Best Fitness Tracker for BJJ (4 Top Rolling Picks)

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Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu offers one of the most intensive workouts and pushes your strength endurance to the max.

In my practice of BJJ, I’ve found it to be more challenging to my physical stamina than other martial arts.

If you’re like me, you want to analyze your fitness levels during these intense BJJ sessions and see how you are performing and increasing your endurance over time.

There are only two top options for me which is the WHOOP 4.0 for the premium tracking option:

Or the Polar H10 chest strap as the budget option:

Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor ANT +
4.5
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I’ve pulled together all other good options and where to buy them.

Keep reading as I’ll detail several of the best options and then discuss some things to think about when picking out a fitness tracker for grappling.

Best fitness trackers for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Here’s the selection of the top picks to consider for a fitness tracker for Jiu-Jitsu.

I’ve focused on options that won’t get in the way or cause unnecessary discomfort to you or your training partner.

Key takeaways

👉 Polar H10 chest strap is the simplest and most affordable solution for fitness tracking during rolling (BJJ) or wrestling.
👉 Chest straps are usually the most frictionless device for tracking while rolling.
👉 WHOOP 4.0 is more expensive and requires a subscription, but it offers the most advanced tracking for martial arts.
👉 WHOOP also has many wearable clothing options so you can move the tracker off your wrist and into your clothing, reducing friction and making it suitable for Gi and No-Gi.
👉 Your top choice primarily depends on your budget. Polar H10 for on a budget, and WHOOP 4.0 for the absolute best health data.

I have a couple more recommendations that may be suitable, too, which are each applicable to use during BJJ rolling.

Here’s the full list:

  1. Polar H10: Best budget option with plenty of features
  2. WHOOP 4.0: My top choice for the most advanced fitness tracking
  3. Fitbit Charge 5: Another affordable option that I was able to use during rolls myself
  4. Garmin HRM PRO: An advanced health tracker that pairs well with Garmin watches

For the breakdown of each of these options and why you should consider them, keep reading.

Polar H10 Chest Strap

Budget Pick
Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor ANT +

Straps around your chest snugly and offers excellent health tracking on a budget for wrestling, Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, and kickboxing.

Pros:
  • The most affordable option for features
  • Supremely accurate heart rate monitoring
  • Compatible with iOS, Android, Garmin, Polar
  • Allows two simultaneous Bluetooth connections (e.g. smart watch and an app on your phone)
  • Comfortable enough to be worn during various martial arts
  • Waterproof for those sweaty sessions
  • Free Polar Beat app to collect data
Cons:
  • Potentially gets in the way during grappling with any pressure on your chest
  • Free app is limited in design and features, but you can use your data in other apps
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It’s very close between the Polar H10 and the WHOOP 4.0, but this Polar chest strap slightly edges it for two main reasons:

  1. The Polar H10 is incredibly affordable at under the $100 mark.
  2. Jiu-Jitsu rollers worldwide have been using the Polar H10 happily for several years.

You can use this chest strap during most of your rolling, and it rarely gets in the way. It’s comfortable most of the time and is rarely noticed by your training partner.

There is a few moves inside BJJ that could make it noticeable, though, like specific submissions whereby pressure is applied to your chest.

I’ve felt that. It sucks. And a chest strap in the way could make it way more painful.

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You also have to be aware of the constant grappling around your chest, particularly when your opponent has your back.

These issues aside, the Polar H10 makes an excellent option because it’s affordable, reliable, and can be used on its own without any expensive accompanying device.

It syncs with Polar, Garmin, Apple watches, and even fitness apps like Apple Health, Strava, and Nike.

You can just sync it straight to your phone (iOS or Android) for free with either the Polar Beat app or other third-party apps on the market too.

WHOOP 4.0

Top Pick
WHOOP 4.0

Yet to find a better fitness tracker for health, fitness, and sleep data all in one, than the WHOOP 4.0.

Pros:
  • Elite health, fitness & sleep tracking
  • HRV, RHR, O2, sleep debt & more data points
  • Sleek style suits wearing for all occasions
  • Off-wrist tracking with ANY-WEAR
  • Device is "free" with subscription
  • Auto-upgrades to new hardware
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Full-featured mobile app for analysis
  • 24/7 tracking with wireless charger
Cons:
  • Charging is a bit fiddly
  • App sync feels slow
  • ANY-WEAR apparel needed for most martial arts use
  • Requires a subscription
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The WHOOP range is another outstanding option for grapplers who want to track their health data, as well.

The main reason it misses out on the top spot is simply because it’s more of an investment than compared with the Polar H10. But it is a worthwhile investment, considering the plethora of features included.

The WHOOP 4.0 isn’t just a smartwatch or fitness watch.

The device itself can be taken out of the default wrist strap and added into several types of compatible clothing in their WHOOP BODY ANY-WEAR range.

So just before you start to roll, you can pop out your WHOOP from the wristband and pop it into a compression shirt, shorts, and even underwear.

This is why I consider the WHOOP 4.0 an excellent option for Jiu-Jitsu practitioners.

