Proper gym trackers are slowly on the rise and helping serve your muscle-building needs, whether it's for bodyweight workouts or a session in the weights room. The latest gym-focused 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 that loves spinning or you're just looking for a way to add accurate information from your sessions to your daily activity tracking, there's a wearable to suit you.
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.
Below are some of our favourite wearable gym aids, whether it's for HIIT, weights, spinning, treadmill training, CrossFit and even boxing.
One of the most popular training methods and a competitive fitness sport, CrossFit is tough for any wearable to track and provide useful data. That's because it combines all kinds of different movements and exercises, from both cardiovascular training to resistance training.
That means a wearable will need to be able to track everything from distance to heart rate to the number of reps you bust out during a WOD.
Price when reviewed: $299
Made by the same team as the Push Band - the wearable aimed at professional athletes and sports teams to assist weightlifting - the Nexus compression sleeve instead looks to add science to CrossFit workouts.
The wearable sits inside the sleeve and provides automatic exercise detection, repetition counting, round-by-round splits, cadence, a work-to-rest ratio figure and even a power metric that calculates intensity into a raw figure.
When we spoke to Push CEO Rami Alhamad during the Kickstarter campaign for the Nexus, he described how the form factor was much more friendly for CrossFit athletes, since it isn't intrusive of the wrist.
Read more: Push CEO on Nexus and smartening up CrossFit
And along with tracking the metrics above, the aim of Nexus is to essentially have a coach on your arm that feeds back into the companion app. Once a workout is completed, wearers will be able to see a breakdown of their overall performance, which also builds up over time to provide a look into long-term strengths and weakness and how workouts have varied.
If you're training using High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) methods, it's heart rate that's your primary concern. That's because your heart rate will tell you if you're pushing yourself hard enough during your intense intervals and will let you know how much you've recovered during the rest intervals.
Whoop Strap 3.0
Price when reviewed: $25 a month
The Whoop Strap 3.0 is a supremely useful wearable for HIIT training, or CrossFit and pretty much every kind of workout you can imagine. That's because its focus isn't on tracking metrics like distance or reps. It's all about tracking recovery between workouts.
If you're a seasoned CrossFitter, you'll know that recovering between sessions is critical so you can smash your next WOD. The Whoop Strap 3.0 is a heart rate monitor you wear 24/7 on your wrist or on your upper arm thanks to a range of accessories. It will track your heart rate during a workout, attributing a 'Strain' score to the session so you know how hard you've pushed yourself. You can also see your live heart rate, perfect for HIIT.
In between workouts, the Whoop is monitoring your resting heart rate, heart rate variability and your quality of sleep overnight. This contributes to your 'Recovery' score, which lets you know how prepared you are for your next workout. It can even give recommendations on how hard to work out based on your recovery level.
We were impressed during testing and it's since become a constant in our workout arsenal. Be sure to read our full Whoop Strap 3.0 review for more details.
Wahoo Tickr Fit
Price when reviewed: $79.64
Not everyone gets on with wearing a chest-based heart rate monitor. Wahoo's Tickr Fit is another option that moves recording BPMs to another part of the body.
The Bluetooth and ANT+ Fit can be paired with a host of wearables and, along with real-time heart rate data, dishes out calorie burn information, too. Apple Watch integration means you can gather heart rate data in the Apple Workout app and you can also expect up to 30 hours worth of tracking from its rechargeable battery.
There are alternatives out there like the Polar OH1 and the Scosche Rhythm24, but we've spent a lot of time with the Fit for HIIT and we think it does a great job of updating heart rate rapidly, which is vital for HIIT-based exercise monitoring.
If your exercises focuses around strength training, most likely what you want to be able to track is the number of reps you're lifting. There are wearables out there that can automatically detect the type of lift you're doing, such as bench press or deadlifts, then count the reps so you don't have to.
One of our picks below takes a different approach, however. It looks to actually improve your strength performance, so if you're chasing a new 1RM it could be the key to unlocking your potential.
