While sometimes all you need is a heart-rate monitor or a step counter, next-level fitness and performance call for something a little more high-tech. Turn up your game with these gadgets.
Michael Frank 1 / 6
Fitness Trackers of the Future
Among the newest entry-level wearables, we’re now seeing a generation of hardware that uses complex algorithms to capture such nuanced data that the analysis rivals that of a personal coach. These breakthrough trackers can analyze form, give midworkout feedback, and even read personal biometrics in a way that makes it impossible to fake it.
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The Fit for Fashion Belt
Kickstarter / Welt Corporation
Samsung Smart Belt WELT
Samsung has debuted a wellness belt, dubbed WELT (okay, so not the greatest name); it's the latest innovative health and fitness tracking device that also doubles as a fashion accessory. This wearable looks exactly like the belts in your closet, only it monitors your daily activity, waistline circumference, and eating habits via magnetic sensors and a pedometer located in the buckle. The information from the belt is then transferred to the mobile app to create, calculate, and analyze the data for an overall better insight of your health. The 20-day battery life is a major plus, as are the numerous designs and styles. Up your health and wellness—and keep you fashion game on point; it's a no-brainer, really.
While plenty of foot pods measure running “smoothness,” the Sensoria socks’ sensors (two sets at the forefoot, one at the rear) and ankle bracelet track cadence, ground-contact time, and heel versus forefoot strike. The info is then relayed to an app, which highlights the imbalances. A metronome function mimics a coach, feeding an audible stride rhythm to your headphones and letting you rewire your footfalls to a more efficient pace. The anklet is a little cumbersome—but indispensable during key training periods.
Conventional heart-rate chest straps monitor, well, your heart rate. The Tickr X calculates the timing of your intervals and rest periods and guides you through your workout on your smartphone. Wahoo’s RunFit and 7 Minutes Workout apps are like tiny trainers that track reps and upcoming exercise and even feed real-time analytics on whether you’re doing an exercise correctly. The straps’ sensors can tell, for instance, when you’re not holding still during a plank or not exploding through your hips during squats. And by measuring the quality of your motion and rep count against your heart rate, it can give each set a score.
Atlas Wearables Wristband Sometimes you just want to get in a zone and work out. Atlas counts reps and queues next exercises, showing correct form using detailed animation right on the face. A buzz tells you when to start and end each set. The Atlas won’t let you slack, either; the built-in heart-rate reader measures beats per minute against your cardio target. The three-axis accelerometer detects up to 69 different exercises—everything from kettlebell swings to burpees—which means you don’t need to preprogram it. It can even learn new moves, using crowdsourcing to add to its ever-expanding library of exercises and workouts.
Athos Shorts Sure, pro champions like the Golden State Warriors use Athos’ high-tech self-coaching shorts, but anyone who does big, technique-dependent moves like squats can benefit from them, too. Powered by a palm-size rechargeable “core” that also snaps into other Athos pieces, the 12 sensors sewn into the shorts send muscle-output info to an app that displays real-time imagery via a “heat map,” showing you, for example, if your quads are firing when they should. The app also “animates” each set, so you can instantly spot weaknesses, prompting you to slow down and really recruit all your muscles for a sustained contraction.