It’s great for everyday sleep/health tracking with seriously advanced features and can also be helpful when it comes to tracking while sparring/rolling.

Fitbit Charge 5

Fitbit Charge 5

I've used the Fitbit Charge 5 successfully in various martial arts, including boxing, kickboxing, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, by using the larger strap and found it comfortable enough.

This device offers a reliable high degree of fitness data tracking and is comfortable/slim enough to wear in various martial arts (plus a reasonable price!).

Pros:
  • Heart rate tracking, variability, ECG & irregular rhythm apps
  • Automatic fitness/activity tracking
  • Sleep stage tracking, with score & analysis
  • Daily readiness score & stress management score
  • Water resistant
  • Smart wake alarm
  • Very comfortable to wear for long periods
  • Reasonable price for the level of features
  • Free 6-month subscription to Premium
Cons:
  • Once the free Premium subscription runs out, health data analysis becomes more basic
  • Not the ideal option to wear during some martial arts
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I used my Fitbit Charge 5 in testing during BJJ sessions to see just how good of a workout it is (quick answer: insanely good cardiovascular workout), and while doing so, I learned a lot about the features of this smartwatch.

For example, in a 90-minute BJJ session that included warmup, practice, and sparring, I was burning over 800 calories with up to half an hour in fat-burn mode and up to half an hour in cardio mode.

Overall, it’s a very slim fitness tracker that makes it fairly suitable for BJJ. I was able to use it during rolling, and it didn’t break (yet).

What I particularly enjoy about the Fitbit Charge 5 is that it provides me with essentially all the health and fitness capabilities I wanted from a tracker:

HealthFitness
ECG
(assess for atrial fibrillation)
Readiness Score
EDA
(response to stress)
Active Zone Minutes
Stress Response Score24/7 Heart Rate Monitoring
SpO2
(Oxygen Saturation)
SmartTrack
Heart Rate Variability24/7 Activity Tracking
Breathing RateVO2 Max Measurement
Sleep ScoreWaterproof
Source

When I began looking for a fitness tracker, I considered many different options.

I wanted to get the most reliable and advanced tracking that I could get with the benefits of a slim form factor and a competitive price.

I waited a while for the release of the Fitbit Charge 5, which I have then used for several months over several martial arts, including BJJ.

My Fitbit Charge 5 offered me all of those fitness tracking benefits that I wanted, particularly observing my active zone minutes per day, heart rate variability, VO2 max, and analyzing my sleep scores.

Doing lots of different martial arts would tire out my body, and sometimes I was really struggling to recover properly, so keeping an eye on my “Readiness Score” allowed me to see whether my body is ready to be pushed or if I should rest.

Most of the time, I don’t notice my Fitbit when rolling in BJJ.

Most of my rolling time has been with a Gi, where it’s more reasonable to wear a fitness tracker on the wrist because most of the grappling is done on the Gi cloth itself.

Fitbit Charge 5 on the forearm

You can even wear the Fitbit Charge 5 with boxing gloves which have been helpful for me as a mixed martial artist.

Pulling and pushing happen around the cuffs of the Gi and less around actual wrists, so it doesn’t seem to cause too much frustration for my sparring partners.

But I did feel it got pulled a couple of times, and it’s not unlikely for it to pop off or break because of this.

When it comes to No-Gi, it’s obvious that noticeability is different.

The Fitbit Charge 5 is slim and comfortable enough to be worn during No-Gi rolling, but it isn’t ideal because it can just give your opponent extra grips to take advantage of – which you never want!

Garmin HRM PRO

Garmin HRM-PRO

A great addition of tracking capability to any existing Garmin watch user for amplifying martial arts and workout health data.

Pros:
  • Highly accurate heart rate tracking
  • Professional grade device used by athletes
  • Tracks health data even while separated from Garmin watch/device
  • Suitable for martial arts, running, other workouts, and even swimming
  • Tracks stats perfect for runners: vertical oscillation, ground contact time, stride length, vertical ratio
Cons:
  • Mainly compatible only with other Garmin tracking products (for best experience)
  • Extra price to pay to add-on to your Garmin device
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One final option for this list is to consider the Garmin HRM PRO chest strap. A ton of people already use Garmin smartwatches for regular daily use and with trekking or running.

The HRM PRO chest strap then allows you to extend the functionality of your Garmin watch and allow you to very accurately track your heart rate with a different wearable even while away from your main Garmin device.

So for BJJ, it means you can take off your bulky Garmin watch and leave it in your locker.

Then you can just use the HRM PRO strap during your rolling and the two devices can sync up when you’re done.

There’s a good chance you may already have a Garmin smartwatch, so adding this on would enhance your experience and allow you to keep the good-tracking times rolling even during Jiu-Jitsu.

Garmin is undoubtedly huge leaders in the professional grade space for health and fitness tracking. They’re used by athletes and sports teams of all kinds, even triathletes and mountain climbers!

