Wednesday 16 October 2019

Fitness App Review: Home Workout by Leap Fitness Group

The Home Workout App Icon: a drawing of a shirtless man in a plank position
Screenshot of Home Workout - No Equipment App, courtesy of Google Play

With my increased client base, travelling husband, rabid, overscheduled children, overanxious dog, no appreciable time-management skills, poufy hair and fairly steady work schedule, I thought a bit of extra motivation would be a good idea to help turn my sitting-on-the-couch-after-dinner into well, sitting-on-the-couch-but-then-doing-15-minutes-of-exercise-too so I'd feel less guilty about the first part.

The Fitness App: 

I downloaded Home Workout - No Equipment from Leap Fitness Group onto my Android device, just to try it out. It's calisthenic-based (no equipment), FREE (with ads), and was very highly rated on Google Play.

(UPDATED April 28, 2020: the Premium version is free until 1 July 2020.)

I followed their Full Body 7x4 Challenge (seven days of workouts for four weeks), and here's what I think:


Simple to follow. 

The exercises are shown as little animated images, and if you really don't get it, you can tap on the image to see a write-up with more technique cues. As you're exercising, the app will suggest form notes and modifications to make it easier or harder.


Each routine takes between about 7 and 19 minutes, and are adjustable by extending or skipping the rest breaks with a simple tap.

Variety of exercises.

I thought I'd done every exercise under the sun; I was wrong. There are lots of (mostly pushup) variations, including several that I'd never even seen before.

Incorporates stretches.

I don't stretch enough, but this app made sure that I got at least 30 seconds (or more) of stretching in, every session. This is possibly more than I would normally do. Don't look at me.


My phone lights up at 8 pm every night, telling me to work out, just for a little while. So, I do. I haven't done seven days in a row yet (and wouldn't recommend it - the body needs rest), but it always makes me feel a bit bad about it, so that's something?


So. Many. Pushups.

So many. Decline, incline, hover, inverse, reverse, Hindu (have to question the nomenclature on that one), staggered, wide arm, diamond, spiderman... I love pushups, but this is ridiculous. For those that, for some reason, don't love pushups, there is nothing to look forward to in life. Just more pushups.

Not really "Full Body".

There are jumping jacks as a warmup every once in a while, but the "full body" in this workout refers specifically to the part of the body found from the hips on up. So, if I'm really being picky, it's not really full body at all, but since I am ramping up my speed and distance with my running group and adding in some hills on the bike, I'll look past that. This time. But it's not Full Body.

Kind of not "Full Upper Body" either.

It's very hard to train your back or biceps without equipment of some kind. I get it. There are attempts made for the rhomboids and scapulae, but mostly, it's triceps, chest, shoulders and abs with a hint of lower back and one glute move. The shoulders are definitely overworked.

Starts too easy/gets too hard.

When you start the program, you choose your level by being honest-ish about how many pushups you can do, then they lull you into complacency with the first week of workouts. I was all, "man, I'm so fit, this isn't even a challenge" then BAM! they got me. Now in the last week of workouts, the pushups make this half-grown woman cry. And remember? I Love Pushups.

Not enough stretching.

Hey, I'll take 30 seconds of stretching when I can get it, but even on the Big Stretch days, you might get two minutes of stretching, total, and often not on the right areas. Nobody likes stretching, but nobody likes pushups either, so they might as well make us suffer in a balanced way.

Drawings of a male character doing jumping jacks and various types of pushups in a sample workout
Screenshot of Home Workout - No Equipment App, courtesy of Google Play

The verdict:

Home Workout - No Equipment has been an interesting experiment for me. Would I recommend it?  Well, it's free, which counts for a lot in my books. It's gotten me doing bodyweight strength training most days of the week, and I'm actually feeling leaner and stronger because of it (no empirical measurements, I'm afraid) (although I did cut out wine on school nights, so that probably helps too...and explains why I'm less content to just sit on the couch). It's quick and the instructions are clear, and is definitely a step in the right direction for those that just don't have time to work out. (Every little bit helps!) However, the program I tried claimed to be a balanced, full-body workout, and it isn't. 

I'd say, give it a try yourself if you want to do a bit of strength training but don't want to spend a lot of time or money, but listen to your body -- especially your shoulders -- and take a rest day when you need it. It will still be there for you when you come back.

If you're looking for at-home workouts, Fitness Volt has a great list of their five favourites.

I'm going to try the Lower Body challenge next, and possibly test out another app - happy to take suggestions of a new one to review!

Do you use a workout app?  Which one?

Are you interested in becoming more active? 
You can read my article on Snacking on Exercise, and how Small Changes can lead to Big Results. Then, try this 5-minute workout or this 20-minute workout. (Consult your doctor first!) Don't forget to comment and leave me feedback!


BenefitApp said...

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Martin Harness said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Damien said...

Thanks for your fun and honest review!
I agree with what you've written: A LOT of pushup-like exercises for the full body programme (currently half way through). I am also concerned about the limited incorporated stretching and uninterrupted daily routine (seven days per week).
The help text and YouTube videos are very useful to learn how to do the push up variations, or even to check your technique for the more classic exercises.
At the time of writing this, the Premium version is free until 1 July 2020 (during covid-19 outbreak).

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone..try using the full body and lower body challenges in tandem. Works well for me. And yes, Damien is right..everything is free on the app at the moment due to Covid19.

Wondering what they're doing... said...

The app I downloaded of theirs was terrible. I also wonder where they're getting their info to develop this from. I couldn't find any info about the company online. That's suspect...

Katleen Garcia said...

The Nike Training Club mobile app offers a number of workouts with videos and instructions for a self-paced workout. While there is an option to access paid premium content, the free version is probably enough if you’re not a competitive athlete. There are numerous yoga and bodyweight guided exercises for toned arms and abs.

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