Tonal’s all-in-one home gym allows you to do hundreds of exercises and incorporate a variety of modalities, all with the flexibility of digital weight.
If you enjoy the variety of machines at the gym but are tired of its downsides—expensive membership fees, commuting time, long waits for popular equipment—you’ll love Tonal. This all-in-one home gym requires minimal wall space to be able to perform all the same exercises you could at the gym and so much more.
Instead of paying extra for a personal trainer at the gym or trying to squeeze into a spot in a crowded group fitness class, Tonal offers coach-led, strength-training workouts, plus additional training modalities such as cardio, Pilates, recovery, mobility, and yoga.
Best of all, you’ll never have to worry about wiping down sweaty equipment again. Here’s just some of the gym equipment that an all-in-one home gym like Tonal can replace:
1. Free Weight Racks
Strength training progress is made incrementally—you have to lift heavier to get stronger. That’s why those large racks that include dozens of dumbbells at the gym are so handy. Once you’re ready to increase, you simply grab the next set that’s five to 10 pounds heavier. Not only does that take up a ton of space at the gym, but the set you need is not always available or you might not be ready to make such a big weight jump. Tonal’s all-in-one home gym allows you to make progress gradually, increasing resistance by just one pound at a time, a feature that’s not possible when you only have a few pairs of dumbbells.
Tonal offers up to 200 pounds of resistance without taking up an entire room. And if you think that’s not enough weight for you, digital weight feels heavier than free weights according to an independent study, so the upper limit is actually a bit higher. Plus, the arms are adjustable, so you can position them for upper-body, core, and lower-body exercises that challenge your muscles from all angles.
Featured Move: Rotational Chop
Why it Works: When compared to free weights, Tonal really shines during rotational exercises. Moves such as the rotational chop work your core in a way free weights can’t. Josh Clay, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and Fitness Programming Specialist at Tonal, explains that if you tried this exercise with a dumbbell, the resistance wouldn’t be coming from the optimal direction, and you’d be fighting gravity, which puts more stress on the shoulder.
2. Squat Rack
Squats engage your glutes and quads, which are among the biggest and strongest muscles in the body. Therefore, you’ll probably find you’re able to squat a lot of weight, which means lifting heavy plates onto the barbell and then having to walk the barbell out of the rack to get into position to squat. With digital weight, there’s no need to pick up any plates; just tap a button to turn the weight on or off.
Featured Move: Barbell Front Squat
Why it works: Along with offering you a safe way to squat, Tonal can make your squats even more effective thanks to dynamic weight modes, which adjusts the amount of resistance within reps in a set or even during a single rep.
“Trainers have long known the benefits that adding elements like bands and chains can have on maximizing performance, but not everyone has the ability to do this—and even if they do, knowing how much resistance to add can be both confusing and intimidating,” says Clay. “Tonal’s Chains Mode [applies] just the right amount of resistance while replicating the exact type of resistance you would find by adding chains on a barbell.”
3. Smith Machine
A Smith machine is similar to a squat rack, but the barbell is fixed within steel rails that only allow for straight up-and-down movement. Some gym goers like the safety hooks along the side of the Smith machine that lock the bar in place if you’re struggling with your squat. Tonal’s Spotter Mode works similarly, automatically reducing the weight if it senses you’re starting to fail.
Featured Move: Barbell Front Racked Split Squat
Why it Works: When you’re squatting in a Smith machine, the barbell follows a fixed path so you don’t have the opportunity to develop balance, strength, and stability through three-dimensional movement. With Tonal, you challenge your balance and stabilizing muscles as well as your glutes and quads every time you squat, in any squat variation.
4. Bench Press
If you’re at the gym, you’ll likely notice that anyone lifting heavy on the bench press is working with a spotter. That’s because it’s potentially very dangerous to risk getting stuck underneath the bar or letting it slip from your hands. When you’re working out at home on your own, Tonal’s Spotter Mode ensures you can safely lift heavy. You’ll also find more ways to improve your bench press on Tonal with exclusive insight from the biggest data set on strength training in the world, and bench-specific content like the four-week Better Bench program.
Featured Move: Barbell Bench Press
Why it Works: The bench press is a classic example of an exercise that will get a big boost from Chains Mode. Tonal lets you experiment with this highly effective lifting technique without worrying about the bar crashing down on you.
5. Cable Machine
With traditional cable machines, you can perform many exercises that aren’t possible with dumbbells, but you’re still limited by the laws of gravity.
“One thing you can’t do on cable machines that Tonal can do is manipulate the resistance profile,” says Clay, meaning that the weight you lift in a cable machine exercise will stay the same throughout the move. On Tonal, you can experiment with Eccentric Mode, which increases the resistance as the cable returns to Tonal; or try Burnout Mode, which reduces the weight during a set if you’re struggling so you can effectively overload your muscles to stimulate strength gains.
Featured Move: Single-Arm Rotational Punch
Why it Works: For a move like this that’s all about developing rotational power, Chains Mode, which adds weight in the concentric phase of the exercise, can make a big difference. By overloading muscles in the concentric phase, you’re priming them to be able to produce more power. Rotational power is important for athletes like golfers, but is also a basic fitness skill that anyone can benefit from. “Power is the first quality to quickly degenerate as we age, and maintaining your ability to express power is critical to reducing your risk of injury as we age,” says Clay. Power training can improve athletic performance and even how we move through everyday life.
