Tone review: a home gym for people who want to get ripped apart

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The majority of Smart home fitness products are all about cardio workouts instead of lifting weights. Ride a bike, do burpees, board for five. Some systems include light dumbbells or kettlebells, but even when they are part of the set, they are used in interval workouts designed to tone and lose weight. They are not helpful in achieving the goals of a structured weightlifting regimen: to add bulk and build up a good amount of strength. Until now, if you wanted a good home weight training experience, your only option was to pile up a stack of weights in your garage and growl in your self-imposed dungeon like an extra in Orange is the new black.

Tonal addresses that home fitness hole with its easy to use system. Similar to home fitness competitors like Mirror, Tonal is a large rectangular wall unit that displays interactive workout programming on a large screen. The only major difference with Tonal is the pair of adjustable arms that extend from the system. Each arm houses a cable that provides an adjustable amount of resistance of up to 100 pounds per arm. Snap on some of the included accessories, and you can perform a wide range of strength-building movements, from bench presses and squats to bicep curls and rope extensions.

The pre-programmed workouts that appear on the screen are delivered by knowledgeable and supportive coaches. The music selection is also very good. If you have the cheddar for one (the Tonal unit costs around $ 3,000, plus a monthly subscription), you will find that this is one of the most complete strength building systems on the market. increasingly crowded with “smart gyms”.

To take off

You’re probably familiar with all the noises and clicks a traditional resistance machine makes when the weight plates collide at the end of each rep. The Tonal emits more of a subtle hum; the system uses electromagnetic force instead of weight to add resistance to cables. Cables extend from the arms and attach to a variety of handles to mimic most of the free weight and cable movements you’ll find on your standard Planet Fitness. Tonal comes with a bar, a drop string and a set of handles. The bar and handles are equipped with Bluetooth compatible buttons that allow you to turn the resistance on and off. This is a great feature that allows you to keep the weight disengaged while you get into position and then turn it back on when you’re ready to lift.

Photography: Tonal

Workouts appear on a high-definition touchscreen that’s bright, clear, and extremely responsive to taps and swipes. Workouts come with a wide range of great music for you to select from. (I recommend the 90s hip hop station.)

The setup routine is straightforward. After entering your vital signs (age, height, weight, goals), Tonal guides you through your first workout. The instructor walks you through a warm-up, then a series of movements designed to teach you how to use the machine. After that, there is the Appropriate Strength Assessment, in which you perform a series of movements that Tonal’s software uses to determine your strength levels. For all of your workouts after the assessment, the software automatically adjusts your weight for each movement, constantly adjusting the resistance as you get stronger. You also have the option of adjusting the weight manually if you’re feeling particularly bestial on a given day.

Muscle memory

Tonal offers hundreds of workouts, from traditional strength training and high-intensity interval training to yoga, Pilates, barre and meditation. You can even call up kickboxing and cardio dance classes, as well as more specific workout routines like prenatal and postnatal workouts, triathlon workouts, and family workouts. There is recovery, mobility and Theragun walkthroughs to help relieve those muscle soreness after training. Tonal can also track your heart rate if you wear a Apple Watch or a Bluetooth compatible tracker.

There is also a free lift option, where you can just pick each move as you go. You can even create your own custom schedule through the Tonal app. If you are working with a partner, you can do in-person workouts; the system will automatically adjust the weights for you and your partner and keep track of your two reps as you trade laps.

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