- What is The Movement Athlete?
- Public Opinion about The Movement Athlete
- The Movement Athlete App
- The Movement Athlete Assessment
- Effectiveness of the Exercises
- Effectiveness of the Programs
- Pricing & What You Get with The Movement Athlete
- Conclusion for The Movement Athlete Review
- Frequently Asked Questions about The Movement Athlete
Calisthenics is an invention of the modern world, combining tried and tested gymnastics with science and technology. As with many modern findings, less is often more and technological innovations like the smartphone play a pivotal role in this; Calisthenics included. The Movement Athlete seamlessly combines the modern concepts of Calisthenics and digital information and presents it to us in a neat package. We’ll take a renewed and more in-depth look at this popular Calisthenics app. If you’re looking for a dynamic Calisthenics program and you want to bring it anywhere, The Movement Athlete promises just that. Now let’s see them put their money where their mouth is. Welcome to our The Movement Athlete Review.
What is The Movement Athlete?
The Movement Athlete is a paid subscription Calisthenics app for your smartphone, offering you Calisthenics programs and other health and Calisthenics related information. You download the app on your phone, either iOS or Android, and follow their recommended workout schedule. When you first start the app, you are presented with an assessment course. You do the exercises described and fill in how many sets and reps you completed. Based on this assessment and some general information about you like your sex, age, size and weight, The Movement Athlete creates a personalized training program.
From thereon you will be reminded to do your Calisthenics workout regularly. The exercises chosen fit your body and the goals you have set for your body. All of this is shaped in a rather clean looking app, providing you with information on what to do and what not to do.
Besides being a Calisthenics app, The Movement Athlete aspires to be your coach, an as much as possible personalized approach to your health and fitness.
Public Opinion about The Movement Athlete
Before we continue with our own review of The Movement Athlete, we want to address the public’s opinion about this Calisthenics app. Immense popularity would be an understatement here. Within the Calisthenics community, The Movement Athlete is one of if not the most popular Calisthenics app. Indeed, we ranked The Movement Athlete in first place ourselves in our comparative review of Calisthenics apps. But, then like now we strive to remain unbiased and not be swayed with what the audience at large thinks in our review of The Movement Athlete Calisthenics app.
After all, average ratings are only an amalgamation of everyone’s opinions combined into one theoretical “customer”.That customer doesn’t exist in the real world. You are you, an individual and you might hold a differing or altogether different opinion than what is the average. Surely there is something to dislike about The Movement Athlete? The same goes for us, we’re also humans with our own individual opinions and we intend to let them be heard.
The Movement Athlete App
For a first look, we’ll go over the outward appearance and functioning of The Movement Athlete App itself. There is nothing more tedious than a well-meant but poorly functioning or contrived app during your workout. It also represents the very first layer of information provided to us, so we’ll start there.
Form & Function
The app itself looks clean and sleek. All the information is provided in an easy to digest way and there are always buttons to look at more in-depth information, including videos. This “snowball method” allows for a very minimalist user interface. Simple pictures with only a few words or a sentence are used to describe what you need to be doing. Should you not understand, you press the Learn More button and you’ll be directed to a page and often a video explaining things much more adequately.
We like this approach because after you’ve come to understand what each exercise means; you just want to know how many sets and reps the program expects from you. You don’t want to be confronted with the whole set of instructions each and every time like you don’t know already. At the same time, the information provision is there and its easily recognizable and accessible for the beginner athlete. It is clean and efficient, just the way we like it.
Navigating the App
There are only a handful of pages which you’ll regularly interact with. Once you’ve seen them, you’ll know exactly how they work. Many of the additional pages to customize your training or the app itself are kept out of sight inside menus and submenus. These are the trickiest to find and even after some use, we still miss-clicked or went to the wrong page the first time around, only to go to the right page immediately after on our second try. This shouldn’t prove to be a big hindrance, however and it should be expected that some navigation is required to maintain a sleek appearance.
All the buttons are presented quite big, which is a thoughtful advantage when you’re doing your workout, worked up a sweat and are relying on your gross motor skills. You want to have an easy to find, easy to press button to proceed to the next workout in those circumstances.
The Movement Athlete Assessment
During the initial assessment, you’ll be asked to perform a number of sets and reps of different Calisthenics exercises. Immediately apparent is the need for some Calisthenics equipment, although you can customize what equipment you have (more on that later). The assessment is designed to be failed. The app wants to know your absolute limits and design a workout schedule to push you past those limits in a healthy and safe way.
