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There are hundreds of workout plans and training apps to pick from, so how do you know if you’re choosing the best workout app for your needs? While that question is hard to answer, we can reassure you that our Train Hard app review offers a look at our hands-on experience with using the workout program for a full month. 

The Train Hard app was developed by 2008 CrossFit champion Jason Khalipa and is built on good old-fashioned hard work, sweat, and tears. If you’re up to the challenge, buckle up!

We’ve Tested More Than 50 Online Training Programs 

Your friends at Garage Gym Reviews are strength and conditioning experts with more than two decades of collective experience. For our Train Hard app review, Lindsay Scheele, lead reviewer for Garage Gym Reviews Everything, put this CrossFit-style training plan into action. 

Lindsay is not just an expert product tester but an ISSA-certified personal trainer and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. During her month-long testing experience, Lindsay was tasked with scoring a variety of categories using our in-depth testing methodology. Her testing process focused on the overall programming, progressive overload, equipment demands, user interface, instruction, accountability, and membership price. 

Train Hard App

Train Hard App

GGR Score: 3.75 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Virtual training program designed by CrossFit champion Jason Khalipa
  • Three programs to choose from
  • Flexible payment options
  • For iPhones only

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Three workout programs
  • Designed by a CrossFit champion
  • Flexible payment options
  • Community feature for accountability

Cons

  • Not the best for fitness beginners
  • Not customizable

Bottom Line

Train Hard is a virtual training program designed by former CrossFit champion Jason Khalipa designed to help people get through training slumps and accomplish their fitness goals.

A Quick Look at the Train Hard Fitness App

Jason Khalipa is not only a CrossFit champion, he’s the founder and CEO of the Train Hard app, NCFIT media (podcast), and NCFIT gyms (CrossFit-style gyms sprinkled across North America). Jason lives a life dedicated to strength and conditioning and helps home gym owners take the guesswork out of programming CrossFit workouts at home

If you sign up for Train Hard you’ll have three workout tracks to choose from: FORCE, FLEX, and EMOM. All programs run on five workouts per week with two active recovery days. Later in this review we’ll cover what each track entails. 

Before You Buy

  • You’ll need a well-equipped home gym or access to a commercial gym to follow this CrossFit-style training program. 
  • Train Hard app is now available for both iPhone and Android operating systems. 
  • There is no free trial with the Train Hard app. 

Is the Train Hard App Worth It?

Based on our experience with the Train Hard app, this is not the best workout app for beginners. If you’re new to barbell training and strength training in general this is not the best place to begin. At $30 per month, we think this app is worth it for folks who have well-established movement patterns. It’s also meant for folks interested in CrossFit-style training. This is not intended for bodybuilders, powerlifters, or sport-specific athletes. 

And before you sign up, you’ll want to inventory your home gym and make sure you have a basic squat rack, bench, barbell, and dumbbell setup. Plus, you’ll also need to inventory your time: Workouts last between 30 to 60 minutes and run on a five-day program. 

Great for:

  • Commercial gym or home workouts 
  • Increasing overall strength
  • Improving cardiovascular fitness level

Not recommended for:

  • True beginners to strength training 
  • Nutrition or meal planning
  • Apple Watch, Whoop, or Garmin integration 

Train Hard App Specs

Pricing$29.99/mo; $159.99/6-mo; $299.99/year
Trial periodNone
Subscription optionsMonthly, bi-annual, or annually 
Type of trainingStrength and conditioning 
Equipment demandsBodyweight training available; dumbbells, barbells, functional trainer (not needed for all tracks)
Available on iOS or Android 

Using the Train Hard App

Our tester Lindsay Scheele enjoys CrossFit as part of her regular workout routine and was excited to give Train Hard a try. She used the app for a month, making sure to get all five programmed workouts per week. 

Like we mentioned earlier, there are three programming tracks to choose from: FORCE, FLEX, or EMOM. Here’s what you can expect from each track: 

  • FORCE: CrossFit-style workouts with functional training, barbell movements, and Olympic lifting. 
  • FLEX: A blend of functional training and bodybuilding to aid in building muscle and strength.
  • EMOM: Time-efficient EMOM-style workouts with an option for dumbbell-only EMOMs.  

Lindsay followed the FORCE program to a tee for four weeks and found the programming packed with challenging exercises, range of motion, rest periods, and incremental increases to her deadlift, squat, and push press. 

Lindsay notes that while the instruction is pretty high-quality, it may be hard for folks new to Olympic lifting to learn a clean or snatch (even with a dumbbell) from a short video. Because she did CrossFit previously, she has a good foundation for the Olympic weightlifting movements. 

