As the name suggests, the app heavily focuses on building a long-term fitness habit that is a product of discipline and hard work, instead of fads. In this Cultivate review, we’ll tell you all about the app and its functions, the workout routines, training philosophy, and target customers. By the end of it, you’ll know if the app is for you! So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Key Takeaways & Highlights
Install Cultivate if:
- You’re looking to build or develop a Calisthenics practice
- You don’t have access to a gym or equipment
- You want a community that supports and encourages you
- You don’t want to pay insane amounts of money to stay fit
Don’t install Cultivate if:
- You’re looking for personalized fitness programs
- You already have a gym membership
- You’re not interested in Calisthenics
- You want an app that integrates with your wearables and tracks progress
Cultivate is an app built by Hybrid Calisthenics, a community built around fitness influencer Hampton Liu. Hybrid Calisthenics was formed around the philosophy that fitness can be accessible and easy, and improve mind-body connection. The approach is heavily influenced by Yoga, Martial Arts like Tai Chi, and gymnastics and follows the calisthenics principle of mostly bodyweight exercises.
Cultivate has an average rating of 4.9 on Playstore with more than 50k downloads and an average rating of 5 on the App Store. The developers are very receptive to feedback and are constantly improving their features.
The app is completely free to download and use and all the exercises are available to everyone. The equipment required is minimal to none, and the routine is scalable in terms of time available and your ability.
We’ll begin our Cultivate review by understanding what the app promises to do, and then evaluate each feature to see if it’s really meeting its promises. We’ll be using android version 3.47 for our review.
Cultivate aims to promote long-lasting lifestyle changes in the following ways:
- By encouraging users to exercise intelligently while incorporating injury prevention, mental wellbeing, and pain relief
- By creating a community of like-minded fitness enthusiasts that is open for support at any time you may need it
- By providing all their exercise demonstrations and programs for free so that it can reach maximum users worldwide
At a first glance, the app seems to deliver on its promise. The exercises are shown with a heavy focus on form and alignment and understanding what your body needs in that particular moment. The exercises are scalable, and you can use progressions and regressions as required. There is no need for fancy equipment and most exercises are ideal to use as bodyweight only.
However, Cultivate is not a typical fitness app and if you’re looking for a robust calisthenics app that has multiple routines and individualized programs, you might be disappointed.
Cultivate is best described as a social media/community platform for Hybrid Calisthenics users. That’s right, it’s a forum for its users to communicate in, share progress and pictures, and support one another on their journey. For accessing its program, and seeing the exercise demonstrations, you’ll be taken to the Hybrid Calisthenics website.
The UI/UX of the app is average and cluttered in certain places. On top of that, the app has multiple bugs with users facing issues such as not being able to sign up or upload photos, or frequent crashes. The website is a lot more well-made and has a pleasing color palette that’s easy on the eyes. It also has all the demos and program details inside.
Getting started on the app is easy and you need to go through a simple sign-up process before you’re allowed access to its features.
Core Features of Cultivate
Since the app is designed to be used with the Hybrid Calisthenics website, we’ll look at both platforms in the following sections of our Cultivate review.
As mentioned earlier, Cultivate is essentially a networking and interactive app for members of the Hybrid Calisthenics community. As such, its main functionality lies in different themed groups where members can interact and discuss particular aspects of their health and fitness journey.
When you open the app, you’re taken to an Activity Feed, much like the ones on social media platforms. The main groups on the dashboard are Official, Community Feed, Creators and Entrepreneurship (for budding entrepreneurs in the fitness space), Fitness and Health (for individuals to discuss their progress), Motivational, Questions and Suggestions, and Contact Moderators.
Members are also encouraged to create their own groups or join any of the other public/private groups available. There is a functionality to filter posts according to hashtags as well.
Questions and Suggestions
In this section of our Cultivate review, we’ll look at one of the strongest features of the app – the questions and suggestions group.
This group is dedicated to user queries on both the programs offered in the community as well as the app’s performance and bug reports. There’s no question that Cultivate is an app that thrives on community engagement and it’s not surprising to see an entire group devoted to member feedback!
The creator, moderators, and developers are very active and work to incorporate user feedback to the best of their ability.
However, the App Will Be Non-Functional Soon!
If you’ve read this far and find the community feature worth checking out, there’s a caveat. As of July 2022, the app will shut down and so will its functionalities! There will be a new app but there’s no information about it right now.
The reasons behind the sudden move seem to be the following:
- There have been multiple complaints from members as to the lack of useful features in the app such as tools and trackers
- Bug reports are very common. While using the app, we found repeated app crashes and lagging issues that made it very hard to access the app for long
- Hampton Liu (the creator) wants to create a better platform where members can choose from multiple routines, more personalized offerings, and additional fitness tools and trackers
However, the fitness routine and exercises will continue to remain on the Hybrid Calisthenics website for you to access.
Core Features of the Hybrid Calisthenics Website
In this section of our Cultivate review, we’ll look at the Hybrid Calisthenics website and the content that it offers.
From the get-go, the website has none of the issues that were so prevalent on the app. The UI is clean and follows proper information architecture. The landing page takes you directly to the Fitness Routine that it’s famous for.
