The Zwift app is a running and cycling app. For those who are not fond of the harsh winter months, it seems like the perfect solution to ensure that you don’t fall behind in your training. Originally designed as a virtual training solution for cyclists, the Zwift app is also for runners. It’s certainly surged in popularity over the last couple of years since people are looking for more at-home workout apps.
In this article, I’m giving a full Zwift App Review, so that you have some more information to decide if it’s the app for you.
Zwift App Review – The Indoor Cycling Workout app
Zwift is a turbo trainer game that lets you link your turbo trainer up to your computer, iPad, iPhone or TV, allowing you to ride with other cyclists, or run with other runners, in a virtual environment. The Zwift virtual environment helps you to ease some of the boredom that many cyclists or runners experience with indoor training.
I initially thought that to use the Zwift app that you need to buy a stationary bike or treadmill to use at home. However, you can download the app to your phone or iPad and take it to the gym with you, which makes it much more accessible for everyone.
You might find that not all bikes or treadmills at your gym are compatible with the app, but many gyms with relatively new equipment should be compatible. Zwift connects with Bluetooth, so if the machines have this ability, you should be able to use the Zwift app.
I tried the app at the gym and it worked really well. Although, I think it would be a better option for people trying to get fit at home. However, that, of course, comes with the cost of stationary bikes or a treadmill, which can be very expensive.
You’ll also need to have a strong internet connection to use the Zwift app, which could be a problem in many gyms, especially crowded ones. However, for an at-home workout solution, it’s one of the better options out there, although it is expensive to create the full set-up you need.
Pros and cons
- Easy to get in a great workout at home
- Allows you to engage in competition at home
- Lots of cycling or running route options to fit any level
- Safer than road biking or running
- You have to rely on a good internet connection
- Can be very expensive to get a full set up to workout at home
It’s also worth mentioning that if you’re a Peloton user, then Zwift likely isn’t the right choice for you, as a Peloton bike isn’t natively set up to work with Zwift (although there are some workarounds you can use). Instead, Peloton owners are probably better off looking at the cycling app Strava, which you can set up with a Peloton much easier.
How does Zwift work?
I’ll now talk you through how to set up the Zwift app – it is relatively straightforward, and you’ll be able to get access to all the workouts from using the app.
Set up your equipment
Setting up your equipment will be the most complicated part of setting up Zwift. This will, of course, vary on what you’re using. But all you need is a machine that you can connect to the app’s Bluetooth.
Once that’s done, all you need to do is set up your account and you’ll be ready to start running or cycling in a couple of minutes.
The first step is to download the Zwift application onto your device. You can download Zwift on Windows, iOS, iPhone, iPad or Apple TV, and Google Play
Create your account
You’ll then be prompted to set up an account and it will ask you some details such as your gender, height, and weight, which will be used to create your avatar and it will give an accurate representation of your speed and performance in your workout.
Create your avatar
You’ll then be taken to customise your avatar to give him or her some kit and your dream bike if you’re cycling. The more you use Zwift, earn achievements and work through the levels, the more kit and gear options will be available to you. So if you’re not really happy with the options at the start, just be aware that you’ll be able to get a better kit as you use the app.
Zwift also has the ‘Drop Shop’, which is an in-game destination where you can trade credits, called Drops, for gear. You can buy kit and gear (once you’ve reached a high enough level to unlock each item) using credits you gain by clocking up miles on the app.
Run or ride
Once that’s done, you’re ready to ride or run.
Features of the app
I’ll now talk you through some of the features the app offers.
Zwift offers over 1000 structured workouts. These workouts are very easy to follow. On the left of the screen, you have the overall structure of the workout, at the bottom, there’s a graph showing your power throughout the whole workout, and at the top of the screen you’ll see your current power, and the power you should aim for in that specific interval.
You can do your structured workouts with a smart trainer where it will adjust the resistance to help you stick at the target power. You can also choose to change the resistance manually.
Flexible training plans
For any race you’re training for, you can create a customised training plan to follow within your timescale.
Train with friends
One of the best things about Zwift is the sense of community. It’s easy to connect with other people and train together. So it’s definitely a great option for people who like working out with others but perhaps aren’t able to meet up with certain people easily.
Zwift’s customisable workouts are a great feature. It uses a drag and drop model for you to create your custom workouts based on your fitness and skill level and on your training needs.
Records and analyses your workouts
The post-workout analysis shows your effort, calories and duration of your workout. You can also track your progress over time in the Zwift Companion app.
You can also enter virtual races on Zwift for running or cycling, which is a great option if you don’t live somewhere where there are a lot of races available. Or if you want to get another race in before doing your in-person race.
How much does Zwift cost?
The monthly subscription for Zwift costs £12.99, which isn’t too expensive. However, you will need to buy a lot of extra equipment to use at home. So you’ll need to factor in these costs. The subscription is no commitment and you can cancel anytime. They also offer a 7-day free trial to all new members so you can give it a go before buying it.
What equipment do you need to use Zwift?
You are intended to use Zwift for cycling, the first thing you need is a turbo trainer. A turbo trainer is a static device that can replicate outdoor cycling indoors. You can hook your bike up to the turbo trainer, either by resting the rear wheel on a platform or connecting the chain to a drive unit. Once connected, you can adjust the resistance to simulate sprints, climbs or slow rides, a connected shoe or treadmill sensor.
What devices can you use Zwift on?
You can run Zwift on Windows, iOS, iPhone, iPad,Apple TV and Google Play. The most widely used option is iOS, and an iPad allows for easy transportation and the Apple TV option is the most cost-effective way of using Zwift in HD on a big screen.
Overall, I found the Zwift app to be pretty easy to use. I was able to set it up with the bike and treadmill at my gym. The sense of working out with people virtually is a good way to keep you motivated and the different routes and maps definitely make indoor workouts less boring.
However, I think using the app at the gym isn’t as optimal as it would be if you had an at-home set-up. It also seems like a lot of money when you need to pay for the subscription on top of your monthly membership.
So I think using the app to work out at home will definitely be an even more enjoyable experience. However, there are better training apps to consider if you’re serious about training and want something that you can use anywhere.
To sum up, Zwift is a really cool app, and there aren’t many other options for you to try of apps that do something similar. It may not quite be on par with the best running apps that are better used for outdoor group rides, but if you’re looking something you can use for indoor training fun then Zwift definitely isn’t a bad choice.
If you’re looking for a motivating, easy-to-use app for your at-home riding or running – and you already have the equipment for it – it is definitely a good option for the price.