When I first downloaded Shred to review it, I was initially amazed by it's design and style.
And in hindsight, I guess I still am.
However, as I started exploring Shred more, I was able to immediately pinpoint what their marketing plan is: a lot of flash.
To be sure, to differentiate themsleves in the competitive workout app industry, new apps need to make a lasting impression. Even with all of the new apps coming out, Shred has managed to do just that with it's ultra clean, flashy design.
But what about substance?
In my Shred app review, I'll go over both what I liked and what I didn't. I'll then tell you if it's effective for serious lifters looking to gain strength and muscle.
At the end, I'll provide another alternative workout app for you to look into as well, in case you find Shred isn't what you're looking for.
Who I Am: Why I'm Qualified To Write This
My name is Garett Reid and I have been in this industry for over well over 10 years. I have earned my Masters in Exercise Science as well as hold several high level certifications and accolades including
- NSCA CSCS
- Executive Council Member of the NSCA Strongman SIG
- Published writer in NSCA COACH
To be clear, I have been in the gym for over 20 years and have seen the rise of this industry. This includes the birth of workout apps.
It's no secret that these apps use fads and flashy methods routinely to sell their apps. It is what it is.
Unfortunately, out of all the apps I have reviewed, Shred definitely has a higher use of these techniques within it. In this review, I will look past the flash and really examine if Shred is effective for lifters of any level.
Shred is one of the flashier workout apps that catches the eye with its sleek design. However, once you get inside, you get lost in its "busy-ness". There's a lot of options but no guidance, nor does it give a long-term path for success. It's like scrolling through Instagram until you find something you like. While it may be "fun" for some users, especially due to its social aspect, I think it falls short for anyone looking for actual structure in their workout.
What Makes My Review Different
Many reviewers who breakdown workout apps primarily focus on their style, user experience and functionality.
These are all essential for an effective app but there's another variable that I'm equally interested in, if not more – does this app use legitimate methods to provide effective workouts that build muscle and strength?
In this review, I'm not just going to look at the style, which Shred has a ton of.
I'm going to review it in the same way that I would a personal trainer; do I think it would actually be effective at building muscle and strength?
If after my review you find that Shred isn't what you're looking for, I'll give you suggestions for another app for you to check out as well, Dr. Muscle.
Shred App: A Quick Overview
The Shred workout app is a very flashy workout app that haschosen to put a lot of emphasis on their flash and aesthetics. Shred is full of hip workout names and all the buzz word you'd expect.
While it does offer "personalized" plans, it seems to put more emphasis on its collection of single workouts. These are the workouts with the cool names like "Summer Shred" and "Beast Mode".
To further appeal to the masses, they have integrated a unique social aspect into their app. It's created a function that allows you to work alongside other users of the app.
Compared to apps for more serious lifters, their focus appears to be more on "having fun".
Drawbacks With Shred
Unfortunately for Shred, a flashy design doesn't equate to an effective workout app. Here are reasons why I don't think Shred is the smart choice for someone looking for professional training.
It's Too Busy
As mentioned in the intro, there is A LOT going on inside the Shred app.
It's easy to mistake having a lot of options as a good thing; however, in the fitness world, it's anything but, especially for a beginner or newer lifter.
Providing them with random workouts and asking them what body part they want to train that day is not what they need; they can just scroll Instagram and choose something.
What these new lifters really need is structure. They need an app that can process what they need and then show them, step-by-step, what to do.
Of course there's room for personalization and some fun in workouts. However, your entire session shouldn't be based on what you want to do.
That's how we got the meme "don't skip leg days".
Another thing you notice after first impressions is that it's very "markety".
You can tell that they put a good chunk of money into their marketing and design team as everything is very "catchy".
For example, when providing choices for length of workout time, they have "bad ass" for the 60-90 minutes selection. This can encourage a new lifter to put more stress on their body then they need.
You can find this wording elsewhere such as almost all of their programs. They use names like "ShredX" and "Beast Mode" used for almost every program.
Their verbiage is something you see in big box gyms. For example, one of its workouts it states; "It (the workout) has longer rest, heavier sets, more supersets....to trick your body into expediting growth."
It's simple. No workout will "trick" your body into "expediting" growth. This is verbiage used to attract new lifters who aren't aware and perhaps impressionable.
I have seen this type of content used to sway the public into thinking they're following professional programs when really it's just a mash-up of random exercises. This is very similar.
Almost All Workouts Are High Intensity Intervals & Circuits
With the names like "Shred-X", you can get a pretty good picture of what their programs are like. I only had 5 free classes so I changed the variables each time to see if the workouts would change.
However, every single one seemed to be some sort of high-intensity interval or special sets. By this I mean it used;
- Super sets
- Compound sets
- Circuit sets
- Other various methods.
The above methods can definitely be useful in the right situation and great to use if your time is limited. However, these were included all the time.
