Whether you thrive off of constant encouragement or need hyper-technical tips, this guide to the best Peloton instructors will help you decide which trainers' classes to add to your queue.

By Megan Falk
February 01, 2021
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Similar to how a college professor can either make you fall in love with a topic or hate it with a burning passion, a fitness instructor can certainly make or break your workout. Take a spin class with a drill sergeant-esque teacher, and you might become totally winded after just five minutes on the bike. Sign up for a treadmill class with an easygoing coach, and you might feel like you didn’t reach your full potential. And at the end each, you'll either feel so frustrated that you vow to never take their class again — or worse, you could call it quits on that type of class completely. Ugh.

But when it comes to Peloton classes, it doesn’t have to be this way. Instead of randomly selecting a workout for the day, let this manual to the best Peloton instructors guide you. The cheat sheet, based on reviews from Reddit users and Shape Squad members, will tell you the best Peloton coach for your workout style. And by using it to decide which trainers will give you the exact motivation, music, and attitude you need, you’ll be more likely to actually *enjoy* your virtual class — and maybe even hit a new PR.

Credit: Peloton

The Best Peloton Instructor for Music Variety: Hannah Frankson

Classes: Bike

Live from Peloton’s London studio, Hannah Frankson will lead you through upbeat cycling classes synced with music across decades and genres, which Reddit users call out as one of her top traits. One day, she might lead a 45-minute EDM ride, and the next, a 30-minute class featuring 2010’s top hits. Plus, riders love Frankson’s warm, quirky personality, which — combined with her straightforward style of teaching — makes for energetic classes that are actually accomplishable. “Hannah F. is adorkable,” writes one Reddit user. “She cannot sing or dance and it is so endearing. She has tough, but approachable rides that are extremely well-structured.” (Related: Peloton Now Lets You Customize Your Workouts By "Stacking" Your Classes)

The Best Peloton Instructor for Nonstop Encouragement: Robin Arzón

Classes: Bike, Tread, Strength

A RRCA-certified running coach and ultramarathoner, Robin Arzón might seem a little intimidating to newbies. But in reality, this best Peloton instructor is known for making members “feel like a badass b***h capable and worthy of anything and everything,” according to one Reddit user. Throughout her dynamic classes — such as bodyweight strength, HIIT, 90s rides, and hip hop runs — Arzón keeps the energy level high and constantly doles out motivational quotes. The result: “She will remind you that you are wearing a crown while you ride, and make you feel epic,” says another Reddit poster. (P.S. here's how she powers through her workouts while pregnant.)

The Best Peloton Instructor for Simple Strength Workouts: Adrian Williams

Classes: Tread, Strength, Cardio

For no-frills strength training seshes that still leave your muscles quivering, Adrian Williams is your coach. This best Peloton instructor’s 10-minute upper-body and lower-body strength workouts are typically a sequence of just four moves, which one Reddit user says makes the classes super easy to follow. “I really like how simple his classes are movement-wise, [which was helpful] when I first got started and I couldn’t keep up with all the compound movements in, say, Jess’ classes,” they add.

Even if you’re taking a longer class, such as a 45-minute full-body workout, Williams makes sure you get the most burn out of every second. “He keeps movements simple, effective, and applicable to all skill levels,” writes another Reddit user. “I really appreciate that he knows how to explain a movement without resulting in a prolonged recovery period.”

The Best Peloton Instructor for Morning Workouts: Jess Sims

Classes: Tread, Strength

Take one look at Jess Sims’ top tracks to blast during class, and you’ll understand why she’s the best Peloton instructor for straight-out-of-bed workouts. Her playlist is packed with invigorating songs — such as “It Takes Two” by Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock and Ciara’s “Level Up” — that will pump you up better than a cup of coffee. Just take it from Shape Deputy Digital Editor Alyssa Sparacino: “As a morning exerciser, Jess is sometimes the ONLY thing that will keep me going on a particularly groggy day,” she says. “Her energy is contagious and motivation endless, but somehow, she still remains humble and relatable.”

Not to mention, Simms says she has a “tough love” coaching style that will ensure you get the most out of each sweat sesh. “What really has me coming back to her classes time and time again is that they are hard AF in the BEST way possible,” says Sparacino. “She always emphasizes not wasting time in her workouts and her methodology holds firm to that promise."

The Best Peloton Instructor for Getting Real: Jess King

Classes: Bike, Tread

Whether she’s leading riders through a 30-minute Miley Cyrus-themed ride or a 90s dance spin class, Jess King doesn’t alter her unique personality to fit the picture-perfect, “show biz”-like nature of many other Peloton's workouts. Instead, she shows off her truest self, and this authenticity has a positive effect on members. “Jess actually makes me feel like it’s ok to be weird and awkward!” says one Reddit poster. “She seems so genuine and you can tell she sometimes feels awkward or that she is too much, which makes her endearing and makes me feel good about myself to let loose once in a while.”

Plus, this best Peloton instructor’s “Sweat Steady” rides, which feature long, sustained intervals, are more than just a killer endurance workout for your muscles. “A couple of her Sweat Steady rides have been more like a much-needed therapy session than anything,” writes another Reddit user. "I cried at least twice during the last one — something about a combination of the mental toughness of the long intervals paired with some things she said during the intervals really resonated with me.” 

