Since I started using Tonal it completely transformed the way I train at home and today I will share with you everything there is to know about which accessories should you get for the complete workout.
As a whole, tonal smart accessories are attachments powered by Bluetooth technology that allows you to control the digital resistance and use dynamic modes wirelessly, without manually changing the weight. They include smart handles for isolated and single-arm exercises, as well as a smart bar for compound movements like overhead press or deadlift.
Tonal Home Gym With Smart Accessories
What I love about the Tonal gym is it allows you to do over 200 different exercises from just one machine, which is more than enough to cover all muscle groups. Plus, it has some smart features that allow focusing on building strength and hypertrophy (muscle growth).
This way you don’t have to spend extra money on fancy and bulky gym equipment.
However, to do all of the exercises that you would normally do in the gym, you will need to order a set of smart accessories that comes with the Tonal.
How Do Tonal Smart Accessories Work?
In general, the Tonal smart accessories work just like regular accessories and handles that you see in the gym. However, the main difference is that with Tonal attachments you can control the resistance directly from the bar and handles.
Keep in mind that to use smart accessories you have to pair them with Tonal via Bluetooth. Also, Tonal uses their exclusive T lock that has to be attached to the cable cord called “ball”.
What is the Tonal T lock? As a whole, the Tonal T lock (also called t clip adapter) is a proprietary Tonal lock that allows you to connect all Tonal accessories to the cable, as well as most of the gym accessories like EZ bar or leg strap. You cannot use any accessories with Tonal without the t clip adapters, which can only be ordered from the Tonal website for $20 for the pack of 4 pieces.
NOTE: Sometimes I found people buy and sell T locks on third-party marketplaces like Facebook groups or Reddit for a slightly lower price.
This means that all of the Tonal accessories that you order from their website come with already mounted T clips. However, if you want to use any third-party attachments, you need to get a separate set of T lock adapters and carabiners to hook them to the cable ball.
How To Use Tonal T Clips
Here you can see the video from Joey that shows you exactly how you can attach any accessories to the Tonal using the T clips.
Why Tonal Accessories Are Called Smart?
In general, tonal accessories are called smart because they allow you to change your resistance and personalize your workout. A Tonal smart bar and smart handles have buttons to turn weight on or off once in position.
As you can see, the Tonal smart handles have grey buttons on the opposite end of the handle o either reduce or increase the weight. This means you can use a variety of advanced training methods like drop sets and supersets, without having to stop the exercise and manually change the weight.
On the other hand, the Tonal smart bar has a control clip called “Control Bar”, which can be attached at any position of the bar, depending on what type of exercises you do (more on that in a second).
What I like about the Tonal smart accessories is they help you to customize your workout and maximize the time-under-tension to further drive muscle growth. For example, you can do circuit-style training (where you go from one exercise to another, back to back) without having to put the bar down.
NOTE: Click here to read more about “tonal without subscription“
Are Tonal Accessories Worth It?
In general, the Tonal accessories are worth it because they allow you to control the workout without having to change the weight manually. However, if you compare the price of the Tonal accessories to other gym attachments, the Tonal is four times more expensive.
Do I need smart accessories for tonal? Overall, you need smart accessories for Tonal because they allow you to utilize all of the digital functionality of the machine. Tonal is driven by AI technology that feeds the data information about your workouts back into the software via smart accessories and a built-in camera.
This information is then processed and translated into your levels of resistance, workout recommendations, and form guidance.
You can learn more about “tonal digital weight” in my article here.
What Accessories Does Tonal Come With?
Overall, when you order a Tonal gym you have an option to either take the machine with or without smart accessories.
The accessories that come with Tonal include:
- Pair of smart handles
- Smart bar
- Exercise mat
Tonal Smart Handles
Tonal smart handles are the cable attachments that allow you to do most of the exercises. They have built-in accelerometers, which can measure how hard or easy was the movement for you. They also have six-axis gyroscopes to not only track your position during the lifting but also count every repetition you do.
Does tonal come with handles? As a whole, tonal does come with smart handles, as long as you add to the cart the smart accessories package for $495. The package includes all of the essential attachments and you cannot order only smart handles.
Tonal smart handles require two AA batteries, one on every handle (to power the Bluetooth), which you should replace once every 6 months. To change the batteries have you press the dark grey button on the side of the handle to unlock the battery pack.
