The Juggernaut AI app has been the biggest project we’ve taken on in terms of reviewing training programs. This is because I had to use the app for several weeks of programming in order to understand how the algorithms worked, how the app adjusted my training, and how my training state (recovery/fatigue) was impacted as a result.
While I came away from my juggernaut AI experience very impressed and questioning why I’m training with anything else, it’s not for everyone.
Let me get into those reasons first, so you understand its limitations.
Editor Note: After reviewing JuggernautAI and publishing this article, the creators of the app reached out with a 10% off code for our audience. Receiving this code did not impact our independent review of the product. If you want to redeem this code, you can use TECHNIQUE10 when purchasing JuggernautAI. The discount will apply every month that you’re subscribed.
Why Juggernaut AI May Not Be For You
As much as I like the app, there are two personalities that likely won’t love it and should look for something else.
- Lifters who like talking through things with a coach
- Frugal lifters looking for a free option
Lifters who like talking through things
This app is an app, not a coach. The whole point of it is to take the knowledge and approach of one of the greatest powerlifting coaches (Chad Wesley Smith) and make it accessible to anyone, even if he doesn’t have the time to meet with everyone that wants to train under him.
But some people prefer the involvement of a human coach more than they value the soundness or effectiveness of a program, and that’s great.
While this app gets really close to what a coach can do in terms of making recommendations for your training program, it’s still an app.
And if you prefer having a coach to talk through your lifts, to explain concepts to you, assess your technique, and write you an updated program each week based on your workouts and personal interactions, then you’re much better off hiring a coach.
If that’s you, feel free to book a free 20-minute consultation to discuss your training goals with us!
This program is $350/year or $35/month if not paid upfront.
If you are the type of lifter that just wants to follow free downloadable Google Sheets for your programs (like the Candito Powerlifting Program), you’re not going to like this program.
The program is a constant subscription, so there’s no point at which you are done paying for it without cutting off your access. Some people see that value for what it is, others can’t stand it.
If that’s you, and you’re trying to lift and spend as little as possible, we’ve reviewed plenty of cheaper or free programs you can try instead.
But to be fair, $35/month really isn’t that expensive when you consider it as an investment into your passion. I’ve spent a lot more on stupid things that don’t add any value to my life.
And as mentioned above, you can get 10% off if you use TECHNIQUE10 when purchasing JuggernautAI.
Let’s now dive into the full review of the Juggernaut AI app.
Want to get advice on programming, technique, or competing? Speak with one of our coaches.
Overview of Juggernaut AI Coaching App
I’ll be honest – I’m trying really hard to find things I don’t like, but this app is absolute fire. From the time I started using it, to writing this article after using it for six weeks, I can’t say enough good things.
Let’s start with the high-level details.
About The Creator
Chad Wesley Smith is the founder and operator of Juggernaut Training Systems.
He has performed at the highest level in powerlifting, posting top 10 All-Time Total records in both wraps (1055kg/2325lbs) and sleeves (1010kg/2226lbs).
He’s won two national championships in the shot put and holds a strongman pro card.
Want to learn more from top powerlifters? Check out my article on The 15 Best Powerlifting Youtube Channels.
Who The Program Was Intended For?
The stated intent is that this app is suited for anyone at any level of powerlifting or powerbuildling who wants a dynamic, tailored program, but without the higher cost of hiring a coach directly.
Users of the app can choose between a pure powerlifting program or a powerbuilding program, which puts additional emphasis on adding new muscle while also improving strength.
Given this option, the app should be appealing to anyone who enjoys strength training and wants to improve whether or not they are more or less focused on adding muscle and looking good at the same time.
Goals of The Program
This app is here to give you the experience of being coached by Chad Wesley Smith, without paying for personal coaching from him.
Given Chad’s background and his work, it’s no surprise that this app really is an extension of his coaching and training knowledge, made available in a way that anyone, anywhere, at any level can access.
If you select the pure Powerlifting program path, the goal of the program will be to improve your squat, bench press, and deadlift so you can post new personal records in those three lifts, whether in competition, or privately in the gym.
The goals will be the same with the Powerbuilding path, but with the added focus on building and maintaining muscle that you like to show off, creating a fusion of powerlifting and bodybuilding (hence the name “powerbuilding”.
Related Article: Powerlifting vs. Powerbuilding: Differences + Examples
The Juggernaut AI app allows you to set your preferences when you first open it up to get started, so depending on your inputs, the program will adjust each of the following areas of the program.
Based on the info I plugged into the app to get started, the workouts I was presented ranged from 45-90 minutes start to finish, optional warmup program included.
