Mobility training is a lot like flossing your teeth. You know it's good for your health, but it's still the first thing to fall by the wayside when you're short on time (or patience).
But just like storing your floss right next to your toothbrush can work as a friendly reminder to show your gums some TLC, having a pre-made movement session right in your phone is a great way to stay accountable to your muscles and joints, says Jereme Schumacher, DPT, a California-based physical therapist. The best routine, after all, is the one you do consistently.
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Make movement a part of your weekly routine with these three must-try mobility apps.
How We Chose
To narrow down the best mobility apps we tested several applications for a few weeks. Then we chatted with a physical therapist and personal trainer to get expert confirmation on our picks. We made our choices based on the following criteria:
- Streaming options
1. Best for Warming Up: MoveWell
On a day you're training your upper body, you probably don't need to focus your entire warm-up routine on your legs, right? Or, when you're planning to hit the squat rack, you won't need too much upper-body prep.
"Your mobility should match the workout you planned, otherwise you won't get as much benefit out of your dynamic warm-up," says Carolina Araujo, CPT, a New York-based NEOU fitness app personal trainer.
MoveWell is an exercise app that lets you build your mobility routine around the exercises you're planning to do. Plus, the app also offers morning sessions that can help ease you into your day.
Some of these routines are body-weight only while others require equipment like a foam roller. Try the TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller (Amazon.com, $36.95).
This app is free to download, and the basic version offers several built-in sessions. You can upgrade to a monthly subscription to get access to MoveWell's full library. Access your sessions through your iPhone, iPod touch or Mac.
Download it: iOS, Google Play; Price: Free (basic); $4.99/month (premium)
2. Best for Customization: GOWOD
Popular in the CrossFit community, GOWOD is a totally customizable mobility-focused app that builds the best plans for your body. The app is paid, but you get 14 days to try it out before any charges hit. So take advantage of them!
Available on multiple iOS and Android devices, the GOWOD mobility app takes you through an at-home test to evaluate how well you move. From there, you can tailor the app to your needs, choosing pre-workout mobility exercises tailored for the lifts you're planning to do. You can also choose a daily routine to help boost your consistency.
"This app really takes a lot of the thought out when it comes to mobility," Araujo says. "That makes it a lot easier to make this training a part of your day."
Sessions come in three lengths: 8, 15 and 22 minutes. To make matters even easier, each move comes with its own how-to video and instructions.
Download it: iOS, Google Play; Price: $11.99/month with a 14-day free trial
3. Best for Reaching Specific Goals: ROMWOD
With its sessions taking an average of 20 minutes, ROMWOD is super convenient for getting in short, but still substantial mobility workouts, Araujo says. And with more than 1,500 different flexibility routines in its library, it also never bores.
While other apps like GOWOD tailor your moves to your personal workout, ROMWOD also offers different series for different goals, helping you focus on things like your sleep health, running pace or core strength.
Another bonus? You can stream ROMWOD on practically all devices, from your TV to your Amazon Alexa.
Download it: iOS, Google Play; Price: Free (basic); $13.99/month (premium)
3 Things to Consider Before You Buy
1. Do You Want a Daily Program or Pre- and Post-Workout Guidance?
People who want to do full flexibility and mobility workouts might like an app that offers daily programs. Meanwhile, those who need a little inspiration for pre-workout warm-ups or post-workout cooldowns might prefer a more training-focused app that gives suggestions based on that day's workout.
2. How Do You Plan to Watch It?
While all of these apps work on a smartphone, they aren't all compatible with tablets or TVs. If you prefer to watch videos on a big screen, verify your app of choice is compatible your favorite devices.
3. How Much Do You Want to Spend?
Monthly memberships can add up, especially when you're subscribed to several other apps, too. Take advantage of the free trials apps offer and don't forget to cancel if you're not a fan of the program, Araujo says.
"For some of my clients, paying for something each month actually helps them stay motivated," she says. "So, if you're the type of person that will stick to the plan if money is in the mix, I think a mobility app is a great investment for your health."