Runtastic Six Pack Abs (for iPhone) review

German fitness company Runtastic has a long list of specialized apps for working out, and its latest, the Six Pack Abs app, will leave your midsection muscles burning for days—or simply tighten that tummy, depending on the difficulty level you choose. It's a solid coaching app.
Photo of Runtastic Six Pack Abs (for iPhone)

Runtastic, one of the biggest names in the fitness tech space, has a whole line of apps designed to get your body in shape. I’ve walked and jogged with the Runtastic PRO Android app ($4.99) and cycled the streets of Manhattan with Runtastic Road Bike PRO ($4.99). The company makes a push-ups training app, an app for pull-ups, and several other niche workout apps. The latest, Runtastic Six Pack Abs (free; in-app purchases available), targets the tummy, and it can be pretty hardcore. It can also be more gentle experience, depending on the training plan you pick or the customized workout you piece together yourself.

The Six Pack Abs app shows you videos of an avatar doing the moves that you’re asked to do, too. A voice coach announces the next exercise and number of repetitions, then counts them down as you work out. It doesn’t use the accelerometer or anything like that, so you can leave the phone to the side while you crunch, kick, and (if you’re like me) flail about. You can choose to have a male or female coach in English or German, and male voices are also included in Spanish, Italian, French, and Japanese. The audio cues help control the pace at which you execute the moves, which I appreciate.

On my first training day with the Six Pack Abs app, I tried out a Level 3 plan, the most difficult setting, and grunted my way through 15 minutes or so of mountain climbers, scissor legs, and a few other moves I had no idea I would struggle to complete. Twenty reps, three sets, and I was wiped. The next morning, I propped myself up on my arms just to get out of bed, but was feeling that proud pain of a good workout.

On day 2, I barely finished the workout and cheated a little on a few of my sets, at which point I decided I to scale back to an easier plan. You can choose a pre-set training plan or create your own workouts by selecting the moves you want to do and the number of sets and reps. I customized a “Quickie Abs” workout, which I saved in the app, for days when I need to power through some exercise but don’t have time or energy to do the prescribed routine.

When you customize your own routine, you can actually see all the exercises the app has to offer, and you can filter based on level of difficulty as well as which muscle groups they target (obliques, upper abdominals, lower abdominals).

The free Six Pack Abs app comes with “motivational” music, which you can leave on, turn off, or swap out for your own playlist saved locally on your iPhone. In-app purchases give you access to more Runtastic music: dupstep, funky, hip-hop, house, and rock (99 cents each).

If you use a compatible TV, you can broadcast your workout wirelessly to watch it on the big screen while you crunch your way to a six pack.

One nice feature: The app prompts you to complete your workout at the same time of day each day. My first workout with the app occurred in the afternoon, so the app always schedules my workouts around 4:30 p.m. for consistency. If you allow reminders, the app will send you a notification to do your workout. I got a little confused, though, when I switched from the hard training plan to the easy one.

You can only sign up for one training plan at a time (which makes sense), so in opting for an easier plan, I wiped out the previous plan. I thought I might be able to switch day-to-day as needed. There’s a calendar icon where you can view upcoming workouts in your plan, although it’s a list, not a calendar. The list shows days when you have a workout, but doesn’t include off days. I wanted to see which days I did not have a workout scheduled (i.e., rest days) but that information is implicit rather than explicit.

If you’re in need of some motivation to hit the mat and flex your abs, Runtastic’s Six Pack Abs will specifically do that. It’s niche in that regard. If you’re looking for a more comprehensive training app that will hit more muscle groups, try GAIN Fitness (freemium).


Verdict
German fitness company Runtastic has a long list of specialized apps for working out, and its latest, the Six Pack Abs app, will leave your midsection muscles burning for days—or simply tighten that tummy, depending on the difficulty level you choose. It's a solid coaching app.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
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