Bodbot review

I’m really impressed with Bodbot, a fitness app for Android & iOS.

I used to be a competitive club rower and triathlete. Six days a week of cardio. I was obsessive. I wrecked a calf running a marathon, so I can’t run any more and kids made me slow right down but otherwise I think I’m pretty fit for 49. My BMI is 27, but that’s a bad diet. Over the last few years I have found myself getting more and more repetitive strain injuries when I exercise. Rotator cuff injuries when swimming. Elbow injuries when sculling.

In recent years thinking has changed about exercise. Modern exercise programs are more based around resistance training and far less cardio. What cardio there is tends to be High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

Just before lockdown I was lucky enough to invest in a home gym. I bought a barbell, a power cage, a bench and dumbbells. At the end of the first lockdown, I bought some kettlebells. I already had a rowing machine and a couple of months ago I got a stationary bike. It’s a big investment, and takes up a lot of space, but I live a long way from a gym so over 3 or so years of regular use it will pay off.

I started off using the 5×5 Stronglifts app; basically a powerlifting training programme. I enjoyed it and lifted more weight than I thought I ever could, but I got injured too much. I hurt my lower back with deadlifts, my upper back with squats, and my shoulder with bench presses.

In desperation I tried a few other workout apps out and settled on Bodbot. I am a couple of months in and loving it. It is satnav for your workouts.

Bodbot generates workouts based on your equipment, your goals and your available time. The sets adapt based on how difficult you found them. If the set was easy, the next set is heavier. If the set was hard, the next set is lighter.

The variety of exercises is huge. You don’t need any equipment at all, but if you have equipment, you can do hours of exercise and never do the same set twice. That’s brilliant for me and my injury history.

Some of the exercises are exotic. Zottman curls? Instructions are thorough including a short video for most. Usually the exercises are spot on, but they can be too easy (e.g. most of the resistance band exercises) or too hard (e.g. hand-stand push ups). If so, replace them for another exercise with a couple of clicks. You can choose to permanently exclude them. Thanks to this app I discovered barbell reverse lunges – exactly what I need.

There’s an emphasis on stretching and therapeutic “prehab” exercises and because of the variety I end every session feeling stretched and healthy instead of stooped, aching and tight after rowing.

It’s not perfect. Some of the user interface is confusing. I had a weird glitch that turned off adaptive learning, but I got help from Botbot support and now it’s fixed.

The paid plan is more expensive than it needs to be, but there is tons of functionality built in and you do not need to pay if you don’t want to. There’s very little nagging to upgrade. I’m going to subscribe to support them. It’s transformed my exercise regime. Highly recommended.

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Categorized as tech