The Best Free Workout Apps: Find One That Lives Up to Your Goals

man working out in gym


Whether you're a couch potato or fitness addict, self-guided workouts and the apps that promote them have become ubiquitous ever since the pandemic—and they're here to stay. Anyone who's started and built a habit knows that lowering the bar is the first step, and when there's no excuse but to lace up your shoes and, say, hit the road on a guided run, you'll see the gains in no time. And thanks to their gamification, variety, and social features, the best personal training apps can motivate some people just as well as a gym crew (looking at you, introverts). It just turns out that some of the best offer free home workouts.

Now sifting through all the options out there? Leave that to us. It doesn't matter if you just need an excuse to get off the couch for a 7-minute HIIT workout or if you want to be challenged on a long treadmill session—there's an app for that.

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The Best Free Workout App - Our Top Picks

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JEFIT

JEFIT

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  • Platforms: Android and iOS

Jefit is a workout planner and tracker with over 1,400 exercises in its library and an intuitive rep and rest experience that gives you the info you need without being a distraction. If that weren't enough, you can customize your workouts based on your preferences and save them in an easy-to-find personal library. It also works seamlessly on your smartwatch for total ease. When you're showered and done for the day, see how far you've come and monitor your muscle recovery as you rest to rep another day.

What We Like

  • Intuitive rep and rest guide/timer
  • 1400+ exercise library
  • Customizable workouts

What We Don't Like

  • Occasional ads
  • No social component on the free version

MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal

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  • Platforms: Android and iOS

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If diet is the counterpart to exercise, MyFitnessPal has you covered. It's a thorough calorie tracker that integrates with hundreds of other apps to complement your workout and fitness goals. And when we say thorough, we mean you can log over 14 million foods from their index, which makes estimating meal calories so much easier. Scan barcodes, save meals and recipes, and use Quick Tools for fast and easy food tracking. And gain access to their online community for advice, tips, and support 24/7.

What We Like

  • Scan barcode, or search their database of over 14 million foods
  • Track your habits, gain insights and improve over time
  • Just enough customization without being intrusive
  • Integrates with hundreds of other fitness apps

What We Don't Like

  • Room for error when entering details yourself
  • Macro breakdowns not included

GET: MyFitnessPal

adidas Training

Adidas Training by Runtastic

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  • Platforms: Android and iOS

Nike may have beaten them to it, but adidas was hot on their heels when they launched adidas Training in 2015. Released alongside their running app, this one focuses on strength training, HIIT, and cardio workouts, alongside some yoga and dance options. The app has a nice user flow that gets you started with a series of questions, asks you to set a goal, and then customizes a plan just for you. But you can also create your own workouts on the fly by selecting muscle groups to target and your preferred difficulty. The app also sends helpful and motivating reminders to keep you on track.

What We Like

  • Personalized workouts and training plan
  • Customize individual workouts
  • The social component can be motivating

What We Don't Like

  • The app relies on video, which is a pro and a con
  • The user interface can be messy at times

FitOn

FitOn

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  • Platforms: Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows

If you're seeking a versatile app with an abundance of workout options, FitOn has a lot to give. And it's not just a mobile app. Their web platform has all the same content, accessed by your larger computer screen. Founded by former FitBit executive Lindsay Cook, this app has over 5 million members drawn by its focus on video classes, sometimes live streamed by celebrity trainers and also TV celebrities: Jonathan Van Ness, anyone? So if you have the screen for it and you love the thrill of a motivating video class, this will be up your alley. It has a lot of what you might get with a paid app such as Peloton.

What We Like

  • Great variety
  • Well-curated and easy to browse
  • High hype celebrity video sessions

What We Don't Like

  • Workouts are up to the trainer, not you
  • No training plan or larger goal to attain

Nike Training Club

NikeTraining Club

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  • Platforms: Android and iOS

When it first launched, both Nike Running Club and Nike Training Club grew a loyal following—they had a slick user interface, great curation, and amped guided workouts. Best of all, they were 100% free. This also amplified the app's social element, where you could compete against your friends, or cheer them on. They served as the hip counterpoint to the fitness nerd clunkiness of Garmin or Strava. Training Club still lives up to the hype with just enough personalization to set a goal and beat it.

