Work out smarter: Best gym trackers and wearables to look out for

Let these trackers supercharge your gym sessions
The best gym wearables

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.

Wareable big test: Best gym trackers pushed to the limits

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.

Jabra Sport Coach Special Edition

Jabra's second generation wireless sports headphones make up for the lack of heart rate monitoring included in the Sport Pulse with an automatic rep counting mode that will track your sit-ups, press-ups and lunges.

Using the same motion sensor included in the first gen Coach buds, you can now pick from a host of different cross-training routines (or make your own) and you'll get a mix of tracked and timed exercises to help you burn those calories and build that muscle.

We've tried it and it works, and despite the shortcomings in the battery department, these great sounding headphones make a great gym partner.

Wareable verdict: Jabra Sport Coach Special Edition review

$120, jabra.com

GymWatch

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.

Read this: How wearables will become the heartbeat of the modern gym

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.

$99, gymwatch.com | Amazon

Atlas Wristband

"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.

Read this: Atlas boss on the limitations for Fitbit and Jawbone

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.

Atlas has launched its second generation wearable (we'll have a review soon), but for now you can read our in-depth Atlas Wristband review to see exactly what we thought of the unique looking gym wearable.

$199, atlaswearables.com | Amazon

Fitbit Charge 2


Successor to the Fitbit Charge HR, the Charge 2 builds on the gym-friendly features introduced in previous Fitbit trackers.

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.

Fitbit's SmartTrack tech is on board to automatically recognise activities like yoga or weight training offering baseline information. The new cardio fitness level testing will also give you a better insight into your fitness level. Unfortunately it misses out on the FitStar integration included in the Fitbit Blaze, but overall it's significantly better suited for throwing into your gym bag.

Wareable verdict: Fitbit Charge 2 review

$149.99, fitbit.com | Amazon

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 and check out our TomTom Spark 3, which packs in all the same features with a slimmer, more comfortable strap.

$249.99, TomTom.com | Amazon

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.

Keep a look out for the new upgraded pair of Jabra Pulse in-ears, which add automatic and continuous VO2 Max level monitoring, improved sound quality and now comes with Comply foam tips to improve fit. We're busy testing them out, so stat tuned for our full review.

Sold on the Pulse? Check out our full Jabra Sport Pulse review.

$199.99, jabra.com | Amazon

Skulpt Chisel

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.

$99, skulpt.me | Amazon

Beast

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

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 train.

Core $199, liveathos.com


Shop for recommended fitness trackers on Amazon

Fitbit Charge 2
Fitbit Charge 2
$149.88
Garmin Vivosmart HR+
Garmin Vivosmart HR+
$149.99
Misfit Ray
Misfit Ray
$99.99
Xiaomi Mi Band 2
Xiaomi Mi Band 2
$44.59

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20 Comments

  • meza530 says:

    hows doe atlas actually measure form ? 

    • m.sawh says:

      Hi, the Atlas identifies any exercises that require wrist movement and uses the built-in motion sensors to capture that action in 3D. As I understand it, there's a list of exercises the Atlas will work with (about 50 to start with) and should hopefully grow over time. Hope that helps!

  • alinaprokho says:

    Which product can best help me in the gym? will anyone recommend a workout for me. I feel like i am not always doing the workouts correctly, is there a way to ensure that i am getting the most out of my workout?

  • Gadgety says:

    Wareable @Chris Smith: If you rate the apps as in "best" you have to have used them if you want to be credible and creat a readership Wareable. This is just a listing of what is, almost, available. So let the heading read "Gym wearable trackers alternatives." 

  • rficocie says:

    BUYER BEWARE!

    DO NOT PURCHASE A WATCH FROM THIS COMPANY. I would like to begin by saying that I feel it is important to allow the company to make things right with the customer before going to social media; however, I have allowed more than enough time to have this situation rectified and it has not been.

    The watch does seem to have some really great features; however, after my experience it is my recommendation that you go with a competitor’s option.

    I ordered the watch as a gift for my fitness buff boyfriend; after charging the device for two days, it still would not turn on. I would like to add that I am no beginner to these types of technology, so this is not operator error. I emailed the support line that had been helpful in answering questions for me in the past. Email is the only way to contact; the phone number provided on the website is for a google line, which in my experience is never answered. I would like to mention that prior to purchasing and receiving the device, every time I reached out to Atlas Wearables via email, I was quickly responded to, for ALL inquires, within the hour.

