Strength training is a marathon, rather than a sprint. People expect to see results right away, but unfortunately like everything else in life it doesn’t work that way. Whether your goals are to look good or get stronger, it takes long-term commitment and an unbiased way to check progress. In my experience, the best way for me to check progress is to keep a log of my lifts. I’ve found that keeping a meticulous log of my lifts gives an unbiased way of measuring progress because the data doesn’t lie. I used to be a pencil and notebook kind of guy, but I realized it was much more practical to find a solid workout log app on my phone because my phone is always on me anyways. I decided to test out Strongly.
How much does Strongly cost?
Strongly is exclusive to the iOS store and it can be downloaded for free with limited features or purchased for $4.99 for the Pro version. The Pro version comes with additional features such adding custom exercises that are not included in Strongly’s default exercise list. I know most people do not like to make in-app purchases, which is why I will be breaking my review into two parts. One reviewing the free version for the people who don’t want to spend money on an app and the paid version for those who need the extra functionality that comes with the Pro version.
The first thing I noticed about Strongly was how visually appealing it was. It’s pretty awesome to see the body parts that are involved in each exercise that is performed. This is pretty useful for new lifters who aren’t familiar with the human anatomy. I know when I first started working out that I had no idea where my “lats or pecs” were located. Being able to see the back highlighted for an exercise is much easier to comprehend than someone telling you that this exercise hits the lats.
My biggest gripe with workout apps is how complex they can be. If your app can’t be figured out the first time it is used, there is a high chance that it will never be used again. Luckily, Strongly is very simple to use. Strongly takes advantage of a simple interface with bold lettering and many graphical images.
Strongly is split into four main sections: workout, exercises, log, and progress. The workout section shows a history of completed workouts that can be renamed to reflect which workout was performed. I simply label mine “legs”, “chest”, “back”, and “shoulders” because my workouts comprise of the same exercises each time. Each workout shows the total mass moved along with the duration of the workout. I have a confession to make. I frequently forget to end my workout on the app, so I have some workouts that incorrectly show that I worked out for three hours.
The exercises section shows a summary of all the exercises you have ever performed. It gives some data on how many sets have been performed, the last time the exercise was performed, and how much total mass has been moved. You’ll also see a graph of your weekly average target weight. The log section is a more in-depth history of the workouts performed each week.
The progress section is similar to what you would find in video games showing your all-time statistics. It shows the all-time mass moved with a weekly breakdown of how much mass you are lifting in all your combined exercises each week. It also shows the total time working out and also breaks this down into weekly chunks. This is a great way to see what weeks you are struggling to go into the gym so you can adjust to increase time spent in the gym. It can also work the other way to show you that you’re in the gym way too much and you should cut back on the hours to spend time with friends and family.
My favorite feature of the progress section is the all time focus portion. It shows a visual image of the human anatomy and which body parts have been worked out the most. I recently hurt my lower back a couple weeks back and you can tell from the visual image that I was only able to hit chest during that time. This should serve as a great reminder for people who exclusively work out their upper body to skip a chest day and work out legs instead.
How do I log in a workout?
You’ll want to go to the workout section and find the + button located on the top right. You’ll have to add an exercise before you can start the workout. It seems like Strongly encourages people to put all the exercises you will perform before you start the workout. I like to add exercises as I go so I just add my first exercise and go from there. Strongly comes with a ton of exercises that you can choose from. Unfortunately, in the free version, you will not be able to add custom exercises. This feature is only available in the Pro version. However, if you’re a newbie, there are a ton of options in the Strongly exercise list so you can pick and choose what exercise you feel comfortable performing. Once you select an exercise, you can log in how much weight you use and the number of sets you perform. Tapping the rest timer up on the top will start a timer to show you how long your rest periods are. After that you pretty much rinse and repeat with different exercises until you are done. From there you’ll tap “End workout” located at the top left corner of the app. Pretty simple, right?
I think the free version of Strongly is a great app for a specific audience: newbies. The inability to add custom exercises is going to be a deal-breaker for experienced lifters. However, the Pro version comes with that function
so it’ll be up to the user to figure out if that function is worth the extra $5. Strongly has a comprehensive list of exercises that includes about 85% of the exercises I perform at the gym, which should be more than enough for a novice lifter.
I really appreciate the simplicity of the app. I was able to download it before I went to the gym and figure it out how to use it in less than five minutes. Strongly is very smooth and I had no issues using the app whatsoever. I really wish I was able to start a workout without having to add an exercise each time. It’s a minor inconvenience where I have to go to “edit exercises” and find my first exercise and add it to my workout, instead of just starting my workout and adding exercises as I go.
The other qualm I have is the inability to type in the weight that you are performing. It uses a scroll mechanism, which is awesome for lower weight ranges. However, it gets a bit annoying having to scroll all the way up to 300 pounds for compound exercises such as squat and deadlift. It would be much easier to just type the weight and log it in.
Strongly is a fantastic workout app that deserves to get more recognition. It is incredibly easy to use and visually beautiful. The free version is a great option for novice lifters who don’t have a strong knowledge of which exercises works out which area of the body. You can pretty much do everything on the free version except for adding custom exercises. Here at deTeched, we know that most people don’t like spending money on apps, which is why this review is only on the free features. Standby for a detailed review of the Pro version coming within the next couple of weeks. Let us know below what you think of Strongly!