The 7 best yoga mats of 2021, including sweat-resistant, eco-friendly, and travel options

  • Yoga is one of the best ways to improve flexibility, center your mind, and achieve a sense of relaxation and calm. 
  • A solid yoga session starts with the quality of the mat under your feet. 
  • The best yoga mats offer grip, sweat-resistance, and cushion under your joints. 
  • Our top pick, the Manduka ProLite Yoga Mat, is sweat-resistant and textured to keep from slipping.

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Whether you’re brand new to the ancient practice of yoga and looking into your first ever mat, or you’re a seasoned yogi on the hunt to replace your worn-out asana surface, a new yoga mat is one of those purchases that seems simple, yet quality and details can make all the difference.

If you’ve ever practiced yoga, you know that not all yoga mats are created equally. Each style and material caters to a different set of needs, goals, and specific types of yoga. Those who favor heart-pumping flow classes, or who work up a sweat easily, will enjoy their practice a lot more if their mat has special sweat absorbing properties, for example. Meanwhile, those who travel often will benefit from an easily packable, lightweight mat for maintaining a daily practice on the road. Subtle design changes between mats can even help or hurt your unique movement patterns and may cause unusual aches or pains in any pose.

Read more: The best yoga accessories to elevate your home practice in 2021, according to yoga instructors

You probably never knew there was so much to consider. To help make your purchasing decision easier, we sweat-tested a number of the top yoga mats on the market and compiled this guide to find the best mat depending on your priorities, from perfect pose alignment to eco-friendly materials. Read more about how we tested, as well as what you should look for when shopping for a yoga mat, at the end of this guide.

Here are the best yoga mats:

Best yoga mat overall

manduka mat

The Manduka ProLite Yoga Mat provides just the right amount of padding without being too thick and clunky, and the price stays low even with its sustainable materials and no-slip grip.

Pros: Ideal padding cushion your body,  no-slip grip texture, eco-friendly materials, lifetime guarantee, multiple length options

Cons: Expensive

We love this mat’s thicker sister, the Manduka Pro’s 6mm, but it can be a bit bulky and hard to roll-up. The Manduka ProLite Yoga Mat is a perfectly padded mat to keep your hands, knees, and feet cushioned against any hard floor and support your back as you relax into savasana without being too thick a roll under your arm.

It’s a bit pricy, but the Manduka ProLite mat doesn’t deteriorate over time like others, and if it does flake, peel or fade, the brand offers a lifetime guarantee on their mats.

What’s more, my 13 years of practicing yoga have taught me the importance of a mat that doesn’t just absorb sweat. The Manduka ProLite‘s closed-cell surface repels moisture which keeps it more sanitary and makes it easier to clean and treat. But at the same time, you want a non-slip surface and Manduka’s “proprietary dot patterned bottom” prevents the mat from sliding across the floor, no matter how hot your yoga room gets.

Manduka makes the ProLite mat in two lengths so that more height-gifted yogis can stretch out without fear. Plus, the mat is completely non-toxic, 100 percent latex-free, and even promises a clean manufacturing process.

Best affordable yoga mat

Gaiam yoga mat

The Gaiam Print Premium Yoga Mat is highly affordable and features a ton of fun design options to bring a smile to your face while you practice.

Pros: Affordabile, fun designs, trusted brand, widely available in-store

Cons: Less durable, will degrade over time

The Gaiam name is respected and trusted in the yoga community. Made from PVC material (free of the six specific kinds that have been linked to health risks), the Gaiam Print Premium Yoga Mats has great cushioning under-hand yet is still lightweight and portable. This mat comes in a variety of fun colors and prints which can definitely make your practice more enjoyable.

The main benefit of this mat is the price point makes it very affordable compared to some of the other top-ranked yoga mats out there.

One downside: This mat won’t last forever. In addition to your basic yoga mat wear and tear, both the material and the printed design are susceptible to sun damage. 

The Gaiam Print Premium Mat’s non-slip surface works well for most casual users but if you sweat a lot during your practice, you may need more traction and a grippier surface than this mat offers. As an introduction to your yoga practice without a hefty investment, or even as a backup choice for when your heavy-duty mat is drying, the Gaiam Print Premium is a solid option. 

Best travel yoga mat

Manduka eKOSuperliteMidnight 01

Manduka’s Eko SuperLite Travel Yoga Mat is slim and lightweight enough to bring with you no matter how far you roam without compromising grippiness.

Pros: Lightweight, thin enough of fold, great grip, durable material

Cons: Thin 

Lightweight travel mats let you keep up with your practice on the road without borrowing a questionable yoga mat from your hotel.  The Manduka Eko SuperLite Travel Mat is the lighter, thinner version of Manduka’s top-ranked Eko option.

It’s made of a woven scrim material that won’t tear or stretch either with use or in your suitcase. It’s thin enough to be foldable, so you can tuck the mat away into your backpack or your carry-on without added weight or bulk. It also features a sweat-resistant closed-cell design so your mat will stay drier and cleaner for longer, and has Manduka’s trademark grippiness which you often lose in travel mats.

The Manduka Eko SuperLite is also made from natural rubber that is specifically not harvested in the Amazon. And it’s more affordable than other travel mats, which is ideal considering this option is too thin and flexible to be your every day mat.

Best eco-friendly yoga mat

Prana

The prAna E.C.O. Yoga Mat is made from 100% thermoplastic elastomer, which means it’s non-toxic, sustainably made, and completely recyclable.

Pros: Environmentally friendly, non-toxic materials, recyclable

Cons: May not be grippy enough for some

This mat is made from 100% thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), so all the environmental costs of manufacturing synthetic rubbers and plastics are eliminated from the prAna E.C.O. Mat equation. Once you’re ready to trade your mat for a new one, the material of this is completely recyclable so it won’t clog up a landfill somewhere.

TPE is also UV resistant, so your E.C.O. Mat won’t fade or deteriorate with sun exposure. It’s completely latex-free, chloride-free, and PVC-free. The best benefit of TPE is that it’s extremely lightweight: a 72-by-24-inch mat with a thickness of 5mm still weighs in at only 2.2 pounds.

On the yoga benefits side, the E.C.O. yoga mat is known to be super sticky so your hands and feet won’t slide, but the TPE material may not be the most cushioning option for those looking to protect their knees and backs from the hard pressure of the floor. The mat is double-sided, though, so you can rotate front-to-back and top-to-bottom to get a seriously long-term, even wear on your mat even with heavy use.

Even if you’re just looking for a lighter mat or an eco-friendly option to shake things up, the prAna E.C.O. Mat is a low-cost way to try something new.

Best yoga mat for sweaty yogis

jade yoga mat3

Whether you’re a yogi who sweats a lot during workouts, or you enjoy the sweat-inducing practice of Bikram, the JadeYoga Harmony Mat is what you need to avoid slipping and sliding. 

Pros: Non-slip surface, plenty of cushioning, multiple length options, multiple color options

Cons: Some may find the cushioning too much for their preference, expensive

If your yoga practice works up enough of a sweat that most mats become dangerously slippery, JadeYoga’s Harmony Mat will keep you safe. Made from natural rubber with tiny dots instead of a smooth, sleek surface, the Harmony Mat’s design provides great traction and minimizes slipping. The texture is small enough it goes unnoticed by your hands and knees, even after a 60-minute session. 

The mat is incredibly comfortable, too. Featuring thick enough cushioning to protect your knees and back from getting dinged while practicing, it’s not too thick to hinder movement. 

