My 5 “must-have” apps for proper strength training

With the right training plan app, you can double your strength training success. Here are my five favorites for the gym and at home.

I still remember my first years of training well. Smartphones don’t exist yet. I have the training plan printed out or handwritten with me.

I hit the irons three times a week. A lot has happened in the first few weeks in particular: I am getting stronger and stronger and I see the change too.

Until I land on a plateau.

I continue to train, but the progress is not made.

Not weeks or months. For at least a year and a half I have been standing still.

Why does a training-plan app help?

Trainingsplan Apps

I thought it was due to my disposition. I just have to be more patient.

Today I know:

The problem wasn’t me.
It’s my feedback system.

Because I didn’t have one.

I did not write down how many repetitions of an exercise I did the last time or what weight I did. “I have everything in my head,” I thought. Puff cake!

Since I did not know the 7 principles of proper strength training, I could not implement them. No matter how often you could have told me to track my training.

I wouldn’t even have known WHAT I was supposed to measure.

But that changed. At some point I began to keep a training diary – and the stone started rolling again.

With the feedback I automatically began to set myself new GOALS. Small goals. For example:

“Today you can do one more repetition than last week.”

Which is of course only possible if you know exactly how many repetitions you did a week ago with what weight.

I’ve had the following experience:

By MEASURING your training successes, you double them.

Regardless of whether you are looking for muscle building, fat loss or simply more strength and sexiness.

While serious strength athletes used to be recognized by their training notebook, training plan apps now make things a breeze.

A good training plan app helps you in two ways.

Fed with the right training program, it first guides you through your training. Second, it asks for the feedback you need to get better.

You are now spoiled for choice.

There are hundreds of different training plan apps.

Some are good, others … well.

The problem is that you can occupy yourself with an app for a while to find out whether it is any good.

But as soon as you have found one that has all the necessary functions AND is fun, you have won.

Here are the training plan apps that have a regular place on my smartphone. Because I’ve had excellent experiences with it over the past 10 years.

Training plan apps: My 5 recommendations for strength training

Each of the following apps is suitable for proper strength training. The order is not a ranking.

1. LOOX

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All Looking Good Naked training plans are integrated in LOOX.

LOOX (iOS, Android) is a classic training plan app for the gym and home gym.

The focus is on over 300 training plans from fitness experts such as Berend Breitenstein, Prof. Dr. Jürgen Gießing or … * cough * … Mark Maslow.

Handy for Looking Good Naked readers:

All training plans from Looking Good Naked are integrated in LOOX.

The app is completely in German with exercise descriptions, videos and pictures.

With the basic functions (45 expert plans, including 2 from Looking Good Naked and 1 own training plan) LOOX is free.

With the premium version you can unlock access to all expert plans for just under 24 euros a year . Practical: You can change all plans as you wish and you can e.g. adapt to the equipment of your HomeGym. You can also create as many of your own workouts as you want.

​​ Note: LOOX is currently available in Germany and Austria. Switzerland and other countries are to follow.
Members of the gym chains McFit, John Reed and High5 can use the premium version at no extra cost if they signed their contract in October 2018 or after.

2. Strong

Fitness Apps
Strong stays clean despite all functions, but is (partly) in English.

Strong (iOS, Android) is one of the established training diary apps and has been continuously improved for years.

It shines with intuitive operation without frills and also supports the Apple Watch.

You can easily program your own training plans within a few minutes.

All exercises are explained with animation videos, but the text descriptions are only available in English.

In the free version you can use a maximum of three training plans in parallel.

For more training days, such as module 3 from Looking Good Naked, you need the PRO version. It also offers other functions, e.g. to analyze your training progress.

The PRO version costs either 33.99 euros per year or a one-time subscription of 109.99 euros .

3. GymGoal Pro

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GymGoal Pro looks old-fashioned, but has a wealth of functions and is easy to use.

GymGoal Pro (iOS only) is one of the oldest training plan apps ever.

GymGoal Pro has been on the market for over 10 years. Since then, it has been regularly updated and adapted to current smartphone generations and the Apple Watch.

The interface seems quite outdated by now, but the handling is well thought out and, once you are familiar with it, catchy.

The range of functions is comparable to Strong and LOOX. The app has everything you need for proper strength training. GymGoal Pro is completely Germanized, including exercise descriptions.

I trained with GymGoal Pro for years before switching to our MarathonFitness app (see below).

GymGoal Pro costs a one-time fee of 9.99 euros .

4. Elite HRV

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It is best to measure your HRV value immediately after waking up.

EliteHRV (iOS, Android) measures the so-called heart rate variability, or HRV for short.

The HRV measurement provides a measure of your body’s ability to adapt your pulse quickly and flexibly to a load.

What’s behind this?

Recovery is just as important for building muscle as training.

The same applies if you want to be more persistent, faster or stronger. Even those who want to lose weight need healthy sleep and muscle regeneration.

Can you manage the balance between stress and relief? The HRV measurement helps you to find the answer:

  • A lowered HRV value means, to put it simply: “I need more recovery.”
  • A higher value signals: “You are fully resilient.”

EliteHRV helps me to control my training in a targeted manner. For example, I only train heavy deadlifts when I’m fully recovered.

If I am not fully resilient, I allow myself another day of rest.

I use the Polar H10 heart rate belt for measurement by pairing it with my iPhone. You can find a list of compatible heart rate monitors here.

For my purposes, the free EliteHRV version is sufficient. Advanced analysis options are available if required for 8 US dollars a month.

​​ Tip: In this article you will learn how you can measure your regeneration even without HRV.

5. MarathonFitness (only online fitness coaching)

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With the MarathonFitness app, your online trainer is just a push of a button away.

MarathonFitness (iOS, Android) is more than just a training plan app.

If you opt for individual online support from us, you can take Jenny or me with you to training via our app.

With the app you always have the training plan that we have tailor-made for you at hand. You let yourself be guided through the training and record your progress.

If you have any questions, we can be reached directly from the app.

The app also offers you a variety of analysis options to evaluate your progress in addition to the regular feedback discussions with your coach.

The use of the app is included in the price of the online coaching (training plan support or mentoring).

​​ Note: My colleague Jenny Zavrakis and I conduct the online fitness coaching depending on availability. If we are fully booked, there is a waiting list.
Our app is available internationally. You invite them via the invitation link as soon as our cooperation begins.

Conclusion

Before you start real strength training, you should at least read carefully and inform yourself about the topic.

A training plan app DOES NOT REPLACE a trainer.

And it’s only as effective as the plan you’re feeding it with. A good app guides you through training, stops pauses in sentences and gives you tips on how to do exercises properly.

But above all, it gives you important feedback to control your progress.

If you are supervised by an experienced personal trainer or fitness coach, you can transfer your training plan to the first three apps (LOOX, Strong and GymGoal Pro) relatively quickly.

You can only expect optimal progress in training if you balance the training load with recovery phases.

The HRV measurement (EliteHRV) can help here.

Every training app comes with a catalog of the most common strength exercises. Mostly illustrated, sorted by body region and supplemented with animations or videos. In this way, you can check directly during training which exercise it is and what the correct technique looks like.

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