Tonal Home Gym | Tonal review

If you followed Shalane Flanagan’s journey after retirement to run all six World Marathon Majors in 42 days after reconstruction surgery on both knees, you may have seen her on Instagram pull, calm, twist and hip hinged to strength using a high-tech , flat screen TV-like device in her mini-gym for the home. This device is Tonal, a new digital weight training system she calls a “game changer !!”

Recently, Flanagan was joined by the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials Champion and 10x USA Champion Aliphine Tuliamuk, who started using Tonal after the birth of her baby Zoe, for elite level training without leaving her living room. She is using it now as she retrains after the hip injury that resulted in a DNF at the Tokyo Olympics and a DNS from this year’s New York City Marathon.

“I use Tonal for core and upper body training. I love that there are so many different options for exercises. I can go in and do a 20-minute routine while the baby sleeps and gets a really good workout! ” Tuliamuk told Runner’s World. “The coolest thing is that after you do the initial strength test, it automatically adjusts the weight you need and automatically adjusts the weight for each exercise without you having to think about it. It also shows you how to do each exercise so you can turn off your brain and just do the work. I can see that I am getting stronger in real time. It’s the best gym you could ever have in your home. ”

I could not agree more. I have been a certified trainer since the 90s and although I absolutely love the results of strength training, I have always struggled to be consistent with it because I would much rather run or cycle.

I have some equipment at home, but not the weights and plates I need for heavy deadlifts, squats and the wide range of exercises I prefer. To be honest, I also lack the spark to get myself to do hard weight training at home on my own. I have joined gyms over the years, but at best it has always been hit or missed – it’s another thing to plan, it takes time to get there and set up and break down, and it’s easy to find excuses for To skip. So I’ve blown my share of training fees over the years. The result: My resistance training slips, and so does my strength and stability when running on the trails, especially as I get older.

Like Tuliamuk, I am unashamedly in love with Tonal home gymnastics. As a freelancer with Zoom chat and phone calls at all times, I love that I can end a meeting at. 14.30, hold a new at. 15.00 and get into an intelligently programmed, muscle-shaking, 100-percent trainer-controlled effective training of 20 minutes in between. The programming hits every single muscle, including the ones I might just want to shoot over if I leave it to myself – I look at you, chest and triceps! The almost two months since I got it have been without a doubt the most consistent (and happy) I have ever been to strength training. It’s a fun break in my day that has the benefit of making me stronger.

The strength shows itself in abundance on the trails. I run higher as the container with core muscles enclosing my torso is stronger and more stable. It’s easier to lift my feet and dance through rock gardens – even an hour inside the run – without the hops and tripping that sometimes happens when my hips and legs get tired.

In the market for a gym for the home? Here’s everything you need to know about Tonal to help you decide if it’s right for you.

Why should you trust this review?
I have been a certified personal trainer since 1996 and a competitive endurance athlete for 30 years with coaching and training certifications from USA Cycling, the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and Precision Nutrition. I have authored, co-authored and / or contributed to more than a dozen books on training, and I have made it my life’s work to keep up to date with strength training trends and science, to personally try every single modality I cover. I used Tonal at least three days a week for the nearly two months I’ve been testing it, and plan to increase this use up to four to five days a week as winter moves into the Mid-Atlantic region where I live because I think it is so effective and enjoy it so much. I have had periods of my life where I have forced myself to strength train with that level of consistency. This is the first time I can say that I really enjoy it.


Tonal Home Gym


$ 2,745.00

  • You have an entire weight stand worth the value of equipment on your wall
  • The resistance is adjusted automatically
  • Can be considered expensive
  • Accessory package sold separately

Takeaway: Tonal is a complete gym for the home, personal trainer and a variety of workouts you can hang on a wall.

  • Who should buy this: People who want a comprehensive, time-efficient and effective way to train without leaving the house and / or hiring a coach.
  • What we love: That Tonal provides personal programming and automatically adjusts and adjusts the weight in intervals of 1 pound.
  • What we do not love: It is not suitable for performing Olympic-style lifts, such as clean and jerky exercises and / or complex kettlebell-style exercises.
  • Price: $ 2,995 + $ 49 / month membership fee ($ 495 accessory fee + $ 250 delivery and installation fee)

    What exactly is Tonal?

