Runtastic's New App Goes Straight For the Abs

You may be familiar with Runtastic's workout app that's primarily geared toward running. It's one of the most advanced running apps out there, with interval training and all kinds of metrics. But today the company is shifting its focus away from your legs and honing in on your mid-section.

Runtastic Six Pack is, as you'd suspect, dedicated to carving out your abs from underneath their nacho-induced padding. It's, essentially, a training program that features a course of pre-defined workouts and a pair of animated avatars to guide you through it. You can start from the easiest one and then build yourself up over the course of a ten week program. The workouts are typically about 15 minutes and the app tells you which days to work and which days to take off.

The workouts themselves are fairly easy to follow. A clear voice tells you which exercise to do, gives you a few seconds to prep, then counts the reps out loud for you (going off timing, not the accelerometer). When you finish a set, it'll give you a 30 second break before moving you on to the next exercise. While that's happening you can watch your animated avatar plough through the exercises as you to. They never slow down or break a sweat, though, which you may find somewhat demoralizing. The app tracks your progress as you go, assuming you complete all of the exercises, because it's not watching you and counting (unlike Runtastic's push-ups app).

Here's a video of the app in action, which you may enjoy, particularly if you like ripped dudes with pierced nipples.

We've spent a little time messing around with Six Pack and we have mixed feelings about it. Our biggest criticism is that there is no guidance whatsoever with regards to form. Even a little tip like, "Make sure your lower back stays flat on the floor," can mean the different between a good workout and an injury. Yeah, you can watch the avatars, but there are small but important details like that which are easy to miss.

Criticism number two: Only the first level of training—which includes about ten exercises—is free. If you want to move on to intermediate and advanced (and unlock the other 40 exercises), it's going to cost you five bucks, which is pretty steep. And, lastly, the beginner level starts out pretty hard and fast. The first thing you do is 26 slow sit-ups, followed by 30 seconds of rest, then another slow 26. Not everybody can do that.

That said, it's a pretty good workout, and I'm sure if you stuck with it for ten weeks you'd see some results. Just remember that revealing your abs has more to do with diet than with any other factor. It's not a fun fact, it's just a fact. You can download Runtastic's Six Pack for iOS or Android right now. [Runtastic]