Wide range of programs and one-off workouts that can be done anywhere
Easy to switch off between programs and individual workouts
App incentivizes you to keep up with exercise in a non-annoying way
None that we could find
Its structured fitness programs and one-off workouts are so good that Nike Training Club scored the top spot in our comprehensive test of workout apps, besting other big names like Peloton, Daily Burn, and Aaptiv.
Since the workout app test ended, I’ve continued using Nike Training Club—and I still love it. Here’s why you’ll love it, too.
How does Nike Training Club work?
The app itself is free to download for Android and iOS, and its “basic” version provides access to more than 100 strength training, cardio, mobility, and yoga workouts instructed via audio and demo videos. The “Premium” version of the app that, until recently, cost $14.95 a month, offers access to full multi-week training programs, about 100 workouts presented in a streaming video format, plus health tips and even mindfulness guides. But Nike recently announced that it is keeping its Premium features free, as a response to the coronavirus pandemic that left many people adrift in their own home gyms, so now’s a great time to try out its Premium features without paying, well, a premium.
What makes Nike Training Club worth it?
I’ve been using Nike Training Club for about two months. In this time, the thing that stood out to me most is the app’s structured program I followed. When I first downloaded the app, I took a basic quiz that asked things like what kind of workouts I like to do and how many times I usually work out in a week. From this, it directed me to a few programs: one focused on yoga, one focused on weightlifting, and the one I ultimately chose, that focused on bodyweight high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and core workouts.
All the workouts in this six-week program are 25 to 40 minutes long—including a warmup and cooldown stretch—and they ramped up in intensity as the sessions went by, starting at an easy-intermediate level and ending at an advanced level. I found the pace appropriate. The first few workouts I did were pretty easy, but they helped to lay a foundation for my final workouts, which left me sweaty, panting, and sore—though without a doubt, I would have found them harder had I jumped into those ones first.
Most programs are supposed to take between four to six weeks to complete, with different “stages” that build upon one another, though that could vary depending on how frequently you want to exercise each week. Each stage has up to five workouts in it. The idea is that you do one stage a week but you may move through them faster or slower based on your fitness level. When you start a program, the app asks if you want to receive push notifications to remind you to work out, which may be helpful for some people, but I like that the push notifications are optional (my phone yells at me enough).
Can you use Nike Training Club if you don’t want to follow a program?
I think the app is best utilized if you follow a program, but if you don’t want to (or if you don’t want to only do a program), it’s still great. The app has a separate workout tab that you can browse by muscle group, workout type (including endurance, mobility, strength, and yoga), and the equipment you have on hand. It also has workouts inspired by famous athletes, including Simone Biles, Alex Morgan, and Cristiano Ronaldo. Each category has Premium and basic workouts interspersed, with workouts ranging between five minutes and an hour.
Nike Training Club keeps a record of every workout you’ve done in its “Activity” tab, so it’s easy to check before you start if you’re repeating something. The Activity tab also gives you “trophies” for completing a certain number of workouts, working out several times in a week, working out at different times of the day, and so on. I didn’t find the badges a make-or-break feature, as far as incentives go, but they’re still fun to look through.
What’s not great about Nike Training Club?
From what I can tell, you can only follow one program at a time. On one hand, this makes sense—it’s good discipline to stick to one thing if it has multiple components that build upon one another, and you don’t want to overtrain your muscles to the point of exhaustion—but some programs seem like they could easily be done concurrently like, say, a yoga and a strength training program.
Also, for some reason, the Premium workouts don’t give you a calorie burn number, though the standard workouts do. I don’t go by calories as an exercise benchmark, so I was fine with this—and if you have a fitness tracker or smart watch, this is probably a moot point anyway— but if you like seeing a specific calorie output number after you exercise, Nike Training Club may not be the best app for you.
A few other quibbles: The videos stop completely if you close your lock screen (unlike some other apps that will continue playing audio, even if there is an accompanying video), so it may drain battery faster than other apps. Some of the workout programs require a full gym, so if you don’t have access to one, you won’t be able to do those—though it’s clear from the start what will be needed to do a program, and the majority of the programs I saw required only bodyweight or simple equipment like a yoga mat and some free weights. For most of the workouts, the app touts that you can play your own music simultaneously, though it’s muffled by the instructions and all the yoga videos I tried wouldn’t let my own music play. Finally, Nike Training Club isn’t accessible on a smart TV, so you have to use Airplay or Chromecast if you want to exercise in front of your TV or computer (to its credit, Nike gives helpful instructions on its site on how to set it up).
Should you try Nike Training Club?
I like Nike Training Club because it makes exercising a lot less complicated. In many ways, it fulfills the function of a personal trainer—it gives you building blocks to work with, sets a schedule, and sends you reminders to exercise—without the cost (but also without the added level of personal attention that comes with working out with a trainer).
If you’re looking for a way to work out effectively at home, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better, more affordable way to do it than with the Nike Training Club app.
Meet the tester
Sara Hendricks is a staff writer with Reviewed covering emerging categories.
Checking our work.
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