Recently on Instagram I asked you to send me any fitness questions you may have — anything at all. I wanted to be able to create content for you guys that you would find useful and beneficial. While I received a good number of questions, I realized that many deserved their own post instead of just a Q & A roundup.
One of the first questions I received was “what are some good apps for weight lifting at the gym if can’t afford personal trainer?”
So I did some research, downloaded each of these apps, and made sure to go through each one so that I could give you my opinion on the top five. While I think that apps can be a good addition to your fitness regimen, it all depends on where you are in your fitness journey. If you’re just starting out, it always makes me a little wary since some aren’t programmed with adequate tutorial videos and honestly, it’s hard for some people to have good biofeedback and know if they’re moving properly or not. I’ve also seen apps that do have detailed videos, but the form on select movements has been inappropriate and left me questioning the validity of the entire app.
Since these apps are focused on weight lifting and strength training, make sure that you have a basic understanding of moves such as squats, push ups, planks, etc. In the description of each I will be sure to let you know if these are beginner-friendly or not. As always, make sure that it is safe for you to exercise and that you approach each workout with care and consideration.
1. Stronglifts 5×5
This program, and now the app, have been around for some time. The premise behind the workout is that you aim to increase your strength based on a consistent training plan of 5 sets of 5 reps. When you start the app, you are prompted to input your personal data, including the heaviest weight you have used on things such as bench press, squat, deadlift, and others. If you don’t know, you can simply leave it blank and the app will suggest a starting weight which you can then manually adjust if you find it to be too heavy or too light.
I also like that if you try to do another suggested workout, it’ll notify you that you should really only do one each day.
- proper form videos for several moves
- tracks progress in graph
- tracks workout history
- simple design and usability
- option to leave workout notes
- shows you your next workout for next time
- good if you’re looking to focus on strength on a limited number of movements
- no banner ads
- only gives you three movements at a time in your workout
- only concentrates on 5 main moves
beginner friendly: not unless you already know basic movements mentioned above
2. Fitness Point
Fitness Point is an app that allows you to select from a wide range of movements to create your own personalized workout plan. It is simple and to the point, but requires you to have some knowledge of the movements and which ones to combine together for an effective session.
- allows you to choose from 69 different strength movements to compile your own workout
- good for people who have experience with movements but need some variety
- highlights which muscles are worked with each movement
- good for building your own programming
- no pop up ads
- only a few exercises in each category, rest require upgrade ($)
- animations of moves are simple drawings – hard to see intricacies of movements
- only two sample workouts (rest are paid)
beginner friendly: no
There are also three paid versions: Bodyweight ($0.99), Pro ($4.99), Female ($4.99). In my opinion, buy the Pro version if you’re going to upgrade. The female version is extraneous as both genders are capable of doing the same movements.
If you like data and analytics, Jefit is for you. There are tons of options in this app, which may be gold to some and overwhelming to others. You can record your workouts, set body goals, add your own exercises, track progress photos, and more.
- can pick training location (gym/home/not sure)
- good detail in explanation
- way more data intensive
- more training plans and workouts than other apps
- ability to design your own workout
- user shared and beginner workouts available for free (only a couple for beginner)
- have to sign up and create account
- cant watch the whole video unless you pay (can watch short GIF of it though)
- many paid workouts
beginner friendly: yes, to an extent
4. Workout Trainer
Finally, an app that is more geared towards beginners. This is a good option if you’re trying to get into strength training but aren’t sure where to start or what to do. You start with a simple fitness assessment that asks where you are fitness-wise, your goals, and how often you want to train in a week. Based on those goals, the app will suggest workouts for you or you’re able to play around with many of the available options.
Some of the workout names are laughable (ahem, “Ice Cream Melter”), but there are tons to choose from with proper videos and explanations of the moves.
- based on your fitness goals, suggests workouts for you or pick from body part (save for later or add to collections)
- videos and verbal cues, easy to see timer
- many different options for workouts
- good for beginners
- have to create an account
- option to hit easier or harder at the bottom – just adds or subtracts time instead of giving modifications
- several workouts and programs by personal trainers come at a cost
- pop up ads on free version before workouts start
Beginner friendly: yes
Ok, so I threw this one because I always want a little conditioning with my strength training. This app isn’t entirely dedicated to strength training, but it does incorporate a fair amount. The first thing that impressed me was the quality of their photos and videos, which is something I care about but you may not (vs. the 5×5 with virtually no images). The pages were clean and the workouts were challenging.
- 16 free workouts
- instructional videos
- conditioning + strength
- images of equipment needed
- option to select scaled versions before the workout video starts
- no popups before workout starts
- 16 free workouts
- more workouts and information unlocked by selecting one of their 3 payment options starting at $11.99/month
- not dedicated to strength and many workouts are short but intense, so if you’re not looking for that this may not be a good app for you
- only available on iOS
beginner friendly: potentially by selecting scaled versions and making sure to watch videos carefully