Data, data, data! Runners lover their data. And we love the watches that fill our screens with endless analytic and tracking possibilities. It’s not for nought, either. Collecting good data about your performance helps you train better and smarter, and know what to expect on your next big race day. Data doesn’t begin and end with running, though. If you are one of the countless runners who also do Crossfit, you can maximize your fitness tracker or watch by tracking your gains in the gym as well. Just as with running, the best fitness watches for Crossfit can help you accurately track your overall performance, improve your fitness level, and achieve your personal best.
We all have our own personal goals that we want to achieve. If you’re aiming for weight loss, then tracking your heart rate can help you reach your target heart zone. If you’re looking to develop overall strength, then knowing how your body handles the strain of a workout, as well as how it recovers, will help you optimize each session.
The Garmin fenix 6 is our top choice. It has a Pulse Ox monitors that tracks oxygen saturation, and a Body Battery metric that gauges your total available energy. It will let you know when you can push yourself harder. When you combine this with the Garmin Cross Trainer app, you’ll be able to monitor every aspect of your performance, track your recovery time, and work out how you can do the next WOD better.
Here are 7 of our favorite fitness watches for Crossfitters who run.
Top 3 Best and Favorites
Garmin fenix 6
Apple Watch Series 6
1. Garmin fenix 6
The Garmin fenix 6 has more than a sleek and durable design. It comes packed with features that make it a great fitness watch. It connects to the Garmin Strength + app or Garmin Cross Training. This makes it quite an asset when you’re doing Crossfit, as it has generic timers as well as timers that are customizable to Crossfit, like AMRAP.
The Garmin Cross Training app also comes with WODs, and you can customize them by using the app on the internet. This watch will track and save your Crossfit workouts, which means you can see your performance at a glance and how you can improve the next time you do something similar.
One of the features that will help you with your overall performance is the Pulse Ox, which monitors oxygen saturation in the body. This will let you know when to go all-out so you can achieve your personal best. It will also let you know when you need a rest day, so that you don’t overexert yourself, which could lead to injury.
If the tire flip is done outside, you’d still be able to track your performance as it features the “always-on” display which is still visible in sunlight. With advanced sleep monitoring, you’ll be able to track your recovery time, as well as make sure that you’re getting the right type and amount of sleep to perform at your best.
- Can be used with Garmin Strength + or Garmin Cross Training
- Pulse Oximeter (Pulse Ox)
- Sunlight-readable display
- Built-in feature for interval training
- high-end features and style = high-end price
2. Polar Vantage V
When you’re working hard to achieve your fitness goals with Crossfit, you want to know that you have accurate stats at your fingertips, especially when it comes to monitoring your heart rate.
The Polar Vantage V uses Precision Prime sensor fusion technology to provide accurate heart rate reading. This allows you to train in your target fat-burning heart rate zone. Load Pro helps you monitor how strenuous the workout was, and which parts of the body were strained while exercising.
Before jumping into your next workout, you can check to see how well your body has recovered from the last training session. You can also use the Nightly Recharge option with this watch, which will let you see how you recover from all your daily activities.
You’ll be able to optimize your performance by using the analyzing tools in the Power Flow app. This will keep track of all your daily activity and HIIT workouts. You’ll also find the option for HIIT in the app.
- Durable and lightweight
- An accurate heart rate sensor
- Built-in programs to monitor intensity and recovery
- Polar Flow app to track sleep and daily activity, and access HIIT options
- Touchscreen isn’t as sensitive and may require a few taps
Best for Automatic Rep Counts
3. Garmin Forerunner 945
Crossfit challenges you to beat your last performance, building strength and endurance and helping you to reach your peak physical fitness level. Connect the Forerunner 945 with the Garmin Connect app and you’ll be on your way to achieving your personal best.
It does have similar features to the fenix 6, but this watch features automatic rep counting, which comes in handy when completing an AMRAP. It’s like having a coach on your wrist that’s recording the statistics with every activity that you do, analyzing your performance and helping you improve.
The Garmin Elevate wrist heart rate monitor will keep you in your target heart rate zone while the PulseOx monitors your oxygen saturation, so you can remain at the top of your game.
- Performance monitoring features
- Built-in activity tracker
- Training load focus
- Bold full color display
- It won’t always pick up your activity, and can give inaccurate BPM information
Best for Fitness Apps
4. Apple Watch Series 6
When you’re in the midst of a Fran WOD, you don’t have time to tap your watch’s face to see the display so that you can track your activity. The Apple Watch Series 6 features the “Always-On Retina display” which makes it easy to keep an eye on things as you move on to your pull-up.
This watch is designed to track all activity, and the Functional Fitness setting will track and store your heart rate from multiple workouts so you can track your progress and see where you’ve improved. The watch face will display the number of calories burned, how long the training session was and what your average heart rate was.
