Runtastic Leg Trainer – A Review

Day1, Week 1 of Runtastic Leg Trainer
Day1, Week 1 of Runtastic Leg Trainer

It’s Juneathon day 5 and writing this blog has motivated me to do some exercise rather than just take a rest day, because otherwise what would I write about?

I happily use the Runtastic Pro app to track my running and a few days ago I downloaded their free Leg Trainer app and today I gave it a go.

The free app gives you a body weight leg training routine that builds in intensity and time span over 3 levels. If I stick to the work plan, I will complete Level 3 by mid August. The app uses a high quality Trainer avatar to demonstrate the correct form and each exercise in Level 1 has 3 sets of 10 reps, taking a total of 13.5 minutes for the full 1st workout. You can pause the workout but, if you can rewind it, I couldn’t work out how. At the end of each workout you are offered the chance to Go The Extra Mile. If you accept, the app adds one more full set of an exercise chosen at random. You have to decide quickly though or it moves on. So far, I have always gone The Extra Mile.

I thought Day 1 Level 1 would be easy. After all, I can run 10k. It wasn’t hard but not as easy as I expected either. We will have to see how the legs are tomorrow to know for sure, but I was able to complete all the reps and sets.

One notable point of information is that there is no warm up or cool down so I added these myself. Another down side is that there are no guides, either written or verbal, on good form. If this is being used by someone new to exercising, there is a danger of hurt knees from poor form.

On the plus side, the transitions between exercises were well cued and easy to hear, the reps sensibly paced and the avatar easy to see, even on my phone. There was enough variety to keep me entertained and I even broke into a gentle sweat. I am sure it will get a lot harder! The app automatically scheduled my next session for Sunday, however I plan to do my Long slow run that day so may pull it forward to tomorrow.

There are a selection of additional leg workouts on the app, including one specifically called Runners Legs, but these need to be paid for. I think I will see how I  get on with the free workouts first.

I will let you know how I get on as I fully intend to complete the challenge.  I will also let you know if it has any effect on my running.

Update 14/6/15

I have now completed workouts 1, 2 and 3 of Level 1.They have had more of an effect than I anticipated.  There was a fair bit of soreness in my legs after my first 2 sessions. I was particularly bad at the side leg raises, so much so I could not complete all the sets and reps until day 3. They are not in days 4, 5 and 6 but I have decided to keep doing them. Days 4, 5 and 6 have completely different exercises and include side to side jumps which raise the heart rate nicely.

Levels 2 and 3 remain locked and I suspect I may have to Pay to access them.

My legs already feel stronger and more muscular, especially my hamstrings.  I can’t say this is yet benefiting my running .

Update 2 21st June 2015

I have now completed Level 1. I did a 10k run and could definitely feel an improvement in the strength of my hamstrings and glutes which in the past have got tired at 8k. Aesthetically,  the only difference I have noticed is my thighs have got a bit bigger.  Despite my best efforts I carry fat in my thighs so cannot comment on muscle definition.

I have paid for the full version and will continue with my updates as I work through Level 2.

Update 21st July 2015

Finally got my act together and have begun Level 2. That month flew past! Level 2 has different exercises again and these ones give more of a full body workout and definitely raise the heart rate a lot more. This Level includes single leg deadlifts which gave my core a good workout as well as my legs. My balance needs work. It also included squat touches, jumping up from each squat which raised the heart rate very quickly.

The number of reps for all exercises has increased and the recovery time between sets decreased to 20 secs. I am not ashamed to admit that I was not able to do all the reps first time out and had some seriously sore muscles for the next 2 days.

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