Review: Sworkit for iPad

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Sworkit for iPad

Sworkit is a mobile circuit training program. It offers an effective and easy way to do full- or partial- body workouts. The exercises are designed to use bodyweight for resistance, thus no equipment is required. The app comes in a free and “Pro” version ($ 0.99). The differences between the two are clearly spelled out in the App Store and on the Sworkit website. This review covers the free version.

The app’s name combines ‘circuit training’ and ‘workout’ (swork), plus “it.” Sworkit has a personal, friendly feel to it. It is remarkably accessible. Most features are self-explanatory; it’s the type of app you can jump right into. There are helpful hints under ‘More’ when needed. Each screen is uncluttered; nothing detracts from the activity at hand, which is helpful for me when it comes to focus.

Putting Sworkit to use is straightforward. You choose a type of workout, an area of the body to contrate on (or the entire body), choose length of workout (from 5 – 60 minutes), and begin. There is also the option to design and save one custom workout in the free version (under ‘Workout’). There are no limits in terms of how many exercises can be added from the library.

Workouts start by choosing from (tapping) one of two exercise methods: 1) strength training, or 2) yoga, stretching, cardio. Each group is further broken up into Upper Body, Core Strength, Lower Body; Stretches, Cardio, Yoga Poses, and Back Strength. Within each secondary category there are from half to two-and-a-half dozen exercises or poses. A sampling includes triceps dip, overhead arm clap, elevated crunches, scissor kicks, single leg squats, seated hamstring stretch, shoulder tap pushups, prayer pose, and side plank. The balance and variety of exercises is one of the strongest aspects of the app.

Once you’ve ready to be begin, from either choosing a pre-made workout, or one you’ve designed, the training starts when the large start button is tapped. When in use, the exercises and poses are randomized, which, as advertised, keeps the workout fresh. Each activity lasts 30 seconds; a bell rings when it’s over, there is a slight pause, and a female voice tells you when to “begin.” If necessary, the exercise can be paused and you can skip past any of them. The transition time in the free version is a quick five-seconds. The Pro allows you to lengthen the time. That alone is worth the $.99 upgrade.

There are brief, five-second videos that demonstrate how to perform each exercise. They are imbedded in the exercise screen, and started by tapping the small movie camera icon on the left side of the timer (the exercise has to be paused in order to view it). If you’d like to view an example of an exercise, and train without interruption, the videos can be viewed in advance by selecting ‘More’ > ‘Exercise List’ or by flipping through the workout. I would like to see a setting that enables videos to begin at the start of a new exercise.

Sworkit syncs to My Fitness Pal, an expansive nutrition and exercise tracker. MFP is available online and in app form. Among other things, you can learn the amount of calories burned during the workout. This can also be accomplished on the app via FAQ > Burn. The app can also share results to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. If desired, music from your music app can be played during the workouts.

There are an additional 18 custom workouts under FAQ > Customs. They include Surfer Workout, Pregnancy-Full Body, Office Refresher, and Golfer Workout. 

Sworkit is a complete workout app. The free version has a remarkable number of features and options, and it’s only $.99 to upgrade to Sworkit Pro. Using the app is almost effortless. For far too long, my home workout involved cardio, strength training, and core work. I became bored — and therefore avoidant — with this tedious routine. Sworkit revived me. Dare I say that I actually look forward to exercising again. The randomization of workouts is key to that.

Sworkit is available in the App Store ttp://is.gd/H2RAgq

Teresa España

Community college art instructor, indie music fan, SF Giants diehard, iPad fancier.

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