6. Lat Pull-down Machine
There’s no denying that the lat pull-down is an essential exercise for strengthening your back. But because the lat pull-down machine is so popular, you might have to wait a while to use it at the gym. It’s more efficient to do lat pull-downs at home on Tonal, where you can also easily transition to a lower-body or core move on the same all-in-one home gym—without anyone rushing you to move along.
Featured Move: Barbell Seated Lat Pull-down
Why it Works: On Tonal, you can perform lat pull-downs just like you would on a machine, using your back muscles in the same way. Plus, Tonal keeps track of the weight you lift for each rep, so you won’t have to remember the resistance you used next time you sit down to do a lat pulldown.
7. Chest Fly Machine
“The chest fly machine is great for building muscle, but it isn’t very versatile,” says Clay. “You can only move in a fixed plane of motion.” Because Tonal’s arms rotate and adjust to different heights and angles, you can target the chest muscles in additional positions (think: the incline and decline chest fly). As Clay says, “This allows you to train different regions of the chest so you can ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck when training.”
Featured Move: Incline Chest Fly
Why it Works: Because Tonal can sense your velocity and power as you lift, it’s able to calculate your unique “strength curve,” or points of difficulty for each specific movement. This calculation comes into action with Smart Flex Mode, in which Tonal adds more weight during the strongest part of each move and subtracts it at the weakest points. Clay says this feature is especially useful during a chest fly. “It manipulates the resistance profile so [you] aren’t getting stuck at the bottom where the weight is the heaviest, ensuring reps are as smooth as they are effective,” he says.
8. Chest Press Machine
While you can easily replicate a chest press on Tonal, the real perks of taking your chest press out of the gym and onto Tonal are the coach-led workouts that show you how to make the most of your chest exercises. Try Dynamic Chest + Back with Tony Horton for a master class in upper-body strength or get a full chest workout in under 15 minutes with Quick Fit: Chest Superset.
Featured Move: Standing Chest Press
Why it Works: With a standing chest press on Tonal, you won’t have a bench behind your back so you’ll be forced to stabilize and activate muscles in the anterior (front) chain of your body as well as your lower body. Tonal’s smart handles also allow you to better engage your scapular muscles by allowing for individual nuances in your movement pattern. This better prepares you for situations in life or sports when you’ll need to use your strength through this pushing motion. On Tonal, you can also work your chest muscles from different angles with just one space-saving machine.
9. Overhead Press Machine
Because the overhead press machine serves a single purpose, it’s not going to help when you want to alternate this move with another exercise like a bent-over row. You might have to walk across the gym to find the equipment you need for the next exercise in your set, but with Tonal you can seamlessly move from one exercise to the next—without worrying about someone taking your spot at the machine. You can also use Tonal’s metrics to see how you’re getting stronger and generating more power as you progress, and you’ll appreciate Spotter Mode when you’re lifting very heavy weights above your head.
Featured Move: Barbell Seated Overhead Press
Why it Works: Without the overhead press machine controlling the range of motion in this exercise, you’ll work more of those small, stabilizing core muscles while building strong shoulders at the same time.
10. Seated Dip Machine
Although dips are very effective for building strength in the triceps, they aren’t always easy for beginners to perform. The seated dip machine is very unforgiving on the shoulders and actually isn’t built to accommodate all body shapes. “Many do not have the prerequisite mobility to perform this exercise without dumping forward at the shoulders or noting extreme discomfort,” says Clay. On Tonal, you can find a more comfortable position to work your triceps.
Featured Move: Triceps Extension
Why it Works: Compared to tricep dips, the tricep extension is a much more approachable exercise that you can do even if you have mobility limitations. Plus, with triceps extensions on Tonal, you can find the perfect position to allow you to do the move comfortably. It’s just one of the moves on Tonal that will strengthen your triceps no matter your experience level.
11. Curl Bench
The curl bench is used for preacher curls, a specific exercise that isolates the biceps and works the muscles in the shortened position. But you don’t need a particular piece of equipment to work just one muscle group. With Tonal’s all-in-one home gym, you can work your biceps in several different exercises and challenge the rest of your muscles, too.
Featured Move: Lying Face Curl
Why it Works: Like the preacher curl, this exercise targets the short head of the biceps muscles, according to Clay. Lying down isolates the muscles and eliminates momentum and any assistance from other parts of the body that can help you out in a standing biceps curl. And with Tonal’s Form Feedback, you can keep your form as precise as you could with the bolster on a curl bench locking your arms in place. It’s just one of eight biceps curl variations you can do on Tonal (not counting many additional compound moves that also target the biceps).
Why Tonal Is the Best All-In-One Home Gym
Compact and streamlined, Tonal is an all-in-one home gym that can fit into even the smallest of spaces. Besides replacing all the machines and equipment above (and many more, too), Tonal acts as a personal trainer, learning more about you as you lift and adjusting the weight for each exercise for optimal results. Tonal also tracks all of your metrics for you, so you can easily view your progress and see how you’re getting stronger.