Pricing and Subscription Options 

The pricing structure for Train Hard starts at $29.99 per month with a slight price break if you sign up for six-month recurring payments ($159.99) or annual recurring payments ($299.99). 

A woman performs a back squat with the Living.Fit Barbell

Typically we score workout apps fairly low around the $30 per month price range. However, because the other two membership options offer a price break, the app earns 3 out of 5 stars for pricing. 

We also think it’s important to mention there is no trial period, which means the app earns a 1-star rating in this category. In fact, the brand claims it’s an intentional choice by saying, “We want people on the Train Hard app who are ready to commit.”

Train Hard App User Interface

The Train Hard app offers a pretty intuitive user interface. Lindsay says, “Once you know the workout lingo you won’t have to toggle off the screen with the workout program.” 

Within the app, you will have the ability to track your weight and reps for each movement. “You’ll have no doubt what weight you put on the bar,” says Lindsay. “This is helpful because you’ll work through a lot of the same movements during a single training block, which lasts about a month.”  

RELATED: Best CrossFit Apps

Lindsay just has one qualm with the user interface: She would love to see the in-app timer pre-programmed to the workout of the day so you don’t have to reset the timer for every EMOM or AMRAP. 

Another callout she has is the fact the timer turns down the music volume on your phone and doesn’t automatically return it to the original volume. “It got to the point where I was working out and couldn’t hear my music anymore. All I could hear was the timer.” For this reason, Lindsay rates the user interface 3 out of 5 stars. 

Instruction

The Train Hard app earns a 4-out-of-5-star rating for instruction. Lindsay used and appreciated the “prepare” tab in the app that allows you to glance at the programmed movements, demonstration videos, and an estimated one-rep max table to help you gauge what weights you might be loading up on a particular lift. 

“When you go to watch a demo video, the app populates WODStar videos, which are pretty informative,” says Lindsay. 

“There are cases when the demo video is loosely tied to the programmed movement. For example: Alternating dumbbell suitcase lunge. The video provided was just a lunge. While I know how to perform a lunge, I had to hop off the app to google the movement to ensure I was doing it correctly before starting my workout,” says Lindsay. 


RELATED: CrossFit Certification Review 

That said, Lindsay found the group chat forum inside the app super helpful and was able to gain clarity on acronyms and tempo. She also says there is a “start here” tab within the app that offers a cheat sheet for things like workout nomenclature and equipment lists. 

Speaking of training lingo, Lindsay thinks it’s important for folks new to functional training or CrossFit to know that tempo shows up frequently in functional-style training. Tempo has four digits and is expressed with the letter X or the number 0, 1, 2, or 3. The order of the tempo numbers follows a specific pattern: Down, hold, up, pause. For example, if a push-up calls for “30X1” tempo, here is what to expect: 

  • 3 – Take 3 seconds to lower into the push-up
  • 0 – Zero hold at the bottom
  • X – Explode up as quickly as you can
  • 1 – Hold at the top for 1 second before the next rep

RELATED: Beginner Push-Up Program 

Lindsay also notes there is a macro view of the Train Hard programming. While it’s super small and not available to download, she notes that it’s helpful to see an overview of the whole year of training and what each phase will focus on. 

Accountability

When it comes to accountability, Lindsay was looking for the option for push notifications, challenges, coaching check-ins, and group forums. While Train Hard doesn’t offer push notifications or coach check-ins, it’s not void of external accountability. Lindsay found that the overall schedule and workout structure led to its own sense of accountability to stay up with the workouts. She also notes the community chat forum felt encouraging. 

RELATED: Best Personal Training App

“The community aspect was fun to read what other members were saying about the workout or cheering everyone on for that day,” says Lindsay. Overall, she gives the app a 4-out-of-5-star rating for accountability. 

“I also appreciate that Jason Khalipa and his team respond to the questions and engage in the comments,” she adds. “I liked this feature because the workouts were challenging and sometimes hard to do alone in my home gym.”

Workout Variety and Progression 

Workout variety exists in the Train Hard app, but within a functional training with a barbell-style environment. However, we often test apps that offer too much variety and not enough progression, which comes from repeating and practicing the same movements from week to week. 

Progressive overload is at the core of the Train Hard program, with four-week training blocks and a year-long macro training overview. Lindsay says she progressed her deadlift and push press in just a month, which surprised her because both of those lifts had been stagnant for months. 

Lindsay says that because Train Hard offers progressive overload, it’s ideal for folks with fitness goals that include not just building muscle but increasing strength and endurance simultaneously because there will be both strength-focused and HIIT-focused segments. 

The app earns 4 out of 5 stars for progressive overload. Lindsay docks a point because the program lacks warm-ups and cool-downs, which she finds an essential part of the workout. 