JadeYoga offers the Harmony Mat in two different sizes, as well as a dozen different colors and prints. It is on the spendy side at $85 for the longest option, but for sweaty yogis, that’s often cheaper (and way more convenient) than purchasing a mat plus absorbant towel.

Read our review of the JadeYoga Harmony Mat.

Best washable yoga mat

YogiBare1

The Yogi Bare Teddy is machine washable without sacrificing quality or durability over time and use.

Pros: Machine-washable, grippy microfiber top, natural rubber bottom stays in place, comes in a variety of fun patterns

Cons: Requires a washing machine, not very padded

Though most mats are easily cleaned with a simple spray and wipe down, if you use it outside or tend to heavily sweat while you practice, it’s convenient to have a mat that can be thrown in the washing machine. The Teddy from Yogi Bare is machine washable. I was surprised to find during testing that the washer didn’t compromise its integrity; its natural rubber base and microfiber top stayed as intact as when I first bought it, even after multiple washes.

Even if the Teddy wasn’t machine-washable, it’d still be a great yoga mat. Its microfiber surface is grippy, especially after I’d been sweating a bit on it, and it’s just padded enough that it provides a soft landing whenever my feet (or wayward knees and elbows) hit the ground. It comes in fun patterns and cololrways.

Cheaper than many other mats on this list, its is well worth the investment considering how easy it is to keep clean. — Rick Stella 

Best yoga mat for alignment work

liforme yoga mat

The Liforme Mat has a printed alignment system on the surface that will help you find your symmetry, balance, and proper footing in any pose.

Pros: Eco-friendly, extremely sticky, doesn’t wear over time, alignment lines

Cons: One-size-fits-all alignment doesn’t fit all bodies, very expensive

No matter what kind of yoga you practice, proper alignment is an important part of learning the poses and transitions. The first thing you’ll notice about the Liforme mat is that discreet lines, shapes, and markers are etched into its surface to help you place your limbs accurately and mindfully as you move through your practice. Liforme’s mat is also slightly longer and wider than most traditional yoga mats, so you’ll never feel cramped or confined.

The Liforme mat’s also has an incredibly grippy surface thanks to their proprietary blend of natural rubber and sustainably-sourced felt to cushion your knees, hips, and hands. The mix also keeps you from slipping and sliding when the sweating starts.

Continuing the eco-friendly trend, each layer of the PVC-free mat is heat-bonded to avoid toxic glues and adhesives, and even the alignment marking system is etched into the surface to avoid synthetic dyes.

If you’re not the most flexible of yogis or if you’re on the shorter side, you may have trouble hitting the alignments recommended by that pattern on the mat, but if your limbs happen to line up with the printed system and you’re looking to go deeper into perfect alignment, the Liforme mat is the one for you.

What else we tested

YoGo Travel Yoga Mat: This mat is lightweight and rolls up really small, making it ideal for packing in a suitcase. It uniquely comes with durable buckles and handles which makes for easy carrying. However, it got beat out by the Manduka Eko SuperLite for Best Travel Mat since they are both the same thickness and made from sustainable rubber, but the Manduka is $20 cheaper.

Manduka Pro’s 6mm: This mat is thicker (6mm) and longer (up to 85 inches) than most mats, making it great for anyone with joint aches and pains. If you don’t need extra padding, this creates unnecessary bulk, so we left it off our main list. But if you need a bigger or more cushioned mat, this is also backed by Manduka’s lifetime garuntee.

How to shop for a yoga mat

There are a number of factors to consider when shopping for a yoga mat that best serves your needs. Size and portability are important to many yogis, mainly because you’ll often tote your mat along with you — unless you do your practice in the comfort of your own home. Some mats are longer than others, so keep that in mind, especially if you’re taller. 

While certain people like sticky mats that help their feet from sliding around, others find them annoying, providing too much hold when they want the freedom of movement. The same goes for a mat’s relative thickness or thinness. Most yoga mats are relatively slim but others are thick for extra protection and cushion for your joints. 

Consider the durability and the types of materials used, too. You want a mat that’s going to last, isn’t made with harsh or harmful chemicals, and is easy to wipe clean after a sweaty session of hot yoga.

How we tested

Each yoga mat featured in this guide went through a series of on the mat tests to see how well they stacked up across these four categories: Performance, durability, ease of cleaning, and value. Specifically, here’s how each category contributed to which yoga mats ultimately made the cut:

  • Performance: How a yoga mat performs encompasses a variety of uses. This could mean how grippy it is for helping you hold poses or reliably move a hand or foot even if you’re a little sweaty, or it could be how comfortable or padded the mat is. In categories such as the best lightweight yoga mat or the best yoga mat for sweaty yogis, we looked at those features specifically (instead of docking points for a lack of padding or too much grip) when choosing what to feature. 
  • Durability: It may not seem like it but yoga mats can take a beating, especially if you use it often. Be it puddles of sweat or the constant barrage of knees, elbows, heels, and shoulders, a yoga mat is under constant pressure. Because of this, you ideally want one built to stand up to this kind of abuse and that’s designed to last for several sessions.
  • Ease of cleaning: Sweat is nearly inevitable when you practice yoga — even during a particularly mellow session. It’s recommended that you clean your yoga mat after every use (especially for anyone who sweats heavily) and a mat that’s easy to clean is a necessity. 
  • Value: Value is the combination of every category we judged the yoga mats on plus it’s actual price point. We like to think that it’s better to invest more in a quality mat that lasts than to spend the money on several cheap mats in the same amount of time. When choosing our budget pick, we also wanted to make sure it wasn’t some shoddy mat but something that delivers premium quality at a more wallet-friendly price. 

Other yoga coverage from Insider Reviews

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The best yoga accessories to elevate your home practice in 2021, according to yoga instructors

Using accessories like yoga straps, blocks, bolsters, and towels can help ensure proper alignment and deepen your practice.

The best yoga blocks

Yoga blocks are an important tool for yogis at any level. Whether you’re looking to deepen your flexibility, venturing into new pose territory, or just trying to go easy on your joints and muscles, yoga blocks are key.

The best yoga socks

Built for form and function, yoga socks provide extra stability in your yoga poses, which is especially helpful when you start to sweat during hot yoga. 

The best workout clothes for women

With moisture-wicking fabric, cleverly-placed mesh panels, and thoughtful cut-outs, much of today’s athletic clothing is truly meant for athletic pursuits. It’s a far cry from our days of grabbing the oldest shirt in our closet, cutting off the sleeves, and calling it a top.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 6 best Pilates bars of 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • A Pilates bar challenges and tones the body in dynamic ways, and especially helps strengthen the core. 
  • Our top choice is the Gaiam Restore Pilates Bar for its quality and functionality.
  • We’ve also included options for beginners, those on the go, and more.
  • Read more: The best yoga mats

Pilates was first developed in the 1920s as a low-impact form of exercise specifically designed to strengthen the core, as well as other muscles in the body, and promote postural alignment. As a Pilates instructor, it’s my job to challenge clients in each and every session. Adding equipment to the workout is one way to ramp up the intensity and add new and creative movements. Pilates bars are great tools that can further target the core and work the body in dynamic ways. Lightweight, portable, and with bands for added resistance, the bars will add a strengthening element to your Pilates workout that can help better define your muscles.

Here are the best Pilates bars

Best overall

gaiam pilates bar
Disassembles for easy storage.

The Gaiam Restore Pilates Bar is a high-quality piece of equipment to practice reformer-style movements. 