This will allow you to make adjustments to your workout, especially if you need to stay in your target heart zone. Apple has included the latest in their heart rate technology with this watch and you’re even able to take an ECG from your wrist.
- Always-On Retina display
- Designed to track all activity
- Optical heart sensor
- Monitor HIIT activity
- Poor battery life
5. Polar Ignite
The Polar Ignite features Precision Prime sensor fusion technology that monitors and accurately tracks your heart rate throughout your workout. Pair this fitness watch with the Polar Flow app and it’ll track your Crossfit workouts, monitor and track your sleep patterns and how your body is recovering from daily activities, as well as store your last training session’s data.
It helps you to make sure that you’re not burning yourself out. The Nightly Recharge will let you know whether it would be better to rest or if you’re all good to have another solid workout. You also have free reign to customize your own workouts.
There are still areas that need improvement to make it perfect for Crossfit, as this watch can’t track the amount of weight and the number of reps when the WOD has you doing Olympic lifts.
- Monitor calories burned
- Nightly recharge mode
- Bio-impedance electrodes and optical sensors
- Polar’s Sleep Plus Stages analysis
- Some may find the interface to be confusing
- Occasional issues pairing the watch to a phone
6. Suunto Spartan
The Spartan is a great addition for the Crossfit enthusiast who also includes other activities like running in their training regime. The Suunto Spartan comes with multiple sports modes, which includes Crossfit. This will allow you to monitor and track all your activity across the various training regimes that you’re taking part in.
It also allows you to customize the information that you want to see on your display while you’re exercising, including calories burned, elapsed time, and reps. You can only fall in love with the interval feature, especially when it’s connected to the Suunto Movescount app.
In the Movescount app, you’ll find Tabata beep timers, Crossfit EMOM timers and other timers that will suit your activity needs. You’ll also be able to customize workouts or use the Adaptive activity guide, which will also recommend training programs that you can incorporate when you’re not doingCrossfit.
- Has specific sport modes
- Connect with the Movescount app
- Customized and Adaptive activity guide
- All day activity tracker
- The display of the watch is quite small and some people may find it hard to read
Best Women’s Crossfit Watch
7. Garmin vivoactive 4S
This watch has a sophisticated design that comes with many features, especially if your activity of choice is Crossfit, powerlifting or lifting weights at the gym. The Garmin vivoactive 4S comes with automatic rep counting and a strength training activity profile. This allows you to start your set, then manually enter the reps, weight and rest time.
Pair this with Garmin Connect and you can also customize workouts, as well as the interval length of the workout that you want to do. It also features PulseOx readings, which monitor and keep track of oxygen saturation in the blood. It will also monitor your sleep cycles, heart rate and hydration levels to keep you in peak physical condition.
- Automatically detects reps
- Has a built-in strength training profile
- Customizable workout interval lengths
- Monitors your energy level
- It won’t always identify the exercise you’re doing
Why is Crossfit good for runners?
Runners have very resilient legs, and this is because running works the hip flexors, quads, glutes, hamstrings and calf muscles, as well as activates and strengthens the core muscles. That doesn’t always equal physical strength, and often their upper bodies are less developed. This can lead to an imbalance in a runner’s body.
Crossfit is a full-body workout that uses functional movements performed at a high intensity to increase overall strength.
These functional movements are what you do throughout your day without giving much thought to it. They include things like squatting when you sit, and pulling and pushing movements like when you’re opening and closing the door.
Runners can benefit from the strength training that Crossfit offers, as it will help with your balance, coordination and endurance. It will also develop muscle, which will help support and strengthen the joints and tendons. This will lead to an increase in speed when you’re running, as well as a lower chance of becoming injured.
What features should a fitness watch have for Crossfit workouts?
When you’re looking at getting a fitness watch to help monitor and track your activity during Crossfit, there are a number of features that you want:
- Different sports modes that include Crossfit.
- An accurate heart rate monitor. When you lift weights in Crossfit in intervals, your heart rate will spike, unlike a runner’s which stays more or less even throughout their run.
- You want it to monitor HIIT and Interval Training.
- Crossfit has WODs – Workout Of the Day – and you want to be able to add the custom routine before starting.
- Automatically detect the exercise and count the reps.
- Personalization of exercises that can be added to the database.
- Monitor and analyze your performance so that you know where you can improve.
- It should tell you the amount of calories burned during the workout.
- Flexible wristband that won’t restrict movements when powerlifting.
- A visible display that’s durable and will hold up to the rigors of Crossfit.
What is Pulse OX?
The Pulse Ox (pulse oximeter) measures and monitors the oxygen saturation levels in your blood. This will let you know when to go all-out to achieve your personal best, or when to tackle that high-intensity interval. It will also let you know when to take a rest day, even if you feel like you don’t need it.
By monitoring your energy levels and oxygen levels, you’ll be able to maintain an effective oxygen level, which can improve speed, endurance and overall performance.