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Peloton Programs: My Love Hate Relationship (Review 2024)

If you’re new to the Peloton platform or even if you’ve been with Peloton for a while, you may be confused about Peloton Programs and how they’re different from the Collections. When Peloton first introduced its bike in 2014, it was solely for cycling classes. Today, you can get a full body workout and can trade in your gym membership completely. 

Programs and Collections have become an essential part of training for many members. After years of starting, stopping, re-starting, completing, and repeating many of Peloton’s Programs, I thought it was time to share my honest thoughts with you. 

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Peloton Programs

  • Peloton offers a variety of programs designed to cater to different fitness levels and goals.
  • Each program has an overview page that provides a list of classes for each week, making it easy for users to plan their workouts.
  • Peloton programs are a great way to stay motivated and on track with your fitness goals.
  • These programs take the guesswork out of your training plans.
  • Classes are locked to ensure you progress through the program in a specific order.

What are Peloton Programs?

Peloton Programs are a series of classes, usually taught by one instructor, with a fitness goal in mind. You move through the Program in a set schedule format until completion. Many of these programs are designed to be repeated.

Peloton Collections vs. Peloton Programs

Peloton Collections

Unlike Peloton Programs, you can take the classes within a Collection in any order you like. A Collection is just what the name implies, a group of similar classes grouped in a way that makes sense. They can be a collection of different types of classes that all feature the music of one artist, or are based upon a theme, or holiday. 

Peloton Programs

Although they too are a collection of classes, Peloton Programs differ in that they are a training program, and each class must be taken in a specific order. The next class is locked until you complete the one before. Programs either teach a new skill or work on specific muscle groups, with the ultimate goal of building your fitness ability in some way.

For example, while they are both strength training focused, the splits program classes must be taken in order, but a collection like Andy Speer’s Total Density can be started and stopped, and the classes can be taken in whatever order you like.

Where Can You Find the Peloton Programs

You can find Peloton Programs anywhere you can find Peloton Classes: 

My favorite way to access the Programs is using the Guide

two TVs side by side showing Arms with Tunde and Ben Stronger You

Types of Peloton Programs: 

The programs range from marathon training programs, power zone training, couch to 5k, strength, and many more. 

The class types and specific programs are constantly evolving. Here is the current list of Programs: 

  • Strength Workouts
    • Glutes and Legs Strength with Adrian
    • Arms with Tunde
    • Floor Bootcamp with Jess Sims and Selena
    • The Stronger You with Ben Alldis
    • Split Programs
      • 3 Day Split 
      • 5 Day Split
    • Beginner Strength with Matty and Olivia Amato
    • Total Strength 1 & 2 with Andy Speer (also German with Erik)
    • Adaptive Strength with Logan Aldridge 
    • Discover Strength (German with Assal)
  • Core Workouts
    • Crush Your Core 1 & 2 with Emma Lovewell
    • Strong Body Strong Core (German with Irene)Straight to the Core with Rebecca Kennedy
  • Boxing
    • Get Hooked Peloton Boxing (Shadowboxing)
  • Pilates
  • Yoga and Meditation
    • A Self Care Retreat with Anna Greenberg 
    • Flow to the Finish with Mariana 
    • Path to Inversion with Kirra
    • Power Restorative Yoga with Ross
    • The Power of Sleep with Ross
    • Intro to Meditation with Aditi 
    • Beginner Yoga (German with Nico)
  • Cycling
    • Power Zone Rides
    • Peak Your Power Zones
    • Build Your Power Zones
    • Discover Your Power Zones
    • You Can Ride
  • Running
    • Road to Your 26.2 (Marathon Training) 1, 2, and 3 with Matt Wilpers, Robin, Becs Gentry
    • You Can Run Outdoors (German version too)
    • Go the Distance 5K
    • Train Like
      • Allyson Felix
      • Usain Bolt
  • Rowing
hand holding iphone showing peloton programs arms with tunde and marathon training

10 Reasons to Love Peloton Programs

Programs motivate me more than collections and I feel accomplished after completing them. Here are some other reasons I enjoy them.

1. Clear Program Structure

Programs are structured in a way that they build upon one another, so if you consistently take them, you will see athletic gains. I find the structure of Peloton Programs well-designed, with clear goals and progress tracking. 

There is usually a focus of each session (for example, endurance, strength, speed, flexibility) with a warm-up, main workout, and cool-down. 

