5 Fresh Ways to Build a Custom Workout or Generate Exercise Routines From Experts


Wondering what workout to do today? These free apps let you create custom workout plans and generate exercise routines based on your needs and equipment.

Doing the same exercise routine every day can get boring quickly. Plus, you need to train different muscle groups, switching between them. Gym trainers are great at coming up with a Workout Of the Day (WOD) that keeps exercise interesting, but those need a membership. Instead, try one of these apps to generate workouts or create your own custom mashup of exercises for a free alternative.

1. Pumpd (Web): Create Custom Workouts Based on Goals, Equipment

The best sites come about when the creator faces a problem themselves and decides to fix it. Pumpd has a similar origin story, as maker Derek wanted a simple app to create custom workout programs that fit his needs for that day or week.

Tell the app your current weight, fitness level (beginner, intermediate, expert), and fitness goal (increase strength, improve endurance, lose fat, build muscle). Then select the equipment available to you during your workout. Finally, choose how many days in a week you can exercise.

Pumpd gives you a full workout plan for the week based on your input. Like a trainer, it'll exercise different parts of your body in each session. But here's the cool part. If you don't like any of the exercises mentioned, there's a button to cycle them out for another exercise that targets the same muscle groups. You can also click any exercise to see a YouTube video demonstration, or remove it entirely from the plan.

2. Treadapp (Web): Drag-and-Drop Exercises to Build Regular or Interval Workouts

Treadapp is one of the simplest online custom workout builders you'll see. Building a workout is as simple as dragging and dropping an exercise into the workout plan from the library. And if an exercise isn't available in the library, you can add it yourself by inserting a name, a YouTube link, and the core muscle group it targets.

Once you drag an exercise to the workout, you can add how many sets, reps, or seconds it needs. Treadapp also lets you group multiple exercises within the workout into a circuit, and then add sets for that circuit. It supports both interval training and regular training in case you want to switch between multiple types of workout plans.

Finished plans are stored in your workout library, which you can share as a link with anyone. People can access the link without an account too. The app is ideally built for trainers to create workout plans and share it with clients. But you can even use it as a layperson to make custom workouts for yourself, or to share with friends.

3. The WOD Generator (Web, Android, iOS): Fastest and Diverse WOD Generator

The WOD Generator is a fantastic free tool to quickly find the perfect WOD or circuit depending on your needs. The website offers over 10,000 WODs, and the mobile apps add a few more that you don't get online.

To start, pick the category of WOD you're looking for, among varieties like bodyweight, partner workouts, endurance, equipment, travel, EMOM, AMRAP, etc. Each section has a few more filters you can apply, like choosing equipment in the equipment WOD generator. Once you input your choices, generate a WOD. If you don't like what you see, keep telling the app to keep generating new ones till you find what you want.

The speed with which WOD Generator comes up with new WODs is key to the app. You can even switch between various types of workouts because of this. For example, you start with a partner workout to alternate exercises with your buddy, and then switch to a kettlebell WOD that you both try to hit together.

The WOD Generator also offers a few essential guides and resources for beginners. For example, if you don't know the EMOM (Every Minute On the Minute) philosophy, read their guide to understand it and implement it with their generator.

Download: The WOD Generator for Android | iOS (Free)

4. SmartWOD (Android, iOS): (Almost) Best Phone App for Custom Workout

SmartWOD, maker of some of the best countdown timer apps for training, also makes the best free mobile app to create your own workouts. Unfortunately, it has one tiny issue: saving these workouts requires a premium account.

The app has two parts: an automatic WOD generator and a custom workout builder. The generator will keep showing new workouts randomly till you find something you like, mixing between exercise routines.

The custom builder lets you choose between AMRAP, Tabata, Time-based, and EMOM, and then offers further sub-categories to refine the type of workout you want. If you don't know these abbreviations, don't worry, SmartWOD has simple explanations available.

Then it's simply a matter of adding exercises to your workout plan. For each exercise, you can specify the time, rounds, reps, sets, and weights involved. The library features over 5,000 workouts and exercises, most of them with accompanying GIFs to demonstrate.

Once your workout is ready, you can share it with friends as a link or a screenshot. Start the workout to begin the session (with a free warmup as a choice). SmartWOD will offer audio cues to switch to the next exercise as needed.

But as mentioned before, the free version of the app doesn't let you save your workouts, which is a terrible shame. For that, you'll need to pay for the premium access, which also removes ads and unlocks all warmups. Try the app out for a few days, and if you like it, the premium version would be worth its cost.

Download: SmartWOD for Android | iOS (Free)

5. Open Source Treadmill and Training Plan (Web): Create Custom Workouts for Running

If your main source of exercise is walking or running, the apps above aren't the best way to create a heart-healthy cardio workout. But there are two other options to consider.

Open Source Treadmill is a web-based companion made for the popular Zwift exercise app. The app lets you create a running workout warmups, steady states, intervals, and cool downs. You can even mix in advanced commands like ramps and max effort. Once you've created the workout, export it as a Zwift file to use with the app. But if you're not a Zwift user, don't worry; you can convert it to other formats compatible with apps like Garmin, Strava, etc.

TrainingPlan.Run teaches you to improve from your current level to compete in a race or reach any other running goal. You need to give four criteria: your running goal, how many weeks you want to achieve it in, how many times a week you'll run, and how much you're running now. The app takes all these parameters to come up with a custom running workout, gradually improving you. Plus, you can export the data as a simple CSV file to use in any spreadsheet.

Use YouTube Videos to Make a Playlist

While these apps let you make custom workouts or generate exercise routines, they largely ignore the most extensive database of free workouts: YouTube. There are countless channels to get fit and stay fit, from little 30-second videos explaining an exercise to longer routines.

Specialized apps are great, but don't let them stifle you. If you prefer some YouTube creator, then use the video platform's built-in ability to make a playlist and create your own workout mix with it. It's free and unlimited, after all.


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