Step counting apps have been around for ages, and before that there were always the manual step counters that attached to your trousers and were incredibly annoying!
In recent years, products such as the Fitbit have revolutionised cardio exercise, helping you track your runs, cycles, and even swims.
But weightlifting has always been a neglected field for apps and fitness trackers.
Luckily this is no longer an issue, with an explosion in fitness trackers that are designed to accurately record and track your weightlifting sessions.
In this article, we will attempt to find the best fitness tracker for weightlifting.
In a Hurry? Here is our top pick:
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Here is a list of our favourite fitness trackers for weightlifting, at the moment it is almost impossible to find a really good fitness tracker that is exclusive to weightlifting.
All four fitness trackers on this list have other functions, but they also offer a weightlifting function.
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- Most popular piece of wearable technology around
- Excellent exercise tracking capabilities
- Much better suited to cardio-based exercise than weightlifting
The Fitbit is responsible for the revolution in wearable fitness technology, but for the first few years it was all about cardio. Finally, weightlifting is getting some attention from Fitbit with the new Fitbit Blaze.
Like the Apple Watch, the main focus is on cardio, but the Fitbit now has the ability to measure weightlifting sessions, and you are able to edit the exercises that it tracks.
The Fitbit is NOT a weightlifting tracker, it is an activity tracker that has weightlifting tracking capabilities. But it is such a fine piece of wearable technology that it more than deserves its place here on this list.
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- Good ability to recognise exercises
- Long Battery life
- Not waterproof
- Struggles to identify certain exercises
What’s really cool about the Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro Smartwatch is its ability to recognise exercises as you perform them.
Once it has identified the exercise, it can count out the number of sets and reps that you perform and help estimate calorie expenditure based on your heart rate (as well as information like age, sex, weight, training ability etc).
The battery for this smartwatch is superb, lasting for days – even while continuously measuring your heart rate.
There is GPS mapping, which is really useful for runners, though we appreciate that we’re talking about weightlifting here which requires zero GPS!
The smartwatch also works as a music player, which comes in useful if you’re not impressed with the tunes that your gym is currently pumping out.
The watch is also available to sync with myfitnesspal, so you can keep an eye on your protein intake or your calorie intake (something that all weightlifters should be doing).
The only downside is that the watch is nowhere near as waterproof as the manufacturer’s make out, which again isn’t something that should affect weightlifting.
Also, it can struggle to recognise certain exercises and instead just lists them as dynamic workout. Good for calorie estimates, but not useful for keeping a track of your exercises during a session.
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- Can help you estimate muscle mass
- Can help you find muscle imbalances
- Can help you to gauge progress
- Inaccurate compared to high-tech equipment
This next fitness tracker is very different from the others. Instead of keeping a track of your training session, this instead measures your muscle mass.
Not only does it accurately estimate how much muscle you have. It can also determine muscle imbalances, asymmetrical muscles, and it can also measure muscle quality.
The idea is that knowing this information can help you to adjust your training to rectify issues.
For example, say the device finds that there is a muscle imbalance between your left and right hamstring, you could incorporate some single leg Romanian deadlifts into your program to fix this issue and prevent a future injury.
The device works best as a gauge of progress. You can see how much muscle mass you have in your biceps on day one of training, and then you can see what a dedicated 12 week lifting program has had on them.
There is a bit of a debate as to how accurate this device actually is, compared to top of the range equipment it may not be as useful (but as top of the range equipment costs thousands of dollars the comparison isn’t fair).
What it does offer though is reliability. You’re not going to get measurements that are all over the place. You will be able to see progress.
This isn’t a must for lifters, but it is a really cool piece of kit that can give you a good idea of how training is progressing.
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- Great all round product
- Log your workouts while in the gym
- Download specific weightlifting apps
- Not specifically designed for fitness
The Apple Watch has had a controversial run since it was first introduced. At first it was branded a rip off by the public, way too expensive for something that didn’t appear to do much.
But with the Apple Watch Series 5 you feel that Apple have finally found their feet. They may also have brought out one of the best fitness trackers for weightlifting.
Surprisingly durable, meaning that it can survive the rigours of a tough gym session. The Apple Watch Series 5 has an excellent heart rate monitor built in. The activity ring is a really cool way to make sure that you are moving enough each day.
The Apple Watch helps you lift in four ways. Firstly, it will measure your heart rate and movements to give you a rough idea of how many calories each session burns. Secondly, it allows you to log your workout as you go. Thirdly, it can demonstrate the exercises for you and coach you on how to follow them. You can also download training programs onto it.
As there aren’t any specific fitness trackers for weightlifting just yet, this section is more about what to look for in wearable fitness trackers that can help you to track weightlifting.
The main thing you want is for the technology to be durable, waterproof, shatter proof, with excellent software, and a simple-to-use system.
You also want a fitness tracker that is very effective at working out your heart rate. You may think that this only matters for cardio, but:
1) Weight training can get your heart rate beating just as much as most forms of cardio
2) Accurate heart rate can help the fitness tracker to estimate your daily metabolic rate
But there are different reasons why people purchase fitness trackers.
The Skulpt Scanner is a good example of that. It is unlike any of the other three products on this list. Instead of measuring reps and heart rate, it literally measures the amount of muscle mass in your body, giving you an amazing yardstick for improvement.
With the Skulpt Scanner, you can find out which muscles are uneven, which areas need improvement, and which areas are potentially being overtrained. It’s a great tracker.
Then you’ve got fitness trackers that are multipurpose. The Apple Watch is a prime example of that. Because Apple Watches appear to do everything, of course they’re going to offer a really good fitness tracker for weightlifting. We were surprised by how good the offering from Apple was.
It is an excellent fitness tracker that can help you log your workouts, track your heart rate, and even provide training programs and instructions on performing exercises.
What more could you ask for?
Then you’ve got the Fitbit Blade, which is mostly a cardio fitness tracker, but can also be used for weightlifting.
The technology is rudimental at the moment, but that’s the state of the industry. It is a lot harder to track bench presses than it is to track running, cycling, walking, or swimming.
In the future we imagine that this will be addressed, but at the moment weightlifting will always have to piggyback off excellent fitness trackers. And the Fitbit Blade is an excellent fitness tracker.
Finally, there is the Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro Smartwatch, a seriously good watch that does everything that the Fitbit offers at a very reasonable price.
Going through this list you will hopefully see what excellent wearable technology is out there at the moment. You may also be a little disappointed that the technology is still not quite up to where most lifters would like.
Sadly, it is much more difficult for a tracker to track weight exercises, particularly ones on machines such as a lat pulldown, or even a deadlift.
No fitness tracker can currently gauge the weight of a dumbbell, barbell or machine. Until this is possible, weightlifting will always be a challenge for fitness tracking technology.
Don’t fret though, you are still able to enter information in manually.
The technology also offers a lot of pluses.
Being able to estimate the calories burned, through measuring your heart rate, is a massive benefit.
There is something for all lifters here, it’s just about picking the right fitness tracker for your personal needs.
Out of the four, the Fitbit would have to be the best overall product. Well made, durable, with excellent tracking capabilities.
We’re still a long way away from an excellent weightlifting tracker (as it is almost impossible for a wearable tracker to measure the weight of a barbell or dumbbell).
But the Fitbit is the closest we have to a quality weightlifting tracker right now.