What we like: Quality, ease of set up, digital workouts included 

This polished and robust Pilates bar has been thoughtfully designed to help you build a strong core, while also increasing flexibility and improving balance. It features two, 30-inch Power Cords and attached foot straps, plus downloadable exercise workouts that guide you through essential Pilates bar movements with proper technique and form. The intensity can be increased simply by rolling the bands around the bar to generate greater resistance. Weighing just two pounds, this lightweight bar is designed for you to flow between reformer-style exercises with grace and ease.

Best on a budget

BQYPOWER pilates bar kit
The eight-character tensioner helps tone the body from all angles.

The BQYPOWER Pilates Bar Kit is an affordable option that doesn’t sacrifice quality.

What we like: Price, multi-use, straps hold their stretch 

For those on a budget, the BQYPOWER Pilates Bar Kit delivers on all fronts without neglecting quality. The strong steel bar is protected with sweat-absorbing foam pads for comfort as you maintain optimum postural alignment, and the straps are made with TPR (thermoplastic rubber) elastic tubes which help them keep their stretch, even after continued use. As a bonus, the kit includes an eight-character tensioner, useful for both strengthening and stretching purposes.

Best for beginners

Viajero Pilates Bar Kit
Easy to increase or decrease resistance.

The Viajero bar is flexible in resistance and comes with a guided e-book for beginners to learn proper technique. 

What we like: Durable, portable, exercise guide included

For beginners, the Viajero bar is an effective addition for your workouts. You can adjust the resistance by simply rolling the tubes around the bar, which is useful for alternating between strength exercises. The bar splits into three sections for easy transport and has two attachable natural latex resistance bands (up to 50 lbs) that can stretch six to 10 times in length without losing resilience. The bar also comes with a handy workout e-book and video to teach you proper form and movement patterns.

Best for strength training

cretee pilates bar
Build muscle with just one piece of equipment.

Adjustable between 60-180 pounds, the Cretee Pilates Bar is best for those who want to build strength.

What we like: Multi-functional, height adaptable, up to 180 pounds of resistance

The Cretee Pilates Bar comes with six bands, varying in resistance from 60 to 180 pounds, with the strap length adjustable depending on your height and the exercise. The bands are made from durable natural latex and can withstand daily exercise sessions without losing elasticity. As a multi-functional bar, the resistance can be reduced for Pilates and more stabilizing-focussed workouts, or increased to challenge the muscles in a strength-training session. 

Best portable

NoviFit Pilates Bar
This band comes with a cooling towel and a storage bag.

The NoviFit Pilates Bar is the best portable option for those working out on the go.

What we like: Adjustable, comes with a carry bag and training guide

The anti-slip NoviFit Pilates Bar has adjustable bands to change both height and resistance, making it suitable for all heights and fitness levels. It also features widening, non-slip foot belts and thick resistance bands for lasting durability. The bar folds up to a compact 19 inches and comes with a cooling towel and waterproof storage bag for workouts on the go. As a bonus, the included workout guide offers a selection of exercises for the entire body. 

Best for added value

CHAMPYA pilates bar
A guided app is included.

With additional straps and a follow-along workout app, the CHAMPYA Pilates Bar offers nice extras.

What we like: Adjustable, sturdy nylon handles, fitness app included

The bar is made from durable materials, including a three-part stick made from sturdy steel, a thick foam exterior, and tough nylon handles to withstand up to 40 pounds of resistance. The adjustable knobs allow you to change the height as desired, and there are two additional foot straps that can be connected for workout variation. Included is access to the Champya App, with a follow-along guide teaching you how to properly stretch, strengthen, and sculpt. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

What happens to your body during an ultramarathon

  • Ultramarathons are races ranging from 50 to 4,345 km in distance. Your body can go through a lot of stress during these grueling tests of human endurance.
  • During races, nausea and vomiting are the most common problems for runners. Some runners may get blurry vision.
  • Sleepiness and hallucinations are problems in longer races lasting more than 24 hours.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: In 2018, more than 108-thousand people finished ultramarathons in the US alone. An ultramarathon is any race longer than 42 kilometers. Races can range anywhere from 50 to over 4,000 kilometers. But one of the more common lengths covers about 100 kilometers and takes, on average, 17 hours to finish.

In some of the longer races, half of the runners never see the finish line. Because these races not only push you to your mental limit they take a toll on your body both inside and out.

Ultra runners endure pretty extreme conditions. The Badwater Ultramarathon, for example, covers over 4,000 meters of elevation through Death Valley, in July, one of the hottest months of the year. Temperatures reach up to 47 degrees Celsius, causing headaches and dizziness in many runners.

But even if you’re running in more comfortable weather, you could be feeling sick to your stomach. One of the most common issues in any ultramarathon is nausea and/or vomiting. It affects about 37% of people who complete a race, but it’s also the number one reason runners won’t finish in the first place. 

That’s because running disrupts your digestion.  It diverts blood away from your stomach to your muscles. And since ultramarathons last so long, many races provide sandwiches, pasta, and other carb-loaded meals. As a result, that food will sit around undigested, causing problems. But if your stomach isn’t slowing you down, your eyes could be causing you grief.

Windy conditions can dry out or damage the cells that pump a protective liquid layer over your cornea, which can cause your cornea to swell up and blur your vision. During the Hellgate 100K for example, runners report losing most of their vision by the end. They call it “Hellgate Eyes.”

But no amount of protection or preparation can prevent one symptom: Sleepiness. For a 17-hour race, it might not be so bad. But longer races can stretch to more than 24 hours, which can make sleepy runners more prone to trips and falls or worse, hallucinations.

The Barkley Marathons, for example, is a race where runners are given 60 hours to finish 161 km. In 2005, one runner reported that he thought he saw houses at the top of the mountain and believed he was their garbageman sent to pick up the trash.

Despite all these health hazards, ultrarunning is a growing sport. One study found that compared to marathoners, ultrarunners are more likely to do it for nature and a sense of purpose than for the competitive aspect. So if you’re up for the challenge, plenty of races are on trails through natural areas, so at least you’ll get a great view!

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in March 2019.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Peloton drops 7% after the cycle-maker said it’s struggling to keep up with surging demand for its flagship fitness products

Peloton
  • Peloton’s shares dropped 7% at the market open on Friday after the release of its second-quarter earnings.
  • The cycle-maker said it would invest $100 million to accelerate the speed of product deliveries worldwide.
  • Wedbush maintained its outperform rating on Peloton as analysts expect the at-home fitness trend to last.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Peloton fell 7% on Friday after the company said it continued to struggle with delivering its bike and treadmill products on time.

The company reported its first ever billion-dollar quarter on Thursday, helped by a boom in demand for fitness products during the holiday season. But over the past year, Peloton’s customers have complained of months-long waits, delivery delays, and last-minute cancellations.

Manufacturing lags were not the only challenge for deliveries. Shortages of containers, extended port delays, and a backlog to get containers unloaded were other problems the company faced, finance chief Jill Woodworth told the Financial Times.

Pandemic-related factors continue to hurt the business. So, Peloton has now invested $100 million to accelerate the pace of air and ocean freight to boost its “longer than acceptable wait times” over the next six months. 

Read More: Investors are flocking to trade Dogecoin and other hot digital tokens on Voyager, a platform with no Robinhood-style restrictions. Its CEO says Bitcoin will hit $100,000 this year – and shares 3 other cryptocurrencies to watch.

“While this investment will dampen our near-term profitability, improving our member experience is our first priority,” Peloton said. 

 The company now expects full-year revenue to exceed $4 billion, up from a prior outlook of over $3.9 billion. Wedbush raised its 12-month price target on Peloton to $162 from $160, maintaining an “outperform” rating.

That’s because analysts say the company is unfazed by the momentum of COVID-19 activity because there is a favorable shift away from traditional gyms and toward at-home fitness.

