Have you tried the workout app Strong but found it fell short of your expectations? Are you looking for an alternative weight lifting app? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
My name is Garett Reid and I have been in the fitness, strength, and conditioning industry for well over 10 years. Over that time, I have gained my Masters in Exercise Science earned my NSCA, CSCS, and CISSN certifications.
Because of my lengthy experience, I have also been around long enough to know a good program when I see one. So when the team behind this blog and the Dr. Muscle workout app asked me to compare it to Strong, I was up for it.
Full disclosure: I was paid to try both apps and give my thoughts. But I can confirm no one at Dr. Muscle tried to influence my conclusions. The following is honestly what I think of both apps:
STRONG APP REVIEW & ALTERNATIVE—IN A NUTSHELL
In case you’re in a hurry, are the highlights of my review:
- If you are advanced and just want a quality tracker, I think Strong would be great. Think of it as a substitute to bringing a notebook and pen to the gym, with a few extras.
- Dr. Muscle is an interesting alternative. It tracks everything, like Strong. But it also uses that data to adapt your workouts on the fly and plan your next workouts ahead of time—on autopilot. It tells you what to do and teaches you along the way. A bit like a personal trainer.
So while Strong is a great tracker, I feel Dr. Muscle is the superior choice for lifters who want to get in top shape fast. I will go over why in this article.
Strong workout app: a brief review
Firstly, Strong is not a bad app as long as you know what you’re doing. Here’s what Strong will and will not do for you:
- Strong will let you design your own programs and keep records of it on your phone. This can be a lot easier than bringing paper and pen to the gym everyday yet alone worry about getting the paper wet with drink or sweat.
- Strong will not coach you or make any type of suggestions concerning what program and exercises to do, for how many reps, and how hard to push yourself. You must know what you’re doing.
As a result of it’s function, if you are advanced and just want a quality tracker on your phone, I think Strong would be great. This is because Strong does have some useful tools such as tracking metrics like total volume, which can be cumbersome to do by yourself. With that said, it won’t help you interpret those metrics which illustrates my opinion that it won’t be useful for beginners.
Therefore, my opinion is that Strong is an easy-to-use and useful tracker. But that’s pretty much it. In reality, it’s like a substitute to bringing a notebook and pen to the gym with a few extras. But it has some problems.
Problems with the Strong workout app
The biggest problem that I personally see with the Strong app is the lack of guidance it provides for lifters.
Strong is a tracker, it does not give any type of guidance for the lifter on what weights to use or how to set up a program. This is highlighted in the exercise section where it’s just a list of exercises in alphabetical order; it does not even divide exercises into body parts.
Now, that does not necessarily make it bad if you know what you’re doing, but I can see where some beginners may buy this thinking that it’s going to offer some education. It’s not. If you don’t already know what to do, Strong is relatively useless.
While offering some interesting features which could be useful such as tracking total volume (which doesn’t mean much if you don’t know what role that plays in training), it basically just saves you from having to bring a notebook and pencil to the gym.
I searched Google for other reviews of Strong and there are several issues that seem to be spoken about often. The three most common are:
- You cannot sync with multiple devices
- Workouts not being saved or weights changing
- Overall “glitchiness” (many users report freezing or randomly turning off)
These issues can be a major obstacle for many lifters. However, Dr. Muscle has not only fixed these issues but includes even more features to make it the most advanced workout app on the market
Why Dr. Muscle is the best Strong app alternative
Dr. Muscle has a ton of features which make it a great strong app alternative. These features optimizes its effectiveness:
- Personalization and AI technology to deliver results 59% faster
- Designed with the latest research in exercise science for optimal efficiency
- Utilizes complex concepts such as RPE and DUP but takes out the guesswork. It simply tells you what to do
- Huge library of workouts from home workouts to advanced strength workouts in the gym
Now let’s go through some of the benefits that Dr. Muscle offers that make it the optimal choice
Be confident with your purchase with a free trial
First, Dr. Muscle is unique in that it’s free trial allows FULL ACCESS to all of it’s features. This allows you plenty of time to know what the app offers and make an informed decision. On the other hand, Strong app only allows you 3 workout templates before requiring a purchase. As a result of this limited engagement with Strong, purchasing the app can be a gamble as you’re not exactly sure what it offers or if it’s suitable for you.
