How do you choose the right heart rate monitor for each sport?
Running and cycling: watch with heart rate monitor
For a really accurate heart rate measurement, a chest strap is better. We still recommend a watch with heart rate monitor to most runners and cyclists, or those who maintain a constant pace. The heart rate measurement of a watch is slightly delayed, but it's barely noticeable as you maintain a constant pace. A watch has quite a few advantages. It doesn't just measure your heart rate, but also your distance traveled, average speed, and route. Some watches also measure your ground contact time and your number of revolutions per minute.
Spinning, sprinting, and interval training: heart rate belt
For sports in which a high and low heart rate follow each other quickly, we recommend a heart rate chest strap because a wrist measurement is always delayed. This isn't noticeable if you maintain a constant pace, but when you spin, sprint, or train in intervals, it is. Want to know more than just your heart rate? For example, your average speed and general fitness level. In that case, consider buying a sports watch in addition to a heart rate chest strap. To pair them, both need to support Bluetooth or ANT+.
Swimming: heart rate chest strap
Some watches can measure your heart rate under water, but this measurement is never accurate. This is because there is water between your wrist and the watch. That is why we always recommend swimmers to get a chest strap. If you want more readings, such as your swim speed and SWOLF score, consider getting a compatible sports watch which is recommended for swimmers. Keep in mind that the strap and the watch need to support the same type of wireless connection, Bluetooth or ANT+.
Strength training and rowing: heart rate chest strap
If you row or lift weights, your muscles contract in an 'unnatural' way. As a result, a wrist measurement doesn't work well. Do you do a lot of strength exercise or are you an avid rower? In that case, always go for a heart rate chest strap if you want to know your heart rate.
Marathon: watch with heart rate monitor
We always recommend a sports watch with heart rate sensor to marathon runners, because a watch measures more relevant information. Your average speed, for example. Based on this, you can check if your race is still going according to plan. On top of that, a watch is more comfortable. A chest strap sometimes causes friction for men with chest hair and it doesn't always fit comfortably in combination with a sports bra for women. Since a marathon lasts a long time, you want to prevent unnecessary inconvenience. The heart rate measurement of a watch may be slightly delayed, but because you maintain a constant pace, that shouldn't be a problem.
Triathlon: watch with heart rate monitor and heart rate chest strap
Swimming is an important part of the triathlon. To measure your heart rate during swimming, you get a heart rate chest strap. This is because a wrist measurement isn't accurate under water. But you probably want more information. Your average speed, to make sure you're still on track, and your walked distance, for example. It's also nice to check your traveled route afterwards. So consider a sports watch. And more specifically, a model with a toggle button that allows you to change from running to cycling mode, for example, with the push of a button.
Fitness: watch with heart rate monitor
Are you at the gym often or do you like to do fitness exercises at home? In that case, a watch with a heart rate monitor is the best option for you. The watch gives you a good indication of your heart rate, but it's mostly interesting because of all the extras. It will show you in what heart rate zone you're working out, for example. This way, you can be sure you're doing the right exercise for burning fat or improving your fitness level. In addition, some watches measure your fitness age and they offer lots of fitness exercises you can do at home.
Tips to get an accurate heart rate measurement via your watch
Are you going for a watch with heart rate measurement? Then there are some thing you can do for an accurate heart rate measurement. You can read these tips in the article '8 tips to get an accurate heart rate measurement via your watch'.
Heart rate measurements less accurate due to tattoos
A tattoo under a heart rate monitor can reduce the effectiveness of an optical heart rate monitor. The light used by the heart rate monitor is blocked by the ink and the pattern. As a result, you can get a less accurate heart rate measurement