How to Use Peloton Subtitles and Closed Captions

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Were you aware that Peloton offered subtitles and closed captions for its classes? It wasn’t always this way, and I didn’t always use them.

However, once I started doing Power Zone training classes, I realized how helpful subtitles and closed captioning could be. That is, when the instructor would call out what zone you were supposed to be in, you could see it, literally spelled out on the screen in the caption.

Also, this works if you prefer to ride your Peloton bike with more music and less instructor. You do that using the volume buttons on the right hand side of the tablet. You can adjust the sound so that the music is louder than the instructor. Or you can adjust it so that the instructor is louder than the music. 

Unfortunately, there is no way to mute either. Maybe one day there will be.

Anyway, with closed captioning on your Peloton, hearing the instructor isn’t as important as before these subtitles were offered.

What are Peloton subtitles and closed captions

With regards to the Peloton platform, the words subtitles and closed captions are basically used synonymously. They are words on the screen that spell out what the instructor is saying during class.

Outside of the Peloton ecosystem, however, they’re two different things.

Subtitles vs closed captions

For example, technically subtitles are for people watching something in a foreign language. So if you’re an English speaker like I am. A

nd you wanted to take a class on Peloton with an instructor speaking a different language, such as the Spanish or German classes. Then, you would want subtitles in English. (More about how to turn on subtitles in German and Spanish classes in a moment.)

On the other hand, closed captions are for people who can’t hear the language being spoken on a video or on a TV. You may have noticed closed captioning on TVs in bars and restaurants, where things can be noisy.

However, unlike subtitles that just show dialogue, legit closed captions include dialogue written out but also describe ambient sounds, such as footsteps approaching or will show music notes [🎶] to let someone who can’t hear the music know that music is playing.

peloton screen with closed captioning

Peloton closed captions

As I said, on the Peloton platform, people use closed captions and subtitles synonymously to describe the spelled out text on the screen of what the instructor is saying. 

Sometimes, if an instructor sings along, it might say [singing] in brackets. Also, when instructors shout out a milestone and the closed captioning can’t figure out the person’s username, it will just say [member name] in brackets. 

I’ve discovered that the software or AI that Peloton uses for captioning must be phonetic or sounded out. I believe this because my username is Leah is Pawsome. However, whenever I see my username in the subtitles, in the few times I’ve gotten a milestone shout out, it always says Leah is Possum, like the marsupial animal.

leah is possum shoutout captions

And with my New York accent, pawsome and possum sound different to me. But when an instructor without a New York accent says pawsome, it really does sound like possum.

How to turn on closed captions on Peloton

There are four ways to access Peloton content.

One, on Peloton hardware.

Two, the Peloton app on your phone or tablet.

Three, the Peloton websites.

And, four, the Peloton app or channel on your Smart TV.

Each has slightly different steps to take in order to turn on closed captions.

How to get closed captions or subtitles on Peloton hardware

I own a Peloton bike. So the steps I’m providing here are the ones I followed to enable closed captioning or subtitles on the bike tablet. If you have a Tread, I would imagine the steps are the same or quite similar. 

One, start by turning on your Peloton hardware. Two, tap your profile to log in.

Now, we’re going to go into your profile, not settings, to get to where you turn captions on or off. You get to your profile one of two ways.

One, tap your profile pic from the home screen. Or, two tap your username at the bottom left of the screen.

Now, above your profile pic is a gear symbol. Tap that.

You want “Preferences,” so tap that. Look for “Content Preferences” and then “Instruction and Subtitle Language Settings.”

Select that and then tap on or off the classes you want to show subtitles and in which languages. I have subtitles enabled for all languages.

Other accessibility settings

I discovered that on my bike, there are additional accessibility settings for those with visual challenges. You’ll find these under Settings (top right hand corner of the bike tablet or touchscreen.)

One, tap “Settings,” then “Device Settings.” Two, under “System” tap “Accessibility.”

Three, on the next screen you have options to have the bike “speak” to you as you’re taking a class. This includes Talk Back and Speak.

There is also an option called Switch Access. This allows users with mobility issues to use the device in a way that goes beyond tapping the screen.

As always once you change settings, if there is a button that says “Save Changes,” make sure you tap it. Otherwise, your changes won’t be saved. 

Turn on closed captions on Peloton app

Here are the steps to turn on closed captions on the Peloton app on a tablet or phone.

One, open the Peloton app. Two, on the bottom right corner of the screen, tap the three lines above the word “More.”

Three, on the next screen you’ll see a section called Account and then Preferences next to a gear symbol. Tap Preferences.

Four, on the Preferences screen scroll down to “Class Languages.” Tap Edit.

There you’ll see three options for class languages as well as subtitle options. In order to turn on or turn off subtitles, you will need to toggle the button to the right to turn that on for each of the different languages that classes are taught in: English, German and Spanish.

setting captions on peloton app

English language instruction

Under English language instruction, you have two choices. The first is “Show All English Classes.” Or, in other words, show all classes in English. Tap the circle next to that to select.

The second option is “Show Only Subtitled Classes.” If you tap that, it automatically turns off “Show All English Classes.”

In addition, you can choose to see English Subtitled Classes, German Subtitled Classes and/or Spanish Subtitled Classes. 

So, these are selections for classes taught in English. If you want closed captioning on classes taught in English on the app, then you’ll need to choose the subtitle option and English Subtitled Classes. 