Many of the programs are designed to be repeated. If you’re using the Guide like I am, you can see how your workout compared to the last one. For example, in Rebecca’s 5-Day Splits, I can see that I used a 20-pound weight for one exercise and did 9 reps, while the week before I could do the same exercise with a 15-pound weight. 

No Peloton Needed: Attach to Any TV

2. Instructor Guidance

If you want a virtual personal trainer, programs are the way to go. It’s overwhelming when you start a fitness journey, or change your goals. If you’re new to a specific type of training, you’re given a roadmap of what to do and what to expect. 

The instructor will usually have an introduction video explaining the program itself even before Day 1 starts. Each day, the instructor focuses on the goal of the session, expectations, and any equipment needed. Also, the instructor usually will demo the moves beforehand, or at the very least, talk you through the movements with explicit directions to ensure you have a productive and safe workout. 

Many of the instructors take the time to address concerns and answer questions about their programs on social media, especially Instagram, so make sure to follow the instructors there. 

If you’re interested in becoming a certified personal trainer, follow my journey, and sign up for ISSA here.

3. Short Classes

Most programs get a lot done in a short amount of time. For example, core exercises can be as short as five minutes. A strength workout is usually 20 to 30 minutes. You’ll find yourself stacking some programs with other classes, but for other programs, you may not have the energy to do anything more than that one class.

4. Intensity Levels and Modifications

For some programs, like the Splits, there are intermediate and advanced programs. Try to start with the one that best fits you. 

The instructor expects that you work at your full potential but will offer modifications and remind you of them throughout the workout. For example, he or she may drop down a weight and let you know if you should too. Or advise you to do push-ups on your knees or in a plank position.

5. Introduce You to New Instructors

Programs allow you to try out new instructors and get out of your comfort zone. If you’ve dismissed an instructor before prematurely, maybe your view of them will change after completing a program. You’ll realize who the instructors are who truly know their stuff and how to create a structured workout plan. 

Peloton instructors use a variety of coaching styles to motivate and challenge riders. Some instructors focus on positive affirmations and motivational speeches, while others use humor and sarcasm to keep us engaged.

And other instructors are better at technical coaching, guiding us on proper form and technique.

6. Try New Workouts

Programs allow you to safely try a new workout that maybe you’ve never done. This is especially true of the beginner programs. Naming a program “You Can Run” not only motivates people but makes it accessible to everyone, of every age, and every skill level. 

7. Goal-Oriented

Peloton Programs typically run for several weeks, with a specific number of sessions per week. This allows for a gradual increase in intensity and workload, helping members to build fitness and avoid injury. The duration of each program varies, with some lasting as few as four weeks and others lasting up to twelve weeks. Many are designed for Peloton users to repeat for a month or two to see the full benefits.

8. Ease of Use

Even if you don’t have a large workout space, you can take advantage of the Programs. Maybe you don’t own any Peloton equipment at all. Some programs require no equipment, others need minimal equipment like a yoga mat, and others require a bike, rower, or a full range of dumbbells. 

Plus, since Peloton programs are accessible on a wide range of devices, this makes it easy to stay on track with workouts from anywhere, even on vacation.

9. Badges

You are awarded achievement badges for completing programs: gold if you completed most to all of the classes, silver, and then bronze. If I’m doing a program, I only want gold.

10. Results

Every time I’ve completed a program, even more so if I repeat it, I feel stronger and see visible results in terms of muscle. I’ve repeated many of the programs several times and have seen great results with Arms with Tunde and Rebecca’s 5-Day Split.

michelle platt lifting 20 pound weight blue background
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02/18/2024 10:00 am GMT

10 Things You’ll Dislike the Peloton Programs

Although unquestionably, you can get a great workout and see results from following a program, there are disadvantages. 

1. Structure Setup

The biggest reason I dislike the programs is their class-locking system. Yes, it’s great to keep you on track since you can’t skip ahead to the next class and unlock it without completing the required class before it, but it also has a major disadvantage too. 

For example, I have tried unsuccessfully to complete the Core programs. Many of them require you to do their core classes often, even 5 days per week. For example, Rebecca’s Straight to the Core is 24 classes over 4 weeks. 

There are times, especially when traveling, that I work out but miss one of those classes. This just happened to me recently. I was away for Thanksgiving and didn’t complete all of the classes in week 1. So now, Peloton moves me along to week 2. And if I want to go back to week 1’s classes (and I do), I won’t get credit for those classes. 