    This time I asked for the directions to return my device. I received a response that had trouble shooting tips for turning on the device.I kindly replied to email explaining that I did not request troubleshooting tips, I requested return information. I was then sent the instructions to return the device, which requires waiting for an RMA number to be sent to my email, so that I may return the device at cost to me, which I am willing to do. So, I sent the information required and I have yet to receive the RMA number and it has been two weeks. I did receive one email stating that they have never had a device not work before and they cannot figure out how to process a return unless I use the troubleshooting tips and confirm that the device is not working. I have only received that one response since the last request. I am accusing this trying to keep me past the 30-DAY return policy by intentionally ignoring my emails. I am disgusted and so sad that this is occupying my time and currently my work day. We enjoy fitness a lot in my home and I was excited for this device, and I thought that you were a respectable company that I could trust; I see that I was wrong. I will continue to warn people about your company and encourage them to reach out to companies who will provide customer service without terrorizing its customers. I will only retract my statements if I am provided with the RMA number, and upon the return of my device I receive a refund.

    Thank you for ruining my gift, stealing my money, and ruining my work day.

    Rose

    • SupaMonkey says:

      @rficocie Thanks Rose, but you failed to mention what watch 'this watch' is. Please let us know what you're talking about because the article refers to a couple of watches.

      • Mikeymike says:

        she said the atlas watch

  • Jschuley303 says:

    I was given a "beast sensor" for Christmas this year and have had a horrible experience working with the company to get one that does work. As of today, February 15, 2016 I still have not used or received a working device. This device is $200 USD. Only email communication is available and have been told numerous times that they will ship one to me. I have now asked for a refund as this is unacceptable service. I thought the device would be perfect for my crossfit style workouts only to realize that I no longer even want the device  after all the hassle. I hope this helps anyone who is shopping for a wearable. If only I had a large social media presence.

    • BeastSensor says:

      Dear Jschuley303,

      We are really sorry for the inconvenience you experienced with our product. Our support team tried to help you as much as they could, keeping explaining the company’s policy regarding your issue and asking you two videos with different OS, just to be sure of the nature of the problem that was affecting your device.

      At last, we refunded your entire purchase.

      We’d like to apologize again for this unhappy experience and we hope you could try our product again in the future.

      Best regards

  • Jschuley303 says:

    I received a "beast sensor" for Christmas 2015 from my girlfriend. I though it was great and that I couldn't wait to use it and it's capabilities. I got to the gym and it didn't work at all. I emailed beast sensors and they asked me to take a video of the sensor. So I did this with my iPhone since it states it's iPhone  compatible. After sending this, beast technologies asked me to take the same video with a android. I don't own an android but used my friends and performed the same steps they wanted and recorded it again. With no success I sent the video and they said it was damaged. Since the early part of January I have been told from their email customer service that a new one would be shipped. The last time I was told it would be shipped was on Febraury 2, 2016. I still haven't received a working device other than a couple free years on the web portal. At this point I pretty much just want my money or my girlfriends money back from the company since there is no reason a company should be acting this way. 

    • BeastSensor says:

      Dear Jschuley303,

      We are really sorry for the inconvenience you experienced with our product. Our support team tried to help you as much as they could, keeping explaining the company’s policy regarding your issue and asking you two videos with different OS, just to be sure of the nature of the problem that was affecting your device.

      At least, we refunded your entire purchase.

      We’d like to apologize again for this unhappy experience and we hope you could try our product again in the future.

      Best regards

  • LCh says:

    Pretty disgusted in how overpriced and bloated the wearables tech field is today. Low quality, made in china watches by brands that wont be around in 2 years going for $199. Makes no sense.

  • julianneave says:

    I've been reading your various reviews over the last day and they are great - thanks! I'm after a watch that will allow me to accurately count how many calories I burn over a  variety of work outs including rowing, swimming, cycling, hiking and circuits/weights in the gym.  It looks like you'd suggest the TomTom Spark? is that correct? Would the TomTom Runner Cardio work or does that only work for running? Thanks.

  • Frank008 says:

    Hi

    Is any of the optical heart rate monitors accurately able to track your hart rate in weight training. I have so far tried three (Adidas, Fitbit Surge and Apple watch) and none of them were able to keep track of the heart rate once your hands start moving.

  • nikhil612 says:

    We at Actofit have developed a true wrist wearable for the gym.

    We use motion detection and machine learning algorithms to determine and identify the exercises and count the no. of sets and reps automatically. The aim is avoid any manual entry. Unline Atlas, you don't have to pre-select the exercises you will be performing either. Just start the session and we do the rest.

    Looking forward to being on this list soon :)

  • Jrtxun says:

    I just want something I can setup intervals on that will vibrate to let me know when to lift/rest. 3-4 sets 30sec work, 15sec rest; then 30sec to setup next exercise and repeat. With an easy pause. Gymboss closest I've seen but gotta hold a button for 3 seconds to pause.

    What do you recommend? Right now I'm using my phone but would rather not

    • j.stables says:

      TomTom Spark has a good interval session tool on the watch.

  • Cestasol22 says:

    watch is so awesome.....

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