All assessment exercises are the same as the ones you’ll be doing going forward. They come with high quality, easy to follow video descriptions on how to perform each and every exercise.
Setting Your Goals
We’ll assume for a moment that you have all the equipment The Movement Athlete requires for its standard assessment. In that case, you’ll be asked to select 5 core skills which you’d like to master.
These core skills could be those which you are already quite good at. That would lead to your personalized program to be a specialist one. You will be specializing yourself in doing those skills. You can also choose to work on your weaker skills, becoming a more versatile athlete in the process. Both have their merits and no one can be a master of all skills, the human body simply doesn’t work that way. At best, you can be fit and healthy overall but there’s no way a bodybuilder can be a sprinter, and so on. That choice is yours. For us, we opted to work on three of our weaker skills and two of our stronger skills.
That should give us a good mix between working on our entire body while standing out physically as well in the areas of our choice. Point in case: We’re Calisthenics athletes, not bodybuilders.
Should you not possess all the equipment needed for the full program (which is not unlikely), you can customize which equipment you do and do not have access too. Your personalized workout schedule will be adapted accordingly, although we did find that this meant scrapping some exercises altogether. The alternative exercises may work, but they won’t be as effective for the particular muscle group they target. Of course, being a Calisthenics app, it is par for the course that they expect you to use Calisthenics equipment. If you do not have all of it available, you could either go to your local gym or look at procuring the following Calisthenics equipment for your home gym:
- Power Tower
- Gymnastic Rings (advanced)
- Resistance Bands (optional)
The Power Tower and Parallettes combined should provide you with most of the equipment you need for The Movement Athlete. More advanced equipment is not necessary, especially not in the beginning. If you are looking to push further, Gymnastic Rings are a great addition. Resistance Bands can help you decrease the difficulty of many exercises, in particular pull-ups.
Effectiveness of the Exercises
All of the exercises we’ve seen so far (and we scrolled through everything we could find and watched what must have been hours of videos by now) are legitimate Calisthenics exercises, along with Yoga inspired stretching and movement techniques. The exercises work by gradual muscle atrophy, where your muscles are purposefully overloaded beyond their normal operating limits, interspersed by periods of rest and recuperation.
What happens is that micro-abrasions and damages occur deep in your muscle tissue as you work out. After the workout and during the subsequent resting period, these voids are filled with new muscle tissue. The result is a (little) bit bigger and stronger muscle after you’ve healed up again.
This isn’t magical, in laymen’s terms this is how our bodies work and it’s how we become stronger: By adapting to changing circumstances and higher workloads. The Movement Athlete does an excellent job at showcasing and explaining each exercise and they put the strain just high enough to cause mild muscle overload. You could go harder at it than what the program recommends and you’d get results faster. But that isn’t safe and it isn’t particularly healthy either. What’s more, fast results tend to go away quickly as well unless you keep up the rigorous regiment and worse, pumped-up muscles aren’t the strongest they can be.
We like where The Movement Athletes sits with its muscle atrophy and recuperation period.
Easy to Advanced Exercises
Exercises are labeled by difficulty. Your personalized plan will already determine which difficulty you should be operating at, but you can always pick and choose individual exercises and give them a try. For the beginner, the exercises are less complex and requires less fine motor skill to perform. You’ll also be asked to do fewer repetitions, although the number of sets remains 3 typically. We’ve spotted a number of variations on the Reddit Recommended Routine, which is a nice touch and will surely help the beginner get started too.
Effectiveness of the Programs
Your personalized workout program will alternate muscle groups, keeping you disciplined and busy while allowing previously worked out muscles to heal before their turn is up again. Depending on which core skills you’ve chosen, this results in a well-balanced mixture of different exercises without tiring your body to exhaustion. We can be quick with this but at the same time, this is the area where The Movement Athlete really shines. The app just works very well as a personal coach, providing you with a tailored list of Calisthenics exercises to perform and reach a goal.
It really comes down to your own choices in what those goals are and, of course, the discipline to see it through to the end and beyond. That’s where The Movement Athletes really strikes a chord with us. It’s hard enough to see progress but easy enough to not be insurmountable. That said, it’s still work you need to do. You need to commit to it because without commitment and discipline, you’re better off spending your money somewhere else.
