The Pump review: Arnold Schwarzenegger offers his muscle-building expertise to the masses

If you want to build muscle, The Pump is the fitness app for you

The Pump app on a phone surrounded by fitness equipment
(Image: © Future / Harry Bullmore)

TechRadar Verdict

The Pump app is perfect for strength training fans and Arnold Schwarzenegger aficionados. The focus is on consistency, built on the principle that providing a limited number of high-quality strength training plans can help people stick to the task at hand and smash their goals. Don’t expect fancy features or guided content, but what is there is incredibly useful and intuitive to use.


  • +

    Easter eggs throughout for Arnie fans

  • +

    Fun old-school bodybuilding plans

  • +

    Intuitive to use


  • -

    Limited features

  • -

    No guided content

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You’ve heard of Arnold Schwarzenegger. You’re familiar with the best fitness apps. Put the two together and what do you get? The Pump, that’s what. 

The app is Arnie’s latest way of offering his considerable training experience and expertise to “anyone with access to a phone”. 

Rather than providing thousands of bright video workouts like rivals such as Peloton, The Pump offers a select few long-term plans, a goal-setting framework for everyday life called “Action Plans”, and a blog-like “Community” section where Arnold’s team shares interesting info and like-minded users are able to chat. 

The workout plans are designed to help you hit one of two fitness goals: ”get big” or “get shredded”. 

Admittedly, this can seem like you’re not getting as much bang for your buck as you do with similarly-priced alternatives like Sweat and Centr, which put a vast library of fitness content at your fingertips. But that’s the whole point, The Pump’s creators argue. This is because the two pillars of any successful strength training plan are consistency and systematic progression. If you’re flitting randomly from class to class on a more expansive app, you’re unlikely to get either of these things.

The Pump, on the other hand, serves you with a limited number of longer-term plans to follow based on your fitness goals. Consistency is paramount, with workouts scheduled on set days and ticked off when you get them done. If you’re looking to build muscle then, paired with appropriate nutrition, this will get you results. 

Admittedly, this approach isn’t for everyone. If you just want to move more for your health or enjoy a varied fitness routine, look elsewhere. But if you’re a strength training fan looking to build muscle, picking up a subscription to The Pump could pay dividends. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
OSiOS (tested), Android available
Price$9.99 per month / £10.49 per month / approximately AU$15 per month
Pairs with devicePairs with phone
Guided contentNo
Sleep tracking No
Food and water trackingWater intake

The Pump: Price and availability

Screenshots from Arnold Schwarzenegger's The Pump app

(Image credit: The Pump app)
  • $9.99 per month (£10.49 in the UK, approximately AU$15 in Australia)
  • $99.99 per year (£105.99 in the UK and approximately AU$150 in Australia)

You can download The Pump app for free, but you’ll need to pay $9.99 per month to unlock access to its training plans. Or you can save $20 by paying $99.99 for a full year. New joiners will also receive a seven-day free trial, so you can try before you buy. 

This is a fairly standard price for a fitness app. You don’t get anywhere near the amount of content you would from the likes of Peloton, which costs $12.99 per month for the App One membership, but everything that is there is all experience-based muscle-building gold.

From a training point of view, I’ve known people pay far more per month for a solid workout program, which is exactly what this app provides. 

Some might argue that the StrongLifts app is a cheaper alternative, with a free version available or a pro version costing just $50USD per year. However, the focus here is more on improving your strength for the big three lifts (the squat, bench press and deadlift), with these three lifts dominating most programs. That’s why I think the community element, wider bodybuilding scope and more varied sessions make The Pump a worthy extra investment for most people. 

  • Value score: 4/5 

The Pump: Design

  • Simple to navigate
  • Clean design

This app isn’t as busy as others I’ve tried like Peloton, Echelon and Freeletics, and that’s one of its strengths. 