No restriction of workout routines once you’re signed up
After you have purchased Dr. Muscle, you are ready to go with access to all the workout routines. And there are alot. The way Dr. Muscle works is by organizing the workouts in a series of sections based on your needs and goals,for example:
-Will you workout at the gym, home, or use body weight?
-Do you want to build muscle, lose fat, etc.?
This can best be described as a “top-down” style in that it walks you through the available workouts by walking you through what your goals are and your available equipment. After answering these questions, Dr. Muscle then lays out a program that would be best for you.
Further, it even asks you questions on if you want modifications such as, “Do you want to add more emphasis for a “specific body part”? Therefore, even though they have dozens of workout routines, you’re not left alone to randomly choose one.
Auto saved workout logs so you never lose a workout again
One seemingly common complaint with Strong app is that there is no autosave feature and workouts get lost after updates. This can obviously be frustrating.
However, Dr. Muscle fixes this issue by initiating several auto saves. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about ever losing track of your progress. The same goes for updates as they do not erase your previous workout logs
Large selection of actual customized programs to fit any client
What I really like about Dr. Muscle is their huge selection of custom programs. I am always a bit skeptical of a device that claims it gives you a customized program merely because of the complexities involved. However, Dr. Muscle does deliver by using their series of questions. In fact, the questions that the app asked me were very similar to questions I ask my clients when developing a program. Even more impressive, is that the answers really did alter the delivered program. After playing with the questions some, I discovered that Dr. Muscle does indeed prescribe very similar programs to what I would develop based on the answers I provided.
This is important because I have seen some apps that spit out more or less the same program regardless of the client.
Syncs well with Smart Devices
Syning well with devices is huge component of the practicality of an app. Due to this importance, even if the app is perfect, it means nothing if it doesn’t sync properly. This has been a repeated issue with Strong app, specifically for Android users.
However, with the team of experts behind Dr. Muscle and consistent updates, this is rarely a problem and you will not find any reviews stating this as an issue.
Simplifies warm-Up and special sets in training
Dr. Muscle is unique in that it includes warm-ups and special sets. By special sets we mean practices such as drop sets, sets to failure, and super sets. For starters, this inclusion signifies that Dr. Muscle understands some of the more advanced training practices. Secondly, not all workout apps include these. For example, Strong does not include supersets. Thirdly, it can be somewhat complicated when trying to program a routine yourself and trying to decide when and how specialized set should be used. Again, Dr. Muscle automates all of this for you so you know you will reap maximum benefits.
I really like that Dr. Muscle adds the option of including a proper warm-up (you NEED to do this!). This is actually a very important feature as using a proper warm-up can actually improve your workout session while a poorly designed one can result in poor performance
Dr. Muscle uses advanced techniques such as RPE and DUP to deliver maximal results
RPE stands for Rate of Perceived Exertion. It is a form of measuring your intensity by using subjective measurement. Basically, it allows the individual to workout based on how they feel rather than using specific numbers. It’s main purpose is to compensate for any type of fatigue an athlete might be feeling and has been found to be a very effective method to apply to resistance training (Day, et al. 2004). Similar to other advanced techniques, it can be a bit confusing to start with but again, Dr. Muscle does this for you by asking a few questions.
Dr. Muscle also uses a periodization technique known as daily undulating periodization (DUP). DUP is a technique which alters the load and volume of exercises every session (for a given movement day) as a means to mitigate fatigue and allow continual growth. It also keeps things interesting as every session will be a little different. DUP is becoming very popular amongst the strength community as it has been found to offer greater strength and performance gains than traditional methods of periodization (Simao,et al. 2016). I found this to be a really cool addition as DUP can be complicated even for advanced lifters as it requires you to keep track of a lot of numbers. Here, Dr. Muscle does it all for you.
Both if these are advanced techniques that Dr. Muscles utilizes in their app to offer optimal results while taking away the confusion that can come with them.
