Whether there’s no time to trek to the gym, group fitness classes aren’t your cup of tea, or you’re stuck indoors because of a massive hurricane (here’s looking at you, Sandy), there might be some natural obstacles (or natural disasters) standing in the way of a workout. A new app called Sworkit is aiming to give on-the-go fitness a fun new spin, and may be the answer to having an effective workout almost anywhere.

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How It Works

Sworkit is a randomized circuit-training app that allows people to choose what they want to work out, and for how long. Users decide whether they want to strength train or perform a yoga/stretching sequence, followed by choosing which part of the body to tackle (upper body, lower body, core, full body) or type of flexibility routine (sun salutations, back strength, full-body stretch). The last step is to pick the length of the workout (from five minutes up to an hour).

Each individual exercise lasts for 30 seconds and is accompanied by an in-app illustration. If a move is totally foreign (what’s a spider-man pushup?) there’s the option to pause the clock and watch a quick demonstration. For those who want to know what they’re getting into ahead of time, there’s also an online exercise library with descriptions of each move.

Hands-On with Sworkit

I decided to give the 30-minute full-body sequence a try in the safety of my Brooklyn apartment. I jumped right in, doing thirty seconds of push-ups followed by squats, hip raises, and windmills. To my (thankful) surprise, the app prescribes a thirty second rest period every few minutes, which gave me time to grab a sip of water and wipe the inevitable sweat off my forehead.

The randomization of each exercise kept things interesting, but also made certain aspects of the workout frustrating. On the one hand, I was happy anticipating each move (I wonder what’s next!) but wasn’t too keen on diamond pushups immediately followed by wide arm pushups. The exercises sometimes felt rushed, too. Each move goes straight into the next one, so the clock starts ticking even if you’re not ready for it. (I had to run over to my futon to do tricep-dips, which cost me 10 precious seconds.)

However, the pro-version of the app is definitely worth the $0.99 splurge. With Sworkit Pro, there’s an audible announcement of each exercise (rather than just a visual cue) and you can track weekly and monthly goals. Perhaps most importantly, though, is the ability to choose how many seconds of occurs between each exercise. When I gave Sworkit Pro a go, I did the same workout but set a four-second rest between each move, which made a world of a difference. I was also able to listen to the audio cues and barely looked at my phone throughout.

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The Verdict

There’s no denying that after my session with Sworkit, I was tired. Yet the time flew by as I swiftly moved through single leg squats, side bridges, burpees, and (many) more moves. But perhaps the real beauty of Sworkit is every move only requires bodyweight, so users don’t need extra equipment. Users can theoretically get a workout anywhere.

The number of options available makes this a tool nearly anyone can use, too. For those who want a 10-minute full-body stretch, a five-minute core-workout, or a 20-minute set of sun salutations, Sworkit can help make it happen.

Ready to try it? Download Sworkit or Sworkit Pro from the iTunes store. (Compatible with iOS and Android mobile devices.)

Have you tried Sworkit or Sworkit Pro? Let us know in the comments section below, or tweet the author@lschwech.