Strength training using Apple Watch, a quick primer

apple watch strength training using other workout

We see a lot of questions concerning if you can track weight lifting activity and strength training using Apple’s Workouts app on the Apple Watch. Many users are not aware that monitoring strength training via Apple Watch is very much possible.

While the Apple Watch does not have a specific menu item for strength training in the main section of the workout app, it does offer one from the Add Workout option at the bottom. add workout using apple watch workout app

Depending on your watchOS version, you may or may not see this option. If you don’t see it, use the option Other. Strength Training via Apple Watch

With Add Workout or Other, it’s possible to track your training and weightlifting workouts.

In this short primer, we look at some tips around how you can use your Apple Watch to manage and monitor your strength training workouts.

Related reading

How to set up Strength Training using your Apple Watch and its Workout app

Apple Watch has many different workout types such as walking, running, cycling, swimming, and even Yoga on its workout menu. However, at this time there is no specific strength training option in the main menu.

If you scroll down and tap Add Workout, you’ll see a bunch more options to choose from including Strength Training!

These add workouts do not include many of the advanced metrics that the main menu exercise routines offer. But they will track your activity, calories burned, and heart rate.

Take a look at Add Workout and discover over 60 additional workouts!

If you don’t see these options, don’t worry!

Your best way to access strength training workout is to start with the “other” workout category on your Apple Watch when using the Workouts app. You can then even name your workouts as Strength Training or Weightlifting (or whatever your choice.)

Record your workouts by selecting Other as the activity type in the Workout app

  • If your training workouts require a lot of wrist flexing, try wearing your Apple Watch a little higher up your arm. You may need to use the larger sized watch band for this to work
  • Check that your Apple Watch’s sensors are in contact with your skin–don’t wear your watch too loose or you won’t get accurate readings
  • Open the Workout App > Add Workout and tap on “Otherchoose Other as your workout in the Apple Watch to make your own strength training program
  • This starts the workout and records calories burned for the duration of your strength training exercise
  • Make sure you let the workouts app run on auto-pilot–you don’t need to make changes while you workout
  • The watch tracks your pulse to estimate the number of calories you burn during your training. These calories burnt are set up to match that of a brisk paced walk unless your heart rate data results in a higher calorie burn
  • When finished with your training session, swipe right and tap End to stop tracking your activity end other workout on apple watch
  • Once you complete your workout, you have the ability to name this “workout”. Go to Name Workout and choose Strength Training or provide any suitable name for your strength training workout here
  • If you tightened your watchband before your workout, remember to loosen it back to your normal setting

Unfortunately, the built-in workout app does not provide additional specific details when it comes to strength training. It does not have provision to keep track of your reps/or weights/ or sets and provide accurate calorie burns specific to the type of strength training exercise that you are doing.

Trying to find a good watch-based lifting and strength training app? Check out these third-party options!

Strength training monitoring on Apple Watch via Gymaholic

Many fitness buffs that use strength training monitoring on their Apple Watch tend to depend a lot on a third-party app called “Gymaholic”.

This app, available for your iPhone as well as your Apple Watch provides some excellent options to manage your strength training regimen.

Strength Training on Apple Watch

The app makes it very easy to log a set, it times your rest period and haptic taps when you should lift again.

You can use pre-programmed workouts or create your own and sending them to the watch only has to be done once unlike other apps such as GymBook where you had to do every time.

Gymaholic also tracks your heart rate during your strength training workouts. Gymaholic is helpful if you want to use the app to track your lifts, sets, and reps instead of just calories and heart rate.

The app also makes it super easy to track the muscles you worked on and your rest periods.

Gymaholic also sells exercise packs that you can buy for creating a portfolio of workouts that suit your preferences.

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Related: 5 Essential Fitness Gears for iPhone users

Strong app for Apple Watch

With Strong, you can manually create your own programs and load the stronglifts circuits into the app as routines.

Strong app for Apple Watch

Track your progress across any date range. Measure body weight, body fat percentage, or any other measurements. Strong also offers cloud syncing so your data moves between devices, even Android.

And Strong work with Apple’s Health app, so that’s a big plus!

Gymatic app for Apple Watch

Gymatic has an option that provides you auto-rep counting which is definitely very useful.

Strength Training on Apple Watch

When it comes to strength training, users usually fall into two main camps. There are those who like panned regimented training while there are others who like to freestyle it.

Gymatic has a large section of followers who belong to the freestyle camp of strength training.

The exercise auto-detection via Gymatic is great and it provides a lot of data (speed of your reps, the time between reps/sets, total weight moved over the entire gym session, the total amount of time spent resting vs exercising, etc).

It also gets frequent updates and they are always adding new features and data points.

If you are really into freestyle workouts this app would be a good fit. If you never liked the idea of planning out the exercise, weights, and reps before you even get to the gym, Gymatic would work really well in the background without you having to do too much.

Fitbod app for Apple Watch

Apple watch Fitted app

Another favorite third-party strength training app is Fitbod.

Fitbod integrates with Apple’s Health app and reads your heart rate data from your watch to help calculate calories burned.

With Fitbod, you can adjust reps and weights for each set and log sets or overall exercise. Plus, you can customize the app and even exclude exercises you can’t do.

You can even set up haptic feedback signals for rest times to let you know when to start your next set. And you have the option to view your workout impact on a body heat map.

One downside, Fitbod on Apple Watch does not operate over cellular data so you need to connect your watch to WiFi and log your workout on your iPhone to save the data.

In Summary,

Found an app that you love for your strength and weight training? Share it with us in the comments and pay it forward to all our readers!

For those looking for a third-party app, your best option is to try out a few of these apps and see which app fits best for your strength training monitoring requirements.

Since these apps are expensive, we suggest your review the user comments and then, if available, try it out become you commit to any expensive app subscription.

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