online exercise classes offer the convenience of working out whenever and wherever you want. Instead of relying on a limited schedule of classes at a gym or studio, you have the flexibility to choose what you want to do at times that work best for you.

How Much Do Online Exercise Classes Cost?

Some online exercise classes are free, but others require a paid subscription for access. Most memberships range from approximately $10 to $30 per month, with discounts available for longer subscriptions. Prices vary based on the number of classes offered, quality of instructors and workouts, and level of instruction. Most services offer a free trial or let you download classes for a small fee to try out the membership before committing to it.

What Should I Wear for an Online Exercise Class?

Workout clothing should be comfortable and allow for a full range of motion. Stick to breathable, wicking fabrics to stay dry and avoid chafing. On your feet, wear athletic shoes that provide support and traction. Women should wear a supportive sports bra.

What Equipment Do I Need for an Online Exercise Class?

Many online exercise classes don’t require any special equipment, other than a device such as a tablet or a computer that can stream the class. Some classes may suggest using a yoga mat for floor exercises or light handheld weights or resistance bands for strengthening, but they’re usually not necessary to complete the exercises. 

If you regularly do online exercise classes at home, you may want to get some basic equipment such as dumbbells or a medicine ball to boost your workout intensity and calorie burn. Of course, certain types of classes do require equipment, which can sometimes be pricey. For example, to take online cycling classes, you’ll need to invest in a stationary bike.

Methodology 

We looked at a dozen online exercise classes and settled on those listed in this roundup. To make the final list, we considered monthly membership costs, free trial periods, types of workouts available, fitness levels, instructor options, customer reviews, and delivery method (live and on-demand). Online exercise classes that did not make this list lacked a free trial or had minimal offerings for all fitness levels.

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