What exercises you can do with a Tonal smart handle? In general, you can do hundreds of exercises with Tonal smart handles that range from lower to upper body and covers every muscle group. The exercises can be done lateral, unilateral, standing, as well as seated.
Here is the list of the exercises you can do with the Tonal smart handles.
Frontal (anterior) raises
Bent-over rear delt flyes
Bent-over reverse flyes
Supine reverse flyes
Rear delt crossover
External shoulder rotation
Single-arm tricep extensions
Single-arm tricep kickbacks
Single-arm tricep pushdowns
Supine cable curls
Supine tricep extensions
|Chest||Standing cable chest press|
Seated cable chest press
Single-arm seated cable press
Middle chest flyes
High to low chest flyes
Low to high chest flyes
Single-arm cable chest press
Unilateral cable chest press
Cable flat bench press
Cable incline bench press
Cable chest pullover
Reverse grip cable pulldown
Single-arm cable row
Seated one-arm cable pulley rows
Seated cable row
Trap bar deadlifts
Bulgarian split squats
Reverse goblet squat
Cable reverse lunges
Cable lateral lunges
|Core||Cable oblique crunch|
Cable abs pull
Plank with row
Half kneeling lift
Half kneeling chop
As you can see, all of the cable exercises that you can do in the gym cable machine can also be done with the Tonal smart handles.
NOTE: You can learn more about “best tonal exercises for weight loss” in my article here.
Tonal Smart Bar
As a whole, you use the Tonal smart bar in a similar way to the Olympic barbell. However, the Tonal bar is 40 inches long and is much lighter compared to 83 inches of an Olympic size bar. It has two T locks on the rear ends of the bar, as well as a safety clip to control the weight.
Does tonal come with a smart bar? Similarly like with smart handles, the Tonal smart bar does come with the Tonal, as long as you get the whole accessories set. You cannot use a regular Olympic bar with Tonal and you cannot buy a Tonal smart bar separately.
The difference between the smart bar and the smart handles is that handles do not require you to set up any mode on the Tonal machine to be activated. They have batteries and Bluetooth built into the handles.
On the other hand, the Tonal smart bar does not have the batteries in the bar itself, but rather in the control clip. When you use the smart bar, you need to turn on the Bar Mode, which will allow you to access all the functions while doing Free Lift.
The Tonal smart bar doesn’t have the batteries, however, there are AAA batteries in the control clip, which is used to control the resistance. You can change the batteries you need to open the control clip and release the cover of the battery compartment. Once you replaced the batteries, secure the cover and clip the attachment back on the bar.
What exercises you can do with a Tonal smart bar? As a whole, you can do several compound exercises with the Tonal smart bar. These mostly include multiple joint movements like chest press, deadlift, squats, and rows. Studies have shown that compound exercises elicit better hypertrophy gains, muscle strength, and maximal oxygen consumption, compared to single-joint movements.
Here is the list of the exercises you can do with the Tonal smart bar.
Barbell frontal (anterior) raises
|Arms||Barbell biceps curls|
Barbell skull crusher
Barbell triceps extension
|Chest||Standing barbell chest press|
Seated barbell chest press
Flat bench press
Incline bench press
Bend over row
Reverse barbell lunges
Bulgarian split squats
As you can see, the Tonal smart bar allows you only to do the big compound lifts.
This is good news.
Studies have shown that “the benefits of multi-joint exercise is purported to be related to higher training volume, reflected in higher hormonal and metabolic responses compared to those from single-joint exercises” (ACSM, 2009).
The tonal rope is the only attachment that is not “smart”. It looks identical to the triceps rope that you would see in the fitness center. It does not have any digital functionality, built-in Bluetooth, or batteries. The only difference between rope in the gym and Tonal is that Tonal rope has a proprietary T lock that attaches to the cable cord.
Does tonal come with a rope? In short, the tonal rope comes with the Tonal only when you buy all accessories.
I use this attachment quite a lot because I like to do a lot of core isolation movements like cable crunch or skull crushers, as well as finish off my workouts with some biceps curls and triceps extensions.
What exercises you can do with a Tonal rope? As a whole, you can do multiple exercises with Tonal rope that are both compound and single joint like triceps extensions, face fulls, and pull thoughts. You can also target specific muscle groups like glutes, obliques, and traps.
