Forget your smartphone…
A smartwatch can offer so much more and with how portable it is, it's one of the best pieces of tech you can have for the gym.
If you want to go completely wireless and take full advantage of smart wearables, then you’ll like the tech we’re recommending below.
Most of these wearables have onboard storage so if you want to go completely wireless, then you can use Bluetooth headphones and have absolutely nothing in your pockets or wires to worry about.
The convenience of a smartwatch is undeniably strong, no matter what your gym goals are.
Since it sits on your wrist, not on your arm, waist, or anywhere, it won’t get in the way of your workouts.
Most of the wearables we’re recommending below aren’t specifically made for bodybuilding but they can still be taken advantage as they are not only great workout trackers but can keep history of your training, heart rate and other useful metrics.
But if you need something that’ll measure strength and physical activity then you’ll appreciate something like GymWatch or Atlas Wristband.
Both wearables have major weaknesses that do not make them recommendable.
The concept is neat, but we're still a few years before we see accurate rep counting from smart wearables.
Very few companies make smart wear specifically designed for weightlifting and the ones available now have mixed reviews.
You’ll end up being frustrated as you look for the perfect tracker for your workouts because there’s no such product yet.
And the ones that exist, are a little bit of a hassle to set up and just makes it too much “tech” to have to carry around in the gym.
Using a universal sensor with a universal app isn’t sufficient for tracking exercises.
What's the solution?
Having something like the Gear S3 Frontier with it’s built-in workout tracker or the Under Armor Record app, is great for general workout tracking.
A smartwatch like Samsung’s can track different types of workouts, from cardiovascular to weight lifting though it doesn’t track any specific metric for weight lifting (reps, sets, etc).
Either a paper and pen or an app to manually insert reps and sets for each exercise is the best way to track progress.
Check out these smartwatches that you can use for the gym….
Top Smartwatches For Fitness and Lifting
Amazfit GTS 2 is the ultimate entry level watch to the fitness market.
It's battery life is the selling point here as it can last up to a full week.
With the Amazfit, you get a built in GPS, sleep and activity track, heart rate monitoring, and even sleep tracking.
You may not have heard of Amazfit as a brand, but it's backed by Xiaomi and anything by Xiaomi typically provides the best bang for buck when it comes to technology.
Zepp is the app that the data is synced to, which is a bit of a downside since this app is still a bit far from perfection.
The set up takes a bit more than the average smartwatch and you won't be able to use spotify, you'll be stuck with the space provided in the internal music storage.
Take this watch out for a week and you won’t need to carry around an extra cable for it since the battery life can last that long easily.
The battery life is the upside and along with it is the price, which is more than fair seeing how you're getting an AMOLED display with waterproofing of up to 50 meters.
And the design looks a lot like the Apple Watch.
Although there are many smartwatches on the market, all made with a variety of features, there seems to be a gap.
That gap is watches and trackers that are made for strength and lifting.
Atlas Wristband 2 is the company's 2nd attempt at making a band that is suppose to track reps and exercises.
But unfortunately we're not at a point where we can say there are any watches that can hold up to being the best smart wearable for strength training.
Currently wearables that claim to be bodybuilding trackers come with a lot of flaws that make them not worth investing in just yet.
The Atlas Wristband claims to learn new exercises while tracking and detecting exercises automatically.
But it's accuracy is flawed and even if you're lucky enough to get it to work, the battery life wears out quickly.
For now, we can't recommend this watch. Hold off and wait as technology improves and sensors get better at tracking exercises.
Sometimes it’s better to go the old fashioned way.
With Smartwatches, you need to invest a bit of time to learn and get used to it but with an old fashioned watch like this Casio G-Shock Classic, it only takes a button to start the timer and you’re ready to smash your workouts.
This watch is super durable as it’s shock proof and can be used while swimming as it’s 200 meters water resistant.
The only thing that this watch is missing is activity tracking, like heart rate sensors and all of the metrics that smartwatches can keep track of but otherwise, this watch is perfect for any lifter looking to keep track of time without getting distracted.
There’s many versions and types of G-Shock watches out there but this being squared and compact, it is less likely to get in the way of your lifts.