Peloton’s stock closed at $157.53 on Thursday, but was lower, around $146 during regular trading on Friday.

Read More: A top-ranked manager at a firm that handles $50 billion in wealth told us 4 ways investors can smartly play day-trading favorites like GameStop without risking it all 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Peloton wants to make ‘tens of millions’ of bikes and treads – and says its recent acquisition will help it get there

Peloton Co-Founder/CEO John Foley
Peloton Co-Founder and CEO John Foley

  • Peloton is getting ready to make tens of millions of stationary bikes in the US. 
  • CEO John Foley said the company strives to be the “global dominant fitness experience business.”
  • The company surpassed $1 billion in revenue for the first time in the second fiscal quarter of 2021.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Peloton has plans to dominate the at-home fitness industry, according to CEO John Foley. 

The executive said Peloton’s planned acquisition of fitness manufacturer Precor will allow the firm to ramp up production across the US.

“As we invest in US manufacturing and getting ready to make millions, going to tens of millions, of treadmills and bikes in the US…we can have in-location manufacturing plants,” Foley said during Peloton’s Thursday earnings call, which he said will help avoid delivery delays related to port congestion and shipping.

Foley and other Peloton executives said Precor, which makes equipment for health clubs and hotels, would allow the firm to ramp up US manufacturing. The $420 million purchase of Precor represented Peloton’s largest acquisition.

“As we become the global dominant fitness experience business, we want Asian manufacturing, we want US manufacturing, and it creates optionality for us to service different markets from different points of entry. So we’re very excited about Precor and what that team represents to our supply chain globally,” Foley added.

The company surpassed $1 billion in revenue for the first time in the second fiscal quarter of 2021. Membership for its $39-per-month Connected Fitness plan grew 134% compared to the same time last year. 

Read more: 7 fitness M&A deals and big trends experts are watching out for this year- as the pandemic leaves lasting changes on how Americans workout

As sales surged, customers reported waiting months for delayed deliveries and experiencing last-minute cancellations. Some customers told Insider’s Madeline Stone Peloton’s customer service offered limited help. 

Peloton blamed slow deliveries to pandemic-related changes to shipping, and congestion in US ports as e-commerce booms. The company said it  plans to invest $100 million to expedite the movement of bikes globally.

The coronavirus pandemic fueled a spike in demand for at-home fitness products as many gyms closed or limited capacity over the last year. 

Peloton isn’t the only at-home stationary bike company looking to capitalize on increased demand. Echelon Fitness sales increased a whopping 700% year-over-year in September. Echelon calls itself the “most formidable competitor of Peloton” by selling cheaper and more readily available stationary bikes, CEO Lou Lentine said in an interview with Insider’s Bethany Biron

Read the original article on Business Insider

CES 2021: The 15 best new products revealed at the year’s biggest tech conference

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Sony A90J OLED TV

With CES 2021‘s all-digital event having now come and gone, it’s time at last for our favorite part of the show: awards. We’ve seen dozens of products over the past four days from in front of our screens, and now we’ve collected what we think are the best of the show across 15 different product categories.

From the best smartphone of the show to the best health-focused device, this is the cream of the crop when it comes to CES announcements and reveals. We’ve seen a tech-filled face mask that solves a lot of the problems of normal masks, as well as rollable smartphone displays.

We also spotted major advancements in the smart home from a voice-activated fridge to a home-cleaning robot that’s less like a Roomba and more like a Rosie of “The Jetsons” fame. It’s innovations like these that are not only available today, but will be the foundation of huge advancements in daily convenience and general coolness.

Some of these products are available for either preorder or direct purchase, while others will be launching over the coming months. But, more importantly, they’ve all earned our seal of approval as products to keep an eye on this year as potential buys.

Best laptop: HP Elite Dragonfly Max

HP Elite Dragonfly Max

Many companies are tailoring their products for a work-from-home life at CES 2021, and that’s especially true with HP’s Elite Dragonfly Max

The business-focused laptop has features that are optimized for our new remote work routines, like four wide-range microphones that use artificial intelligence to optimize audio and a 5-megapixel camera. Considering most laptop webcams aren’t very good, and it’s unusual for a laptop to come with that many microphones, the HP Elite Dragonfly Max seems well-positioned to boost the quality of your daily Zoom video meetings. 

In yet another sign that the Max is built with remote work in mind, it also has EyeSafe technology to reduce eye strain after prolonged use — another common theme among this year’s laptops at CES. 

Otherwise, the HP Elite Dragonfly Max, which launches in January for an unannounced price, runs on 11th-generation Intel processors, features a 13.3-inch screen and comes with the option for 5G connectivity. — Lisa Eadicicco, Senior Tech Correspondent

Best phone: LG and TCL’s rollable smartphones

LG rollable phone ces 2021

Smartphone makers are still figuring out the next big thing for smartphone design, and CES 2021 shows that LG and TCL are advancing on rollable smartphone displays instead of foldable ones. 

The concept is the same as foldable displays — to make a smartphone screen bigger than normal when you want the extra screen real estate. The way in which these rollable smartphones deliver on that concept is completely different to foldable phones, and fairly simple to grasp. Inside the phones is a rolled up OLED screen that unfurls, allowing the phones to keep a similar size and shape of a traditional smartphone. The mechanisms to expand the phones as the screen unfurls from their enclosure, however, will undoubtedly be incredibly complex, and there will be many questions to answer regarding their reliability.

Little is known so far about LG and TCL’s smartphones with rollable screens, but rumors suggest that LG plans to launch its own model sometime this year. Regardless, these are certainly the most impressive and exciting phones of CES 2021. — Antonio Villas-Boas, Senior Tech Reporter

Best high-end TV: Samsung Micro LED 4K TV

Samsung Micro LED TV lifestyle 2

Samsung has been showing off Micro LEDs at CES for the last few years, and the advanced display technology never fails to impress. That said, the company has yet to actually release a consumer Micro LED 4K TV. For 2021, that’s finally going to change.

Micro LED 4K TVs in 88-, 99-, and 110-inch screen sizes are set to hit the market by the end of the year. Yes, this first wave will likely be prohibitively expensive for anyone but those with the deepest of pockets — my best guess is at least $30,000 for the smallest size — but the fact that the tech is starting to scale down to the consumer level is very exciting. Why? Because Micro LED TVs have the potential to combine everything we love about the pixel-level contrast of OLED TVs with the high brightness of QLED TVs

We got a first look at the 110-inch Samsung Micro LED last week, and if prices eventually come down to a reasonable range, we think this tech could be the future of TV. — Steven Cohen, Tech Editor

Best 4K TV: LG G1 and Sony A90J OLED TVs

Sony A90J OLED TV

OLED is our favorite display technology for picture quality because OLED panels offer the best contrast and viewing angles on the market right now. That said, they have one drawback compared to competing QLED TVs: they can’t get as bright. 

This makes OLEDs less suited for rooms that let in a lot of light, and it can make certain high dynamic range (HDR) videos look dimmer than they would on a QLED. This year, however, Sony and LG have made key improvements to their flagship OLEDs in order to deliver higher brightness than previous models. 

We don’t know exactly how much brighter they’ll be just yet, but the upgrade could help cement the upcoming Sony A90J and LG G1 as top 4K TV contenders. In addition to OLED picture performance, the LG G1 also features an incredibly thin “Gallery” design that enables it to be mounted flush to a wall. Meanwhile, the Sony A90J uses the company’s Acoustic Surface Audio+ tech to create sound from the screen itself. Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but new TV models usually start hitting stores in the spring. — Steven Cohen, Tech Editor

Best gaming device: LG 42-inch OLED displays

LG_OLED gaming
LG’s CX (pictured above) is already available in a 48-inch screen size, and new 42-inch OLEDs could be coming soon.