What We Like

  • Clean, aesthetic interface
  • Motivating roster of coaches guiding each workout
  • Useful bookmark feature

What We Don't Like

  • Workout plans are rather basic
  • You have to download workouts to your phone

Daily Workouts - Home Trainer

Daily Workouts – Home Trainer

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  • Platforms: Android and iOS

Daily Workouts produces several fitness apps alongside its YouTube channel. Their Home Trainer app features short, effective workouts that require little to no equipment. Input fitness info and goals, and then tackle a randomized full-body workout led by a certified personal trainer in a video format class you can stream or download.

What We Like

  • Simple, effective, and short full-body workouts
  • Led by certified personal trainers
  • Follow along with their YouTube workouts and community

What We Don't Like

  • The interface and aesthetic looks a bit clunky and generic
  • Doesn't offer plans or curation

Seven Home Workout App

Seven Home Workout & Exercise

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  • Platforms: Android and iOS

Seven is based on the simple idea that getting fit can be fun—and done in 7 minutes. Don't think twice, just hop off the couch for animated workouts you could watch straight from your Apple Watch. It's backed by science that's shown the power of active short bursts. Tailor workouts to your goals and gamify your motivation using this all-illustrated app.

What We Like

  • Fun illustrations and animations
  • Hard to say no to a 7-minute workouts
  • Gamified system to keep you motivated

What We Don't Like

  • Some will want more rigor than this simple app can offer
  • Illustrations are a bit generic

30-Day Squat Challenge

30-Day Squat Challenge

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  • Platforms: iOS

The 30-Day Squat Challenge is straightforward: squat every day for a month. And this app will guide you through it, from the most basic squat to the Bulgarian split squat. It starts easy and eventually challenges everyone without fail. No bells and whistles here—the app has six workouts, 13 squat variations, and a simple calendar system.

What We Like

  • Does exactly what it says it does
  • Takes a simple, effective exercise and ramps it up
  • Watch your progress on a calendar

What We Don't Like

  • Just squats can leave something to be desired
  • You can't preview workouts to come until the day of

Sworkit

Sworkit

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  • Platforms: Android and iOS

Sworkit is a workout app that features exercises you can easily do from home with little more than a chair. You get video coaching through every move as well as audio cues. You can build and save up to three customized workouts, and choose from three six-week programs: Leaner, Fitter, or Stronger. Their "Ask a Trainer" feature is real: You will get to chat with a real person within hours. Do expect the occasional ad, though.

What We Like

  • Wide variety of exercises
  • Requires little to no equipment
  • Well designed 6-week programs
  • Build up to 3 custom workouts
  • Chat with a real personal trainer

What We Don't Like

  • Not too personalized or curated
  • No web/desktop app

Aaptiv

Aaptiv

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  • Platforms: Android and iOS

Aah…Aaptiv, an app for the auditory experience. Whereas many apps focus on video or visuals, Aaptiv guides you through curated workouts with impeccable verbal instruction that takes care to be detailed without taking you out of flow. There are simple animations you can check out before a set if a movement is hard to explain. And the categories are endless, from the usual types to sleep sessions, boxing, and even rowing. If you're lost, the personalized coaching schedule takes off some mental load.

What We Like

  • Audio-focused experience from the coaching to the music
  • Tons of workouts across 15 curated categories
  • Customized plans
  • Works on Apple Watch, and works well

What We Don't Like

  • The audio focus won't suit you if you're visually oriented
  • Doesn't track workout stats or biometrics

Fitify

Fitify Apps

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  • Platforms: Android and iOS

Fitify took all the myriad workout categories and made an app for each of them. That meant if you want to drill down into one workout or focus, whether it's becoming a kettlebell expert or BOSU ball master, they had an app for that. And while you can still download the individual apps, they listened to feedback and created one app to house them all—and you get the confidence that they've mastered every category in detail.

What We Like

  • Go deep on a specific workout category
  • Straightforward video tutorials and workout timer
  • Build a personalized training plan

What We Don't Like

  • Free version is a bit basic: You can only create one custom workout
  • Little personalization or customization

Strong

strong

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  • Platforms: Android and iOS

"The workout notebook, reinvented." Plan your training and track your progress in an easy-to-use interface that leaves it up to you as to how detailed you want to be. This app suits those with strong goals and who already know how to get there. They just want a digital notebook with formatting and features suited to exercise. But it goes beyond the notebook, and doubles as a workout timer during workouts. But don't expect training plans, coaching, or tutorials—this is for the go-getters who know their path to prowess.