The price is super affordable so if you don’t fancy a smartwatch but need something basic, this will go a long way and the best part is that you won’t need to charge or change the batteries for years at a time.
The Fitbit lineup of watches are made for fitness enthusiasts.
For weight lifting, these types of smartwatches are perfect because of their simple features that seem to work flawlessly.
The features get better with every model and with Versa 3, it has the best features from what the company offers.
This watch can go 6 days with it’s battery, and it has onboard GPS, heart rate tracking, activity tracking and Fitbit Pay.
Imagine going to the gym without your wallet and being able to pay with your watch.
It also has a smaller profile compared to its previous model and it rocks a built in microphone, speaker and allows for Bluetooth calls.
It can track your heart rate 24/7, and it also features sleep and activity tracking.
Another cool thing is that this watch has on-screen workouts if you need a coach to direct your workout for you.
The Active Zone Minutes can let you know if you’ve hit your target heart rate zone during workouts, to help maximize efficiency.
The bands from the last generation won’t work with the Versa 3 but they do have new infinity bands that feature a quick release system.
The app selection is sort of weak but the features are strong with this Fitbit.
When it comes to smartwatches, it's hard to find something that works for multiple sports.
Polar Vantage V2 is made for the serious athlete with it's features being top notch without being too expensive.
This stylish watch has a look that makes it more expensive than it is and it holds up well, making it perfect for the hardcore fitness enthusiast.
It comes with a 100 hour battery, smaller design, and a full set of features that will benefit performance, training, and sleep that are the most advanced so far on a Polar watch.
Uniquely, it has a smart fuel assistant that can let you know when and where to refuel so you stay properly hydrated and energized during long outdoor workouts.
Vantage also has hill tracking and routine guidance.
The features are packed and it's cheaper than the Garmin watch, Forerunner 945.
There are tons of modes for sports, up to 130 to be exact, and it's design, features and tech are the best combination for its price point.
The display shines when it's indoors but in sunlight, it can be hard to read without struggling with it.
The Vantage does it well when it comes to tracking specific things in sports, but it doesn't try to be everything which makes it perfect if you're looking for a smartwatch with accurate sensors.
Otherwise, it's a great tool to measure activities.
Best heart rate monitor to pair with this smartwatch…
Polar H10 has set the gold standards for heart rate trackers.
This HR monitor doesn't only have onboard memory, but it also has a strong battery life, and one of the best accuracy we've seen so far.
From the previous version, the Polar H10 improves in design and it can work for months before requiring a battery change.
It's so comfortable to wear that it's easy to forget that you're wearing it.
If you have a smartwatch, you can install the app to connect to the heart rate monitor, leaving you to your sports without requiring your phone.
When it comes to the best, Polar H10 is easily in the top spot for heart rate monitors.
And since heart rate sensors on the wrist isn't as accurate as a chest strap, this makes it a perfect combination when used with a smartwatch.
The Galaxy Watch Active is one of the best wearables you can get.
It takes what makes Samsung great for watches into a sleeker and smaller design
What makes this watch stand out is it's price point along with it's look and tech
While it has a circular design, the rotating bezel isn't on this watch, making it look like a real watch as the bezels are near non-existent
Galaxy Watch Active is packed with features…
It has an on-board music player, heart rate sensor, Spotify, Samsung Pay and a super AMOLED screen to show it all off.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active is made for the gym, but not much outside of it.
If you’re looking for something that isn’t exactly a smartwatch but still has nearly the same features as one, the Gear Fit2 pro is the perfect fit for you.
It has a super AMOLED display that makes it very easy to view and read even in the brightest conditions.
It is lighter than the Galaxy Watch and features 4gb of internal storage, used for storing music so you could pair it with your wireless headphones and leave your phone behind.
If you want the complete “smartwatch” package, then you’ll get more for your buck with the Galaxy Watch, otherwise the Galaxy Active is great as a fitness device.
Everyone knows Apple has some advanced tech and their gadgets are consistently setting high standards, although they are a bit more on the expensive side
The Apple Watch is a must have, even if you’re an Android user, this watch can be used as a standalone and is better suited for Instagram and other applications than most Android watches.
That’s not why this watch is made for the lifting life though.