While monitor and TV manufacturers are still working to produce models that make the most of the newly released PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, LG’s OLED TVs have become an increasingly popular choice for PC and console gamers who want the latest features, like adaptive refresh rate, high dynamic range, and low input latency.

LG Display’s newly announced 42-inch OLED TV panel is the company’s smallest OLED yet, and it will undoubtedly compete with premium gaming monitors when it’s released. LG’s CX OLED is already our top rated OLED TV with sizes starting at 48 inches, and a 42-inch display will be an ideal fit for a monitor replacement or bedroom gaming setup. The 42-inch panels are expected to go into production this year, but it’s not yet clear when a consumer model will be available to buy. —Kevin Webb, Tech Reporter

Best soundbar: TCL Alto R1 Wireless Soundbar

TCL Alto R1 soundbar

Soundbars are generally designed to offer a more convenient audio solution than separate speakers or surround sound setups. Though there are some impressive high-end models with advanced audio features like Dolby Atmos, many buyers turn to soundbars primarily for their simplicity. TCL’s new Alto R1 aims to make setup easier than ever before.

The soundbar is the first to use Roku’s new Wi-Fi audio system, enabling the device to wirelessly connect to a Roku TV. You just need to plug the power cable in and then turn the bar and TV on. From there, the soundbar is designed to seamlessly pair and communicate with a Roku TV without any additional wires. This also makes it easy to use one remote and on-screen interface for the display and soundbar. Roku says the tech should prevent any audio syncing issues as well. 

Though we’ll need to get hands-on with the Alto R1 to see how well the wireless tech really works, the feature looks very promising. The soundbar is set to launch later this year, but there’s no word yet on an exact release date or price. — Steven Cohen, Tech Editor

Best robot: Samsung Bot Handy

Bot Handy.
Bot Handy.

Robots are a common sight at CES events, and companies simply won’t stop showing off their robo-tech. This year at CES 2021, the best robot we came across is Samsung’s Bot Handy, It’s an upright robot with a rolling base, and it has a long mechanical arm equipped with a clamp to pick things up. 

The Bot Handy is designed to help with house chores, like cleaning up messy rooms, picking up and throwing away trash, and putting dirty laundry into washing machines. It’s even delicate enough to put dirty dishes into the dishwasher. But, why stop there? The Bot Handy will truly prove its worth when it pours you a glass of wine. Good robot. 

To perform these complex tasks, the Bot Handy relies on AI and delicate mechanics to apply an appropriate amount of force with its clamp.

The Bot Handy is still in development with no definitive price or sales date at the moment. However, Samsung will have its smart robo-vacuum, called the JetBot 90 AI+, available this year. It’s essentially a smarter and better vacuuming robot that doubles as a travelling security camera. Unfortunately, we don’t know how much the JetBot will cost yet, or exactly when it’ll be released. — Antonio Villas-Boas, Senior Tech Reporter

Best smartwatch: Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR

Skagen watch

Skagen already makes one of our favorite minimalist smartwatches, and now at CES 2021 the Fossil-owned brand is launching a new wearable that should blend in even more seamlessly as a timepiece. The $195 Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR, as its name suggests, is a hybrid smartwatch that combines the look of a classic watch with the connectivity and health-tracking features of a smartwatch. 

The Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR’s signature feature is its always-on e-ink display, which should offer two-week-long battery life if it lives up to its claims. It also includes health features like a heart rate monitor and activity and sleep tracking, and can deliver notifications from your phone to your wrist. The only major feature it appears to be missing that’s usually standard on smartwatches is built-in GPS. Instead, the Skagen Jorn HR will connect to your phone’s GPS when needed.

All told, the Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR looks like a promising new watch for those with a preference for sleek, minimalist looks and long battery life in a smartwatch. — Lisa Eadicicco, Senior Tech Correspondent

Best health device: Razer Project Hazel

razer project hazel

CES is always chock full of wearable technology and wellness gadgets, but the COVID-19 pandemic has put health in focus more than ever in 2021. One of the most promising devices at this year’s CES is Razer’s Project Hazel, which aims to fix many of the shortcomings and inconveniences that come with wearing masks today. 

Project Hazel is an N95 respirator prototype that comes with a special UV light charging case for disinfection, a built-in microphone and amplifier to make it easier to speak loudly while wearing the mask, and clear design so that others can actually see your mouth when worn. And of course, in typical Razer style, the mask also lights up automatically in the dark. — Lisa Eadicicco, Senior Tech Correspondent

Best smart home device: LG InstaView ThinQ Refrigerator with Voice Recognition

LG fridge CES

Voice recognition is now available on refrigerators, obviously, and as it should be. The LG InstaView ThinQ Refrigerator with Voice Recognition, which we’ll call “InstaView” from now on, can open its doors with a simple voice command — something no other refrigerator can do.

This kind of device is exactly what CES is best at showing. The InstaView sounds excessive and superfluous, because it is. But, so does all the futuristic stuff you’ve seen on modern TV shows and movies. And, if you’ve ever wanted to live in that kind of futuristic setting, you can’t ignore things like the InstaView. Indeed, the InstaView is another notch in our progress towards a cool future where our fixtures and appliances listen to our voice commands rather than using our hands like cavepeople. 

LG has a more practical implication for the InstaView. The company says the voice-activated refrigerator that can open its doors on your voice command will help with the “struggle to open the refrigerator door when their hands are full of groceries.” Scoff all you like, but it’s a legitimate “thing” to improve — placing a large object that needs two hands into your refrigerator is a task that needs planning. You need to open the refrigerator door first and hope it stays open while you fetch the large food item. People in the future don’t have that problem because they have the InstaView. 

And, of course, you can ask InstaView about what’s coming up in your calendar and check the status of the ice and water dispensers. Although, it’s unclear if InstaView will talk back or display the information on a screen. 

But, let’s face it: It’s all about the futuristic feels, really.  

So far, InstaView doesn’t use a popular smart assistant like Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Assistant. Instead, it uses LG’s own ThinQ AI, which should be perfectly capable of understanding when you want it to open its doors. — Antonio Villas-Boas, Senior Tech Reporter

Best home appliance: Kohler Stillness Bath

Smart tub

Baths are kind of gross, but Kohler’s Stillness tub is more about recreating an at-home spa experience than de-griming you. It starts at $6,000 and comes to $16,000 with all the trimmings, so it’s ridiculous and over the top. It takes inspiration from Japanese soaking baths, with a special hinoki wood moat that catches water as it gently spills over its sides. Soft LED lighting illuminates it from below, and the experience tower releases a fine fog and aromas from essential oils. The bath is also voice-activated, so you can ask it to fill to your desired depth and temperature.

Put it all together, and it’s almost enough to make you forget that you just sunk $16k into a bathtub, almost. — Jenny McGrath, Buying Guides Editor

Best small home appliance: Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Sur Mesure Powered by Perso

Yves Saint Laurent makeup CES

Last year, L’Oreal introduced its personal beauty device, the Perso. It was still unclear when it would come to market and how much it would cost. Now we know. You can preorder the Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Sur Mesure for $299.99 right now. 

The device is focused on creating unique lipstick shades. It draws the liquid from three tubes of YSL Velvet Cream Matte Finish. The result will depend on the amount it’s pulled from each. The app can help you try to recreate a color you see on Instagram, too. If it’s too red or orange, you can try again without wasting a ton of product. L’Oreal also hopes it will cut down on packing, since you can get so many colors from just a few cartridges. 

