While the name "PumpUp" may conjure images of Arnold Schwarzenegger (or Saturday Night Live’s Hans and Franz) PumpUp isn’t made for super-jacked gym rats. This simple and customizable fitness app, which debuted last year, is equally friendly to beginners and fitness buffs looking to reap the benefits of personalized workouts. Since we wrote about PumpUp last, the app has generated more than 100,000 users.
Now, the app's makers are releasing PumpUp 2.0, which introduces a fitness community to help users stay motivated between each workout. Ready to get pumped? Find out what the app is all about and what differentiates it from competitors.
What it is
PumpUp is a workout coach — minus the huge price tag and intimidating physique.
The basic PumpUp app is free and available on iOS. (PumpUp Pro costs $4.99 per month, $29.99 per year, and $49.99 for lifetime usage.) The main difference with 2.0 is that members can use the new community to share their journeys and build a following. Once users complete a workout, they can share the results of their sweat session and post status updates, custom workouts, and progress photos to the community. (In the previous versions, this information lived on a personal feed.)
Aside from the new feed, the new versions' logistics mirror those of 1.0. When users first log in, they answer a few simple questions: What’s your training goal (lose weight, be healthy, or gain muscle)? What’s your fitness level (beginner, intermediate, advanced)? How long do you want to work out (15 to 90 minutes)? Which muscle groups do you want to work?
PumpUp then guides users through a quick warmup, followed by strength training and cardio exercises. Each timed move includes a brief explanation (for example, “Dumbell Squat: A seated row variation with more biceps emphasis while still building back musculature”) plus tips on how to perform the move safely, which are backed by strength and conditioning coaches.
Once a workout is complete, the app displays an estimated caloric burn and suggested weight increases for subsequent, plateau-busting workouts. “PumpUp learns about the user and intelligently adapts their routine as they work out," says Phil Jacobson, PumpUp's founder. "We automatically make it harder or easier based on your performance so you’re always pushed forward and always see results.”
What We Think
There are a ton of fitness apps out there, but PumpUp is different in that it combines virtually all the most successful facets of other fitness apps — an extensive fitness library of over 500 exercises, instruction, customization, motivation, the ability to log workouts, and ways to progress rather than plateau — into one product.
Greatist's health editor Kate Morin gave the original Pump Up a try and loved the level of customization — and especially the ability to choose which equipment you want to use. It’s refreshing to use an app that can accommodate people’s home gyms with a wide variety of equipment — from barbells and kettlebells, to cable machines, to straight bodyweight.
The major plus here is that the app isn’t 100 percent bodyweight, 100 percent running, or 100 percent free weights. Each workout incorporates whatever you want (or don’t want) it to. However, Morin did wish there was a way to opt out of moves. "The only downside to the customizable workout is that you can’t say "no, I don’t want that move today" or "no, I can’t do that one move because of an injury." I’d like to see that capability in future versions of the app,” she says.
Why it Matters
We have to hand it to the team at PumpUp — the illustrated exercises make it easy for anyone to get moving. And the app doesn’t require beginners to have any extensive background knowledge. But while it’s no doubt an affordable workout option (assuming you’ve got an iPhone), PumpUp isn’t a certified (human) trainer — so exercise caution if trying a new move or starting a new program. If you’re willing to spend a little money for the voice coaching offered with PumpUp Pro, you'll likely have a more fool-proof workout (instead of checking your phone between moves).
That being said, even the free version is perfect for busy people who need a little fire under that tush. It’s also ideal for people who are bored with the same old daily routine. Another benefit of the app is that it explains each workout level. (Beginners average one workout per week or less, while advanced users average three or more workouts per week. It’s clearly not a science, and levels will vary between individuals, though it’s good to see some sort of guideline.).
The beauty of PumpUp is that it tells you what to do, how to do it, and for how long. And thanks to 2.0's new community, the app also offers an extra source of motivation. Instead of sauntering around the gym floor bopping from machine to machine without much of an intention, working out with PumpUp is an easy way to maximize time at the gym.
Would you try an all-in-one app? Download PumpUp 2.0 for free in the iTunes App Store or try PumpUp Pro for 30 days free with the code PRO30, special to Greatist. Let us know what you think in the comments or tweet the author @nicmcdermott.