Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED

Any athlete that does a lot of weight training will know how difficult it is to stay on top of your sets, reps, and weights at the gym. When you add tracking fitness levels to that, you could end up struggling to manage it all.

But a lot of fitness trackers out there haven’t been suitable for lifting weights, as they simply don’t add much value.

Now, let me say that none of them will be able to keep track of the weight you’re lifting, or whether you’re on a dumbbell or barbell.

But we tested loads of them to see how our clients that spend a lot of time on weights would benefit.

Our Top Fitness Tracker For Weightlifting

1 - Garmin Forerunner 935 (Editor's Choice)

Garmin 935

We like this fitness tracker from Garmin because it could be one of the lightest watch style ones we found.

It also has smart features like HR tracking on your wrist, or with an optional strap for the chest for more accuracy.

  • What it measures: heart rate, activity, performance
Pros
  • Weighs less than 50 grams so you should barely notice it
  • Provides training feedback to help you get the intensity right
  • Optional chest strap may provide more accurate HR data
Cons
  • Some of the features require multiple menus to see the data

We just found that the menus might be a bit less user friendly.

2 - Fitbit Versa 2 Health and Fitness Smartwatch

Fitbit Versa 2 Health and Fitness Smartwatch

If you’ve used a Fitbit fitness tracker and want to move a step up to a smartwatch, then the Versa 2 could be a great choice.

Many athletes like the mobile app that comes with it as you could use it to set and track your overall goals.

  • What it measures: heart rate, activity, sleep
Pros
  • May help you analyze your rest and recovery period
  • Fitbit app may help with setting and tracking your goals
  • Store all your activity in one place
Cons
  • GPS tracking is only available through a smartphone

It says that it would track distance and pace, but it needs your smartphone’s GPS to do that.

3 - Apple Watch Series 5

Apple Watch Series 5 Fitness Tracker

One thing we noticed is that quite a few of our bodybuilding clients were wearing the Apple Watch. They all said that real time heart rate monitoring seems to be very accurate and helpful during weight and strength training.

The fitness tracking should also cover a wide range of activities to get the full picture of your exercise routines.

  • What it measures: heart rate, activity, sleep, ECG through optical heart sensor, GPS
Pros
  • Claims to be one of the most accurate HR monitors
  • Motion sensor seems to be sensitive enough for many training moves
  • Bodybuilders like the calories burned for bulking phases
Cons
  • The built-in app doesn’t offer support for strength training or weight training

Just keep in mind that you might need to find some additional apps to track weight training. And the battery life isn't impressive either.

4 - Fitbit Inspire HR Fitness Tracker

Fitbit Inspire HR Heart Rate and Fitness Tracker

Another option with real time heart rate monitoring is the Fitbit Inspire. A lot of people claim that it has precise measures despite being so small and reasonably priced.

The size is also probably why bodybuilders with small wrists like it for lifting heavy stuff during strength training. Fitbit is one of the best fitness trackers band in the market, as users rave about their sport watches.

  • What it measures: heart rate, activity, calories burned, sleep
Pros
  • The design makes it small and lightweight to avoid getting in your way
  • One of the cheaper options with HR monitoring
  • Simple rest data may help you plan better recovery periods
Cons
  • Some hand movements may trigger activity tracking

One thing that still seems to be a problem with Fitbits is that some hand movements register as steps.

5 - Garmin vívomove HR

Garmin vívomove HR fitness tracking watch

Another one from Garmin on our best fitness trackers list for weight lifting. This Garmin fitness tracker claims to give you good V02 max info, which could be helpful for bodybuilding sets.

We also liked that it seems to be easy to get the info you need with a simple touch of the screen.

  • What it measures: activity, stress, sleep, V02 Max
Pros
  • May help track your aerobic performance by tracking V02 max
  • Claims to have a detailed sleep tracking to stay on top of your rest phase
  • Seems to be easy to select different data during weight training
Cons
  • Only provides an estimated heart rate

Just keep in mind that it’s estimated heart rate tracking you get, which may not be precise enough.

6 - Fitbit Charge 3 Fitness Activity Tracker

Fitbit Charge 3 Fitness Activity Tracker

This fitness tracker is popular in many types of sports even with swimmers because it seems to have a good database of activities.

And the different strap sizes might be helpful if you have muscular forearms.

  • What it measures: heart rate, activity
Pros
  • Claims to have constant and accurate HR monitoring to get details about resting rate
  • Suitable for many different sports, including swimming
  • Comes with different size bands for larger wrists
Cons
  • Limited information available on the display

We just found that the screen doesn’t show enough info in real-time.