It’s a pricey gadget, but I’m looking forward to what it means for the other version of the Perso I saw at CES last year. The skincare model mixes lotions and serums for you, factoring in things like the weather — maybe you need more sunscreen on a sunny day — and your preferences. Its design helps keep delicate ingredients out of contact with air. Of course, it does mean you’ll have to stick to products from the L’Oreal family of brands, which might be a deal-breaker for a lot of people who like to buy from an array of companies. 

L’Oreal said the skincare Perso should hit the market later this year, though pricing is still unavailable. — Jenny McGrath, Buying Guides Editor

Best fitness tech: Ultrahuman

ultrahuman app

Digital fitness is in the midst of a major moment, as at-home workouts are now the norm instead of some time-constrained exception. Because of this, fitness classes are everywhere; they’re live-streamed on Instagram, produced as a series for YouTube, and downloadable on your smartphone. It should come as no surprise then that CES 2021 (a show that also embraced a fully digital presentation) was chock-full of this new wave of keeping fit. 

At the forefront of the fitness innovation displayed at the show was Ultrahuman, a self-described “masterclass-like” workout app that aims to connect users with world-class athletes, neuroscientists, psychologists, and artists all in the name of improving one’s heath, wellness, and fitness.

Though the analogy to Masterclass seems gimmicky, Ultrahuman does at least have the credentials to back it up. Included in its roster of experts are Crossfit champion Kara Saunders, bodybuilder and athlete Kris Gethin, and fitness influencers, Amanda Cerny and Johannes Bartl. And that just skims the surface of what the brand has planned — its site says it intends to have “100+ of the world’s best athletes.”

But what also makes Ultrahuman intriguing is its concept. The brand aims to teach subscribers everything from mindfulness and meditation to the impact of sleep and the science of working out. There’s even content around how to boost productivity and how to improve focus. The classes are intensive, not unlike what Masterclass offers, and come loaded with expert- and doctor-approved lessons (most of which are developed by the expert or doctor actually leading the class). These include 14-week marathon training classes, a group of sessions on developing a balanced mind, and strength training basics, among many others. The range of classes offered seem fit for people of literally any fitness level or skill, too. 

The platform was designed specifically for the Apple Watch and any iOS-compatible device, but also works on Android devices via an Android smartphone or through a Google Chromecast. Ultrahuman also offers a tiered subscription plan, so users can choose to pay either $14 per month, $41 every six months, or $75 a year for full access to the platform. 

The app is available now on both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. — Rick Stella, Health & Fitness Editor

Best auto tech: Mercedes-Benz MBUX Hyperscreen

Mercedes Benz Hyperscreen CES

There were plenty of futuristic car tech unveiled, but most were more fantasy than reality. One that is actually coming is Mercedes-Benz’s next-gen vehicle infotainment system, the MBUX Hyperscreen.

The highlight is a high-resolution 56-inch OLED display that spans across the entire dashboard. Technically divided into three components — digital gauge for the driver, a central 17.7-inch touchscreen, and a screen for the front passenger — the Hyperscreen incorporates artificial intelligence to help the driver adjust controls without taking hands off the wheel or eyes off the road. While such telematics aren’t entirely revolutionary, the Hyperscreen digitizes nearly every control — something we will start to see more and more in new cars.

The MBUX Hyperscreen will debut in the all-electric Mercedes EQS this spring. — Les Shu, Senior Guides Editor

Best photography device: Sony FE 35mm F1.4 G Master Lens

Sony camera CES

Finding a new camera at CES to write about is as elusive as spotting a rare bird, as few companies use the tech conference to launch new products — compared to 15 years ago when every camera maker would unveil multiple models. But, that doesn’t mean CES is entirely void of camera and photo-related products.

While not an official CES release, Sony this week announced the FE 35mm F1.4 G Master lens for its highly lauded full-frame mirrorless cameras. A compact lens designed for shooting photos and videos, it weighs 18.5 ounces yet has the complex optical construction and fast f/1.4 aperture to capture high-quality images with sharpness and beautiful bokeh. Although we haven’t used this particular lens, we have used other fast G Master lenses. Some of the best images we’ve ever taken were with a G Master lens.

The lens goes on sale in February for $1,400. — Les Shu, Senior Guides Editor

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I ate nothing but ‘healthy’ fast food for a week – here’s what happened

America has an obesity problem, but there are more 200,000 fast foods restaurants dotted throughout the country. Customers have been moving towards places with healthier menus and many traditional chains are adding items to address this. I tried eating these “healthy” fast foods for an entire week. I had every meal at McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Burger King, Subway, Dunkin’ Donuts or Chick-fil-A. Following is a full transcript of the video. 

Kevin Reilly: Fast food is cheap and convenient. But hidden in between the burgers and tacos are some “healthy” options: salads, grilled chicken, yogurts, oatmeal, power burritos. Doesn’t sound too bad, right? I spent a week eating nothing but these “healthy” fast foods and I lost six-and-a-half pounds. But even though I lost about a pound a day, it didn’t really go well.

I live in New York City, a place with every possible food you could want. Eating healthy here, it’s a breeze. But across America, there are more than 200,000 fast food joints, and they’re bringing in more than $200 billion a year in sales. And no matter where you go, you’re never far from a place like McDonald’s or Taco Bell. But in recent years, consumers want better, healthier choices, and the traditional fast food places have been losing customers to those fast casual healthy options.

The rules were pretty simple: Eat every major meal at a national fast-food chain and stick to the healthy options. McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, Dunkin’ Donuts, Subway, and Chick-fil-A; nothing but them for a week. Yeah, I lost almost seven pounds, but let’s take a close look at the numbers.

On a normal day, I’m eating around 2,500 calories. An adult man should be having about 2,400 to 2,600 calories a day. But on this fast food plan, my calories plummeted. Most of these meals came in under 400 calories, and that was one of my first problems. I’d eat and just a couple hours later, I was starving. And I had days when I didn’t eat more than 1,000 calories.

Now, some of these meals were really good. My favorite was this grilled chicken market salad from Chick-fil-A. It had blueberries, strawberries, apples; it was delicious and it was actually healthy. However, a lot of the other salads from Burger King, McDonald’s, and Wendy’s were loaded with salt, often more than 50% of what I needed for the entire day, from a salad. In fact, excess salt was a problem the entire week. I thought I had hit the jackpot with Taco Bell’s al Fresco menu. They take off all the cheese and mayo-based sauces and replace it with lettuce and pico de gallo. One night I got tacos, another night I got a power cantina burrito, and these were meals with more protein than usual. So, I felt like I was getting enough food. They were good, too good. It was all salt. In fact, just one burrito had almost as much salt as I needed in just one day. The American Heart Association says we should limit our sodium to about 2,300 milligrams a day, but the ideal is closer to 1,500 milligrams a day, especially for a person like me with high blood pressure. But if you look at my sodium intake, it was high every day, yet I was barely getting the calories I needed. If I wanted to keep the sodium down, I was starving. If I wanted to feel full, salt through the roof. You see, that’s an issue in the fast food industry. Wendy’s even acknowledges on their website that there’s going to be a trade-off between salt and flavor.

It was weird. I didn’t feel healthy at all throughout the week, even though I was eating healthy foods and losing weight. And on the last day, I had this massive headache that was just infuriating. These places, they’re supposed to be tasty, cheap, and convenient. But it wasn’t cheap. Every healthy option was expensive, but left me hungry. For eight grilled nuggets and this tiny kale salad at Chick-fil-A, $12. For the power Mediterranean salad at Wendy’s, it was almost $8, yet I could get a cheeseburger, nuggets, fries, and a soda for only $4. That brings me to another problem. Walk into McDonald’s and you get hit with that sweet, sweet french fry smell, and I had to get a salad.

