A sports watch offers many opportunities for capturing, analyzing, and improving your sports performance. For example, you measure the distance you’ve walked, how many calories you’ve burned, and your heart rate. So you bring more structure to your training and you train effectively. The question is, how do you find the best sports watch for you? Read this article to find out.
What sensors improve your athletic performance?
With a sports watch, you measure the distance you have traveled, what your speed was, and how many calories you’ve burned, but also under which circumstances you did the entire exercise and how was your heart beat. Of course, you can choose the broadest possible sports watch, but know that the price is linked to the number and type of sensors.
Usually, you wear a heartbeat sensor on your chest. You place the sensor an elastic chest strap which then stores or transmits your heart rate information to your sport or fitness watch. Another option is to wear a wristband or sports watch with an integrated pulse sensor. One advantage is that you can read the heart rate immediately.
A GPS sensor records your traveled route, distance, and speed for you. Upload these data and you get after exercise insight into your routes and you can see where you were struggling or where your performance is improved. Sports Watches with GPS sensor often contain various training programs which make use of the information obtained by the GPS sensor.
Shop for Sport Watches with GPS
Sports Watches with specific sensors
Whichever sport you practice, a sports watch with pulse sensor and / or GPS sensor is for everyone a good basis to improve athletic performance. Looking for a sports watch for a specific sport? It is wise to opt for more specific sensors specifically for your sport. You can measure with a rangefinder exactly your distance rather than basing it on speed and time. For cyclists, we recommend a cadence sensor and accelerometer which measures your pedal strokes and acceleration.
Shop for all Sport Watches
What training improves your athletic performance?
The sensors capture your various readings, but to really improve your athletic performance, it is important to apply the correct training methods. You can set your own schedule based on the measurement data, but you can also choose preset programs and techniques.
An interval training consists of short, but intense periods alternated with periods of rest with the aim of improving your speed and stamina. Sometimes the schedule is fixed, but usually you set the schedule based on time or distance. Once you’ve made the time or distance, the sports watch will show the next interval through a beep sound.
Sports Watches with interval training
Training Partner: Virtual Partner (virtual pacer)
Bring out the best in yourself by training against a direct opponent. Tricky, however, when you train individually. With a Virtual Partner, this problem is a thing of the past. Previous workouts are saved so that you can see during training how you’re doing in comparison with a previous session. This allows you to get better after every workout.
Sports Watches with Virtual Partner
How do you want to connect the sports watch?
In most sports watches, it is possible to connect external sensors like heart rate sensor or cadence sensor. For example, you can measure your heart rate, which is measured by a pulse sensor around your chest, or your cadence, which is measured by a cadence sensor that you’ve attached to your bike frame while cycling. You must connect the sensors wirelessly to the sports watch for this. It is, therefore, important to know which connection technique your sensors and sports watches has.
Bluetooth connects seamlessly your sports watch with one sensor. The connection is stable and immune to the outside interference. If your sports watch is connected via Bluetooth connected to your heartbeat, then you can not connect it simultaneously with another sensor via Bluetooth. With ANT + and W.I.N.D. this is possible.
All sports watches with Bluetooth
Similar to Bluetooth is the ANT + technology with the added bonus that you can connect multiple devices simultaneously with each other. You can use a sports watch with ANT + simultaneously to both read your heart rate or cadence as you connect with ANT +.
Bluetooth is also comparable to W.I.N.D. from Polar. This technique is designed by Polar and only applied to various sensors and sport watches. A big advantage of W.I.N.D. is that the technology is insensitive to strain fields from, for example, electricity pylons.
Sport Watches with W.I.N.D.
After exercise, you may still want to analyze all measurement data on your computer or smartphone. For this your sports watch is using Bluetooth, ANT +, or W.I.N.D. It may happen that your computer or smartphone does not have this technology. Using an external receiver can you still transfer all the data.
What software or application you want to use to analyze your sports activities?
Sports Watches measure and save your sporting activities. Using this data, you can improve your performance and improve training. Your distance alone does not say much, but when you combine the route with your speed, heart rate, and temperature you quickly know where you can improve. For these analyzes, you can use an application or software (provided) so that a Personal Trainer is unnecessary.
There are several applications that make your data explained by means of graphs and tables. Popular are independent applications like RunKeeper, Strava, and Endomondo, but for optimal analysis it is wiser to make use of brand-specific software such as Nike + App, Polar Flow, and TomTom MySports which are supplied with your sports watch.
Sports Watches for Endomondo: especially for long-distance athletes such as cyclists and walkers. Save your activity, and challenge friends to improve your performance.
Sports Watches for RunKeeper: analyze during or after exercise your speed, pace and route and let you coach during training by the app.
Sports Watches for Strava: suitable for athletes who want to analyze the route. Compare your performance with that of friends and professionals, or challenge them to match your performance.
Sports Watches for Nike + App: Save your distance, speed, and calories burned and coach yourself in real time by voice prompts and improve your running performance.
Sports Watches for Polar Flow: Record your performance with every product of Polar and (re) experience your best performance alone or with friends. Train together and pull out the best.
Sports Watches for TomTom MySports: record your activity, check your statistics to prepare new training and analyze your performance by playing your route on a card.
With what accessories you get even more from your sports watch?
A sports watch can completely meet your needs, but accessories make it truly complete. Think of sensors that you need to measure and record, but also of accessories that allow you to use a sports watch in different situations.
In spite of the fact that some sports watches can measure a lot, there are measurements they are not able to carry out without an accessory. You can measure your heartbeat with an external heart rate sensor, with a foot pod your walking speed, distance and -tempo and with a cadence sensor, your cadence on the bike.