AW3 Seems Inadequate for Interval Training

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by Smoothie, Jun 2, 2018.

  1. Smoothie macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    Location:
    California
    #1
    I've got an AW3, and it has a hard time tracking large swings in heart rate while I'm doing high intensity interval training. Usually, after I complete an interval that increases my heart rate, the watch will show a greyed out place holder where the heart rate should be. By the time the watch can actually display my heart rate, which sometimes takes one minute, the rate has come down substantially from its peak.

    I've tried using the built-in workout mode for interval training and the indoor cycling mode, and they both exhibit this inability to track peak heart rate accurately. The watch is fitted snugly to my wrist, and for activities where my heart rate is reasonably constant, the watch can track it. But for HIIT, it's pretty poor.

    I'm considering looking for a chest strap or other sensor that works with the AW. Does anyone have any recommendations?
     
  2. matrix07 macrumors 601

    matrix07

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    #2

    This is exactly what Federico Viticci wrote in his great article
    https://www.macstories.net/stories/second-life/

    Long story short if you need accuracy, uses a chest strap (what he's using sounds great). It works with Apple Watch.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Smoothie thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    Location:
    California
    #3
    Thanks. Viticci certainly was motivated to train by a very scary experience. The Polar H10 sounds like a solution.
     
  4. Smoothie thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    Location:
    California
    #4
    The Polar H10 did the trick. This screenshot from my watch shows how well it tracks heart rate. The sensor in the Apple Watch never resulted in a smooth curve like this, and it never captured my actual peak heart rate.

    IMG_2196.PNG
     
  5. turbineseaplane macrumors 68040

    turbineseaplane

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    #5
    I wonder if the AW will ever be able to compete with the chest strap solutions..

    I guess I'm just not that excited, as a 95% fitness user of an AW (potentially - don't have one), to have all the expense and hassle of charging, etc, of the AW to find out that it's only "ok" at some key fitness stuff without yet even more hardware.

    Don't get me wrong - it's very cool with all it tracks and all that, but - I don't know - I'm just having a hard time justifying buying one (still - several years in and never having owned) for primarily fitness uses.
     
  6. bbednarz macrumors 6502a

    bbednarz

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2017
    Location:
    Chicago
    #6
    I think it just comes down to your expectations. I doubt the watch will ever be as accurate as a chest strap. I dont personally need a super incredibly accurate heart rate monitor. I like that it tracks my runs while allowing me to listen to music and receive notifications without the need for my phone to be with me.
     
  7. Endorphine88 macrumors 6502

    Endorphine88

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2018
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #7
    I never have issue with this and I predominantly do HIIT for cardio instead of endurance or jogging. Is your watch tight on your wrist?
     
  8. matrix07 macrumors 601

    matrix07

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    #8
    The HR sensor in AW is quite good. Normally you won’t have any problem with it in normal exercises. The OP just has particular need. It’s like you expect iPhone camera to be as good as DSLR. It can not, but it will get the job done for most people.
     
  9. Smoothie thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    Location:
    California
    #9
    Yes, I mentioned in my original post that the watch is fitted snugly to my wrist. Intervals are the only time I've had an issue with the HR monitor in the watch. You can read the Viticci article linked above to see he had a similar problem. It may be that Apple is trying to balance battery life with monitoring so that the HR monitor doesn't poll as frequently as a chest strap. If I simply have the watch check my heart rate while resting, there is a short lag before the rate registers. With the chest strap on, there's no lag at all. If you're engaging in most aerobic activities, your HR won't have the really wide swings that you see in interval training so the watch is OK for those activities.

    I thought the AW was an expensive toy when it was first released. But I eventually took a chance on it when the AW3 was released. I find the AW3 to be a real benefit in my everyday life, in addition to tracking fitness activities. I routinely get at least two days per charge, and I could easily go three days if I didn't refer to it as much as I do. It recharges very quickly, so the battery life isn't really an issue for me. Its integration with my calendar, messages, notifications, email and phone are excellent.

    I use an app called WorkOutDoors, which is superbly designed for tracking outdoor activities, including GPS tracking, HR changes over the course, elevation changes, pace, etc. It even downloads map data to the watch for geographic areas of interest to you. Highly recommended.
     
  10. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #10
    Intervals are a weak point for all wrist-based HR monitors regardless of brand. The chest strap is the answer. The wrist based monitor still provides tremendous value in measuring your HR during the rest of the day.
     

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