As someone who is constantly encouraging people to exercise more in their daily lives I am always on the lookout for tools and applications to assist the process. My list of criteria for a great fitness app is brief: no equipment required, safe effective exercises, clear instructions, convenient and easy to use.
FitDeck began with actual physical decks of cards outlining body weight exercises that could be done anywhere, and they have added many booster decks, including Pilates, yoga, cross training, and even TRX. FitDeck Mobile v2.0 takes the deck of cards and puts it on your smartphone, with options to shuffle or choose your own order of exercises. The cards all have pictures of the exercises along with instructions and recommended repetitions, as well as wild cards that can either let you skip an exercise or make you do it twice (like a trainer would).
The Pilates Deck has 50 exercises, including pre-Pilates exercises such as knee sways and knee hugs, the traditional Pilates mat exercises such as The Hundred and Swimming (called Swimmer here), and some random yoga stretches (thread the needle). In general the exercises are well presented and clearly explained, but I still recommend taking at least one class before starting with this routine.
- Easy to use and portable
- Gives modifications and suggestions for beginning, intermediate, and advanced exercisers
- Comprehensive list of Pilates exercises broken down into pre-Pilates, prone (face down), supine (abdominal), and side-lying movements
- Generally clear instructions and images
- Allows you to choose workouts based on ability, allotted time, or type of movement
- Pilates mat exercises are meant to be done in a particular order and random shuffle does not allow for that
- Some exercises are cued too simply (for example, the legs shouldn't necessarily be at a 45 degree angle for The Hundred, but where your abs can support them)
- Mixes in yoga and non-Pilates stretches without differentiation
In the end this is a convenient application that would allow a somewhat experienced Pilates exerciser to take their workout with them and have enough visual reminders to remember what to do. I would not necessarily recommend this particular deck for Pilates newbies, as there is not enough specific instruction for a newbie to really understand Pilates.
FitDeck Mobile is offering a free trial on the main application and lower prices on the specialty decks. Once you buy the Bodyweight Deck for $9.99 the Pilates deck and other decks are only an additional $2.99. Convenient, inexpensive, no equipment required, and you can carry it with you anywhere — FitDeck Mobile 2.0 Pilates Deck meets all of my requirements for a great fitness app.