Warmup & Rest
As with any good workout, warmup and rest in-between exercises is very important. Although both are provided for in The Movement Athlete, we found that the warmup in particular is wanting. We recommend doing the warmup twice, to give you a proper stretch and preparation for the exercises to follow. Likewise, the rest period in-between sets and different exercises is there, but it’s not a given how long that rest should be.
A small gripe we found with the app is that when you want to setup a quick workout, you’re forced to separate each exercise and start them as individual workouts. This is not the case with the personalized program, where you can pick your core skills and equipment and it will build or rebuild a program for you to follow. But sometimes you just want to do some light stretching, warming up those muscles
Pricing & What You Get with The Movement Athlete
There is only one subscription plan and it includes everything in The Movement Athlete app and program. You can pay either monthly, quarterly or yearly. Paying quarterly or yearly does incur a discount on what you pay per month. Since any Calisthenics program is always meant for the long run, we recommend at least a quarterly billing cycle. This gives you a considerable discount as opposed to paying monthly and it gives you enough time to reap the benefits from your workout.
- Monthly: $24.97/m
- Quarterly: $47.00/q
- Yearly: $157.00/y
- Lifetime access: $497/∞
You always get a 60-day trial with a no questions asked cessation policy, meaning you can stop your subscription hassle free should you not be happy with the program. We suggest you try it for the full 60 days before making your decision since it will take that long AT LEAST to see any meaningful gains. There is also a 7-day free trial, but we don’t know how just one week of training could leave any sort of lasting impression beyond maybe the functioning of the software itself.
What you get in return is an assessment of your current capabilities as an athlete, a highly personalized training plan based on your assessment and personal goals and which is customizable by available equipment. Furthermore, The Movement Athlete App consists of:
- Over 100 Calisthenics exercises to master, all with easy-to-follow instructional videos
- Additional resources from professional bodybuilders, weightlifters and gymnasts
- A supportive community and Calisthenics enthusiasts who share their experiences with you
Conclusion for The Movement Athlete Review
We can see the reason for its popularity. The Movement Athlete app is easy to get into. It’s nice looking and information is provided exactly when and how you need it. The assessment and personalized training plan are huge selling points, especially if you’re not a professional athlete or a graduated physiotherapist.
The exercises are easy to follow and provide you with just enough of a workout to cause muscle atrophy. You can increase or decrease the difficulty of your exercises, although your personal plan will update along with you as you improve. Our only gripes with these are the rather short warmup time and the ambiguous resting time between sets and exercises. There is also the question of required equipment, which is an investment in and of itself. If you’re serious about this, which you should be, buying or getting access to a Power Tower and a pair or Parallettes will get you there.
We understand why the 7-day free trial is there but one week of training tells you nothing of your future results in the long run. Sure, if the app itself is a buggy mess or the training exercises are bogus, you could steer clear from the app altogether that way. But this is clearly not the case with The Movement Athlete. The price for the subscription is rather steep when paid monthly, but you can safe considerably by paying quarterly at least. This, along with the fact that you’ll need 3 months at least to see considerable results, is why we recommend getting the quarterly subscription and then transition into a yearly subscription if you like the app.
Our overall verdict: we think The Movement Athlete is a keeper and well worth the money provided you can show the discipline to see the program through to its end. It is well-suited for both beginner and advanced Calisthenics practitioners who want to push their bodies to a healthier and more fit state.
Frequently Asked Questions about The Movement Athlete
Here are some frequently asked questions about The Movement Athlete and Calisthenics apps in general.
Yes, it is legit. The Movement Athlete consists of a team of coaches and professional athletes who’ve come together and developed a Calisthenics app. Their training regimen are real and effective. The training regimen the app produces are tailored to your personal strengths and weaknesses and which goals you set for yourself.
Yes, but no. There is a 7-day free trial and when you buy a subscription there is always a 60-day extended trial, no questions asked when you quit. As with any serious workout regimen, 7 days is NOT enough to adequately judge the results and even 60 days is kind of short. At best, you’ll get a feel for the app and its software itself.
Yes, it works. The Movement Athlete’s workout regimes can give you significant gains over time. Key here is that you show discipline and perseverance and that you do not cheat the assessment workout by giving false results. If you follow the app’s instructions, you will see long term results.
There are quite a few Calisthenics apps out there apart from The Movement Athlete. The more popular ones are:
- FitnessFaq Body by Rings
- Madbarz App
You can read an in-depth review of these apps and more of them in our 10 Best Calisthenics Apps Review.