16 September 2019

Personal Trainers at the touch of a button

April 17, 2009

In an ideal world, we’d all be able to afford a personal trainer to take us through our paces. Sadly, unless you’re a Hollywood star that will remain as much of a dream as winning the London Marathon. But now there’s a whole range of fitness applications that you can download to your IPhone or Ipod touch, which means you can get the next best thing – a fitness expert at the touch of a finger.

YogaTrainerLite, free

Always wondered how you do a downward dog? Got some spare time in the morning or before bed to do yoga but not quite sure how? This application has a huge variety of postures which are illustrated with pictures, along with written and voice guided instructions.

You can customise your practise by building your own sequence of postures, follow a pre-built sequence or just do a few postures, whatever suits. With sequences for both the beginner to the advanced, this is perfect for someone who doesn’t have the time or money to go to a yoga studio regularly but needs guidance.

Ifitness, £1.19

Experts recommend that if you train regularly, you should change your exercise programme every four to six weeks. If you don’t, you won’t see any improvement in shape or fitness because your body will get used to the stimulus. The best way to do this is to book in with a personal trainer but this application is a great second best.

It has a database of over 150 exercises, and it’s even divided into muscles that it targets so you can focus on just your bottom or your core if you choose. Alternatively, opt for one of their pre-programmed routines, ranging from strength building to weight loss. You can even track your progress by logging your workout results which are sent automatically to your email.

Ipump Workout, free

To build strength, muscular endurance or simply to lose weight, this application can help. It includes two total body workouts so if you’re unsure about how to put an exercise programme together, it’s perfect.

It includes images and videos of each exercise, as well as audio counting of each repetition, just like a personal trainer so there’s no skipping out of doing the correct amount of repetitions. So, much like having a personal trainer on hand, there’s no pretending you’ve forgotten how many you’ve done. You can also keep a log of the number of sets, repetitions and resistance that you perform which is a perfect way of ensuring that you progress and continue to challenge yourself.

RunKeeper Pro, £5.99

Whether you’re new to running or you have started entering races, this is a brilliant application although it’s only designed for the 3G Iphone. It uses the phone’s inbuilt Global Positioning System so that runners, cyclists and even hikers can track the duration of their workout, pace, distance and even speed. This means, no more having to log on to mapmyrun.co.uk before you go out for a run to check distance. Simply take your phone and it will do it for you. You can also download it onto your phone’s dashboard and share the results with friends – if you dare!

BlueSpark Heart Monitor, £2.39

You can spend anything from £25 to over £200 on a heart rate monitor but now you don’t need to with this nifty application. To use this you must have Apple headphones with a microphone or an Iphone 3G with inbuilt microphone. It’s this which tracks the sound of your heart beat, either through a wrist or neck pulse, helping to provide your beats per minute as you exercise.

Why is this important? If you know your heart rate, you can ensure that you’re pushing yourself hard enough, and training in the right heart rate zone for your purpose. Ok, the motivation to push still comes from you but you’re far more likely to do it if you can see the results for yourself. The downside is that you need to be somewhere quiet for the microphone to pick up your heartbeat and reviews vary on how accurate it is as you exercise.

Ipump Pilates, £2.99

If you take a Pilates mat class, likelihood is the teacher will gear the class to the weakest member in the group which is frustrating if you feel ready for more. The alternative used to be an expensive studio based class but now this affords another option. It has 63 images, videos and audio coaching and you can play music while you do it.

For something so exacting as Pilates where you’re trying to overcome years of poor posture or muscular imbalance, this is not the same as having someone watch you but it’s a good start for helping you build your core strength.

** For all applications, read the limitations before downloading as some require extra system requirements in order to view videos.

Rachael Woolston, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

If you enjoyed this feature you may also like to read:

Sportsister selects five of the best at home fitness tools

How to choose the right yoga for you

Four great women’s sports blogs

The importance of rest and recovery

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