What We Like

  • Focuses on being a good workout notebook, and does it better
  • Faster than writing from scratch on paper each time
  • Works well on Apple Watch
  • Doubles as a workout timer

What We Don't Like

  • Visualizations only available with PRO
  • Not suitable for anyone looking for guidance, curation, or coaching

How to Choose the Best Free Workout App

Since "best" is up to you, how do you go about finding an app that's motivating and effective at smashing your goals? In general, you'll want an app with enough variety to keep you interested, enough curation to take off decision fatigue, and engaging workouts. Most apps worth their salt will have a basic program and notifications to keep you honest.

If you already know what kinds of exercise excite you, find an app that excels in it. If you don't know, perhaps try an app that's well-curated and great at introducing you to new movements or disciplines.

Think through how you'll use the app: From home, without equipment? Will you want to follow along with a coach on video or do you prefer to watch a quick animated tutorial and then do it yourself? Maybe it's none of the above and you'd rather plan and execute on your own, you just need the app to track your progress.

Equipment Requirements

Some apps are great at helping you improvise without equipment; they utilize compound bodyweight movements that target lots of muscle groups, or they urge you to get in a set of pull-ups while your kid is dangling from the jungle gym. If this is your spirit, look to apps that excel at making the most with the least. But with most apps, do expect to hit the gym or invest in a couple of home gym items like a kettlebell, BOSU ball, yoga mat, or jump rope. At the bare minimum, you'll want some comfortable workout clothes and sneakers.

Workout Type

Next, consider what types of exercise compel you; otherwise, there's just no point. If running sounds about as fun as shoveling snow, you're going to hate Nike Run Club. But if you just love hardcore bodyweight exercise, you're going to love an app that specializes in calisthenics. And if you're trying to sync your body and mind, there are apps that include practices like yoga in the mix.

Features

What do you want to get out of an app? Do you want one that gives you nudges and reminders, or even keeps you on a specific training plan? Maybe you want one that does all that and weaves in flexibility around a missed workout. Some apps even take your biometrics into account—but do you have tools like a fitness watch or heart rate monitor to make use of these?

When it comes to tailoring the app to you, you'll need to provide personal information—are you comfortable with that? On the other hand, a lot of people like to cherry-pick their day's workout from a vast menu, a la carte.

Finally, you should consider user flow. Some may prefer a paired down app that's easy to navigate over a slow or bloated app that tries to offer too much.

FAQs About Free Workout Apps


Is there a 100% free workout app?

Of course. In fact, there are many great options to choose from. That's because many companies invest in a quality app and treat it like content marketing. You may have to tolerate some branding and product placements, but there are many apps that do it tastefully. On the other hand, some free apps monetize through advertising so expect to see some affiliate links, banner ads, or videos. Many free apps also offer a paid version with added benefits and features.

Do workout apps actually work?

This depends on what you expect to get out of it. As with any personal endeavor, commitment and consistency trump flashes of intensity. Assuming it's a quality app, the more time, energy and technique you apply to its recommendations, the more you will get out of it. Then there's the issue of the screen. While you can memorize certain workouts before trying them out, you may want to follow along over video. In this case, a good phone stand, iPad, or even a smart TV can really improve the experience.

Where can I find free workouts?

We've listed 12 apps right here in this roundup to look into, and there are countless others online and on your app store. You could also ask a trusted and experienced gym buddy.

How many times a week should I work out?

Everybody has different body types, experience levels, and fitness goals, so the ideal frequency will come down to you. When it comes to exercise, consistency, commitment, and slow improvements win the day over short bursts of inspiration. Expect to start small—heck, it may even feel awkward or unmotivating at first. But the more you weave exercise into your week's routine, the more you'll overcome short discomfort for a massive gain. It's better to do many short workouts throughout the week than a few long ones. And don't forget to rest.

About the Author

Marco Frey

Marco is a writer and avid runner. He’s passionate about health, wellness, and the benefits of regular exercise.

See More from Marco

Marco is a writer and avid runner. He’s passionate about health, wellness, and the benefits of regular exercise.

See More from Marco

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