The 7 Best Training Apps
Take your workouts and results to the next level with the help of these expert-recommended (free) apps
Whether you’re gym-averse, looking to track your latest vert, or trying to perfect your swim form, the right app can help you reach your training goals, says Los Angeles–based personal trainer Mike Donavanik. But with countless options hitting the market every day, it can be hard to find the right fit. We want you spend your time training and playing outside, not scouring the app store, so we picked Donavanik’s brain for the best options that meet outdoor athletes’ needs. Here are his seven picks.
1. Freeletics Bodyweight
To get strong and lean without picking up a weight, use this app, Donavanik says. It creates personalized 10-to-30-minute bodyweight workouts, pulling from a library of more than 140 different exercises. The routine is based on how often you want to work out, your performance goals, and your fitness level. After each workout, the app analyzes your work and adjusts future training sessions accordingly.
Although not a traditional training app, FitRadio’s music and remixes keep the outdoor athlete dialed in when they’re cruising on singletrack or pushing the pace during a tough uphill climb. Input your planned running/cycling/climbing cadence ahead of time, and the app will suggest playlists to keep up. “There’s nothing worse than being in the zone during a run and having a super-slow-tempo song come on and mess with your momentum,” Donavanik says.
3. Asana Rebel
Yoga is key for boosting mobility, recovery, and core strength, but it’s often neglected by outdoor athletes who spend most of their time logging big miles. This simple follow-along app makes getting started so much easier, Donavanik says. “All you need is the download and an exercise mat.”
Strava remains one of the best tools to track your training on a per ride/run basis and from a more meta perspective. It provides real-time feedback on pace, distance, and elevation gain and maintains a record of all your previous efforts. To bring out your competitive side, the app creates public leaderboards for local loops and straightaways, plus monthly challenges for you and your community.
It’s not designed for outdoor use, but the MoonBoard indoor climbing app can improve all your trips to the crag, Donavanik says. Use it to explore, sort, and filter thousands of climbing problems. Sync it to any LED MoonBoard (found at many local climbing gyms) to see the problem illuminated on the wall. You can also save your favorite problems and connect with other climbers for group training sessions.
Discover, rate, and save more than 50,000 trail maps around the world with AllTrails, while gaining access to info on difficulty, special features, and user reviews and photos. The app also gives you driving directions for getting straight to the trailhead—perfect for staying fit on the road where you’re less sure of your surroundings.
“A lot of people hear how great swimming is for fitness and health, but they have no idea how to create a workout around it. This is a great solution,” Donavanik says. MySwimPro gives structured swimming plans and video demos to help you build from the ground up.