There are five tabs – a homepage, workouts, community, action plan and profile – and each one is straightforward to use. The white text on a black background is easy to read, and I found navigation pretty intuitive. If anything, it could have benefited from a few more images from Arnie’s colorful career, but that’s just my preference. 

As mentioned in the intro above, there are a limited number of workout plans (not individual workouts) available. Those that show up are tailored to your answers in a quick induction (equipment available, goals, training experience – the usual culprits). 

As a new-starter, I found I had to complete a 90-day “The Foundation” program to gain access to any other plans. The focus is on drilling consistency; if you only have one workout at a time to focus on, you’re more likely to stick to the plan, and that’s a surefire path to results.

However, if you’re a seasoned gym-goer, you may not want to strip your training back to three days per week for 90 days before you can get return to your usual frequency. 

  • Design score: 4/5 

The Pump: Features

  • Everything you need to support training for muscle gain
  • Informative and enjoyable “community” blog
  • Minimal extras beyond a goal-setting page 

Features are limited on this app, and again, I’m not sad about it. They can be boiled down to three main offerings; workout programs, “Action Plans” and community. 

Workout programs should be pretty self-explanatory. Everyone starts with a 90-day foundations course to get them in the swing of things, then there are a few different plans to choose from depending on your answers in the intro questionnaire. 

For me, there was the prospect of unlocking muscle-building plans named “Next Level”, Foundations Continued”, and “The Classic Arnold Throwback”. The last option is a six-day-a-week lifting plan inspired by Schwarzenegger’s bodybuilding training of old, which will send die-hard (wrong action film?) fans into raptures.  

Action Plans are Arnie’s tried and tested goal-setting method, both in and out of the gym – set a longer-term goal, identify something you can do every day to work toward achieving it, then tick off each day that you take this measure. I think some people will find this helpful, but I found it wasn’t something I kept coming back to. 

Finally, Community is set-up like an old-school blog, with posts showing up chronologically in a vertical feed. You’ll find nutrition tips, guest posts, muscle-building tricks and occasional Q&A’s with Schwarzenegger, and members have the opportunity to chat in the comments. This element, I loved. The blog posts aren’t just public relations fluff  – they’re genuinely interesting and useful. Expect insights from experts, interviews with actors and discussions on recent health and fitness research results. 

Screenshots from Arnold Schwarzenegger's The Pump app

(Image credit: The Pump app)

Schwarzenegger’s (roughly fortnightly) Q&A’s are a highlight too. There’s a real focus on inclusivity with users of all fitness levels celebrated for their successes. 

This is all overwhelmingly positive, so you might be wondering why The Pump only scores 3.5 out of five for its features below? The simple answer is that there just aren’t many of them. 

What is there is very solid, but I can’t award it a four or above knowing what rivals offer. The likes of Fitbit and Apple Fitness+ can link to their brands’ respective smartwatches, offering insights on sleep, nutrition-tracking and more. 

Meanwhile Peloton, Hydrow and the like offer a plethora of follow-along workouts with engaging videos and enthusiastic instructors, as well as the chance to hop onto exercise machines for a connected workout. 

The only videos I came across on The Pump were exercise demonstrations linked in each workout, as well as occasional nostalgic clips from bodybuilding’s golden era in the 1960s and 1970s. And, while I thoroughly enjoyed the throwbacks and insights from Arnold on how to get the most out of each move, this wasn’t enough to bump up the app’s overall score.

  • Features score: 3.5/5 

The Pump: Performance

  • Clean and easy to use
  • No problems
  • Doesn’t push the envelope

The Pump doesn’t get much wrong on the performance front, although some of this can be put down to the app not pushing the envelope particularly far. It’s intuitive to use with clean design, and I didn’t find any of the landing pages to be overcrowded as can sometimes be the case with busier fitness apps. Instead, it’s just a functional combination of text and buttons – no thumbnails or moving parts.

