Remember those scenes in the Terminator films when you get to see the world through Arnold’s robot eyes? The best training apps provide a similar level of real-time data and analysis when it comes to your workouts.
From charting the path of your weight movements or running route to calculating your single-repetition max, if you’ve ever had an exercise-related question, there’s an app that has the answer. There are also plenty that provide motivation—often the missing ingredient in a great workout.
MAP MY RUN
It does just what it says: It maps the course of your run—or hike, or walk—and provides data on speed, pace, elevation changes, distance covered, and calories burned. It also saves the data so you can compare and contrast your different running routes.
Great for guys who don’t have much time for gym visits. Choose among four exercise categories—strength, cardio, yoga, stretching—and this app provides appropriate body-weight workouts. Whether you have a couple minutes or an hour, this app will adjust its recommendations to match your schedule.
Plug in the amount of weight you’re lifting and how many repetitions you can do until failure, and this app will tell you your one-rep maximum. “It’s really helpful for figuring out the proper weight to use for different training programs,” says John Gaglione, a strength coach and founder of GaglioneStrength.
Similar for Android: 1 Rep Max Calculator
A recent study from Denmark’s Aarhus University found “framing” your workouts as a game or contest can supercharge your interest and enthusiasm. This app does just that by creating a scenario in which you’re fleeing from zombies. You’ll have to adjust your pace to stay alive, and the app provides specific missions and rewards to keep you keen on your cardio workouts.
For any type of time-sensitive workout—particularly interval training programs—this app helps you stay on schedule with alarms and reminders. “It’s great for creating work-to-rest ratios,” Gaglione says. Bonus: You can still listen to your music and hear alerts while the app is running.
Similar for Android: Interval Timer 4 HIIT Training
$40 for a one-year membership, fitstar.com
Answer a few questions about your fitness objectives, and FitStar provides detailed exercise guides to match your goals—from weight workouts to yoga routines. It can serve as a replacement for (or supplement to) a gym membership or personal trainer.
This video analysis app allows you to watch your workouts in super slow-mo, or set up side-by-side video or image comparisons. From proper running form to jump shot or golf swing mechanics, this app allows you to spot your weaknesses, Gaglione says.
You see assholes at the gym who only care about hoisting the heaviest weights—proper form be damned. Those guys invariably end up injured. Use this app to record yourself lifting, and to chart the path of your movements. You’ll be able to see where your form breaks or could use work.
Several studies have shown music increases your workout intensity and output—provided the tempo of your tunes aligns with your running or lifting cadence. This app lets you pick music from a variety of genres—Top 40, 90s hits, Pop—and then adjusts the beat to match your workout pace.
Similar for Android: Rock My Run
WOD DECK OF CARDS
CrossFitters know WOD stands for “workout of the day.” This app lets you select from various CrossFit workout categories like burpees or sit-ups, and then takes you through WODs designed for each. It also times your sessions and keeps track of your workout data. (Note: While iPhone users love it, the Android version is buggy.)