Would I recommend this to anyone? Nope, unless you’re stuck on the road with no other options. Though there was a bright spot: breakfast at Subway. They have these egg-white-and-cheese sandwiches, which I got covered in spinach and peppers. And let me tell you, it was good. But after all this, I just want a cheeseburger.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in May 2018.

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Peloton stock price surges 14% to record high on $420 million Precor acquisition

Peloton

  • Peloton shares spiked as much as 14% to a record high on Tuesday, boosting the connected-fitness company’s market capitalization by up to $6 billion.
  • The maker of internet-connected exercise machines has agreed to acquire Precor, a leading commercial supplier of fitness equipment, for $420 million in cash.
  • Peloton intends to use Precor’s US manufacturing facilities to ramp up production and improve its delivery times.
  • The company also expects the deal to bolster its innovation and generate more sales of equipment and subscriptions to gyms, hotels, colleges, and other commercial customers.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Peloton stock surged as much as 14% to a record high on Tuesday after the connected-fitness company struck a deal to acquire Precor for $420 million in cash. The rally added up to $6 billion to Peloton’s market capitalization.

Precor makes cardio and weight machines, and ranks among the largest commercial suppliers of fitness equipment in the world. Peloton plans to use the 40-year-old company’s 625,000 square feet of US manufacturing capacity to make more equipment and ship it to domestic customers sooner.

Read More: BANK OF AMERICA: Buy these 26 cheap and fundamentally rock-solid stocks before the economic rebound sends them soaring in 2021

The takeover will also add nearly 100 people to Peloton’s research-and-development team. Moreover, Peloton hopes it will boost sales of its bikes and treadmills – which are equipped with internet-connected screens to allow users to stream live and on-demand classes – to gyms, hotels, colleges, apartment blocks, and companies that buy exercise equipment for shared use.

Peloton stock has skyrocketed 450% this year as the pandemic has spurred more people to invest in home gyms and online fitness classes. The company’s revenues spiked 232% year-on-year last quarter to $758 million, swinging the company from a $50 million net loss to $69 million in net income.

Read More: A hedge fund chief who oversees $2 billion breaks down why we’re in for a 61% stock-market crash over the next 18-24 months – and shares 3 types of companies he’s shorting right now

However, Peloton’s manufacturing and distribution has been severely restricted this year, resulting in lengthy waiting times for customers. Its Precor purchase is likely intended to help iron out those issues.

Here’s a chart showing Peloton’s remarkable stock-price gains this year:

Peloton stock chart

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Peloton will spend $420 million to acquire Precor, known for making fitness equipment found in hotels, health clubs, and university gyms

peloton bike
Peloton will buy fitness equipment maker Precor for $420 million.

Peloton will acquire Precor, a hotel and university fitness equipment maker, for $420 million.

The at-home fitness firm announced the acquisition Monday, and said the deal will close in early 2021. The deal is Peloton’s largest to date, according to Bloomberg.

Peloton said the deal gives the company 625,000 square feet of US manufacturing space and allows it to accelerate the growth of its commercial business.

“By combining our talented and committed R&D and Supply Chain teams with the incredibly capable Precor team and their decades of experience, we believe we will be able to lead the global connected fitness market in both innovation and scale,” Peloton president William Lynch said in a release.

Read more: Poshmark salaries revealed: Here’s how much engineers, analysts, product managers, and more make at the leading resale company that’s ready to go public

Precor sells fitness equipment like ellipticals and treadmills to hotels, universities, fire departments, and health clubs. 

Peloton sales spiked in 2020 when gyms closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and more Americans invested in at-home fitness. The company announced September was its first profitable quarter, with sales increasing 172% year-over-year.

Peloton’s acquisition of Precor comes as the battle for the at-home fitness market heats up. Apple launched a Fitness+ service for $9.99 that allows iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV users to access exercise classes. Peloton stock tumbled 3% after Apple’s early December announcement. Echelon Fitness, which describes itself as the “most formidable competitor of Peloton,” sells bikes cheaper than Peloton’s nearly $2,000 model, and reported a sales increase of 700% year-over-year in September.

Peloton has had multiple legal challenges over the years from competitor fitness companies. The company sued Flywheel in 2018 for allegedly creating a copy version of its proprietary bike. NordicTrack filed a lawsuit against Peloton in October for copyright infringement.

Peloton stock had increased by 7% in after-hours trading Monday following the announcement. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best pull-up bars

  • A proper at-home pull-up bar should be easy to install and able to support your weight without wobbling or bowing – and is a great addition to anyone’s home gym setup
  • Adding a pull-up routine to your weekly workouts helps strengthen your upper body, builds muscle, and improves your grip strength – so long as you’re using the right bar. 
  • We spoke to New York City-based personal trainer, Brad Baldwin, about how to pick out the right pull-up bar, the benefits of doing the workout, and how adding it to your fitness routine can have a major impact. 
  • Our top pick, the Garren Fitness Maximiza pull-up Bar, features comfortable foam grips and unobtrusively fits in any standard doorframe. 

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Pull-ups aren’t for the faint of heart. I remember the days of easily cranking out a dozen or so pull-ups while hardly breaking a sweat. But after years of cheeseburgers and sitting at a computer, easy pull-ups are harder to come by. Fortunately, there are a number of pull-up bars on the market that fit the needs of anyone looking for a new addition to their home gym.

But first, I highly recommend first consulting with a physician before starting any exercise program. I learned this the hard way when I tried to rattle off some pull-ups after years of sedentary living, and quickly tore a muscle in my shoulder. Don’t be like me. 

Why you should start doing pull-ups 

The benefits of incorporating pull-ups into your weekly routine are many. From improving upper body strength to building muscle, pull-ups can have a significant impact on your fitness goals. According to the New York City-based personal trainer, Brad Baldwin, pull-ups are “the king of back exercises.”

“[Pull-ups] force you to work at a higher intensity,” Baldwin told Insider. “They’re great for creating that coveted V-shaped torso and for getting stronger.” 

For anyone looking to begin strength training, it’s smart to start with dips and push-ups on your way to performing a pull-up. You might also try mounting your pull-up bar lower or standing on a box. Pull yourself up to the bar with your feet on the ground at an increasingly difficult angle. Thankfully, the bars I included in this guide are versatile enough to help you work up to your goals. 

At the bottom of this guide, I’ve included some helpful tips on how to shop for an at-home pull-up bar and what to consider, as well as some insight into the testing methodology.

Here are the best pull-up bars:

Updated on 12/15/2020 by Rick Stella: Updated the section on why you should start doing pull-ups, added more to our testing methodology and how to shop for a pull-up bar, checked the availability of all recommended picks, and updated the prices where necessary. 

Best pull-up bar overall

pull up bar 1

The Garren Fitness Maximiza Pull Up Bar is easy on your hands, installs effortlessly, and is made of long-lasting chrome steel.

The Garren Fitness Maximiza Pull Up Bar is made of chrome steel and comes with three sets of mounting hardware, two of which support up to 300 pounds of weight. The medium-duty door mount supports 150 pounds and isn’t recommended for use above waist height.

You can also use the bar without door mounts for sit-up foot support and other light exercises. The bar is adjustable and fits doorways between 26 and 36 inches wide, and can be installed so that a door is still able to close. 