The app breaks up training to combine lifts so they can be trained multiple times each week, with a different emphasis on each workout, for a total of five workouts a week. We’ll dive into this more below, but it follows a daily undulating and block periodization blended together.
To accomplish that, you’ll see the following split during a hypertrophy block:
- Day 1 – Squat variation, Overhead press variation, quad hypertrophy
- Day 2 – Bench variation, upper body hypertrophy
- Day 3 – Deadlift, competition bench, squat variation
- Day 4 – Bench variation, deadlift variation, lower body hypertrophy
- Day 5 – Bench variation, arms hypertrophy
When the block shifts to a Strength block, you’ll see that simplify a bit, but hold the same general pattern:
- Day 1 – Comp squat, bench variation
- Day 2 – Bench variation, upper hypertrophy
- Day 3 – Comp deadlift, comp squat
- Day 4 – Comp bench, deadlift variation, squat variation
- Day 5 – Comp bench, upper hyper
In both iterations of the split, the bench press gets trained four times, the squat gets trained three times, and the deadlift gets trained two times.
Update from the original post:
I did manage to catch up with Chad Wesley Smith, who gave me some more insight into how the app sets your split and training frequency. The app will vary the frequency of lifts based on several factors and just because I experienced the frequency I laid out above, doesn’t mean you will too. He explained:
“Frequency is being individualized in the same way that volume is, so based on gender, age, strength, experience, etc, and total training days/week, athletes could range from 1-5x/week squat, 2-5x/week bench, and 1-4x/week deadlift.Chad Wesley Smith
Within each of those categories, there are different gradations of what constitutes a Squat, Bench or Deadlift session. This can include a competition lift at peak intensities, a variation of a competition lift at sub-maximal intensities to build volume, a variation of a competition lift that targets a weak-point within the range of motion, or an accessory movement like a split squat that would be considered a “squat variation”
The program can last as long as you want.
When I first entered my info on training timelines, I let the app recommend to me when I should plan to compete or test my maxes, and it suggested a 6-month program.
In order to test the capabilities of the app, after following the first six weeks of the program, I added a new competition date. And while I was prevented from selecting a date within four weeks of the day I edited it, as soon as I selected a date five weeks out, the app confirmed I wanted to change my date and reset my program, and completed the request and gave me a program with one week of strength training followed by four weeks of peaking.
As with my experience above, the app will break up whatever amount of time you have to prepare for your next competition.
Do You Need Any Prerequisites Before Starting This Program?
You might look at this app and think it’s so specific and specialized to powerlifting that you should have some experience with it.
But once you get past the normal process of familiarizing yourself with the technology, it’s clear that a true beginner could benefit from this program without any prerequisites.
Part of what you get with the app is access to the Juggernaut Training video library, which is embedded into each exercise, so you can watch a video of the exercise being performed, read a breakdown of what muscles it should target, and technique tips to perform it well.
Juggernaut AI Training Variables: What To Expect
While the app will customize much of the program to match the preferences and data you enter into it when you get started, I’ll break down the key variables of the program as it was presented to me and my data.
To a degree, you get to choose what model of periodization you want. One of the first questions you are presented with on the intake survey is if you want to follow the recommended periodization model (a block periodization with daily undulating periods each week), or if you want to specify only a block period, only an alternating model, or only an undulating model.
The toggle has a parenthetical reminder that following the automatic periodization is ”highly recommended,” but helpful to see that the option is available for that level of customization and personalization all the same.
As you can see from the weekly split, this program is very specific to the squat, bench press, and deadlift. So much so, that the periodization model has you training each lift at least twice a week (in the case of the deadlift and its variations) and as many as four times a week (in the case of the bench press and variations of it).
The program calls for a wide variety of other compound and isolated lifts alike, used as accessory movements to help build new muscle and strengthen the individual muscles so they can have a larger impact on your strength in the competitive lifts.
Bottom line is that the program fulfills its promises to focus on the powerlifts, while still incorporating accessoires to add variety and balance to the program (especially for users interested in or following the Powerbuilding version of the program).
Right from the start of the program, there are no doubts about how much volume you can expect, because the top of the program dashboard is a bar graph showing exactly the volume and intensity to expect over the course of your program, however long it may be.
Each block period is shown with a different color on the graph, so you can easily identify how the volume changes within each block of the program.
During the Hypertrophy block of the program, you’ll see the volume steadily increase week over week for the first five weeks.
If your program is long enough to allow for a full ten weeks of hypertrophy, as mine was, you’ll see the volume drop for a deload week, followed by four weeks of climbing volume again, but with slightly higher intensity to address any adaptation you may have benefitted from in the first four weeks.
