At Dona Jo, we are a big proponent of switching up your workout routine to keep your body guessing and to ensure fitness remains fun. This could include taking on an entirely new sport or activity, or it could mean simply trying a new exercise and incorporating it into your strength-training routine. (Check out our "JoJo Workouts" board on Pinterest for ideas!) With over one million apps available for download on your smartphone or tablet, I knew there had to be some fitness-related apps that made exercising more fun. It turns out, there are an overwhelming amount of apps that are in the health and fitness realm! This definitely won't be my first app-review post.
I found a group of fairly simple apps that were also very engaging. They are the Runtastic apps. While there are plenty of apps out there that turn your phone into a GPS tracking device and help you log your runs/walks/bikes, Runtastic also has other apps that turn your phone into a rep-counter. The three that I tried out were the Sit-Ups, Squats, and Push-ups (there's also a Pull-ups one!) These apps are free, though you can get the PRO versions (with extended levels, filter statistics capabilities, and no ads) for $1.99.
How it works:
(Sit-ups) Hold your phone in front of your chest and the app is able to detect the range of motion covered by a sit-up.
(Squats) Hold your phone out in front of you as you squat and stand.
(Push-ups) Place your phone on the floor and get into push-up position with your nose in line with your screen. You must lower yourself enough to touch (or very close to touch) the phone with your nose.
You can do a "training session" which will give you a set of reps with rest in between, or you can do a solid "session/record" in which you see how many reps you can do without stopping.
Features: Once you complete a training, you can go on to another, or set a reminder to complete the next one. When you set a new record for the number of reps completed, you can share with your accomplishment with your facebook friends. Compete with others around the world with this app by going for a spot on the "leaderboard" for the total number of reps completed on the app and a personal record during one session.
I like the sense of community you feel on the #Pumpit section on Runtastic's website because you can see the total number of reps completed by everyone with the app!
Positives: I found these apps to be a great engagement tool. I like to do body-weight exercises, so these apps were perfect to use after going for a run to get in a little extra workout. It is also something you can do almost anywhere! The push-ups one also challenges you to go all the way down, probably further than you would go otherwise.
Negatives: The sit-ups one was probably the trickiest because I found it hard to maintain form while trying to hold the phone at the same time. When doing the push-ups, I found that I wanted to extend my neck to reach the phone--so it's important to use your arms to lower yourself down to the phone! Also, the free versions are quite limited in the amount of reps--the average person could probably go straight to the last day of the "training sessions".
Not tough enough? If these are too simple for you, you can add a Bosu Ball, Exercise Ball, or Weighted Plate to make it more of a challenge. Try doing the squats standing on a Bosu Ball (or maybe a different variation of a squat, e.g. sumo squat). Do the sit-ups on an Exercise Ball, or add a 10lb plate to your back as you do the push-ups.
These apps are available for phones with Android and Iphones. Try them out and let me know what YOU think!