I really can’t deny that my primary workout is always running.  I love to run and marathon training takes up a lot of time.  So I really don’t have much time for anything else.  But a well-balanced athlete needs more than just one activity.  A strong core is especially important for runners and some upper body strength doesn’t hurt either.  And that’s where my smart phone comes into play.  I’ve discovered a few iPhone apps that are great for the extra workouts I need and don’t take a lot of time.  For today’s Friday Faves, I’ll share 5 of my favorite iPhone apps with you that are a regular part of my health and fitness regiment.  And the best part is that they are all free!

1.  Daily Ab Workout  This workout has several different options that are awesome.  You can select 5 minutes, 8 minutes or 10 minutes.  The app takes you through 10 abdominal exercises, showing you how to do each one as it times you.  You basically have a workout buddy doing the workout with you.  The really nice part is that you can have your own music playing throughout the workout.  There are even options that allow you to set an alarm to remind you that it’s time to do your workout.  This is definitely a must have app!

2.  Interval Timer  This app is great for timing HIIT intervals.  I actually use it for my timed runs.  Some of my runs start with a warm up period, a specifically timed harder pace, a recovery period, another faster interval, another recovery, etc and finally a cooldown.  It gets to be a pain to continually keep an eye on the time so having an automatic timer is perfect.  I can preselect how long to warm up, set up my intervals, and establish a cool down time.  An alarm sounds between each one so I know when it’s time to change.

3.  5 Minute Planks  I feel like I should disclose that I do not like planks AT ALL.  They are hard – and no matter how often I do them, they never seem to get easier.  But they are the best way to build a strong core so I can suck it up for 5 minutes, right?  As far as planks go, this is a great app for a plank workout.  As soon as you hit go, the app starts timing you through different planks.  The first is a minute, then 6 30-second planks, and lastly another minute long plank.  I probably wouldn’t hold a plank for a full minute without seeing the timer run so this app is perfect for me to not cheat myself out of a good plank workout.

4.  Simply Yoga  Yoga is really important for runners but many runners skip the stretching and strengthening that running offers.  I don’t do it as often as I should but this is a great app to do a quick routine, making it easy to work through in the morning or late evening to get in a good stretch.  You can choose from 20, 40 or 60 minute workouts and either level 1 or level 2.  You get the effect of doing yoga in a studio too as there is comforting, peaceful music playing with a virtual instructor guiding you through each post and she demonstrates them.  With this app, I have no excuse not to practice yoga once or twice a week!

5.  Sworkit  This is a really cool app that offers many different exercises.  You can do strength and cardio, yoga and stretching, or customize your workout.  Within each of those categories, you have the option to choose specific areas to focus on and can then select how long you want to workout.  The app times you and explains and shows you each move so you’ve pretty much got a free personal trainer.  I really like the variety of exercises offered in this app.

Do you have any favorite workout apps that you use?

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