This frustrates me immensely. I have no desire to move on to the next week, which builds onto the previous week until I complete all the classes before. And while I’m in a program, it doesn’t give me an option to restart the program. Usually, at this point, I stop doing the program and go back to it at a later time. And this dilemma often repeats itself. 

2. Program Takes You Away From Other Classes

Many of the programs, especially the strength ones, are very intense. This is great for your overall fitness health, however, due to time constraints or the physical intensity of the class, you may find it difficult to take some of the other Peloton classes.

For instance, I recently took a 30-minute ride on the bike right before one of Rebecca’s 5-Day split classes. It was too much for my body to do the full 60 minutes. I powered through but wouldn’t do that again.

The more I do strength programs, the less frequently I take cycling classes. For me, I like focusing on strength training, and do it more than cardio. However, depending on the program, if you want to do it all, it may be tricky. Your body needs rest time and many of these programs demand a lot from your body.

3. Challenging for Beginners

While many programs are specifically designed for beginners, others are a bit more challenging. Much of this is contingent on personal preference but some find that there is not enough rest time between sets, rest days, or that the moves are too fast.

My advice is to try out different programs and get a feel for them. I found most of the programs to be excellent. Personally, I loved the Floor Bootcamp but I know lots of people complained that it moved too quickly. 

4. Motivation

I happen to self-motivate very well, especially if I have a plan. However, many of my friends don’t understand how I exercise only at home, and still want the experience of a gym or personal trainer to keep them on track. Know yourself. 

As I mentioned earlier, while the Programs themselves are motivating, not being able to go back and take a class you missed is demotivating to me. 

5. Repetitive Workouts

While some programs run several weeks, many are only one-week sessions. This means that you can get bored repeating the same workouts over again. Yes, you will see progress but you might not enjoy them as much as other classes. 

6. Too Much Talking

Since the instructors verbally guide you during the workout, you may find some of them talk quite a lot. If you’re used to working out on your own, blocking out the instructors, or listening to music, you may find all this talking distracting, especially if you don’t personally connect to an instructor. 

7. Equipment

Many of the Programs are strength related and you’ll probably need to invest in some new equipment. First, you’ll need a mat and some dumbbells. But you’ll see as you get stronger, you’ll need heavier weights. 

8. Space Requirements

Some Peloton programs, especially those involving strength training or specialized equipment, may require a significant amount of workout space. This could be impractical for individuals with limited room in their homes or apartments.

9. On-Demand Classes

Unlike live Peloton classes, the Programs are always on demand and drop on a certain date. You won’t find the same interaction on the leaderboard. Expect fewer high-fives as people can take this class at any time. It’s also harder to coordinate taking classes with friends, as you’ll likely be up to different parts of the program.

This reduced personal connection and lack of immediate feedback might be a drawback for those who thrive on in-person social and instructor interaction.

10. Limited Programs

While Peloton keeps adding programs, once you get in the groove, you’re going to want to take more of them. Unfortunately, once you finish a program, especially one you love, there are not so many programs to take its place. 

For example, I keep referring to Rebecca’s 5-Day split. Not only is it one of the newest Peloton programs, but it’s also in my opinion, the best Peloton program. You should repeat that class for 3 to 6 weeks. But then what? There are only a few other 5-Day splits programs. Within a few months, you’ll have memorized every move. Hopefully, Peloton will keep adding new programs to the schedule.

weight rack with dumbbells and medicine ball

How to Get Started with a Program

If you’re new to Peloton, getting started with a specific program can seem overwhelming. But don’t worry, it’s actually quite simple. Here are the steps I recommend to get started with a program:

  1. First, choose a program that suits your fitness level and goals. Peloton offers a variety of programs, ranging from beginner to advanced, and each program is designed to help you achieve a specific goal. You can browse the available programs on the Peloton app or website.
  2. Once you’ve chosen a program, make sure you have the necessary equipment. For most programs, you’ll need a Peloton bike or treadmill, but some programs can be done with just a yoga mat or weights.
  3. Next, schedule your workouts. Peloton programs are designed to be completed over a set period, usually several weeks. To stay on track, I recommend scheduling your workouts in advance and setting reminders on your phone.
  4. Finally, commit to the program and stick with it. Peloton programs are designed to challenge you, but they’re also designed to help you achieve your goals. By committing to the program and sticking with it, you’ll see results and feel great.

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