Atlas Wristband 2
Price when reviewed: $36.99
"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. It'll count your reps, measure your heart rate and also grade the form of each set.
With its second generation device, Atlas upped the memory, expanded the exercise library database and now lets you store more exercises to work out with. You can now also take it for a swim.
When we first sampled the wearable in our Atlas Wristband review, we enjoyed the smarts but had some reservations about the design. The same was true when revisited through a strength training diary, though what's impressive about the Wristband is that it's still a superior option to most despite its age. Thankfully, a slimmer option in the shape of the well, Shape has now started shipping.
Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro
Price when reviewed: $199
The Gear Fit2 Pro is an upgrade on the original Samsung fitness tracker, but not a huge one. You still have built-in GPS, an onboard music player and offline Spotify, an optical heart rate monitor and notifications from your smartphone, but the most notable difference is waterproofing.
For those looking at the device as a prospective gym partner, you also get an Automated Dynamic Workout Tracking mode to automatically recognise exercises, as well as rep counting to keep tabs on the likes of crunches, lunges, squats and star jumps.
Thanks to these features and that gorgeous curved super AMOLED display, Samsung's Fit2 Pro is a solid all-round performer. However, it's worth bearing in mind that the previous generation is still available and can offer a similar tracking experience for the gym.
Wareable verdict: Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro review
Garmin Forerunner 935
Price when reviewed: $499.99
Garmin recently introduced strength training features to a host of its wearables and it even made it onto the Garmin Vivosport. But the small screen on the feature-packed fitness tracker is not the most ideal for making use of the new mode, so we'd suggest going for one of the watches that include it like the Forerunner 935.
It's essentially the Fenix 5 packed into a smaller body and as far as strength training, it will count reps for a series of bodyweight exercises as well as weights machines that will have to of course involve your arms. You can edit rep counts, set timers and breaks in between sets when you need to take a breather.
When you throw in the fact that the battery life is stellar on the Forerunner 935, you'll have to put in a fair few sessions before you're reaching for that charger to power it back up again.
Wareable verdict: Garmin Forerunner 935 review
Halo Sport 2
Now for something a little bit different. Endorsed by Olympic gold medal winners, NFL stars and legends like Michael Johnson, these headphones use neurostimulation to help you train more effectively. Oh, and also play music.
Working on the principle that the brain learns from repetition, the Halo Sport 2's tech stimulates your motor cortex for a period of 20 minutes during athletic training (neuropriming) and increasing the excitability of motor neurons, puts your brain into a state of heightened plasticity known as "hyper plasticity" or 'hyperlearning', for up to an hour. Essentially, wearing the headset during your toughest, highest quality workouts has the potential to accelerate gains in strength, explosiveness, endurance, and muscle memory.
Data is tracked in the iOS app with an Android version in the works, this is a gym wearable for serious athletes.
Intrigued to find out more? We trained with Halo Sport to see if they really can unleash your inner athlete.
Tracking outdoor running is pretty easy for wearables these days. They will simply use GPS location either from a built-in sensor or piggybacking the GPS in your paired smartphone. These use satellites to detect your location and this can then be used to trace your running or cycling route, as well as your pace.
But if you do your exercise indoors on a treadmill, GPS won't work. Luckily, a treadmill will already tell you your pace and distance information. Instead, these wearables will give you information on how you run, from cadence to stride length, all in order to help improve your running.
The Lumo Run is one of our favourite wearables we've taken out running and was highly commended at the Wareable Tech Awards in our Speciality Sports Wearable of the Year category.
Why did we like it so much? Well, it's because the sensor that clips onto the back of your running kits serves up real-time coaching and tracks key metrics like cadence, bounce, braking, drop and rotation.
While it's best used outdoors where it can piggyback off your phone's GPS to map out your session, it does still provide useful data and real-time coaching on the treadmill as well. Just make sure you turn off auto pause in the app settings to ensure the app doesn't think you are just stationary.