Once the hypertrophy block is complete, the volume progress flips around, starting with greater volume in week one of the strength block and progressively decreasing week over week. This repeats every four weeks you have allotted for the Strength block of the program, with deload weeks of very low volume every fifth week.
The same diminishing volume pattern is found in the final four weeks of the program, or the Peak prior to maxing out or competing.
To supplement the bar graph, there is a line graph superimposed over the volume bar graph to reflect the target intensity of each week.
The line graph follows the bar graph almost exactly during the Hypertrophy block, as intensity climbs in conjunction with added volume each week.
Once the program rolls over to the Strength block, you’ll notice the intensity graph start to show greater peaks and valleys, even as the volume decreases week over week as we described above.
However, those peaks and valleys ultimately trend upward over the remainder of the program, driving the lifter to more and more intense weeks with progressively heavier load and lower volume.
All of this information between volume and intensity does a great job of illustrating what the Juggernaut AI app does to overload a lifter and keep them progressing toward their goals.
Each week, as you jump into each workout, before you can start the workout, you are presented with a pre-workout check in. In this check-in, you’ll be asked questions of your soreness levels for all muscle groups, your sleep habits, nutritional habits, and overall readiness based on your last day or two before exercising.
If you indicate you feel really good, the program will allow for more overload and increase the recommended weights. If you indicate that you are feeling tired, extra sore, or generally unmotivated, the program will update to reduce the load and even the volume to dynamically accommodate those circumstances.
This feature, while not always fun to fill out when you’re anxious to start lifting and get your workout going, makes the overload component very personalized and adaptable to lifters in various circumstances.
The Readiness Check-in before each workout is a key feature in monitoring accumulated fatigue. Combine it with the initial preferences you set to indicate which days of the week you want to train and which days you want to rest, and you have a program that sets a plan for your rest and adjust on the fly when needed.
Because the app monitors your performance as you input your weights, how many reps/sets you complete, and report the RPE or RIR as a scale of intensity, it has all the information it needs to see when you’re excelling faster than the program expected, or falling behind. In both scenarios, it will adjust your next week of workouts to make them more challenging or less challenging so you can progress at exactly your own pace.
Most importantly, if you score low on a readiness check in, the app will recommend taking an extra rest day before continuing the program.
This has been one of the biggest surprises of the app, as we’ve reviewed so many programs that offer little to no flexibility for individual lifters.
For example, when you fill in your initial info, you can select which variations of the main three lifts you want to train – whether it’s the conventional or sumo deadlift, the high bar or low bar squat, a narrow/medium/wide grip bench, or some other variation.
Once you enter it in, the program will consider that version of the lift your “competition lift,” and use other variations as accessories in the program to help you get that lift stronger.
Furthermore, each week the program has dynamic fields for the lifter to select accessory exercises, You’ll see buttons in your workout to “Select Abs Exercise,” or “Select Quad Exercise,” or “ Select Posterior Chain Exercise,” where you’ll be presented with a list of all possible exercises (complete with videos, guides, and tips) so you can choose the exercises you want to do, as well as the ones that will best carry over to the main lift you are training.
Finally, when you select that exercise, the app asks if you want to include that as your preferred selection for just that workout, or if you want the app to dynamically add that exercise for the remainder of the program.
So if you are a lifter who recognizes your squat is failing above parallel, but before lockout and you need to strengthen your lower back, you could select Good Mornings as your preferred Posterior Chain exercise, and anytime the program needs you to enter one it, it will simply select Good Mornings so you can always focus on it and progress it over the course of the program.
Bottom line – I have never reviewed a program that is more customizable than this one. And frankly, in some ways, I like it better than a human coach. There, I said it.
5 Benefits of the Juggernaut AI app
Here are my favorite things about the app:
- The app is easy to use
- The creator is as good as they come
- The program follows fundamental principles
- The app is customizable and dynamic
- The app tracks your progress historically
The App Is Easy to Use
This is a huge factor for me in whether or not I’ll stick with a program. And having used good sheets and trying to enter numbers into cells on my phone while I train, or writing down sets and reps by hand in a notebook, or even using another app (which I still really like) for logging and tracking reps and sets, I think I can say I know when the administration of a program gets in the way of the program itself.
The Juggernaut AI app offers very few, if any, obstacles to easily follow and administer the program to yourself. From the dashboard view, to the workout view, to entering your weights/reps/sets/RPE/RIR, Readiness Check-in, it’s all a breeze. Not only is it intuitive, it looks really good too.
