Fitness trackers that count steps or monitor sleep are a dime a dozen. But what about if you want something to count your crunches or correct your form in the weights section in the gym?
Thankfully, there’s a few wearable devices out there that can serve your muscle-building needs. While joggers have long enjoyed the benefits of GPS running watches, the latest gym wearables can guide you on your form, exertion and reps to help you get the best results faster.
Whether you’re a die hard gym bunny or just looking for a way to add accurate information from your sessions to your daily activity tracking, there’s a wearable to suit you.
Essential reading: Best heart rate monitors
Where older devices that tracked your movement proved useless on the static machines in the gym, the latest crop of heart-rate sensing tech means that you can get an accurate picture of your calorific burn, whether you’re hitting weights or indoor cycling.
Here are some of our favourite wearable gym aids. Some are
available now, some are coming soon and there’s a few we are still having a play with.
Worn as an armband or on the upper leg, the GymWatch is one of the few wearables designed to measure strength. The user adds inputs the activity using the smartphone app, while the gadget measures motion. The resulting calculation delivers quantifiable strength data, whether its using free weights, pulley’s or lifting the wearer’s own body weight.
Through the special formulas it is able to calculate explosive strength, speed strength and muscle strength in real time, while it can also determine half/full reps and give users advice on posture.
The software is not without its issues, but with strong vocal feedback and a big catalogue of supported exercises, it’s a good fit for building muscle.
Want to know more? Check out our full GymWatch review.
“The first wearable tracker that actually tracks your workout” raised $629k on crowdfunding site Indiegogo. It can detect motion on three axis and measures it against “exercise fingerprints” in order to determine what type of activity you’re performing.
It knows if you’re doing push-ups or bicep curls, and can even learn new exercises by analysing your motion. Atlas Wearables hopes to take advantage of the water resistant design in the future to so it can even track different strokes in the swimming pool.
It’ll count your reps, measure your heart rate and won’t let you get away with poor form.
You can read our in-depth Atlas Wristband review to see exactly what we thought of the unique looking gym wearable.
It still has a built-in heart-rate sensor, which provides continuous information in real time for your workouts. This makes it perfect for zone training, allowing wearers to maintain intensity or crank it up in order to reach goals. As the information is displayed directly on the touchscreen display, it’s easy to make quick adjustments.
Essential reading: Fitbit Blaze review
The new Fitstar integration means you can get step-by-step workouts on the Blaze. There’s just a handful for now but Fitbit does have plans to add more calorie-burning workouts in the future.
This fitness watch is one of the most advanced, impressive trackers on the market, thanks to the abundance of sensors and the impressive tracking and analysis tools. The Basis Peak has an advanced 24/7 heart-rate sensor (or wrist-based optical blood flow engine) as well as sensors keeping taps on motion, perspiration and skin temperature.
Thanks to the in-app Habits system you’ll also get little prods and nudges when you need to step things up a little bit, while the watch UI makes it easy to check the current heart rate and progress towards daily goals.
Read our comprehensive Basis Peak review to get our full verdict.
TomTom Spark Cardio + Music
The TomTom Spark is much more than a running watch and among its multisport tracking now includes a gym mode where you can monitor your heart rate from your wrist to see if you’re working hard enough.
Essential reading: The big swim tracker test
It can also track treadmill and indoor bike sessions and monitor swimming sessions as well. There’s also a built-in music player on board so you can grab some Bluetooth headphones and leave the phone in your gym locker.
Have a look at our in-depth TomTom Spark Cardio +Music review.
Jabra Sport Pulse
You’re already wearing headphones in the gym to keep you in the zone and block out all of the douchebag gym-bros right? So it makes sense to build the tracker into a pair of buds! The carbon-encased Jabra Sport Pulse earphones place the heart rate tracker right in the inner-ear.
There’s a resting heart rate test while the Rockwell test allows users to calculate their VO2 Max by walking 1 mile at a comfortable pace. The Jabra headphones also team up with a companion app to offer voice guided zone and interval training.
Sold on the Pulse? Check out our full Jabra Sport Pulse review.
The more affordable successor to the Skulpt Aim, the Chisel similarly measures body fat and muscle quality when placed on different areas of the body. It works by sending a small current to both the muscle and the surrounding fat.
As the current flows depending on the muscle’s fitness, the app is able to determine the quality of 24 different muscle groups. There’s no built-in screen this time, so users will have to track improvements over time and identify areas that require improvement using the companion mobile app.
Like the Gymwatch, the Beast sensor is all about tracking what you can lift bro. Packing a series of motion sensors, the magnetic wearable can be worn around the wrist, on a Beast vest or slapped onto a weigh machine delivering a whole host of strength data including reps, intensity, starting strength and explosiveness.
Data is sent in real time to your smartphone or tablet or you can review progress through the web portal. You can also create custom exercises and get training advice on whether to up the load sets or the number of reps in your workout sessions.
From €249, thisisbeast.com
Athos, much like OMSignal and Hexoskin combines snug-fitting, biosignal monitoring sensor-loaded garments and a
Bluetooth enabled wearable core chip in order to help athletes harness some of
the most precise and in-depth workout data imaginable. Together the combo
records the data of the entire body in motion and transmits it back to an app
in real time.
Read this: The benefits of smart clothing explained
It is capable of recording every movement, muscle exertion,
breath and heartbeat and could potentially revolutionise the way athletes
Core $199, liveathos.com
Remember those pointless Global Hypercolour t-shirts that
changed colour in different temperatures? Well, Radiate has a take on that 90s
fad that’s actually of use.
Using NASA technology, no less, the world’s first
thermo-chromatic athletic shirt offers a visual of how hard each muscle is
working by transferring your bioenergy into satisfying living colour. This
enables users to identify which muscles are being worked and which they should
Space age tech to replace our smelly old cut off gym, shirts? Yes
From $34.99, radiateathletics.com