7 - TicWatch Pro 4G LTE Cellular Smartwatch

TicWatch Pro 4G LTE Cellular Smartwatch

What’s cool about the TicWatch is that it doesn’t rely on your phone to receive messages. But the reason we put it on the list is that it claims to have military-grade toughness.

You’ll know why that’s important if you’ve ever hit your watch off a barbell.

  • What it measures: heart rate, activity, sleep
Pros
  • Claims to use smart sleep tracking to better assess your rest time
  • Military-grade durability should protect from knocks at a weight rack
  • Water resistant design also makes it suitable for swimming
Cons
  • It’s not one of the smallest fitness watches

For some people, it might just be a bit on the large side.

8 - Scosche Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor Armband

Scosche Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor Armband

If you just need a fitness tracker to measure your heart rate, then we would recommend this armband.

It’s comfortable and precise, based on all the reviews we saw.

  • What it measures: heart rate
Pros
  • The comfortable strap shouldn’t get in the way of your lifting
  • Reviews highlight that it seems to provide accurate HR info
  • Syncs with many popular fitness apps
Cons
  • Might not be suitable for tracking HR all-day

You might not want to be wearing it all day, though, as some find the band annoying after a while.

9 - Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch

Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch

This is another watch that has a range of sport mode settings to cover different activities at the gym.

And the goal-setting in the app should allow you to keep on top of your daily routines.

  • What it measures: heart rate, activity
Pros
  • Should work well for many different sports
  • Fitbit app allows you to set certain goals for the week
  • Continuous HR tracking should help you get to the right intensity
Cons
  • The watch face is quite large

We did find it quite a bit larger than most other devices.

10 - Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro Smartwatch Fitness Band

Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro Smartwatch Fitness Band

The final fitness tracker we put on our recommended list is this Samsung one.

The small display feature could be ideal, as it still provides detailed training information that seems to be easy to read.

  • What it measures: heart rate, activity, calories, GPS
Pros
  • Small display with clear training information
  • Comes with built-in GPS to map your runs
  • Watch straps may be swapped out easily for larger wrists
Cons
  • May require multiple apps for all features

We just found it a bit annoying that some exercises required switching between apps.

Buyer’s Guide

1 - Range Of Activities Tracked

Fitness trackers have come a long way since the days where they just counted your steps.

There are some devices that should be able to track dozens of unique workouts, including things like yoga and pilates.

If you tend to do multiple sports, running, and workout classes, then try getting a device like a crossfit fitness watch that could track as many exercises as possible [1].

2 - Display And Strap Size

screen size

Some people like to have a fitness device with all the smart features possible.

While technology has made this possible, these products still tend to be a bit bigger.

We generally advise avoiding a larger device, as it could get in the way of strength and endurance training.

3 - Heart Rate Monitor

The good news is that wrist-based heart rate monitoring has become a lot more reliable.

“Another way to gauge your exercise intensity is to see how hard your heart is beating during physical activity. To use this method, you first have to figure out your maximum heart rate — the upper limit of what your cardiovascular system can handle during physical activity.”

 

- MayoClinic.org

Most of the above fitness trackers should give you real-time information, which you could use to adjust what intensity and heart zone you target [2].

4 - GPS

GPS smart watch

Fitness trackers with GPS started off as a pure gimmick as they were pretty unreliable [3].

However, if you do a lot of running or cycling, then modern technology could help you keep better track of your pace and distance.

FAQs

Do Fitness Trackers Work for Weightlifting?

No, fitness trackers don’t work for weightlifting in the sense that they would automatically record the amount and types of moves you make. But they may still work to tell you how intense your workout was, based on your heart rate.

Are Fitbits Good for Weightlifting?

Yes, most Fitbits are good for weightlifting, especially if they have a built-in HR monitor. The small size of the activity tracker is what many bodybuilders favor as it doesn’t tend to get in the way during workouts.

A debate over the best fitness trackers usually ends up with most of our team favoring the Garmin 935. If you do a lot of strength training and exercise routines, then you need technology that is precise more than anything.

The Garmin Forerunner fills that need very well, and there are tons of apps that would support the different exercises you do.

Let us know on social media what device works best for you.

Garmin 935

Garmin Forerunner 935

Our #1 Recommendation

  • Weighs less than 50 grams so you should barely notice it
  • Provides training feedback to help you get the intensity right
  • Optional chest strap may provide more accurate HR data
Check Current Price
payment icons

About the author