The bar features non-slip, extra-long foam grips. Garren Fitness cautions against using the Maximiza for gymnastics, and they suggest applying your weight cautiously during the first few exercises to ensure the bar is safely installed (a smart practice with any pull up bar.) Garren Fitness provides a full satisfaction guarantee, so you can get a no-questions-asked full refund if you’re not satisfied for any reason.

Pros: Comfortable foam grips, unobtrusive, solidly built

Cons: Installation requires drilling into door jamb, foam grips may wear from heavy-duty use

Best ceiling-mounted pull-up bar

pull up bar 2

If you are interested in doing a variety of pull-ups and you don’t want to use your door frame, the Ultimate Body Press Ceiling Mounted Pull Up Bar is your best bet.

Pros: Three padded gripping positions, easy installation, sturdy construction

Cons: Some complaints of manufacturer defects

The Ceiling Mounted Pull Up Bar from Ultimate Body Press has three high-density foam grip positions for standard, wide-grip, and 20-inch parallel-grip pull-ups or chin-ups. This model has a powder-coat finish for added durability. The 14-inch reversible risers are designed to fit either 16- or 24-inch joists.

The mounting kit comes with instructions, a template, and mounting hardware. You will need a drill, tape or pencil, and a step ladder. Ultimate Body Press offers a fairly nebulous 100% satisfaction guarantee with this product. The fact the bars aren’t welded to the mounting brackets could affect long-term durability (though perhaps the satisfaction guarantee would cover it). 

Best pull-up bar for beginners

pull up bar

If you are interested in doing pull-ups but don’t want to spend a lot of money, the Iron Gym Pull Up Bar is an excellent solution for beginners.

Pros: Inexpensive, versatile, easy to mount and remove, 300-pound capacity

Cons: Contains plastic parts

The Iron Gym Pull Up Bar works much like the Perfect Fitness Multi-Gym. It hangs on a doorframe and stays in place through leverage. You can also remove the pull-up bar to perform sit-ups, push-ups, and dips.

The bar is made of a combination of plastic and steel, and it comes with everything you need to assemble the unit, including a hex open wrench. There are foam grips for standard and wide pull-ups. However, the parallel grip handles are fairly small and awkwardly positioned. Lastly, this model comes with a comprehensive workout and nutrition guide.

Best doorframe pull-up bar

pullup bar 4

If you are looking for a pull-up bar that you can effortlessly attach to your doorframe and take down when you’re done, the Perfect Fitness Multi-Gym Doorway Pull Up Bar will serve you well.

Pros: Three grip locations, 300-pound capacity, unlikely to damage your doorframe

Cons: Wide grip may be too wide for some, recent quality concerns, doesn’t fit all doorframes

The Perfect Fitness Multi-Gym Doorway Pull Up Bar has three padded grip positions for hammer grip, close grip, and normal grip pull-ups. The 300-pound weight capacity makes it so you can use this model with a weight vest. There is some assembly required, and all of the tools needed are included with the bar.

The Multi-Gym Pro adjusts for height and works with doorframes that are up to 6 inches deep and 33 inches wide. The bar can be placed on the floor to assist with push-ups and sit-ups. And, Perfect Fitness stands behind the quality of this model with a one-year warranty.

Best budget pull-up bar

SunnyHealthBar

At under $30, the Sunny Health & Fitness Doorway Pull-Up Bar is not only a bargain but a quality pull-up bar that’s easy to install and won’t hinder being able to open or close your door. 

Pros: Securely installs into a doorframe and allows the door to still shut completely, costs less than $30, features padded grips

Cons: Only supports weight up to 220 pounds

The Sunny Health & Fitness Doorway Pull-Up Bar may not have many bells and whistles, but it’s basic nature (and wallet-friendly price tag) is what makes this product so attractive. Installing the bar requires drilling a couple of brackets into either side of the doorframe you wish to use it on, then the bar’s telescoping arm extends to fit snugly into place.

Brackets may seem like overkill but they work wonders in making sure you don’t end up slamming into the ground should the bar come loose. Even with the brackets and bar installed, any door is still able to fully shut without being interfered with — which adds even more to this bar’s ease of use. 

It’s worth pointing out that the bar only supports weight up to 220 pounds, and its position on the door could create a situation where hit the top of your head on the doorframe if you’re not careful. With a price tag south of $30, however, these are minor drawbacks to an otherwise impressive budget pull-up bar.

Best freestanding pull-up bar

stamina pull up bar

The Stamina 1690 Power Tower allows you to perform platform push-ups, sit-ups, knee and leg raises, dips, pull-ups, and more.

Pros: Wide range of exercises, easy to assemble — no drilling or door frame needed

Cons: Issues with wobbling, expensive compared to traditional bars, takes up a lot of space

The Stamina 1690 Power Tower is a free-standing full-body workout unit made of durable steel and fitted with padded foam in five sets of grip locations. The overall size of the assembled tower is 49 inches long by 42.5 inches wide by 81 inches high. The base of the tower features no-slip endcaps.

Stamina states that the capacity is 250 pounds, but as noted below, it’s closer to 200 pounds in practice. In addition to pull-ups and chin-ups, this model is designed for tricep dips, sit-ups, push-ups, and leg raises, though there is no backrest to assist with the leg raises.

How to shop for an at-home pull-up bar

At-home pull-up bars aren’t a one-design-fits-all market, as there are several different styles to choose from, each with its own advantages. Here’s a quick breakdown of the most common at-home pull-up bar type:

  • Cantilever: One of the most popular pull-up bar variations is the cantilever-style, molding-mounted bars. They don’t require permanent alteration to your home and are easy to install and remove. They feature several grip options, too. However, when shopping for these doorframe pull-up bars, pay attention to the dimensions of the bar and what size frames they work on to ensure you get the proper fit.
  • Mounted: Then there’s a class of pull-up bar that requires drilling and mounting of the unit. We included ceiling-mounted and door-mounted options in our guide. They tend to be rated for heavier weights but are less portable. Wall-mounted bars are also available but we didn’t find any models worth recommending.
  • Power towers: The final group of pull-bars is called power towers. These are freestanding units that do not require drilling and are often compatible with a wide array of exercises. However, power towers typically cost more, have a large footprint, and many models have problems with wobbling when heavier individuals are performing intense workouts.

How we test pull-up bars

Each pull-up bar featured in this guide went through an array of tests to see how well it compared across these four categories: Ease of installation, build quality, versatility, and value. Here’s how each category specifically factored into which pull-up bars made this guide:

Ease of installation: How easy an at-home pull-up bar is to install is a vital feature as you not only want to avoid fumbling with a confusing setup, but you also want to be confident that once it’s installed (and installed correctly) that it’ll keep in place. It’s reasonable to doubt the reliability of a pull-up bar that sits precariously in your doorway, so this was one of the first things we assessed when testing. 

Build quality: Relying on a pull-up bar to hold your weight comes down not just to the above category but to its build quality, as well. If it’s susceptible to being easily bent or its components are shoddily built-on and likely to fall off, the pull-up bar will be far less comfortable, and safe, to use.

Versatility: A pull-up bar’s versatility is sort of an extension of its ease of installation as most will require you to take them off if you intend to shut the door whose door frame it resides in. There are some, however, (like our top pick) that allow you to still close the door even after they’re installed. This category also refers to the actual build design and if it allows for multiple grip positions or not.

Value: A pull-up bar’s value comes down to a combination of the three categories above, as well as how much it actually costs. It’s not always about spending the most money to get the best pull-up bar, though it is better to shop for a premium, well-built product. While it may be expensive at first, it does save you the hassle of having to buy several, cheaper options more often. 

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