Week 5: Conor’s strength training diary – The importance of posture

The Fitbit Ionic lets me down but a posture trainer is surprisingly useful
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After spending a couple of weeks with the Apple Watch as my gym buddy, I was ready to move on and test the rest of the field. Now, after two weeks with the Fitbit Ionic trying to keep tabs on my strength training, it's slowly worn down my enthusiasm for this diary journey.

As I found out last week, the Fitbit smartwatch simply doesn't do enough to justify even having an individual mode for weight training. As this was apparent very quickly, with only the device's limited range of coaching exercises available to help ease this, I've had to tweak how I've been training for the past week.

Essential reading: Fitbit Ionic tips and tricks

This is the last thing you want to do, obviously, if you're enlisting wearable tech to help you improve. Instead of the Ionic working around my usual routine and finessing out the finer details to help me progress, I've instead had to take part in more running, a little less lifting and ultimately work around its limitations to justify its place on my wrist.

The same issues have been cropping up when I have been in the gym, naturally. Without any way to track my progress, I've no idea whether I'm lifting any heavier than five weeks ago, or how many reps and sets I've managed to get through in a session.

So with this in mind, I've enlisted the help of a couple of other devices to lift the Ionic up. I've been using the Upright Go on and off throughout the past five weeks in order to keep a closer eye on my posture, and while this isn't totally relevant during a session itself, it has helped my overall health and wellbeing. After all, this all feeds into the bigger picture of training, and having good posture is something which is largely overlooked in everyday life.

My abs show prominently on one side while the other is undeveloped. It looks super weird.

If I really think back, I've always slouched in a seat. But still, it's something I'd never really thought too much about until just before the start of this diary, when I also starting using the Go. During the briefing for the posture tracker, a physiotherapist noted that the right side of my body was tilted forward. This lean didn't just run at the top of my back and shoulders, either, with the problem stemming from my pelvis and affecting my abdomen and giving me some mild lower back pain. Essentially, with the right side of my body experiencing what's known as an anterior pelvic tilt, this results in my core becoming weak from the imbalance.

This means my abs show prominently on one side, while the other is completely undeveloped. If you can't really picture it, you're probably on the right track, because it looks super weird. But as an interesting side project, I've been performing some wild-looking stretches a few times a week in order to try and rectify the problem.

Since this has been extra curricular and worked on with the Upright Go (which simply tracks the position of your upper back throughout the day), it also got me thinking – with the push from bigger brands into health, why has nobody tapped into this area yet, and instead left it all to specialist devices? The Ionic, for example, is perfectly set up to offer exercises for minor health issues through its Coach platform, as well as obviously adding support for strength training.

Week 5: Conor’s strength training diary – The importance of posture

Either way, that's taken more of a leading role this week, as well as more extensive running in order to try and get that heart rate up and help burn the lingering fat on my lower abs. While the Ionic's heart rate tracking isn't completely terrible, it still suffers from the same woes as most optical sensors at high heart rates. So during a couple of HIIT sessions, I strapped on the Polar H7 chest strap and began trying to hit my maximum heart rate zone. Maybe I even cut my knee open when I slipped turning a corner too quickly, but, listen, we'll keep that just between us.

I'm once again single and free to see what other wearable fish there are in the strength training sea

And now I'm once again single and free to see what other wearable fish there are in the strength training sea, here are my final thoughts for anyone hoping for any support from the Ionic while strength training: it's a device that offers a lot of untapped potential in its dedicated mode and in Coach but you should look at other options until this improves. It can't come close to the Apple Watch in this regard currently, but, generally speaking, both need to do more in and around strength training.

So, what's up next on the chopping block? The first fitness tracker in this great game, the Garmin Vivosport. And it's also bringing something different to what I've dabbled with so far – automatic rep counting. Finally.

Conor's strength training diary

Week 1: Getting hench with wearable tech

Week 2: Strong but shallow with the Apple Watch

Week 3: I've grown weary of you, Apple Watch

Week 4: Taking the Fitbit Ionic for a spin

How we test

Conor Allison


Conor moved to Wareable Media Group in 2017, initially covering all the latest developments in smartwatches, fitness trackers, and VR. He made a name for himself writing about trying out translation earbuds on a first date and cycling with a wearable airbag, as well as covering the industry’s latest releases.

Following a stint as Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint, Conor returned to Wareable Media Group in 2022 as Editor-at-Large. Conor has become a wearables expert, and helps people get more from their wearable tech, via Wareable's considerable how-to-based guides. 

He has also contributed to British GQ, Wired, Metro, The Independent, and The Mirror. 

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