In a sport known for rusty metal, chalk, blood, torn upholstery, and general grittiness, it’s cool to see a useful piece of technology that’s really well designed.
The Creator Is as Good as They Come
Anyone who has been in powerlifting for any amount of time has heard of Juggernaut Training or Chad Wesley Smith. And if somehow you haven’t, you’ve certainly become familiar with one of his athletes, as so many of them are world record holders and elite competitors with the most impressive performances in recent memory (I’m looking at you, Marisa Inda).
Coaching with Juggernaut coaches starts at nearly $250/month, and if you’re lucky enough to find Chad has openings, it’s gonna cost more than that.
The opportunity lifters have with the Juggernaut AI app is to be coached by Chad without being coached by Chad personally.
The dynamic nature of the app takes all of his experience, knowledge, and best practices, and puts them in a scalable, technological solution so that you can benefit from it without the limitations of your wallet and his time constraints.
In other words, Chad and the folks at Juggernaut need to send us a check for promoting him so hard, cause we’re doing this for free right now.
The Program Follows Fundamental Principles
When you jump into the app, you can have confidence that the program is not based on gimmicks or experimental procedures, but years of proven training methods and protocols to help you progress in the sport.
Look at it this way. The app is going to run you through the exact same procedures and programs as the top athletes in the sport that Chad has coached directly. Those folks didn’t get to where they are by using the experimental, flashy, marketing-heavy approaches you see advertised on Instagram today.
Everything from undulating periodization, to increasing intensity while decreasing volume, to exercise selection, and daily readiness check-ins is proven and tested, and it’s only included int the program because it works and it matters when it comes to training efficiently.
The App Is Customizable and Dynamic
This is the most impressive part of all.
We’ve reviewed programs that use sound, fundamental principles before and still hated them for other reasons.
We’ve reviewed programs that are super easy to use and advertise flexibility that fail to actually deliver.
We’ve reviewed others that look really good on the outside, but lack meaningful content.
But the biggest lacking piece of all of them is whether or not you can really customize it to the lifter based on more than just their most recent maxes in the squat, bench, and deadlift, and if they want their spreadsheet to show pounds or kilos.
The Juggernaut AI app has really revolutionized the ability to enter your initial preferences, make your own voluntary edits on the fly, while also recommending updates and changes to you (oftentimes with you even realizing it).
We mentioned before, but just the fact that you can select a variation like the SSB Squat to be your main lift is a huge plus. Add to that the ability to select your preferred accessories, or change it week to week, and you’ve got a program you can really tailor to your needs before starting a program, and while you run it, without feeling like you’ve got to throw the whole thing out the window and start over at the first sign of adversity.
Even if you’re not the type to try to change too much and just want to follow what’s recommended, the app isn’t just static. As you enter your workout data, perform your readiness check-ins, and just do the work, the app is constantly updating and changing so your next workout is tailored to your performance in all your previous workouts, but especially the most recent one.
The App Tracks Your Progress Historically
This may be something only I care about, but I love being able to see where I’ve been and how far I’ve come. Having a log to see what you squatted two years ago, or the last time you did an AMRAP at what weight, or what you hit for your heaviest 2RM is not something everybody has access to, either because they don’t record that info in a good way, or they don’t have a means to easily search the records they do keep.
The Juggernaut AI app tracks all of it. Not only can you scroll back through each workout and see what you did, you can tap on a single exercise and see the history – when you did it, the rest of the workout it was in, your reps/sets/load/RPE, etc.
If you ever DO find yourself in a situation where you aren’t following the app’s recommendations and you want to pick a new weight based on what you’ve done previously, this app has the perfect log to be able to do it.
3 Cons of the Juggernaut AI app
Ok, I have to share something in this section, because no program is perfect for everyone all the time, but here are a few points to be aware of before shelling out $350 for the year subscription:
- There’s no coach to ask questions
- The app can’t analyze your technique
- You can’t see the whole program at once
There’s No Coach to Ask Questions
It’s still a robot at the end of the day. Powerlifting is a complicated sport under the hood, and while videos and notes and automated guides are helpful, it’s not the same as just asking the expert or the coach.
On top of that, there’s something about a coach that is way more encouraging and inspirational than just following a perfect program.
Think of any great coach in your favorite sport, and there’s a lot more to their legacy and success than just knowing the sport and running their athletes through the motions.
As good as the app is, it’s just an app, and you’ll never hear me quote the Juggernaut AI app the way you would John Wooden or Yogi Berra or Vince Lombardi.