    Tonal is a wall-mounted device – like a vertical flat screen TV – with adjustable electromagnetic arms with built-in cables attached to handles (or a barbell or rope) that provide resistance to strength training.

    When you turn it on, you are greeted with a variety of on-demand workouts and Peloton-style Tonal Live teams. There are hundreds of options available, including non-resistance training and sessions such as yoga, kickboxing, Barre, Pilates, recovery, HIIT, bootcamp and guided meditation.

    To begin with, Tonal guides you through a series of movements that act as a strength assessment. It then automatically sets the resistance for your upcoming workouts. As you perform the movements, it adjusts in real time at 1-pound intervals to work towards the exact amount of resistance you need to gain strength.

    You choose programs based on your goals (or you can always make your own). Once you have selected a workout, a trainer will appear on the screen and guide you through the routine, which includes the warm-up, the setup, your form, your sets and reps, and the cooling down. When you review your routine, it provides real-time guidance on your form and technique so you get the right range of motion, positioning, and pace.

    Tonal keeps track of sets and reps and completed sessions. So every time you turn it on, the resistance is set automatically and adjusted as you go, so you can track your progress in real time.

    How does Tonal work?

    Tonal uses an electromagnetic resistance motor to generate the opposite force you experience as “weight”. It can deliver up to 200 pounds of digital weight, which feels significantly heavier than traditional free weights because the resistance is constant and you do not get the benefit of momentum as you do with free weights.

    The resistance is also dynamic, so it can change from rope to rope or even within a single rope to ensure you use enough force in the movement to be challenging for your muscles. It does all this through a complex system of cable sensors that can tell the force you are driving at each part of the movement and adjust accordingly.

    These cable sensors also allow the machine to provide shape feedback to ensure that you perform the exercises correctly. The exact cable length data is tracked 60 times per second, and Tonal integrates this real-time feedback with a database of nearly one billion repetitions and more than 100 million sets of exercises. If you are out of position or out of pace, the machine sends out a prompt that tells you how to correct your shape when it is wrong or starting to break.

    The system also offers more advanced dynamic weight modes — Smart Flex adds weight during a rep at the point where you are strongest; Spotter Mode bumps the weight down if you are stuck while trying to lift heavy; Eccentric increases your time under tension; and Chains Mode makes the weight heavier at the top of your range of motion.

    What does Tonal not do?

    You can not imitate complex kettlebell exercises and throwing actions like a medicine ball slamming on Tonal. If you’re into CrossFit and / or Olympic-style lifts like clean and jerks, Tonal is not replacing your gym – yet.

    “With an explosive motion, most of the power is generated in the initial phase, and you run on momentum and catch [the weight], ”Said Matt Bean, Tonal’s senior vice president of research and programming Runner’s World. “We can model it: we have sophisticated devices to describe that motion with physics and tell the machine how to mimic it. We get there. But it’s pretty complicated, and we want it right.”

    How much does Tonal cost?

    All this technology has a price. The machine itself sells for $ 2,995, and you have to pay $ 495 extra for the accessory package, which includes smart handles and a smart bar that allows you to turn the weight on and off at the touch of a button, as well as a rope attachment and bench, mat and foam roller. Delivery and assembly costs $ 250 extra.

    Once set up, there is a membership fee of $ 49 per person. month, which includes access to the full library of on-demand training programs and live classes. You can create an unlimited number of user profiles per. household under one membership fee, which is nice if you have several people in your family who want to use it as well. There are financing options that make the initial investment easier to swallow, but there is no denying that it is a significant initial investment.

    So is Tonal worth it?

    If Tonal was used consistently to its full capacity, Tonal would pay for itself over time, considering the cost of gym membership, various strength and complementary classes, and personal training. Based on what I have previously paid for training and tuition fees, Tonal would pay itself in 22 months and save me about $ 150 a month after that. Tonal also buys you a complete gym for you, which you do not have to clear a room for. If you want a comprehensive, effective way to train in a compact package, Tonal is an excellent option.

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