For their "Bulk" option, they did use something a bit more traditional, "a ladder", going from 15 reps to 3 reps.
There's nothing wrong with this so it's not all bad. However, it still leaned towards their habit of always using special techniques to look advanced, I presume.
This was one of my biggest pet peeves.
While they do ask you some basic questions, and give you a "program", they don't necessarily tell you what you should do. Your sessions will be laid out but not in concrete form.
So on the same page, as your program, you can choose to;
- Run your program
- Run a pre-written program
- Find a workout
- Join a workout party (we'll discuss these below)
Instead of a definite path to take, you can choose what one you want to do. This randomness leaves too much room for error and distraction.
Unfortunately, this is actually commonly reported as a positive. This is due to the belief from the general public that you need to "stay on your toes" with random workouts and be "gassed" or a "sweaty mess" for a good workout.
In reality, a professional program will tell you exactly what to do.
Difficult To Apply Progressive Overload
The randomness and lack of long-term development also makes it difficult to apply progressive overload, a key variable for progress (Kraemer, et al. 2004).
This is a major issue as progressive overload drives progress. In fact, it is the guiding light for the development of effective programs.
Without being able to track progressive overload, we are just "hoping" it works.
Now, you can use progressive overload if you only run a program. But as I mentioned, I don't see many people doing this.
The app seems to be designed for you to try new things as well as the "workout parties.
Too Much Focus On Social Aspect
Wanting to appeal to the social media crowd, Shred uses a community aspect where you can have "workout parties".
Sure it might be fun to train with people once in a while, it must still be done in accordance with your overall program. Again, randomness does not help.
It reminds me of a client I had. He would randomly go train with his buddy on "leg day" or "arm day" regardless if we just trained them. He wondered why he was always sore.
Further, there's no telling if the people you workout with are going to be able to give you good advice or worse, bad advice.
Appeals To The "Move More" Crowd Rather Than Serious Lifters
The "move more" crowd are those who aren't concerned with hitting PRs or making measurable gains. They just want to "move more", sweat and stay active.
If you're wanting to just "move more" than this is fine. I definitely do not want to deter people from training and I'm not against the "move more" crowd.
In fact, many people claim to love this aspect of the app. Therefore, if that's what you're looking for, it could be great!
However, I look at training through the eyes of a professional coach. I'm judging it by its effectiveness to get a person to progress for an extended period of time.
With that said, I believe it falls short and will leave serious lifters wanting more.
As I had a short, free trial, I didn't personally experience this. However, almost all of the negative reviews spoke about major bug issues.
This seems to have happened after an update that occurred not too long ago. During an upgrade, the app got super buggy, enough for people to leave.
Unfortunately, I was unable to find reviews that said it was fixed. In other words, it may still be buggy in it's current state.
Shred App For Bodybuilding
This will depend on what we mean by "bodybuilding". If we mean legitimate bodybuilding, you'd be better getting another specific app. This is for two primary reasons.
1) It would be hard to decipher what program is actually meant to be for bodybuilding. This is assuming they even have a long-term bodybuilding plan offered (which I'm not sure they do now that I think about it). They have so many different combinations of choices that I'm not sure what is going to be the optimal choice for proper bodybuilding.
2) Going back to the issue above, there's too many options and not enough set guidance. Anytime you're training for something specific, your training needs to be dialed in. You can't randomly choose workouts that you want to do but rather follow a structured program.
Verified Reviews for Shred App
Summing Up: Shred App Review
All in all, I think Shred is a very attractive app but its akin to randomly showing up to group classes or flipping through Instagram until you find a "fun workout".
I'm sure you can lose weight and improve your general fitness with this app; so if general fitness is your goal, go for it, especially if you like the social aspect.
However, if you're really looking at adding muscle and strength in a meaningful manner long-term, this will make your journey longer and more confusing than necessary.
A Superior Alternative for Serious Lifters
Mentioned several times throughout this article, I do not believe Shred is appropriate for someone looking for a serious training app.
To drive this point home, I'm now going to go over what a legitimate workout app should look like by examining Dr. Muscle.
Dr. Muscle is the brain child of Dr. Juneau, a PhD holder in the subject of exercise science. In other words, an actual scientist.
As such, his app is designed with a foundation consisting of the most critical training principles and methods.
This makes it ideal for those lifters looking for an alternative to having a trainer; well I should say a legitimate trainer.
Tells You Exactly What To Do
Perhaps the largest differentiation between Shred and Dr. Muscle is that Dr. Muscle tells you exactly what to do from the minute you download the app.
There is no guessing; you just tell Dr. Muscle your information and goals and its AI programming does the rest.
It will adjust your program based on your performance and then make the adjustments needed.
There is no guessing nor does it shoot an array of various programs at you to try. It optimizes a single program and you do it.
Delivers Clear Goals
Dr. Muscle has one goal, to help you reach your goal using legitimate practices.