Here you can see a video from Chris giving some good rope exercises ideas.
As a whole, the Tonal bench is stable and made from high-quality material. It provides you with basic support and is good for most prone and seated exercises.
What I don’t like is it does not have the incline and decline adjustment, which could be further utilized in the workouts.
That’s why I got myself a regular bench from the company called LINODI that you can modify the angle (available on Amazon). Details here.
(if you buy through links on this page, I may earn a small commission).
This not only helps to maintain a straight back when you seat but also targets specific muscle fibers during the exercises.
This also helps with muscular activation of both the upper and lower heads of the pectoralis.
Recent studies have shown that “a bench incline angle of 30° or 45° resulted in greater muscular activation during certain time points, suggesting that it is important to consider how muscular activation is affected at various time points when selecting bench press exercises” (Lauver et al. 2016).
In other words, if you want your pecs muscles to pop, you should focus on targeting the muscles from all the possible angles.
Other studies have shown that “inclination of 30° produces greater activation of the upper portion of the pectoralis major. Inclinations greater than 45° produce significantly higher activation of the anterior deltoid and decrease the muscular performance of the pectoralis major” (Rodríguez-Ridao et al. 2020).
Of course, doing exercises on the Tonal bench is also viable as some studies showed that pectoralis major elicited the highest muscle activity on the flat bench (0° angle).
The tonal roller is made of hard-density plastic material with a rubber finish that helps to maintain a certain degree of pressure. Plus, it doesn’t bend, crack, or break under load. They are also resistant to sweat and don’t absorb any moisture.
This is actually a much better foam roller than I’ve expected because most of the rollers available are made of styrofoam or some other light and soft material. These types of rollers are good for things like a pilates class to challenge the position that engages your core muscles.
However, when it comes to myofascial release, you want to get good quality and durable roller.
Can You Use Other Accessories With Tonal?
In general, you can use other accessories with Tonal because most of the gym accessories for cable machines come with a metal loop that attaches to the ball via T locks. To use the gym accessories with tonal you need a set of carabiners and multiple T clip adapters.
What accessories work with tonal? As a whole, accessories that work with Tonal include EZE bar, V-shaped bar, grip balanced V-bar, ankle straps, wrist straps, curl bar, revolving grip lat bar, abdominal strap, cannonball grips, and grappler grip attachments.
I personally love to use many grapplers attachments because they help with forearm muscle activation. Also, I like the revolved lat pull-down attachment because it allows doing a variety of pulling exercises with a wide-angle and neutral grip.
Can you use leg accessories with Tonal? In short, you can use leg accessories with Tonal, for example, ankle straps to do exercises like leg kickbacks or lateral leg raises. These exercises allow you to isolate the movement and target specific muscle groups like glutes or inner thighs.
The bad news is that Tonal does not provide any of the additional attachments, which means you have to search online for aftermarket accessories.
Tonal Without Smart Accessories
As a whole, you can use Tonal without smart accessories because the machine works like a regular cable station. However, without smart accessories, you will be limited to only the basic exercises, without having to access all cool features like form correction, spotter, and dynamic modes.
Of course, if you decide not to take the accessories, you can always get a cheaper option from third-party websites together with T clip adapters and DIY your own attachments, for a lower price.
I think the only advantage of getting a tonal without smart attachments is the cost. However, if you’re not concerned about the money right now, I strongly recommend getting the whole set that will provide a better experience and last for years to come.
Is Tonal without smart accessories worth it? In general, Tonal is not worth it without smart accessories because it limits the functionality of the machine. Without smart accessories, you cannot utilize features like burnout more or smart flex, which are essential to fully take advantage of the machine.
How To Store Tonal Accessories
Here you can see the video from Chris about how to store and organize your Tonal accessories.
Tonal Smart Accessories Not Working
Sometimes you can notice that your Tonal smart accessories are not working because they can’t be paired or they tend to disconnect. In that case, always make sure that your batteries are fully charged and you don’t have other devices synced with Tonal.
As you can see, using tonal smart accessories can transform your workout routine and help you get the most from the session. Plus, adding some additional attachments not only increases the variety of workouts but also allows you to target specific muscles groups, based on your workout goals.