Fitness Watches and Fashion

The Best Smartwatches for Weightlifters

I put three smartwatches head-to-head in the gym on a mission to find the best smartwatches for weightlifters and cross-trainers.

Cettina is Abt’s Digital Marketing Coordinator and resident weight lifting expert. In this guest post, she puts three of the best smartwatches to the test to find out which one is tops for weight lifters.

Over the last few years, smartwatches have evolved and taken on a variety of functions, making them suitable for all manner of users. However, this analysis was done in the mindset of a weightlifter. I wanted to find the smartwatch that would keep weightlifters like me accountable during the earliest and hardest workouts. The Fitbit Versa, Samsung Galaxy Watch, and Garmin vivoactive 3 were tough contestants in this vigorous battle.

smartwatches for weightlifters

Fitbit Versa

As a previous Fitbit user, the Versa pleasantly surprised me. In my opinion, it’s the brand’s best watch to date. The Versa is both sweatproof and waterproof, which allowed for better heart rate readings than previous models. While improved, the Versa did still seem to underestimate heart rate and calories burned in comparison to the other watches. At one point during my workout, there was a difference of 60 bpm between the Versa and the vivoactive 3. Despite this inconsistency, the Versa is a great pick for weightlifters looking for basic tracking. There is a specific “Weights” setting that will monitor key measurements for you such as heart rate and time elapsed. 

The Fitbit Versa is both technically and physically capable of withstanding an intense workout. It’s slim and lightweight, which provides a comfortable experience. The stellar screen resolution provides vibrant readings and clear imagery. The Versa is also the least expensive of the three watches, making it a great fit for weightlifters looking for a simple yet sophisticated smartwatch.

Samsung Galaxy Watch

I was struck immediately by the premium quality of the screen on the Samsung Galaxy Watch, not to mention the overall quality of construction. The entire watch is designed to be both durable and attractive. But with these features, however, comes a heavier and larger watch. I was struggling to get comfortable with the Galaxy Watch throughout my workouts as it was slipping to the side and often getting in the way. Occasionally, the insecure fit even caused the heart rate readings to stop altogether. If you’re like me and have small wrists, I recommend the Versa or vivoactive 3 instead.

However, the positives to the larger size are numerous. The Galaxy Watch packs in a wealth of fitness tracking capabilities, plus a lot more! The workout settings get as granular as indicating if you are doing a squat or push-up. The Samsung Galaxy then tracks the number of reps it thinks you completed. To experienced weightlifters who are constantly switching up lifts and doing super-sets, these detailed settings may not be very useful, and having to change the setting with each time would slow down the workout. But for novice athletes, this guidance can be quite helpful.

The Galaxy Watch excels in both communication and customizability. You can send and receive both texts and calls when connected to your phone, and you can also download almost every app from the Google Play Store onto the watch. Different screens can be adjusted to your liking, making the watch adapt to your preferences and style. The Galaxy Watch is highly comparable to leading smartwatches on the market, and is my pick for weightlifters who want something to go beyond just fitness needs.

Garmin vivoactive 3

The Garmin vivoactive 3 proved to be the most consistent in heart rate tracking and calories burned. At no point during my tests did it fail to provide an accurate heart rate reading. This consistency leads to a more accurate estimate of calories burned.

While the vivoactive 3 screen was rather dim and low resolution compared to the other two watches, it lasts up to seven days with one charge – basically double its competitors. Some other features I really enjoyed were the heart rate zones, VO2 max, and estimated fitness age. These insightful measurements can help track and maintain progress. All information is visible on the watch, but more detailed reporting can be found on the Garmin Connect app. Having an analytical mindset, the Connect app impressed me as I looked around and uncovered more information about my performance. The vivoactive 3 is a solid pick for weightlifters who will use a smartwatch primarily as a fitness tool. Plus, the sleek round face also makes a great fashion piece!

So which one did I prefer?

All three smartwatches are great weightlifting tools that will take your workout to the next level. However, the consistency of the vivoactive 3 along with its lightweight build make it my favorite pick.

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  • Reply
    Dan G
    May 21, 2019 at 12:48 pm

    Galaxy Watch can’t actually use any Google Play Store apps. Samsung has their own market which kinda sucks.

  • Reply
    Charles H. Cook
    October 24, 2019 at 9:37 pm

    Excellent video! I had to go through abou 150 videos to find this one. It was relevant because I wanted to know what sports watch (e.g., Gamin Venu) and App (Garmin Connect) would work with a Polar HRM/Strap to track and record my machine weight training and aerobic workouts and calorie burn — plus my nutrition. Not sure yet Gamin Connect records nutrition.

    Based on your video, it seams like the Garmin Venu and Garmin Connect is best for machine weight-training and free-weight training — especially if the Garmin Connect lets one created custom workouts and transfer them to the watch. If Garmin Connect also records nutrition, then I have the perfect watch and app!

    Thanks — getting you tube data on weight-training (especially for machines) is a challenge!

  • Reply
    July 13, 2020 at 12:45 am

    Garmin vivoactive 4 can be connected to myfitnespal which means MFP feeds all your nutritional info to watch + Garmin connect and garmin feeds your mfp with calories info and mfp diary on your runs/cardio/strength training

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