As part of a comprehensive fitness routine, strength training is important to keep that balance with cardio. It isn’t one over the other – in my experience, they are both necessary. There is something powerful about lifting and moving your body in ways you never thought possible. That extra testosterone boosts confidence, both in and outside the gym.
What’s the skinny?
- The strength training apps are centered around training programs and splits, which mean dividing a workout by day according to certain body part groupings, like chest/triceps and back/biceps
- A few have guided personal trainer demonstrations and workouts.
- Which one you will gravitate towards depends on whether you prefer control over your own programs/workouts or whether you want guided programs and more interactive instruction.
- All of these apps are customizable for work or home.
I was skeptical of strength training at first, because I thought it would make me bulky. But the only reason that happened was because I wasn’t eating right and doing enough cardio. With that balance I have come to see strength training does just the opposite – it can lean you out and the extra muscle you build keeps you burning more fat. Even while you are Netflix and chilling.
I generally design my own routines (see my customizable exercise plan post), However, I need guidance in my routines much of the time, and I do value getting inspiration from a lot of sources, including apps. If you want to know the best of the best, read my recommendations below.
For a general roadmap of what fitness apps to use, make sure visit my fitness app decision tree.
SELF-MOTIVATED GYM BROS
The STRONG APP
Even more for “self-motivated” people is the Strong App. In this app, you are given a “Chinese menu” style of moves using various equipment (including bodyweight). You can “start an empty workout” and add exercises, either beforehand or as you go. Making up the workout as you go along is actually a thing you can do if you are experienced enough in fitness – it’s known as “freestyle.” It’s like a musician making up a song on the spot. You have an intuitive sense for what circuit flow is good and you go with it. That allows you to save the workout after that. The app also suggests certain circuit training workouts. It is a very basic design and essentially the smartphone equivalent of the old-school clipboards you used to see people carrying around at the gym and check off when they did their reps. I am hoping I am not the only one who remembers that! The app distinguishes itself as the one that is free of “distracting gimmicks”. If you are self-motivated, and want to design your own workouts with limited guidance, this app is a good choice.
THE FITBOD APP
The Fitbod app is similar to the Strong app, except with more AI capabilities. If you like strength training, but want more control over designing your own workouts, without a bunch of celebrity fluff or frou frou, Fitbod is for you. It allows you to customize workouts based on available gym or home equipment. You can design your workout by what body parts you want to work (e.g., back, chest, shoulders, triceps, lower back, hamstrings). The app can also generate a workout for you based on your muscle recovery state., I would recommend this for the type of people that like to work out with no music and don’t need any extra push to go to the gym at 6am.
You can also socialize your workouts and progress on the Strava social network app, which works well if you choose that for running.
GUIDED GYM-BASED STRENGTH TRAINING
The BodyFit app is a guided gym training workout, featuring different trainers. You can pick a customized plan based on goal – weight loss, muscle building, gaining strength or performance. The workouts are also sorted by level. Once you click on a workout plan, you can review the introductory video and description and then add the plans. The app lets you add multiple plans. You can also choose targeted workouts, like for shoulders, legs, arms, chest and glutes. That feature lets you filter for muscle group, type of exercise available equipment, and range of time available. There are also quick workouts you can do in two minutes, like WOD (CrossFit lingo for “Workout of the Day”.
Fitplan is very similar to BODYFIT, but with more celebrity trainers. For example, the trainers include A-rod, who has an all-star plan. And OF COURSE J-lo is his fitness model. The trainers are both male and female, with a wide variety of backgrounds from certified and master trainers, experts, and “fitness influencers”. You can choose a gym bro workout with a male trainer who has a 12-pack or an at home toning type of workout like the suite of apps I described above. If you don’t know which female trainer you want, you can pick the “Fitplan her” workout to experiment with them all and then choose the program of the one you like best. I like Jen Selter’s bikini body workout 9which incorporates machine cardio days) and Corey Calliet’s the “Calliet Way” for workouts.
The programs generally include an introduction and optional demo of the movements, The movements are also written out along with the number of sets. If you are a seasoned gym bro, you won’t need any video or audio instruction and can just “do” the routine.
Strength training can be simpler with the guidance of the app. Even if you are used to lifting weights all the time, you can probably use one of these to up your game.