As a scientist, I’ve learned to always make decisions based on data. You can have preconceived assumptions about a certain study, but if you can’t back it up with data than you have no concrete evidence to support your claim. It only makes sense to apply this kind of logic to working out. A workout tracker is a great way to store lifting data and analyze your progress. It can be difficult to measure progress just by looking at the mirror in the morning. Seeing an upward trend in strength over a stretch of time has always been a better indicator for my own progress. Finding the right workout tracker is tough. Lots of apps that I’ve tried have been clunky and leave a lot to be desired. I decided to try out Strong Workout Tracker because it is highly rated in the App Store with 4.5 stars and over 3000 ratings.
How much does Strong cost?
The App Store and Google Play Store list Strong as being free. This is technically true. The first four workouts you log into Strong is free. After that you’ll have the option of paying $4.99 to unlock unlimited workouts. The first four workouts gives you access to all the features you would have with the unlimited workouts option.
Simple and clean interface
The problem I found with most workout trackers is being bombarded with complicated user interfaces. You can have all these advanced, customizable features, but if it takes me an hour just to figure out how to use the app, I will not use it. This is the general standard I have for most apps that I download. I don’t have time to sit and learn the ins and outs of an app. I want to be able to pick it up and use it right away.
The user interface is clean and simple. I love the solid white background along with minimal information on the home page. I found many apps try to put too much information in front of your face saying “look at all the stuff we can do on this app”. This takes away from the core goal of logging your workout.
When opening the app, you will be greeted in the profile page. This will show you the number of workouts that have been completed, along with a graph of how many workouts you are logging in every week. The measurement section is to keep track of physique updates such as weight, body fat percentage, body part measurements, etc. The exercise section gives a list of all the exercises that are in Strong and if you tap on a certain exercise you can see the data associated with it.
There are five buttons on the bottom of the screen for easy navigation. You can quickly toggle through profile, history, workout, charts, and settings. The charts app is a fantastic feature where you can pin your most important chart to monitor progress. For example, I want my bench press to increase so I pinned the bench press chart to quickly view my strength progress. The history chart will give a list of past workouts and tapping on a certain day’s workout will give a summary of the lifts performed that day.
How to log in your first workout
You’ll start off by pressing the plus button to start a new workout. There will be a list example routines that you can choose from that are great for beginners who can’t make their own workout. Free workout will let you make your own workout by choosing exercises on the go. If you are a creature of habit and perform the same workout routine, you can go to the profile and tap routine to create a new one. A timer will begin at the top after opening up a new free workout.
You can add exercises from a list that is on Strong by default. They have a good amount of exercises pre-loaded. You can easily create new exercises that are exempt from the default list. Tapping multiple exercises let you add a combination of exercises all at once. You can also search for exercises based on body part and recent. I like to search exercises based on body parts for ideas if I can’t think of one on the spot.
Once the list of exercises are added, you can start adding in weight, reps, and sets that you perform for that exercise. A useful feature will show how much you previously lifted in case you want to increase the weight. After completing a set of a certain exercise, a timer will pop up indicating when to begin your next set. This timer can be adjusted in the exercise info. I like to keep my compound lifts such as deadlifts, squats, or bench press on a longer rest timer compared to something like a bicep curl. The compound lifts take longer for me to recover in between sets and it is very useful to be able to adjust your rest timer accordingly.
Other useful features
There are small icons located at the top right of every exercise. The fire icon is a warm-up calculator that shows how much weight and reps you should perform as your warm-up. You can customize this in settings if you want something different than what the default warm-up calculator sets. The warm-up calculator will adjust your warm-up sets to a percentage of your working weight. The pencil icon is where you’ll go to write a note such as “up the weight next time”. The “i” icon gives the statistics of the current exercise you are performing.
Once the workout is complete, press finish workout. This will give you a summary of your workout with the option of adding a progress photo for those that like to take pictures to track progress. You can go ahead and save the workout or trash it.
Is Strong worth the money?
Yes, yes, and absolutely yes. For $5, you can get a workout app that is completely ad-free and is hands down one of the best workout trackers I have ever used. The people who complain about how expensive it is can go take a hike. One, you get to support a small team that dedicate a ton of time to making this app really great. Two, you’ll definitely spend more money on notebooks to track your workouts out by hand.
The best thing about Strong Workout Tracker is how easy it is to use. Logging in a workout is incredibly simple and there are many advanced functions in the background. I really appreciate how you’re not forced to use the advanced functions if you don’t want to. Some users will want to just log in their exercises and other power users will want to analyze lifting data, take progress pics, or make complex routines.
It’s the little features that make Strong really great. There are quick access features when the number pad pops up such as a plate calculator. This is a handy tool for the people who have a ton of plates on the bar and don’t want to take the time to do math in their head. Let’s be real, math sucks, which is why calculators exists. There is also a rest timer that you can manually start at any time. Being able to pin charts to quickly view progress on a certain exercise is another great feature. It’s features like this that show the developers really care about their users. Don’t let me be the one to tell you how awesome this app is, go check it out yourself for four free workouts!