The Best Peloton Instructor for Technical Training: Andy Speer

Classes: Tread, Strength

If you were one of those kids who always responded “But, why?” when your mom asked you to finish a chore (and maybe you’re *still* like that), you need to add Andy Speer’s classes to your schedule. Given his background as a former gymnast and a certified strength and conditioning specialist, Speer’s style of training is centered on technique. “As a certified trainer myself, I nerd out for smarter (not just harder) training,” says Sparacino. “Andy really knows his stuff and walks you through not just how to do something, but also why he’s asking you to do it. His warm-ups get your body primed and ready for what’s to come and his training style really emphasizes form above all else. Not to mention, he’ll often hit you with dad jokes that instantly lighten the mood — no matter how much you want to scream at him during those last 5 reps."

The Best Peloton Instructor for Athletic Moves: Rebecca Kennedy

Classes: Tread, Strength, Cardio

When you’re itching for some creative new moves, tune into one of Rebecca Kennedy’s virtual workouts. This best Peloton instructor was previously a gymnast and an NFL cheerleader, and the body awareness she developed in those sports still influences her coaching approach today.

“As a lifelong cheerleader myself (who’s dabbled in some gymnastics), I love that she incorporates some of those styles into her training,” says Lauren Mazzo, Shape’s web editor. “For example, take one of her core workouts, and you’ll probably have to do a hollow hold (a common gymnastics drill) — and you’ll definitely see her pointing her toes. Don’t be fooled; cheerleaders and gymnasts are tough as hell, and she can still absolutely crush you with her strength and tread workouts, too. Getting to tap into my old skills during a workout makes me feel like coming home!” (BTW, you can get an extra dose of Kennedy in her killer workout videos on Shape.)

The Best Peloton Instructor for Beginners: Matt Wilpers

Classes: Bike, Tread

Unlike those hard-core coaches who push you to put 110 percent of your energy into every single class, Matt Wilpers is all about making fitness attainable — and enjoyable — for everyone. Whether you take his Power Zone Endurance rides or progression runs, you won’t be told to pick up the pace or crank the resistance up to the max. Instead, you’ll be encouraged to cut back on the intensity of your workout if necessary and to take the rest days your body needs, according to Reddit users. And this gentle style of training is what makes Wilpers the best Peloton instructor for those new to fitness. 

“So many instructors want you to go all-out all the time, and for those of us that are working towards fitness goals, it is discouraging and exhausting,” says one Reddit user. “I was starting to hate getting on the bike because I always felt so out of shape and that I couldn’t keep up with the classes. [After taking Matt’s classes,] I am starting to enjoy the bike again. Thank you, Matt, for encouraging people not to kill themselves during every workout!” (BTW, you'll want to do some light mobility and stability exercises before you hop on the bike — or start any other workout.)

The Best Peloton Instructor for Feel-Good Spin Classes: Cody Rigsby

Classes: Bike

Cody Rigsby may not be the most technical coach, per Reddit users, but he scores top marks in terms of entertainment. This best Peloton instructor will guide you through Latin-inspired rides, interval workouts, and pop classes, all while keeping his energy level as high as a nightclub. “When I want to laugh and feel good, and potentially dance in and out of the saddle and everywhere in between (no shame in my game), I seek out Cody,” writes one Reddit user.

But to get the full Rigsby experience, add his signature XOXO, Cody classes to your rotation. In each half-hour ride, you’ll cycle to the beat of an ultra-pop playlist — plus a bit of personal advice from the trainer himself. “Cody is like my best girlfriend who is constantly hitting the nostalgia buttons...and that somehow makes me ride harder,” says another Reddit poster. “I either PR or get close to it in rides I take with him more than anyone else. Maybe it's the sex advice during active recovery in his XOXO Cody class, or just the chatter teaching young millennials and old Gen Zers on the bike what Blockbuster used to be, and listing his favorite movie candy as a distraction. Either way, he's my favorite instructor.” (Related: This Workout Made Me Realize I've Been Cheating Myself In Spin Class All Along)

The Best Peloton Instructor for Artist Series Rides: Ally Love

Classes: Bike, Strength

Ally Love designs each and every one of her classes to make members "feel proud and uplifted," and her beloved artist series rides do just that. During her Pitbull, Diana Ross, and Whitney Houston rides — which Reddit users call out as some of the top themed rides on the platform — you'll jam out to confidence-boosting hits and get a challenging workout in. Just take it from one Reddit user who swears Love's Prince-themed ride with fellow instructor Emma Lovewell was one of the best artist series rides of 2020: "There was such joyous energy to this ride + great music and (shallow) I loved the purple aesthetic," they wrote. "It just felt like a celebration, with all my favorite Prince classics. Emma and Ally are two of my favorite instructors, and I thought they played well off of each other." (Related: Peloton's Ally Love Isn't Here for One-Note Wellness Routines)

The Best Peloton Instructor for a Mood Boost: Alex Toussaint

Classes: Bike

With his no-nonsense attitude and feel-good catchphrases, Alex Toussaint is the best Peloton instructor for giving members a tough AF workout that makes you feel good, both physically and mentally. Throughout his spin classes, Toussaint calls on riders to appreciate the life they have, encouraging them to “fix your face, you woke up today! You’re blessed!" and to "give yourself more credit for how far you’ve come."

These tidbits of positivity have left one member "crying tears of gratitude during a ride more than once." And for other riders, his consistent optimism has long-lasting effects. "He is so inspiring and reminds me DAILY of my worth and gives me the courage to overcome the hurdles in my life," writes one Reddit user. "I push myself harder in his rides and truly feel he is speaking to ME when I take his class."

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