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The Functional, Flexible Home Gym

A selection of next-level workout equipment that will make you not only feel better but look good in your home.

A photograph of Ergatta Shop at Ergatta



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“I’M GOING TO yoga” is a thing I haven’t said since 2020. Like millions of people shut out of gyms and yoga studios in the year the world came to a standstill, I stopped going to classes and brought my practice home, thinking one day I would go back to the studio.

Instead, the studio came to me, in the form of a stylish, taupe mirror (the Lululemon Studio Mirror) that broadcasts thousands of fitness classes on demand. At the time, I was not convinced that one piece of equipment with 2D instructors could replace the real-life experience of a class, but I’ve come to prefer it. The ability to search by style, instructor, length, and difficulty, and then take one of these personally calibrated classes whenever I am ready — even when I travel, using the companion app — means I do yoga more often, regularly incorporate pilates into my routine, and occasionally dabble in dance and barre, workouts I would never have pursued outside my home. Three years in, my husband, who opts for high-intensity strength-training classes, is equally happy with the mirror. The only obstacle to working out now is if he presses play before me.

Even as people return to gyms, we now know that a hybrid life works just fine for a great many of us, whether we’re working out or working from home. The convenience factor alone means some of us will never go back to our old fitness routines, especially as gear continues to evolve away from space-hogging, analog monstrosities into artful, connected equipment that blends into the background. This disappearing act is one of my at-home gym’s best perks: After you turn off the mirror and roll up the mat, you might never know any physical exertion occurred.

Aesthetics aside, the true test of gym equipment is how well it encourages you to devote 15, 30, 60 minutes a day to your well-being. After rowing, cycling, flowing, and lifting on the best, smartest gear available, these are the machines and accessories that will spruce up your home gym, and make working out — dare I say — fun.


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Shop at Ergatta


This is one of the most elegant pieces of workout equipment I’ve ever encountered. Made of cherry wood, it stands in stark, beautiful contrast to its metal brethren, and feels more natural overall: The water wheel that provides the machine’s resistance makes a soothing swish as you row. The Ergatta eschews instructor-led courses and designs many of the workouts for its touch screen as games, such as “Meteor,” which encourages you to collect points as you hit rowing targets. It’s worth noting that the Ergatta is a few inches longer than some other rowers on the market, which might be a dealbreaker in small or low-ceilinged spaces. But if you would rather compete against yourself (and other Ergatta rowers) than follow an instructor’s lead, this is the machine for you. If you want to expand deeper into the world of wooden workout equipment, check out Nohrd’s suite of gear — they also make the Waterrower the Ergatta is built upon. SHOP NOW

Shop at Peloton

Peloton Bike

Spin classes are my kryptonite. No other workout leaves me so completely wrecked. Peloton is not technically a spin bike, but in terms of effort, it’s identical, offering one of the most efficient workouts possible: In one 20-minute, low-intensity Peloton class, you can easily burn 300 calories. You may not be able to stand afterward, but you will have exerted yourself to your full potential. In terms of audio-visuals, Peloton again offers an incomparable experience. The ride soundtracks are robust and include a monthly, rotating selection of artists, from Beyoncé to David Bowie. The membership offers live and prerecorded classes — such as pilates, yoga, and strength training — that stand out for their international, inclusive bent (think gospel slow-flow yoga or meditation in German). I recommend getting the bike and an accompanying, portable Peloton Guide, which casts classes to your TV and uses a sensor to measure your form. SHOP NOW

Shop at NordicTrack

NordicTrack 2450

Once you graduate to the treadmill, you’re carving out a definite space in your home for a gym, because there is no hiding one of these (they’re also typically too heavy and noisy for an apartment). That said, the NordicTrack 2450 is super sleek with a track you can raise to regain space. The companion iFit subscription offers hikes and runs throughout the world (its strength, cycling, and yoga workouts are similarly far-flung). You can even practice a favorite route using Google Maps for one of the most realistic hiking and running experiences, as the platform inclines and even declines accordingly — a rarity among other treadmills. Be sure to opt for white-glove delivery. SHOP NOW

Shop at SMRTFT

SMRTFT Nüobell 50 lb

My husband’s previous pair of adjustable dumbbells — which by definition are supposed to be space-saving — always appeared to be in a state of disrepair, an eyesore with too many parts for their own good. The Nüobell set, by comparison, keeps all of the weights contained in a single cradle that makes it ridiculously easy to use — you just click up to the weight you want, then lift. These dumbbells are easy on the eyes, and come with a companion app that offers basic classes and training. SHOP NOW

Shop at Bala

Bala Bangles

The creators of Bala Bangles believe the whole world is your gym — all you need is a pair of their 1- or 2-pound weights to wrap around your ankles or wrists, and every movement becomes an opportunity to strengthen. The idea is infectious: I briefly considered wearing them throughout the day, starting with making breakfast, but decided this was silly, so I’ve relegated their use to pilates, where they up the ante in a satisfying way. Departures’ visuals director Lisa Lok, meanwhile, wears her Balas on her ankles and wrists during runs, a hard-core move I aspire to. All of Bala’s gear comes in an assortment of millennial-approved colors, making this a beautiful alternative to most exercise accessories. SHOP NOW

Three more sleek pieces to optimize your smart gym

In terms of size and ease, I love the Hydrow Wave, a smart rower more compact than the Ergatta and more helpful in bringing novice rowers up to speed. To soundtrack your workouts, Powerbeats Pro offers terrific sound quality, a long battery life, and a snug fit. And while I fully recommend the mirror, industry experts speculate that Lululemon may stop selling the device or no longer require its purchase to access their 10,000-strong library of workouts and live classes.


$300 Equinox Credit

Get up to $300 back each year on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or. eligible Equinox club memberships when you use your Personal Platinum Card®. Terms apply. Learn more here.

Our Contributors

Nicole Davis Writer

Nicole Davis is the former editorial operations manager at Departures and has worked in editorial roles across a wide spectrum of media. Her taste for adventure trends toward the offbeat: She once retraced a 1903 road trip across America, recounted in the anthology “A Leaky Tent Is a Piece of Paradise.”

Ahonen & Lamberg Illustrator

Ahonen & Lamberg is a multidisciplinary design studio based in Paris. Founded in 2006 by Finnish designers Anna Ahonen and Katariina Lamberg, the studio concentrates on art direction, creative consultancy, and graphic design.

Departures and American Express do not provide, endorse, or guarantee any of the items, and the sale of such items is governed by the third-party seller’s policies, terms, and conditions.

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