Best audio workout apps for training without a screen


Since your gym is still closed and will be for a while, the world is now your workout space. But for those venturing outside or training in the living room, staring at a screen is the last thing you want after a day of, well, staring at a screen

That’s why we recommend audio fitness apps. Ethan Agarwal, CEO and founder of audio workout app Aaptiv (full disclosure: I’m an active user on a 259-day streak) wrote in an email that “Zoom fatigue” is real, and that “working out without looking at a screen is such a relief.”

During the pandemic, fitness junkies are going to have to get creative when it comes to weight training, yoga, and other forms of exercise. So grab your headphones and take a listen.

Aaptiv ($14.99/ month or $99/year)

While Aaptiv offers treadmill and stair climber classes perfect for the gym, its collections of pilates, yoga, strength training, and even audio coaching for runs and walks, are perfect for working out from home. 

No dumbbells? You can still do strength training with a bodyweight workout. 

Beyond training, Aaptiv offers sleep and meditation classes for this high-stress time. And its stretching options are stellar. 

These aren’t the usual hamstring and quad stretches. There are entire 20-minute classes just for stretching your wrists and ankles. For neck and back pain, the stretches actually focus specific muscles, instead of just suggesting you do neck rolls. 

Before quarantine I was an occasional yoga practitioner. But after going through Aaptiv’s vast yoga collection (with filters for difficulty level and type of yoga), I’m practicing a few times a week.

TRX (Free for 1 year with equipment purchase or free 3-month trial. Usually $4.99/month or $39.99/year.)

TRX requires some equipment, but once you have a suspension trainer attached to a door or beam, you can download the app. The suspension straps have handles and aren’t cheap — the starter pack is $185 on sale — but it’s a one-time purchase that could be worth it if you use them enough. 

Instead of doing planks or pushups on the floor, a TRX workout literally keeps you suspended. As you lean back and pull against the straps to almost float above the ground, your workout gets harder and harder, and your form really matters.

There are video guides to help you learn how to set up the straps correctly. After getting comfortable setting them up, you can move on to audio workouts. 

If you don’t want to use an app, the TRX Live website has livestreamed classes at no charge for anyone to check out. 

As this web series creator, Mel Scott, explains, “working out while breaking your neck to see the screen is not a great idea.” So take a listen to these low-impact audio workouts. Scott, who is blind, created the workouts for her community and beyond and brought in instructors and coaches to guide the audio workouts.

Many of the free YouTube videos are geared toward older athletes, with a focus on less aggressive exercises (you won’t find too many jumping jacks or burpees) and stretching. 

It’s truly audio only — there are no video instructions. So listen carefully when the instructor explains how to use a chair to stretch your calves.

Auro ($11.99/month or $94.99/year or $399.99 for a lifetime membership)

Similar to Aaptiv, Auro involves a trainer coaching you through your ear buds. 

You can set up and stick with customized workout plans and pick a personal trainer to guide you through workouts. The app includes both at-home options like yoga and strength training along with outdoor running workouts.

Auro gives you weekly goals to conquer and a dashboard to see your progress. Based out of London, the app is offering 50-percent discounts to the UK’s National Health Service workers. 

Training during a pandemic.

Training during a pandemic.

Peloton ($12.99/month or included with bicycle)

You don’t need to spend $2,245 on a Peloton bike to use the app. It includes classes on meditation, strength training, yoga, stretching, and more. And, yes, there are cycling classes. 

The running classes are great if you need to get outside. They provide guidance on pacing, splits, and staying focused, and you can send metrics straight to your Apple Watch. 

The app also lets you train with other Peloton app users, set goals, and track your progress.

Yoga Wake Up (free 2-week trial, then $9.99/month or $53.99/year or $34.99/half-year)

So maybe you didn’t make it to the park, but you can still make your morning count with yoga. 

You don’t even have to get out of bed. Instead of an alarm clock, you can set this app to wake you (there’s even a snooze button) and start your day by breathing and gently moving your body. Since it’s an audio app, you don’t have to stare at a screen first thing in the morning. 

You can also use the app at the end of the day to ease yourself to sleep with meditations and calming sounds. 

While the app focuses on incorporating yoga and meditation into your waking-up or powering-down routines, there are options for an afternoon or midday yoga workout. And they’re all 20 minutes or less.  





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