German Instruction

Under German language instruction, i.e. all classes taught in German, you have the same two options. One, Show all German Classes. Or, two, Show Only Subtitled Classes.

If you choose the latter option, you can only select subtitles in English. There is no option to choose Spanish subtitles for classes taught in German.

Spanish Instruction

Under Spanish language instruction,you have the same two options. One, Show all Spanish Classes. Or, two, Show Only Subtitled Classes.

Like with German classes, you can only select subtitles in English. There is no option to choose German subtitles for classes taught in Spanish.

More about finding Peloton classes in German and Spanish.

Turn on subtitles on Peloton channel on Smart TV

I have a Roku TV and access the Peloton channel that way. So, the instructions here are based on my experience turning subtitles on and off using a Roku remote.

One, select the Peloton channel. Two, choose your profile to log in.

Unlike other places, you do not choose subtitles or closed captioning in Settings. Instead, it’s in the Filter.

Turn on subtitles in Filter

Once you’re in a class discipline, you can access the filter. Recently I went to Meditation classes on the Peloton channel. I used my Roku remote to select the filter.

Then, I arrowed down, if you will, to the bottom where it said “Subtitles.” I clicked on them and a check mark appeared. Now, subtitles were on for my Meditation classes.

In addition, in that same filter, you can choose Class Language. So, for kicks and giggles, I chose German. I got 38 meditation classes with German instructor Nico Sarani.

However, if I went back into the filter and toggled down to Subtitles to turn them on, then only two meditation classes in German came up in the results.

That means of all of the meditation classes, only seven of them have subtitles. This includes a 10-minute meditation with the DFB women (that’s the German national soccer team).

german meditation peloton subtitles

Another way to turn on subtitles on a Smart TV

What’s interesting about using the Roku TV to access subtitles is this: in addition to using the filter to turn them on, you can enable subtitles inside the class, too. So if you press any of the arrow keys, you’ll get an additional menu across the bottom of the screen. There you’ll see subtitles and timer.

With regards to subtitles, there are four options:

  1. On
  2. On reply
  3. Mute
  4. Off
roku tv showing peloton subtitles turned on

How to turn on captions on Peloton website

If you use your computer or laptop to access the Peloton website for classes, here are the steps to turn on captions or subtitles.

On the homepage for classes, look to the far right on the top of the screen. When you find the three dots, click on them. Then, scroll down to the gear icon next to “Preferences” and click on it.

On the next screen, select “Settings.” After that, scroll down to Content Preferences. Click “Change Settings.”

Now you’ll see a popup screen that looks similar to the captions on and off options in the Peloton app. You can go through and toggle on or off captions in classes taught in each of the languages. Make sure you click on “Save Changes” at the bottom.

How to turn off closed captions on Peloton

Now that you know how to turn on closed captions on the Peloton platform, let’s walk through how to turn them off.

Basically, you’re going to follow the same steps as above. But instead of toggling “on” closed captioning when that was an option, you’re going to toggle it to “off.”

Or, for instance, with the Peloton app, you’re going to go back into preferences and “unselect” the option for “Show Only Subtitled Classes.” You would need to do this for all three languages, if you’d previously opted in to subtitles or closed captions for them.

Or on the Peloton channel, you’ll use the Roku remote (or your Smart TV remote) to turn off subtitles right within the class. Remember: it’s at the bottom of the screen. 

English subtitles confusing

As I was researching this article, I realized that the setting for subtitles in English language classes is confusing. Unlike the subtitle options for Spanish and German classes, which are simply on or off, the English classes ask if you want to see all classes or only those classes with subtitles.

However, it appears that the default these days is for Peloton classes to all have subtitles. Even live classes have subtitles.

On the other hand, it’s possible that older classes in the Peloton library did not default to subtitles. Therefore, if you choose to show subtitled classes only, perhaps you won’t get every single class in the library to show in search results. 

So I decided to test that out.

All English classes vs English classes with subtitles

Here is how I tested that. First, I went into my settings on the Peloton website. I made sure that I’d chosen to show all English classes available. 

Then, I decided to search for Arms & Light Weights classes. Previously known as Arms Toning classes, I knew there would be classes in the library that went back a couple of years. 

And I was right. I got 478 classes in my search for these strength classes. The oldest one being from 4/4/19.

Then, I went back into settings and changed the language option to classes with subtitles only. And back to strength classes to search for Arms & Light Weights aka Arms Toning classes.

And my result? 472 classes of the 478 in the library have subtitles. I started one just to see–a five minute arms class with Denis Morton from 4/25/19. You can see right on the screen that it does have English subtitles. 

subtitles symbol on denis arms class

Captions and subtitles in live classes

As I wrote in my article about the media preview of the PSNY reopenings, I discovered how Peloton can get closed captioning in live classes. And that’s starting the classes about five minutes before the live broadcast start time.

So, for example, the 8 a.m. pop ride I took with Robin Arzon started at 7:55 in the studio. But for those at home, the live feed didn’t start until 8. Or thereabouts.

I’m guessing that this slight delay is so that the AI can catch up with captioning what the instructors are saying. And, as I said at the top of this article, clearly it works phonetically. Because if you look closely at the words on the screen, they don’t always make sense but they sound right. You know what I mean?

It’s just like my username in a shout out. Instead of Leah is Pawsome, it always comes out as Leah is Possum.

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