Wareable verdict: Lumo Run review
Price when reviewed: $88.67
While there are plenty of Bluetooth headphones out there that will let you tap into smart metrics during exercise, crowdfunding success Vi, from LifeBEAM, is one of the first to hone in on AI coaching.
After initially only being able to provide you support for the outdoors, LifeBEAM recently added the ability for Vi to be used on the treadmill. Much like the standard outdoor mode, it'll take advantage of the onboard heart rate sensor and track steps and cadence to offer personalised coaching in real time.
This is a hearable primarily aimed at beginner and intermediate runners, so don't expect any wild marathon training coaching here, but this is still a very solid choice for anybody wanting to block out the eardrum-popping gym music and get insights from the same device.
Wareable verdict: LifeBEAM Vi review
Anyone who's ever done some shadow boxing or had a sparring session will tell you that boxing is a great way to workout. It's not just about slugging it out. If you're using boxing as a way to get fit, wearables can detect everything from punching power to how many punches you throw.
Price when reviewed: $99
Following a recent deal to partner up, sports tracking joint PIQ and US-based Everlast have now launched their first wearable dedicated to boxing ‚ÄĒ the PIQ Robot.
The sensor-packed wearable actually shares its form its tennis tracking sibling, allowing you to get a grasp on punch speed, G-force at impact and retraction time for punches. Since AI tech is also on board for the fight, it means throws are analysed in real-time on the companion app to provide you with feedback on how to punch harder, faster and more efficiently.
Wareable verdict: PIQ Robot review
You can even track those shadow boxing sessions in front of the mirror, as well as bag work and sparring sessions. Like Moov's option, this is designed for fitness boxing, as opposed to heavyweight battles inside the ring.
Like High Intensity Interval Training, Spinning is often based around heart rate data. In fact a lot of HIIT training is integrated into your spin classes.
Wahoo Tickr X
Price when reviewed: $79.99
When you're on a bike, a static one at that, attaching them to other parts of your body can be a whole lot more effective. That's where the Wahoo Tickr X, a heart rate monitoring chest strap with added smarts, comes in.
As well as offering unwavering heart rate tracking, the Tickr X plays host to its own sensors that when running can measure distance, and in a spinning class can keep tabs on your cadence, a favourite and relatable metric of cyclists.
Yes, there are many who don't like wearing chest straps, but we found the Tickr X to be pleasingly comfortable and in no way restrictive during our tests. The strap is easily adjustable, and you don't need to have it uncomfortably tight for the sensors to pick up a solid reading.
Wareable verdict: Wahoo Tickr X review
Price when reviewed: $39.99
The Moov Now is a Wareable favourite, giving you the option to track and receive coaching in a number of sports and exercises at a high level of consistency.
We love it for running and swimming, but it's also great for indoor cycling. Especially if you have the Moov Sweat HR headband to combine it with as well.
Once you've placed the sensor around your ankle like you do for run tracking, it can be used for HIIT cycling where it will tell you to increase cadence or intensity to be able to comfortably get up to the next target interval zone.
We've used this one a lot and it really will make sure you push yourself to get the most out of your indoor cycling session. It's also powered by a standard coin cell battery so you won't have to replace it for at least six months.
Wareable verdict: Moov Now review
Just because Yoga takes a slower pace than most other workouts, it doesn't mean it can't still be intense. There are also a lot of metrics you'll want to keep tabs on, from your breathing to your form.
Price when reviewed: $249
There are a bunch of yoga apps for the Apple Watch while fitness trackers from the likes of Fitbit offer limited support for yoga tracking. So if you want something built for yoga, these smart leggings could be a good fit.
Wearable X's Nadi X Pants and Pulse are a line of yoga clothes that react to your body. They're embedded with technology that senses how you're moving and uses haptic vibrations to correct your movements.
So, for example, if your form is off around your hips or knees, the vibrations there will signal to you that you need to tighten up, or move a certain way. Everything syncs to your smartphone app, iOS or Android, and the pants basically work by themselves.
The clothes are available in four sizes and four colours ‚Äď midnight, midnight grey, black and white, and navy grey.
Wareable verdict: Nadi X review