One thing I really like about this is that you actually get to learn about these techniques as you train. I am a big proponent of educating lifters so being able to explain these techniques and guide them is a huge plus for me.
Friendly user interface that offers stress-free navigation
The user interface is very easy and simple to navigate. Even though there are a ton of options, it’s fairly simple to interact with once you play with it for a bit. Some apps can be over complicated or buggy which has been a complaint with Strong. With Dr. Muscle, you get a clean and easy to use experience which is what you want when working through a program.
Dr. Muscle has a front end developing team that ensures a smooth user experience, especially after updates
Perhaps the most unique aspect of Dr. Muscle is their front end developing team who are very involved with the development and improvement of the app. After looking through the reviews, you can see a high degree of involvement from the actual developers who are very attentive to negative feedback and suggestions. If you have a problem, you can be sure that Dr. Muscle will address and do their best to make it right.
Strong App & Dr. Muscle side-by-side comparison
Table 1—Side-by-side comparison of Strong and Dr. Muscle
|Who is it designed for?||Those who know what to do in the gym and just need a tracker.||Those who are focused on building strength and increasing muscle mass but also need some guidance.|
|Set-up time||This would depend on the person and their knowledge of training. Once downloaded, you are able to immediately create a template. If you know what exercises you want to do, it would take less than 5 minutes. If you don’t, then it just depends on how long it takes for you to decide.||Less than 5 minutes.
Simplistic goal specific design.
|Program Design||Strong app is mainly a tracker. It is 100% up to you to choose your exercises, reps, sets, etc.
Has 5 pre-programmed templates (Advertises more to come)
Offers graphs and other metrics that allows you to look at overall progress
|AI designed by leading muscle building researchers creates a baseline program from your information including training experience. Monitors 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.
|Home workouts available?||Kind of. You need to search their database for exercises||Yes|
Gallery 1—Side-by-side screenshots of Strong and Dr. Muscle
Drawback: Dr. Muscle is more expensive than Strong
Dr. Muscle may not be for you because it’s more expensive than Strong, however, its price does match its quality and you get what you pay for. Because it is like having your own personal trainer, when you consider you would pay thousands of dollars for a year of personal training, the price is definitely the cheaper option.
Further, since Dr. Muscle was developed by true experts in the fitness industry. It does not just spit out random exercises so every user will have a program that is tailored to their time availability, access to equipment, training level, and goals.
Being that it is constantly updated and improved, you are ensured that you’re always receive top-quality guidance. When taking into account the huge amount of programs, there are actually more here than you’ll most likely ever need to use.
Further, Dr. Muscle works AND saves you from wasting time. This is a huge bonus as you know you are going to get results with less time. And if you do have an issue, the team at Dr. Muscle seems to be very attentive and will be contacted by the leaders directly.
Verified reviews for Dr. Muscle
For more reviews and videos, check out customer feedback.
FAQ: Free trial, cancel anytime & more
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?
Yes, Dr. Muscle comes with a 2-week free trial that gives you full access to all of it’s features
Summary Of Dr. Muscle vs. Strong
All in all, Dr. Muscle looks like an extremely effective app for new and intermediate lifters. Setting up is very straightforward and it’s use is very easy. In addition, Dr. Muscle has a list of topics such, as DUP and back off sets, which brings you to in depth (yet easy to understand) articles. Again, I’m big on education so I really like this as I feel that if you pay attention, you would be able to learn quite a bit. If you put in the time to soak all the information in, I believe that the year price would be all you need.
Now for Strong:
Again, Strong is not a bad app. It does a decent job at what it’s supposed to do. While it does have some issues, if you are tired of bringing pen and paper to the gym then I would suggest trying it out as long as you realize that is all you’re getting.
To clarify, the best way to think about these two is that Dr. Muscle is like having a personal trainer who tracks your weights while also developing personal workout plans, tracking your progress and making alterations, it evens tells if you need more rest. Dr. Muscle is actually guiding and teaching you along the way. Strong is just substitute to bringing a notebook and pen to the gym with some extras.
In comparison, a literal beginner could use Dr. Muscle and make great progress as it actually instructs you while Strong is only useful if you know what you’re doing.
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