The app’s no-frills approach continued during my workouts. And, as someone who likes to keep their gym sessions largely analogue, I appreciated this. There were boxes to enter my reps and weight lifted for each set, helping me track my performance so I could progress my lifts week-on-week. This allows you to take advantage of progressive overload, which is the principle behind any successful strength-building plan.  

There was also an automatic timer to stop your rest times from outstaying their welcome, if that’s a common problem for you. If not, you can put your phone back in your pocket (or throw it aside, as lifters love to do). 

  • Performance score: 4/5 

The Pump: Scorecard

TechRadar fitness writer Harry Bullmore completing a workout from Arnold Schwarzenegger's The Pump app

(Image credit: Future / Harry Bullmore)
Swipe to scroll horizontally
ValueAt just shy of $10 per month, The Pump price is roughly on par with Peloton and other fitness apps. The workout programs are great, but there isn’t much deeper content.4/5
DesignClean and intuitive to use, this app does everything it needs to. It could just do with looking a bit more lively at times.4/5
FeaturesFeatures are limited, but what is there is very good - muscle-building plans and a community section filled with interesting blog posts and the chance to chat with fellow members.3.5/5
Performance The Pump is simple and effective. Input your weights and reps for each set, then aim to improve upon these figures during your next session - progressive overload in action.4/5

The Pump: Should I buy?

Buy it if...

You want to build muscle 

The plans this app served to me were dominated by old school bodybuilding. If you’re looking to make gains, look no further.  

You’re an Arnie fan 

Schwarzenegger is integral to the app, piping up regularly in the Community section and starring in the exercise demos. 

You prefer keeping your workouts simple 

There’s no video workouts or mod cons, it’s just lifting, with the app replacing a notepad and pen so you can keep tabs on your lifts each week. 

Don't buy it if...

You want a more well-rounded fitness approach 

The Pump has a laser-focus on strength training, which is great if you know that’s what you want to do, but might not offer the variety some people want from their exercise plans. 

You’re a total beginner 

There’s a lack of guided content here, so you might want an app with a more beginner-friendly approach. 

You like follow-along video workouts 

The lack of video workouts and bright designs can be a positive and a negative, depending on your preference. If you find these features help you stay engaged and motivated, The Pump app’s understated approach is unlikely to work for you.  

How I tested

I used The Pump app for a week, following its "The Foundation" workout plan, using its Action Plan feature to work towards a goal outside the gym, and regularly checking in on new posts in the Community section of the app. 

The Foundation program provided three full-body workouts to complete every other day during the week, so I headed to the gym and took them for a spin. 

Also consider



More workout content than you can shake a stick at. If it’s variety you’re after, and the chance to link with connected exercise machines, Peloton remains hard to beat. 


Apple Fitness+

The multitude of guided workouts on Apple Fitness+ make it a great option for beginners. It also has an impressive scope, with the usual HIIT classes accompanied by walking workouts, yoga and even a training track to improve your golf performance, which could swing a few new customers in its favor.  



Our top-rated fitness app is like a personal trainer in your pocket. It can build workout plans to help you hit a range of fitness goals, and excels in the gym.  

Harry Bullmore
Fitness & Wearables writer

Harry is a huge fan of picking things up, putting them down again and writing about it, which uniquely qualifies him for the position of fitness and wearables writer with TechRadar. 

He’s an NCTJ-qualified journalist with a degree in English and journalism and several years’ experience covering the health and fitness beat. This has involved writing for the likes of Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Runner’s World, Fit&Well, Live Science and Coach. 

Harry is passionate about all things exercise-related, having spent more than a decade experimenting with a wide range of training styles. He's used strength training, bodybuilding, Pilates, powerlifting, gymnastics, rowing, yoga, running, calisthenics, CrossFit and more to build a fit, functional body (and have fun while doing it). 

When he’s not writing or training, he can usually be found racing his dog Archie up scenic hills in the south west of England or working to complete his NASM-certified personal trainer qualification.