This article weighs the pros and cons of following free workouts you may find online and provides a realistic perspective on how to use online workout routines.

Motivation strikes.

You’ve got a high school reunion and your old high school sweetheart will be there so you want to get a more jacked look.

Vacation is on the horizon and you don’t want to feel sloppy on the beach this time around.

You just got engaged and weren’t happy with what you saw the first time you decided to go dress shopping.

The clock has struck midnight and it’s a New Year – so it’s time for change.

Any of these scenarios starting to resonate?

You head to google to find a workout routine – there’s tons of them out there.

You settle on one you decide you like the most for whatever reason and you plan to begin it tomorrow.

But… how do you know it’s going to give you the results you want?

The Pros to Performing Workouts You Find Online

Finding a workout program online is an excellent start to achieving your personal fitness goals.

Related: 7 Habits of Highly Successful & Motivated Gym-Goers

The main benefit is they’re free and easily accessible.

While not always the case, most are going to be well-written as they’ve been created by some of the best minds in the industry. The major fitness outlets will also include instructional videos linked to most, if not all, of the exercises listed within the routine.

Pros to Online Workouts

A lot of the programs are going to be fairly easy to understand since they’re text based. Not many coaches are going to go too in-depth for programs they write for the web since they’ll be for a more general beginner audience.

Online workouts also give you the ability to start something without too big of a barrier so you can begin experimenting and gathering information on what other resources can be used to help you accomplish your goal.

And, since you’re likely new to exercise, you’ll be able to see what is known as “newbie gains” simply by starting a workout routine even if it’s not exactly an optimal training split for your specific needs.

So, to sum up the benefits of the workout routines you’ll find online:

  • Most are going to be free. (All of ours are.)
  • Most are going to be written by some of the industry’s best coaches.
  • Most are going to come with instructional videos for the exercises.
  • They give you something that can be started immediately provided you’re healthy.
  • Nearly any workout routine is going to provide benefit to healthy beginners.

The Cons to Performing Workouts You Find Online

In reality, this section would be better titled “what not to expect from workouts you find online”. I don’t honestly believe there are any cons to beginning a resistance program if you are a healthy individual and are mindful of what you are capable of handling in terms of workout volume and frequency.

However, in the comments section of our workout routines, a lot of the comments we receive are more or less due to a lack of understanding on what you’ll likely receive from a free workout online.

The main thing being that workout routines you’ll find on websites are never going to be individualized for you.

That’s not to say you can’t get results from a program you find online, just that nothing out there is going to be tailored to your specific needs. It would be impossible to do so for writers.

A lot that goes into program design from a coaching perspective centers around assessments.

During assessments, coaches are allowed to better understand your movement patterns, your injury history, your personal life, your working life, and everything else necessary to meet your individual needs.

With that information, they’re able to construct workout routines focused on movement patterns you can safely do utilizing exercise variations that work well with your body structure and experience level.

They can create a split that is optimal based on the total amount of days you have available in a week to see them – and give you protocols on the days you are unable to work with them.

They can adjust the total volume and intensity of your workout routines to better align with volume accrued and stress that arises in your everyday life. In doing so, they can help you progress overtime better than the generalized progression suggestions made over the internet.

And, they can help you set goals that will keep you motivated while keeping you accountable to accomplish those goals.

To sum up this section on what not to expect from a workout you find online:

  • Anything you’d get from having a coach or personal trainer.
  • Not a workout that is designed specifically for you.
  • No assistance in finding appropriate weight to use on any given exercise.
  • No assistance in figuring out the best way to progress with your workouts.
  • No assistance in finding exercise variations tailored to your body structure.
  • Not an optimal training split based on your individual needs.

Cons to Online Workouts

How to Use Workouts You Find Online

Now we’ve arrived to the ultimate question that needs to be addressed by this piece.

There’s several ways you can use a workout routine you find online.

Using it as motivation to get started is definitely a good one. As mentioned, anything you start off with is going to help you develop “newbie gains”.

Viewing a workout routine you find online as an experimental template will probably be best. The templates are going to generally be well-written as most of the writers for major platforms are some of the best coaches within the industry.

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Use them to figure out what sort of splits you enjoy, what sort of exercise selection works and feels best for you, and what sort of rep ranges work best for you.

Individualization in exercise is key – online workout routines simply aren’t able to address this as they must be overly generalized.

For this reason, another way free workouts can be used is as a means to bridge the gap in time while you save up the money needed to work with a professional in person. When you do work with someone in person, don’t be afraid to ask any questions you may have. Pick their brain as much as possible.

That way you’ll be able to pair the knowledge you learn from them with what you gain from resources online to continuously create your own workouts that meet your needs and goals.

Let’s sum this section up a bit:

  • Use them as motivation to get started.
  • Use them as templates to experiment with as you continue to learn.
  • Use them as a means to bridge the gap until you can/need to work with a coach.


Like anything out there, there are pros and cons to getting your workouts for free online.

For this reason, it’s important to set some expectations so you can use them to the best of your abilities.

Whatever gets you motivated to search for the first workout that’ll help you along your fitness journey is great.

Knowing what to do with it and where to go once you’ve arrived at one is even better.