Your next Freeletics workout: Time vs Star

In Freeletics by All This Running Around6 Comments

Pull-ups. Straight leg levers. Froggers. What do they have in common? If you answered, “they were all invented by complete tossers”, you’d be absolutely right. But what they also have in common (at least for me) is that I can’t do them properly. As I’ve mentioned previously, I am about as flexible and limber as Jack Nicholson at the end of The Shining. Straight leg levers just are not possible, unless someone can make my hamstrings an inch or two longer. It’s the same with froggers; my long, stupid, worthless legs have rendered me useless.

Pull-ups, though. Hmm. I can do a proper pull-up. I can’t do many in one go, maybe ten at the start of a batch of fifty, probably about two or three by the end. But I can do them. Regular readers will titter at the memory of my almost breaking my back and neck after trying to complete fifty strict pull-ups a couple of months back. (If you missed that post, allow me to summarise: 4th rep. Bar came off the wall. I was horizontal at the time. Plummeted to earth and landed on a wooden floor neck first. Hilarity ensued.)

After that little episode, I decided to say bollocks to proper pull-ups. This, to paraphrase Arnold Schwarzenegger in Twins, was my first mistake.

I had a couple of weeks off Freeletics to get over my injury, and when I returned, without even thinking I just reverted to those slightly ‘jumpy off’ pull-ups. You know the ones, they’re the ones that make you feel slightly guilty every time you do them.

One of the things that first attracted me to Freeletics was the fact that it was a fitness regime that could be done at home and took relatively little time. As you get more into Freeletics, you realise that you are doing much more work in about the same amount of time. (Kudos to the techie bods in the background for that.) As Freeletics themselves say, it doesn’t get easier, you just get better. But the clock is ticking, and you are naturally being encouraged to beat your previous PB.

And I think that’s absolutely fine if you are managing to star whichever workout you’re doing. But if you’re not, I don’t think there’s enough onus on you to actually get that star, as opposed to just beating your previous PB. Today was a case in point. I had the standard version of Uranos, which for the uninitiated consists of the following:

  • 2K run
  • 50 burpees
  • 50 pull-ups
  • 50 climbers
  • 50 push-ups
  • 100 jumps

It’s a great workout, one of my favourites. It’s hard but also quick, and it’s got a good mixture of strength and cardio work. My previous PB was just over 23mins…


I looked at the workout this morning and made a conscious decision to do everything I could to star it. Forget the time, even if it took me an hour. My thinking being that if I can do one pull-up, I can do five. If I can do five, I can do ten. And so on. Concentrate on form, ignore the clock. (If I’m being totally honest, some of my climbers and jumps on this workout have probably been a bit sketchy as well.) I made the same decision AGES ago with push-ups, when I decided on the spur of the moment never to do another one off my knees. Never looked back.

So what happened with Uranos? Not only did I get the star, I was only five minutes or so slower than my previous (non-starred) PB. The pull-ups were obviously hard, but not THAT hard. I just took it slow. The push-ups were even better. Since I’d decided to ignore the clock, I made sure every one was perfect. Same with the climbers and the jumps. I had to stop a couple more times in the jumps, but so what?

I realise that this blog is essentially the useless account of a floundering idiot, and I should by no means be considered as an expert in Freeletics. Or anything. But if there are any readers out there just starting out on their Freeletics experience, here’s my one word of advice. Don’t let yourself get stuck in a rut of doing certain workouts without stars. Forget the time – just try and grind it out. Honestly, it’s worth it.

And if there’s anyone from Freeletics reading (which there almost certainly is not), here are a couple of suggestions for you. If someone has a specific physical reason why they cannot complete a certain movement, would it not be possible to swap that out of the relevant workout and replace it with something else? I appreciate that it creates all sort of technical issues, but it would be great if workouts could be edited to suit the individual. Also, for anyone starting out on Freeletics, I would actually consider not timing workouts until they can be completed with a star. Allied to the previous idea, it might give people in a similar situation to me a bit more impetus to go for the starred version of workouts.

Christ. There has been a marked absence of toilet humour and swearing in this post. I’m wrapping it up now, so it would appear that you’re just going to have live without words like arse, knob, bollocks and shit for a week. Sorry about that.

Anyway, if you have any more questions about time, the following video should answer them all*. In the immortal words of the mighty Dave Gahan, see you next time!

*it won’t.