It has a number of features built into it which allows you to track your steps, heart rate, and much more.
You can leave your phone behind and the Apple Watch will be your wallet (Apple Pay) and your MP3 player (around 6gb for Apple Watch 3, or 32gb for Apple Watch 5).
Spotify can be installed on this watch so you don’t even need to store any music with the option of streaming music.
Now you may be wondering what the difference is between the 1st, 2nd and 3rd series of Apple Watches…
There’s a big jump between 1 and 2, but between 2 and 3, there’s not much too much to get excited about unless you need both GPS and Cellular features.
Apple Watch Series 1 is splash proof, features a 450nits OLED Retina Display (all 3 generations have Ion-X Glass for screen protection).
The 2nd generation has GPS (no cellular), it’s also waterproof, has a ceramic back (instead of composite back) and like the 3rd generation it features a 1000nits OLED Retina Display.
The 3rd generation, like the 4th and 5th, offers a LTE version, which lets you leave your phone at home and But you’ll have to pay 10 dollars a month, which is basically just an extension to your existing phone number so this might be useless for most people unless you’d want to use your Apple Watch for phone calls without your iPhone nearby (yes you need an iPhone).
But otherwise, the Apple Watch Series 1 (or 0) is perfect for bodybuilding, it has a great selection of apps and a beautiful display that’ll be easy to view in the gym.
Keep in mind, Apple Watch 5 is exactly the same as the 3rd for features, but it is twice as fast.
So if speed or longevity is a priority, then we recommend getting the latest version.
When it comes to fitness, Garmin are a go-to and for lifting, the Forerunner (like Viviactive3 Fenix 3, and Vivosmart) work well for lifting since it has rep counting and works with Garmin Connect.
If you're doing multiple sports, from strength training to cycling and hiking then this watch is perfect as it's packed with sensors and features.
It can track reps done by weight training and even bodyweight exercises and lets you edit rep counts, and it detects when a set is over if you take a break.
The downside is that the rep counting isn’t completely accurate, as it can mistake vertical movement exercises. It does well when it’s counting reps for exercises like pull downs, or any movement that involves your hands going in a horizontal movement.
With the sleek design and quality build, the Garmin Forerunner 935 is an excellent watch but comes with a high price tag.
If you’re looking for analyzed training stats, navigation features, or do more outdoor activities than indoor, then the Forerunner is the choice for you.
If you want a versatile watch that doesn’t only look like it’s for sports, with a mix of features that Garmin fitness watches have, then the Vivoactive is the best for you.
If you’re looking for a luxury type of watch with a mix of activity tracking features, as well as a better mapping experience, then the Fenix is a solid choice.
One look at the Galaxy Watch Active and you'd mistake it for a regular watch.
This is a bigger than average watch that is not only feature rich but looks great on the wrist with an always-on feature that makes it look like an authentic watch.
With features like NFC, activity tracking, heart rate monitor, and GPS, you'll find all kinds of uses for this high class looking watch.
It comes with 4gb of space but only about 1.8gb is available for use, which is most likely because of the Tizen rather than Android Wear.
And Tizen may just be a little behind Android Wear in terms of apps but it has all the basics that you need.
For the gym, you’ve got a couple options to track your workouts, from Under Armor Record to the default Samsung Health app, they’ll both track heart rate, calories burned and all the essentials throughout your workout.
The bands are changeable so this watch can look great for any occasion, even formal.
We like the red and black bands as the red looks good in the gym and everyday use and black is great for all formal occasions.
You can leave your phone behind and use this watch as it has plenty of space for music to be stored on it, and even better it can be your credit card as you can use it.
Battery life is amazing for a smartwatch, it can last up to 1.5 to 2 days on realistic use (with workout tracking, etc.), although Samsung promises 3 days but we've never achieved that.
Overall this watch will meet all your everyday needs, from being an mp3 player to tracking your heart rate and day to day activities.
Use Bluetooth headphones to get a truly wireless experience in the gym.
If you live in the states, you can get the LTE version which allows you to use an sim card and make phone calls without being connected to your phone.
The Galaxy Watch is for you if you don’t need a huge selection of apps but need something with the perfect hardware (Samsung is constantly improving their software however so the software and selection of apps are always improving).