I tried Peloton Guide, an AI-powered strength training

One night in late March, I was doing some squats in a 20-minute bodyweight strength class with Peloton instructor Callie Gullickson. But I wasn’t attending an in-person class, or streaming it live on my phone: I was watching myself move next to Gullickson in a side-by-side video on the same screen. You can also experience this when using the Peloton Guide, the latest product from a major fitness platform that hopes to change the way members strength train.

The Guide is basically not a traditional fitness device (like Peloton bikes and treadmills), but a smart camera that allows for more integrated, connected, and personalized strength training. First, this puts you on the screen with the trainer, who does two things for your workout: you can compare your moves to the trainer's (in real time), and you can track your moves (for questions). accountability and guidance) motivation purpose). Other features include "Body Activities," which lists the muscles you'll be working in a given workout, and "Exercise Details," which is a glossary that shows you each exercise you'll be doing in a workout, and Video demonstrations you can watch before class if a move is unfamiliar to you.

The overall goal is to make strength training more accessible to people of all fitness levels. During a visit to Peloton's headquarters in New York City, I was able to test out new products and meet with Peloton Director of Product Management Ben Schultz, who told me that the brand spent time visiting people's homes to see what their superior products were when they were researching them. See what works and what doesn’t work in their strength training. "We find that traditional strength products, like squat racks or weight plates, can be very intimidating to people, especially when they're first starting out," Schultz says. "You usually learn aerobics growing up—how ​​to walk, run, ride a bike. But that's not the case with burpees. A lot of times, strength training moves are a little foreign to people unless you did a specific program growing up. "

With this new AI-powered technology, Peloton Guide is committed to simplifying strength-based workouts so that everyone—from newbies to pros—can benefit from fundamental strength. Read on to learn everything you need to know about Peloton's new Guide device.

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How Peloton Guides Work

Guide to Power StarterPeloton

The Guide comes in two different bundles: Guide Strength Starter, which costs $295 and includes a camera, three sets of Peloton dumbbells, and a fitness mat; Power with Rogue sells for $935 to $1,270 and comes with a camera, six sets of Rogue dumbbells, a Peloton heart rate strap and a mat. You'll also need an All-Access subscription to access Peloton Guide content (there is no additional cost for existing All-Access members), which will cost $24 per month in 2022 and will adjust to $39 per month in the second year.

Of course, the key component of it all is the camera: This small but powerful device (for reference, it's smaller than your iPhone) has a wide angle, can intuitively sense where you are in front of the camera, and follow you around. You exercise. (By the way, Peloton has thought about privacy; the camera doesn't store data and has a built-in slider that can be overwritten when you're not using it.) If you're a tracker enthusiast, this guide is compatible with All Bluetooth based heart rate monitors.

The workouts themselves are just like the typical Peloton strength workouts you're probably already familiar with. This means you can choose your classes based on length, difficulty level, playlist, target body parts, and more, as well as the type of strength-based workout you want to do—taking into account bodyweight (read: no equipment) classes and class usage weights . Peloton is also launching new programs for Guide, including Floor Bootcamp, aka a floor-based version of the platform's popular interval-based bike and pedal training camps.

Optimize strength training


What’s truly unique about Guide is how it uses artificial intelligence (machine learning) to enhance your overall fitness routine. Peloton trainer Jess Sims puts it this way: “Guide removes the barrier to entry for beginners because it helps demystify strength training,” she told me via Zoom. Strength training is an essential element of your exercise routine recommended by fitness experts because it strengthens your body and allows you to have better mobility during and after your workout.

For example, Guide's physical activity tracker shows you which muscles you worked during a class, and even the percentage worked for each muscle. If you take advantage of this data, you can take an upper-body class the day after a heavy leg workout. "It just helps you make a more informed decision so you can get a more complete workout or a more targeted workout," Sims says. translate? If you follow the advice of this information and app, you will reduce muscle imbalances, thereby reducing overuse injuries. As someone who spends most of his time running rather than strengthening my core or upper body (and therefore dealing with tight legs and hip flexors), this appeals to me.

How does it feel to exercise with the Peloton Guide?

What it would be like to take a Peloton Guide class using stacked screens.

After chatting with Schultz, I sweated it out in the TV and guide set-up in the Peloton office. I selected a 20-minute workout from Gullickson with my remote, saw an index of the exercises I was about to do, and clicked start, whereupon I immediately saw myself and my trainer on the screen. Mind you, I—and most people today—have grown accustomed to seeing my reflection on a screen every day. While this has had a superficial effect on me (I now dye my roots more often every month and crave more regular Botox injections), I do find it really helpful to see myself while working out – which it doesn’t” My home gym is not an option.

"There's a reason gyms and exercise rooms have mirrors all over the walls," Schultz says. "If I tell you to straighten your back, you may not intuitively know which muscles to tighten or relax to achieve that goal." On the other hand, seeing yourself do it will make postural adjustments easier. Plus, you can adjust your position to look like your instructor's since you're both visible on the screen.

In that sense, I like to watch what it feels like for me to exercise. It's also nice that Guide offers different screen views, so you can have a side-by-side view, a stacked view, or even a self mode where the instructor is minimized and you can monitor a larger image of yourself. I find stacking the screens most useful as it keeps me and the instructor roughly the same size for easy form matching.

The tool also features exercise tracking and doubles as an accountability coach. This is basically a sweat drop-shaped icon in the corner of the screen that lights up when you work for a period of time. If you complete a rep, you'll hear a satisfying "ding" sound, which indicates you earned points for that move (your full performance points will be displayed at the end of the workout). However, if you give up halfway, the icon will not light up completely. Personally, when I work out, I compete with myself, so that motivates me to keep going—even when I'm sore from my third round of Superman.


After completing your workout you will see some statistics.

Overall, working out with the Guide feels like a regular Peloton strength workout, but with two notable differences: my reflection on the screen and the exercise tracker rewarding me for completed reps. If your home gym setup lacks mirrors, or you're new to strength training and could use the form-matching features you get from a monitor, the Guide can definitely upgrade your sweating routine.

However, these are the two most obvious features. Everything else the Guide brings to the table provides bigger picture enhancements to your personal fitness journey. The features—like exercise details, aka a video demonstration glossary, essentially an encyclopedia of strength training, and a physical activity tracker—are pretty comprehensive. But it's up to the user to make the most of all this information. If you're in pain or injured from your chosen workout, a physical activity tracker can tell you how to balance your muscles. Fitness newbies who've never done a Renegade Row in their lives can benefit from Peloton's videos that walk you through every exercise you'll do in a strength class.

If I didn't live in a New York City apartment and didn't have the 4.5 x 6 feet of accessible space required to use the Guide, I'd be all over it. After all, I am a wearables enthusiast and this takes tracking to a different level. As artificial intelligence continues to enhance the digital fitness world, this new innovation from Peloton is sure to help people exercise smarter — which is a really good thing considering how many people are now only exercising at home.