The App Can’t Analyze Your Technique
Similar to the deficiencies above, this app can’t watch videos of you and tell you want to work on.
Sure, if you enter into the app that you failed a lift, or the RPE was way higher than expected, or you recorded way fewer reps than it called for, the app can (and will) adjust your load and volume and intensity, but it can’t tell you that your glutes are the reason you can’t lock out that deadlift. It can’t see that you fire the bar off your chest in the bench press, but regularly grind to lock out.
Maybe something like that is in the works, but those are key elements of a live coach that you just can’t replace with an app.
Without that kind of recognition, whether by yourself or a coach, you’re just treating symptoms by progressing a program without addressing the core issues you need to fix.
You Can’t See the Whole Program at Once
This was most frustrating as the guy who was just trying to get under the hood and see what’s going on with the program, but I think it applies for many lifters.
I don’t like to just show up and blindly follow a program. I want to know how this particular workout fits into the broader block I am in, and how that block fits into my full cycle, and how all these variables are working toward my specific goals.
That’s hard to get when the app has to rely on your inputs for the day/week before allowing you to see the program for next week.
Granted, that’s also what makes the app so cool – it CAN’T tell you what’s next, because it’s based on real inputs by you – but that does come at the cost of not being able to look ahead and see where the program wants to take you.
You can see the general trends with the bar chart that shows expected volume and the line graph that shows target intensity, but beyond that, you’ll need to do the workouts each week to see what’s coming.
Who Is the Juggernaut AI app For?
Bottom line is that the Juggernaut AI app is for just about anyone who wants proven training methods administered to them in a dynamic way, regardless of their skill level or experience.
That being said, I see two types of people that will really love this app:
- Independent lifters who want legitimate programming
- Lifters who aren’t afraid to spend a little money, but don’t want to spend a lot
Independent Lifters Who Want Legitimate Programming
Some of us just don’t want to work with a coach, and that’s great. For the lone wolves out there that want to go their own way, but not reinvent the wheel, this app is for you.
You’ll have a great guide to follow the approach of the greats, while adapting it every day/week to your own performance, so you’ll always be on your own pace.
Humans aren’t perfect, so you just might find better results from the unbiased recommendations of an app than the feedback a human coach may or may not give you based on the same data.
Lifters Who Aren’t Afraid to Spend a Little Money, but Don’t Want to Spend a Lot
This program is one of the more expensive ones I’ve seen, but it’s by far the most valuable. In terms of value for money, this one beats them all.
If you aren’t afraid to spend some money to be better, but you don’t want to break the bank paying a live coach, this is a fantastic avenue to take. It’s going to be way better than a cheap coach just cutting their teeth with their first clients, and it’ll be pretty dang close to what an intermediate or even some advanced coaches will give you, depending on the level of their involvement with you as an athlete.
Take a chance on Juggernaut AI, run it for six months or a year, and then decide from there if you think a coach is worth it.
Folks, I love this app. I’ve been using it for about six weeks as a means to really understand it, and I’m tempted to fire my personal powerlifting coach and use this for a while. I probably won’t, but I’m thinking about it, it’s that good.
While I didn’t always love completing the readiness check-in before each workout (and sometimes just blindly tapped through it) and I didn’t always want to be the one to decide which quads or biceps accessory I should do that day, the flexibility of this app is awesome.
My warning would be this – you get out what you put in. Good data entered into the app means the app can give you good recommendations on the way out. If you aren’t going to record each set, each RPE, each weight selection in the app, you aren’t going to get as good of results from the program.
If you do it right, I think you’ll see amazing results. There are a lot of elements of training we have had to rely on humans to do in the past, but the Juggernaut AI app takes the things that can absolutely be automated and puts that power in your hands.
Check out our other program reviews:
- Texas Method vs 5-3-1: Which One Should You Do?
- Texas Method vs Madcow: Which One Should You Do?
- Powerlifting To Win Program Review
- Ripped Body Powerlifting Program Review
- PH3 Powerlifting Program Review
- Kizen Training Powerlifting Program Review
- Barbell Medicine Program Review
- Candito Powerlifting Program Review
- Buff Dudes 12-Week Program Review: Is It Worth It?
- Greyskull LP: What Is It? Results? Is It Good?
- Smolov: What Is It & Is It Still A Good Program
About The Author
Adam Gardner is a proud resident of Utah, where he lives with his wife and two kids. He has been competing in powerlifting since 2016 in both the USPA and the APF. For the past three years, he and his wife, Merrili, have coached beginning lifters to learn the fundamentals of powerlifting and compete in their first powerlifting competitions.