RELATED: What Is Progressive Overload?

Equipment Demands

While there are three tracks to choose from, you’ll need a fair amount of equipment (or access to equipment) to run the program successfully. 

woman-pressing-barbell-overhead

You’ll need most of the things found in a typical weight lifting gym equipment including a squat rack, bench, barbell, bumper plates, pull-up bar, dumbbells, kettlebells, jump rope, resistance bands, and something stable for step-ups and box jumps. 

You’ll also need a way to run—either on a treadmill or outdoors—and an additional piece of cardio equipment like one of the best exercise bikes or the Concept2 RowErg

Train Hard App vs Functional Bodybuilding Persist Program

Functional Bodybuilding Persist

Functional Bodybuilding Persist Program

GGR Score: 4.28 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Online strength training programming
  • 5 different tracks to choose from
  • Vast library of demo videos
  • Community board
  • Weekly message from Marcus Philly

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Clear instruction
  • Quality demo videos
  • Weekly emails to overview programming
  • Includes quality warm-ups
  • Mobility days worked into schedule

Cons

  • Website platform, no app
  • Not suited for beginners
  • 4-5 lifting days might not work for everyone

Bottom Line

The Functional Bodybuilding Persist Program designed by Marcus Filly, former CrossFit games athlete, offers exceptional programming for folks looking to improve mobility and increase muscle mass at the same time. Mobility and recovery is built-in to the warm-ups, cool-downs, and addressed on non-lifting days.It’s also appropriate for folks with limited equipment. There are five different tracks you can choose from and one offers minimal or no equipment and you can still see results.

The Train Hard app is most comparable to the Functional Bodybuilding Persist Program. Both programs focus on home gym-style training, increasing strength, maximizing cardiovascular endurance, and reducing injury. 

Neither app is intended to be used as a beginner workout program. In fact, both programs are designed by former elite CrossFit athletes. The expected weight training and volume—about an hour per workout, four to five times per week—may be a bit much for folks just starting their fitness journey. 

If you’re interested in learning more about this comparable program, we tested it and have in-depth details in our Functional Bodybuilding Persist review

Train HardFunctional Bodybuilding
Price$29.99/month$39/month
Trial periodNone14 days 
Type of trainingOlympic lifts, bodybuilding, functional, bodyweight training Functional, bodyweight, Olympic lifts 
FormatAppWeb-based app
Workouts per week54-5

Customer Experience 

If you need to contact the Train Hard team with questions or concerns, there is a general inquiry form on the website as well as links to social media sites. Once you sign up, program- and workout-specific questions can be asked and answered within the app and the team responds within a few hours. 

It’s worth noting there is no language on the website about refunds if you’re unhappy with your training program. Without a free trial it may be hard to tell if it’s the right program for you, which is something we’d like to see improved.

Customer Reviews

On the Apple App Store, the Train Hard app has a 4.6-out-of-5-star average rating and a 4.5 average rating in Google Play. Folks praise the community app feature and note it’s like having a taste of the CrossFit community in your home gym and appreciate that Jason Kahlipa and his team actively respond to questions and comments in the forum. 

Final Verdict of Our Train Hard App Review

The Train Hard app is not for the faint of heart, but neither is CrossFit in general. The app offers strength-building, low-repetition sets on movements like squat, bench, deadlift, and push press while also adding in heart-pounding EMOMs, AMRAPs, and HIIT sessions. Plus, if you’re missing the community element of your local gym when you work out at home, the group chat forum may help you fill the void. 

Full Rating

Train Hard App

Train Hard is a virtual training program designed by former CrossFit champion Jason Khalipa designed to help people get through training slumps and accomplish their fitness goals.

Product Brand: Train Hard

Product Currency: $

Product Price: 29.99

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
3.75

Train Hard App Rating

Price – 3
App setup and interface – 3
Instruction – 4
Accountability – 4
Equipment demands – 3
Progression – 4.5
Customer reviews – 4.5
Customer service – 4
Buy Now

Train Hard App: FAQs

What is hard training?

Hard training varies from person to person. Workouts with heavier weights and less conditioning may be more difficult for folks without a ton of muscle development while a workout with sprinting or rowing may be more difficult for folks who lack conditioning practice. 

What is the No. 1 workout app?

With so many ways to work out, finding the best app will depend on your training style and what type of equipment you have access to. Thankfully, our expert product testers have used and scored everything from the best CrossFit apps to the best running apps and everything in between.

What is the best workout app on the market?

From our experience testing and reviewing workout apps, a few of our favorite apps include Caliber, Future, Ladder, and Nike Training Club. For more in-depth check out our roundup of the best weightlifting apps

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