Cardio > Everything Else ➝

Joe Darnell, regarding the Apple Watch’s fitness tracking:

For example, isometric exercises like push-ups and spider crawls aren’t accurately tracked because they burn calories at a different rate from standard cardio exercises like running and cycling. If I walk on an elliptical machine for thirty minutes, the Watch will accurately detail the calories burned and the minutes performed. If I’m bench pressing, then it will not accurately calculate the calories I’ve burned. My trainer who’s tried the Watch for himself says that it’s off by a long shot.

This is where trackers often lack. It’s not that the Apple Watch is inferior to other devices, it’s that tracking exercises from a person’s heart rate on the wrist isn’t accurately gathering data for a variety of muscle groups. The good news is that runners and swimmers have accurate tracking with devices like Apple Watch because their physical activity is primarily cardio in nature.

I’d love to see Apple address these issues, but I’m afraid it would involving having to input the type of exercise, number of reps, etc. into an application. That’s not ideal and requires a much more hands on approach to fitness tracking than cardio workouts do. But who knows, maybe Apple will come up with a clever way of determining most of that information without you needing to tap around on your wrist in between each set.

Joe does mention that he still starts a new workout on his Apple Watch every time he goes to the gym. Although it doesn’t accurately count calories burned, it does help him keep tabs on how much time he spends working out. Which actually might be a more important metric for many Apple Watch owners.