Compared to Shred, it's very obvious that you're not there to just "have fun". Instead, you're going to build the body you want.
To be clear, this doesn't mean you won't enjoy the process. Rather, Dr. Muscle has a goal and a plan to reach it and there are no "side-missions" or "workout parties" to get in your way.
Your fun will be reaching goals!
Uses Legitimate Training Methods
Dr. Muscle uses legitimate training methods correctly in its workout programs.
Compared with Shred that uses methods randomly in an attempt to look professional, Dr. Muscle uses professional methods in its workout programs. This seen primarily in two methods:
- Daily Undulating Periodization (DUP)
- Rate Of Perceived Exertion (RPE)
DUP is a proven method of adjusting intensity and volume to enhance physiological adaptations. Studies have shown it to be a superior method of training, especially for strength building, to apply progressive overload (Zourdos, et al. 2016).
RPE is a form of auto-regulation that has you perform reps or weight based on how you feel. It's also been shown to be an effective method to manage fatigue and improve training performance. Better yet, it's shown to be
Gives You Personalized Programs For Life
Dr. Muscle is not meant to use until you get bored and then find another option. Rather, Dr. Muscle grows with the lifter and adapt to their progress. This includes:
- Providing periods of rest
- Altering exercises
- Altering load and volume
- Ability to swap training frequency
As such, Dr. Muscle is an app that you can use for a lifetime. It's build for the serious lifter who wants to make training a part of their lifestyle.
Shred Vs. Dr. Muscle: Side-By-Side Comparison
|Who is it designed for?||Trainees who are looking for a quality program that they can follow to build muscle and strength while improving body composition||Trainees who want to "sweat" rather than follow structured programs.
Trainees who are like a social aspect when training at home.
|Set-Up Time||Simple and straightforward that takes less than 5 minutes. Simplistic goal specific design.||Fast to set-up.
Due to the amount of options for workouts and social media features, exploring and deciding what to do is very confusing.
|Program Design||AI designed by leading muscle building researchers creates a baseline program from your information including training experience.
Monitor each exercise using your effort and ‘reps in reserve’ to adjust loads depending on actual performance.
Suggests adjustments and rest ‘de-loads’ based on your individual progress.
Can run forever
|A plethora of programs and individual workouts.
Focused on single group workouts and "workout parties" rather than a structured program
Uses very "markety" terminology highlight HIIT type workouts.
|Home workouts available?||Yes||Yes|
Shred Vs. Dr. Muscle: Summary
Reading reviews of Shred and it does seem that many people enjoy the app.
However, many people like group classes too but that doesn't mean they're effective for serious lifters.
This same issue exists with SHRED in that while it may be "exciting" and "fun", it is not the best option for the serious lifter.
On the other hand, Dr. Muscle's entire design is built around one goal; getting bigger and stronger. When using Dr. Muscle, the fun is in seeing yourself reaching your goals.
Still, Dr. Muscle still allows you to target areas of interest so it does allow some personal freedom.
At the end of the day, these two workout apps simply target different populations.
Shred targets the "just move and have fun" population. Dr. Muscle targets serious lifters looking to make real gains.
I would bet even those who prefer "SHRED"s fun atmosphere at first will move to Dr. Muscle.
From my experience, these people start with the "fun classes" but quickly hit plateaus they can't break. As they discover they need that structure, they move on to professional training like Dr. Muscle provides.
Verified Reviews for Dr. Muscle
For more reviews and videos, check out customer feedback.
FAQ: Free trial, cancel anytime & more
Is Shred app free?
Shred workout app provides five free workouts and then requires you to sign up for a membership.
Is Shred app worth it?
That's totally up to the person and what they're looking for.
How much does the Dr. Muscle workout app cost?
Learn more on the app’s free trial page.
Can I cancel anytime?
Yes, there is no contract so you can cancel whenever you want.
Is there a free trial?
Absolutely! Dr. Muscle comes with a 2-week free trial that gives you full access to all of it’s features
How much does the Dr. Muscle workout app cost?
Learn more on the app’s free trial page.
My Take On Shred
I came to the conclusion that Shred uses flash as a sales tactic. While that doesn't mean it's bad, it definitely doesn't mean it's good.
Shred finds itself as somewhere in the middle.
Shred is fun to look at and use. Further, some of its programs are decent and social aspect could be found to be "fun". However, I feel there's too much junk to wade through and
Unfortunately, as you have good mixed with the bad, a new lifter isn't able to distinguish between the two.
While you should be able to learn about fitness from a workout app, I don't see this happening with Shred.
This difference shines bright when compared to Dr. Muscle as a lifter will be given a science-backed program that will not only help to improve your fitness, it will educate a lifter on proper lifting.
If you're serious about building strength and muscle, I strongly recommend you check out Dr. Muscle instead. If that's you, head over to Dr. Muscle now for a free trial!