These are the best gym-suited sports watches on the market right now.
Pick up a Garmin or an Apple Watch, head to the exercise screen and you’ll find the promise of being able to track pretty much every activity under the sun.
Except that when you hit that Start button before a lifting session or a CrossFit class, the reality is pretty limited.
It’s simply not a level playing field when you see the level of monitoring, metrics and insights on offer for a runner or a swimmer, compared to someone who favours muscling up over running quicker.
For many sports watch companies, it’s clear the kind of features that can bring real value to strength training hasn’t been high on the list of priorities.
But that’s beginning to change, and there’s now a greater appreciation that people are taking a more multimodal approach to fitness.
Wearable tech expert Michael Sawh rounds up four of the best gym trackers on the market at the moment – and in the November issue of Men’s Fitness you can read his full feature on the difficulties posed by creating a gym-specific watch.
Not as bulky as your typical sports watch, the Ignite houses Polar’s latest heart-rate sensor technology to reliably track effort levels and power features that can tell you more about the effects of your training.
It will also match daily workouts based on optimal recovery time and looking back at your most recent training history.
Garmin’s first watch with a colour touchscreen display lets you follow preloaded or custom strength and cardio workouts with animations to help you correctly perform them.
It will also automatically count reps and will let you make adjustments if it over or under reports your sets.
Coros Apex Pro
This watch is primarily built for triathletes, but proves useful in the gym with automatic rep counting and the ability to follow workout programs designed by other athletes.
It even lets you see whether you’re dedicating enough time working all parts of the body, and it’s got the kind of battery to keep you away from the charger for weeks as opposed to days.
Whoop Strap 3.0
From £14 a month, whoop.com
More smartband than watch, the Whoop Strap shifts the focus on recovery, but also offers features like a strain coach to let you know whether to push harder or ease up in your sessions.
It’s available on a subscription plan and has been spied on the wrists of the likes of LeBron James and Rory McIlroy.
Words: Michael Sawh