The Pitfalls of Workout Apps: Unraveling the Truth Behind the Best Workout Apps

The Pitfalls of Workout Apps: Unraveling the Truth Behind the Best Workout Apps

Workout apps have become incredibly popular in the fitness world, offering a convenient way to pursue our health and fitness goals. However, it's important to recognize the potential pitfalls hidden within these apps, even the widely acclaimed ones like the Planet Fitness app and other so-called "best workout apps." In this article, we delve into why these apps may not deliver on their promises and how they can inadvertently lead us towards pain and dysfunction. Fortunately, Functional Patterns (FP) offers a comprehensive solution that addresses these issues at their core.

Results by Functional Patterns practitioner Stephen Maguire

Using First Principles

The primary reason people turn to the best workout apps is to improve their fitness. But what does it really mean to be fit? To understand the shortcomings of any personal training app, it's essential to grasp the true definition of fitness.

In the realm of fitness, where numerous conflicting opinions and biases abound, it can be challenging to understand the pitfalls of what many consider to be the best free workout apps, such as the popular Planet Fitness app. However, by adopting an objective and clear view of fitness, we can distinguish between workout methods that genuinely deliver results and those that fall short. This is where first principles thinking becomes invaluable.

First principles thinking is a practical and comprehensive approach that can be applied to any concept or problem, including fitness. It involves breaking down complex topics into fundamental principles that work in harmony. Rather than relying on biased opinions, assumptions, or traditions perpetuated by top workout apps, first principles thinking centers on understanding the basic laws that underpin more intricate systems.

The advantage of this approach is that it empowers individuals to make informed decisions based on undeniable principles of the human body. In the context of fitness and training, first principles thinking entails comprehending the fundamental laws of human movement and anatomy.

By observing humans, it becomes evident that our bodies are uniquely designed to stand upright, walk, run, and throw. Although we also engage in other movements like squatting, striking, and grappling, these four functions are the most prevalent in our daily lives. Therefore, it follows that fitness for humans means being proficient in performing these primary physiological movements.



Functional Patterns recognizes the importance of enhancing these four functions, which is why FP has achieved remarkable results with its practitioners, clients, and enthusiasts worldwide.

Results by Functional Patterns practitioner Mollie Ponce

Lack of First Principles

By applying first principles thinking to the concept of fitness, we can identify clear flaws in today's best free workout apps. How many of these apps truly consider the purpose of their exercises? How many acknowledge that the human body possesses a specific design for movement? How many encourage exercises that burn calories and target isolated muscle groups without considering the function of these exercises in everyday movement? 

Let's take a popular workout routine from the Planet Fitness app as an example: the Abs and Core workout. While the intentions behind these workouts may be good, their real-world application is questionable, and the consequences of adapting to these exercises can be detrimental.

One exercise in the routine involves a squat and rotation. In the video available on the Planet Fitness app, the trainer instructs users to perform a squat as if sitting in a chair, bring their hands together in a prayer position, and rotate from side to side.

While rotation is an essential component of human movement, the execution of this exercise is flawed. Firstly, most individuals do not know how to squat correctly, as it requires prerequisites such as hip internal rotation, intra-abdominal pressure, and pelvic stability.

Without sufficient hip internal rotation, there is a risk of twisting the knee while bending. Inadequate intra-abdominal pressure can put the spinal vertebrae at risk of shearing against each other. Lack of pelvic stability can lead to excessive rounding and strain on the lower back.

Mastering the squat alone is challenging, requiring attention to detail, nuanced technique, and multiple sessions to achieve proper form. Performing an improper squat while simultaneously rotating the spine can result in injuries, muscle imbalances, and poor adaptations to everyday movements.

Application of First Principles

Let's contrast the approach of Functional Patterns to core workouts. In the 10 Week Online Course, there is an exercise called the transverse twist. It involves gripping a band or cable handle, holding it out in front of one's body while resistance is pulling the body laterally.

While this looks like another exercise out of many from some of the best free workout apps, the difference is in the execution. This is an exercise that directly targets the core, shoulder, and hips in a way that translates into everyday movement. However, before instructing this exercise, FP founder Naudi Aguilar provides detailed guidance on the prerequisites for executing this exercise correctly. The benefits are stronger posture, movement, and confidence. There are multiple lessons just to cover one exercise. 

What is the point of multiple lessons? Why not just provide a whole array of exercises like the Planet Fitness app

The reason goes back to the application of first principles thinking. Humans have a specific physiological function that differentiates them from other mammals. In order to perform these functions properly, there must be correct form that will prevent injury and promote efficiency. Injury prevention and movement efficiency are not achieved from performing a variety of exercises, but from applying important principles that characterize efficient movement in one exercise. 

The best free fitness apps in the market often offer a wide array of exercises focused on calorie burning, isolating specific muscle groups, and simply moving without a clear purpose. In contrast, Functional Patterns (FP) takes a different approach by recognizing how muscles have evolved to perform specific functions, resulting in a stronger and more integrated body framework. 


While widely acclaimed programs like the Planet Fitness app, or other best workout apps have gained popularity for their convenience, it's important to be aware of their potential pitfalls. Many top fitness apps fail to consider the first principles of human movement and anatomy, leading to flawed exercise routines that can result in pain, dysfunction, and poor adaptations. 

Functional Patterns offers a solution that focuses on enhancing the primary physiological movements of the human body. In courses such as the 10 Week Online course, FP prioritizes these fundamental principles to provide a comprehensive approach to fitness that delivers tangible results. It also addresses the shortcomings of even the best workout apps. It's time to use a personal training app that unravels the truth on training our body to its design and capabilities. 

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