The Hybrid Calisthenics Routine is inspired heavily by experts such as Paul wade and Pavel Tsatsouline. The page has an FAQ section followed by the steps you need to take to access the program. Let’s go through them:
- The introduction videos that’ll run you through the program structure, what to expect, and how to make the most of it
- A section containing the exercises along with their progressions and regressions, and
- Tips on how to use the progressions till you see improvements and can move up to the next level by following the program phases
The Hybrid Calisthenics program has 6 basic exercises in total. The rationale behind keeping the exercises to a minimum is simple – quality trumps quantity. Instead of overwhelming the user with a wide variety of exercises, this program focuses on just a few functional moves that we perform in our daily lives all the time.
Each exercise has progressions and regressions and you’re the judge of what suits your needs at any given time. The program encourages you to create the required mind-body connection and special emphasis is given to perfecting the form and technique before moving on to harder progressions of the exercise. The exercises each have 10 levels in the progression except the last one (twist and hold) which has only 3.
The exercises come with a dedicated page containing a progression chart with a video demonstration at every stage, muscles targeted, and where to start. There are also helpful tips included in each stage.
Let’s look at each of the exercises individually:
- Pushups – the “pushing” motion is one of the most basic movements and it’s given its due importance in the program. Apart from working wonders for target muscles like pectorals, triceps, and shoulders, push-ups are an essential component of any functional strength routine targeting total body coordination and core stability.
The push-up progression outlined in the routine is wall push-ups, incline pushups (the basic and advanced modification both), knee pushups, full pushups, narrow pushups, side-staggered pushups, archer pushups, sliding one-arm pushups, and finally a one-arm only pushup!
- Leg raises – working the core thoroughly and building strong hip flexors, leg raises are an important part of the program. The progression is as follows: basic and advanced knee raises, alternating and full leg raises, tuck plow and plow raises, basic and advanced hanging knee raises, hanging leg raises, and tow to bars.
- Squats – the third exercise in the program is squats, one of the most vital movements for lower body strength. The progression is as follows: jackknife and assisted squats, half, full, and narrow squats, side, and front staggered squats, assisted one-leg squats, one-leg chair squats, and finally one-leg squats.
- Pullups – focusing on the “pulling” motion attributed mainly to the posterior chain, especially the biceps, lats, and shoulders, the pull-up progression goes through 10 levels as well, with each level demanding greater strength. It goes as follows: wall pullups, basic and advanced horizontal pullups, jack knife, narrow, and full pushups, basic and advanced one-arm pullups, archer and one-hand pullups.
- Bridges – Bridges are excellent for improving core and lower body stability along with spinal mobility. The bridge progression in the program goes as follows: glute bridges, straight and wall bridges, incline and head bridges, full, wheel, and tap bridges, wall walking bridges, and stand to stand bridges.
- Twist and hold – working the often overlooked lateral chain of our bodies, twist and hold is the last exercise in the program. Here’s the progression outlined: straight and bent leg twists, and full twists.
This is a “coming soon” section and includes the following exercises:
- Clutch flags
- Calf raises
- Elbow lever
There are two versions of the program: the original Hybrid Calisthenics program and a newer, revamped routine called Hybrid Calisthenics 2.0. Both programs follow the same structure:
- The exercises are outlined in a weekly format with every day focusing on a particular aspect to improve
- The number of sets, reps, and rest periods are clearly outlined
- There is a section that shows how to modify the routine as per your fitness goals.
- Shop – the official Hybrid Calisthenics shop includes gymnastic rings, resistance bands, clothing, and other merchandise. You can also purchase gift cards for later use. The price point is from $30 and above.
- Workout of the day – Depending on the day of the week, this page will show you what exercises to focus on with helpful tips and tricks to assist you with the same.
- Suggestions – just like the suggestions feature on the Cultivate app, the website has a forum dedicated to user suggestions as well. You can join an ongoing conversation, vote on existing ideas, or suggest your own!
- Community resources – this section is full of downloadable trackers created for the members of Hybrid Calisthenics. The trackers are available in PDF and spreadsheets and can be used freely after making copies of each. Other resources include schedules, posters, and general printables.
Subscription & Paid Plans
In this section of our Cultivate review, we’ll look at the pricing model of the app.
The website, app, and programs are completely free of charge and available for anyone to use! There are no paid plans or subscriptions on the current program. This is probably the best feature of the platform; the information is accessible to all fitness enthusiasts.
Members can however make voluntary financial contributions if they benefit from the program, but it’s optional.
Final Review of Cultivate and Summary
In the final section of our Cultivate review, let’s look into the main pros and cons of the app and its services.
- The app and the program are entirely free and intend to stay that way
- Community is an extremely important part of the platform and most of its offerings revolve around that
- The creator of the app is a real person and very approachable
- The program comes with detailed explanations and video demonstrations
- Every exercise comes with multiple progressions and can be suited to your current needs
- Regular bug fixes and updates
- The app is slated to shut down very soon
- The platform is not very user-friendly
- There are no in-built trackers to monitor progress
- Lack of fitness tools that a lot of workout enthusiasts might like
- Some people may find the emphasis on community to be overwhelming
- Lack of variety in the exercises
- Just one training program with the programming largely left to the user; no proper guidance
To sum up, Cultivate is not the most user-friendly or information-packed fitness app. Since it’s scheduled to shut down soon, and not a lot is known about the new app, it may be better to choose another app. Unless you’re willing to go back and forth between the app and website for all the program details, it’s likely smarter to wait till the new app is out.
To download the app, follow the links below –