I’ve bounced between a number of different workout programs; I started with Stronglifts 5×5, then You Are Your Own Gym. Both programs had dedicated apps, so I didn’t have to think about how to track my progress. Since then, I’ve concocted a frankenworkout, but I needed an easy way to track the routine, and Simple Workout Log is my favorite!
Simple Workout Log is, as the title says, simple. It’s fairly straightforward, in that it is an app that lets you enter and track your workouts. It doesn’t provide you a routine, or tell you what to do or how to time your exercises; that’s all on you. But the app will give you the tools to do all that for yourself, and they make it fairly idiot-proof, which is key when you’re using it at 5am! There’s a free ad-supported version, plus you can upgrade to the ad-free version for $1.99. Best of all, it has a web interface as well as an Android app (iOS coming soon according to their site), so if you have a lot of exercise entry to do you can spare your thumbs!
The app has a database of common exercises available, and it is really easy to enter your own. You can either enter an exercise as reps/weight or by time/distance; so for example, I added kettlebell swings as reps/weight but plank variations are inputted as time/distance. Once you have all your exercises inputted, you can use the app a few different ways. If you just want to enter what you did on a given day, you just find the exercises you completed and enter your stats. You can also create routines, which lets you string a number of exercises together in a specific order. When you choose to run the routine, the app automatically moves through the exercises as you complete them, so you aren’t left wondering “was I supposed to do back planks or side planks next” or “is today a push-ups day?” Once the last exercise in the routine is completed, you have the option of completing the routine or starting from the beginning again.
I said in the title I have a “frankenworkout”, and that’s because I essentially created a routine out of several programs that I’ve tried. My strength moves are coming from two programs, Convict Conditioning and a kettlebell program called Simple & Sinister. I also do the warmups from S&S, but I added in the core workout from the Reddit Recommended Bodyweight Routine. So a typical day looks like this: S&S warmups, plank series, Convict Conditioning exercise for that day, kettlebell swings and turkish get-ups. While I could (probably) memorize the order, it’s really, really nice to just have the next exercise pop up as I go, because by the time I get to the strength portion I’m already sweating like mad and cursing life (core exercises are the WORST, which is why I am so focused on improving with them!)
Simple Workout Log has one feature that I really love, and that is the dedicated timer at the bottom of each exercise. Strength moves default to a two minute timer, though you can adjust it, and that means all I have to do is complete my set, hit the timer, and wait for it to buzz again to know when the rest period is over. For distance/time workouts, the timer acts like a stopwatch, so, again, it makes it super easy for me when it’s time to hold a plank; I just get into position, hit the button, and try not to consider how one second can feel so much like eternity.
If I had any complaints, it’s with the floating checkmark that completes an exercise. I’ve had a few times when my sweaty fingers have hit the checkmark instead of the “add reps” button, which is frustrating. It would also be nice if you could easily “clone” a routine and then just edit in any changes, instead of having to construct each one from scratch. To be fair, you’re likely not swapping around routines constantly, and once it’s all set up it’s no big deal.
At $1.99, Simple Workout Log is excellent, and the free ad-supported version is a no-brainer. If you do any sort of strength training, and you’re looking for a clean, easy way to track your workouts and progress, I can’t say enough good things about Simple Workout Log!
Source: Personal download
What I Liked: Makes routines easy to run; can add your own exercises; has a website interface as well; timer at the bottom keeps you on track without having to leave the app.
What Needs Improvement: The “complete exercises” checkmark gets in the way at times.