If you don’t have a Garmin watch at all but are interested in this combo, then you might want to consider the combo package of the Garmin Forerunner 955 plus HRM PRO strap to save some money:

Bundle
Garmin Forerunner 955 Smartwatch + HRM PRO
4.5
$719.98

Get Garmin's leading smartwatch, the Forerunner 955, with insanely long battery life and solar power charging; then pair it with the HRM Pro chest strap for the complete health tracking experience.

Pros:
  • Professional grade health tracking
  • Daily readiness score from sleep, recovery, and training load
  • GPS and map guidance for walks, treks, and runs
  • HRV, real-time stamina, training status, recovery time, body battery scores
Cons:
  • Two devices required to get the tracking both on and off the mat
  • High priced combo
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03/11/2024 03:51 am GMT

Granted, this combination isn’t cheap. It’s a premium price for a premium, professional-grade product.

So if you want to go maximum level, then this could be your dream wearable tech.

Considerations when picking a fitness tracker for BJJ

It can be tricky to find the right fitness tracker to use in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, primarily because there isn’t an inch of your body that doesn’t take pressure during regular sessions.

You’re either going to be laying on a body part, or your opponent/sparring partner will be grabbing onto it. Whether it’s your arm, ankle, toe, or around your chest, just about anything goes.

So to help you with your decision to find the right fitness tracker, I’ve put together some of the key considerations to think about:

Gi vs. No-Gi

Your options for a fitness tracker for BJJ could change considerably between wearing a Gi and going No-Gi with a rashguard.

The Gi is often quite thick material and covers your whole body, including points where a fitness tracker would usually be, like the wrist, bicep, or around the chest with a strap.

In using a fitness tracker during BJJ, you have to consider your comfort and that of your sparring partner.

If you’re wearing a fitness tracker with chunky plastic or in some cases, metal parts, then any weight pushed onto it could be uncomfortable or even painful for you or your partner.

Some fitness trackers have a slim form factor, like the Polar H10 or Fitbit Charge 5, making it reasonable to use during BJJ with a Gi.

But for No-Gi, where you should only be wearing rashguards, so there isn’t anything getting in the way of the grappling, it still might not be slim enough to be suitable.

Wrist device vs. chest strap

Many martial artists and Jiu-Jitsu practitioners will use a fitness tracker with a chest strap.

A chest strap could offer the most comfort for regularly rolling around on the ground with a partner, as they usually are slim and sit flat on your body.

A fitness tracker with a chest strap typically has a slim form factor, making it a popular option for Jiu-Jitsu practitioners.

They can usually be used as your primary BJJ heart rate monitor while leaving your smartwatch or phone in your locker and then syncing the data over Bluetooth once you’re done.

A chest strap is sometimes considered the best heart rate monitor for Jiu Jitsu as it gives you a better option for rolling while using any other fitness tracking devices or tools you want during your everyday activities.

But there are drawbacks to a fitness tracker with a chest strap.

Even though the form factor of a chest strap is reduced significantly than most wrist fitness trackers, they still are made of plastic materials that, when pressured on, could cause the same discomforts as a wrist strap, particularly for the wearer.

In my rolls during practice and sparring, I feel quite a bit of pressure placed on my chest from my opponents if they are in the side or full mount position.

That pressure could be placed into the fitness tracker around the chest and be pretty uncomfortable around the ribcage or sternum, where there’s not much muscle or fat.

Maybe I’m just suffering from white belt problems and shouldn’t let my opponents by on my chest so much!

I have heard that a chest strap option works particularly well for women because it can fit snugly underneath a sports bra, so it’s secured in place quite well and isn’t noticeable for them or their sparring partners.

With any fitness tracker option, there will be some level of discomfort or, at least, getting used to it and working around it.

You don’t want to be giving your rolling partner any advantage over you with the additional grip potential, so having something as flush to your body as possible is the key factor.

This brings us to consider other wearables for your fitness tracking needs.

Fitness tracker wearables

Wearables are a growing subcategory within the fitness tracker space, as more sportspeople are demanding more unique ways of tracking their fitness without the device getting in the way.

In martial arts, especially BJJ, the need for tracking devices that don’t impact movement is becoming essential.

Regular Jiu-Jitsu practitioners all have the same voice on this. They need to be able to move freely and without discomfort.

This is where wearables come in. Chest straps offer a level of wearability, but it isn’t always as comfortable or usable as you might like.

On the other hand, a wearable is like wearing regular clothing but with your fitness tracker inserted intelligently so as not to impact your movement.

The typical solution in wearables is an arm sleeve.

While runners often have straps for their biceps to fit their phone in, an arm sleeve for fitness trackers works similarly by placing the monitoring device into the sleeve.

And there are also tracking rings, like the Oura Gen 3. As much as I loved mine for monitoring daily health and sleep, it is absolutely not useable for grappling martial arts.

But other options are becoming more available on the market, such as wearable compression shirts, shorts, and even leggings and sports bras for the ladies.

One of the primary leaders in this space of wearables is WHOOP, thus being one of my favorite options for BJJ:

WHOOP has constantly been advancing the technology of its fitness tracker.

It makes sense that they would continue building up their offering, as the WHOOP is a subscription-based fitness tracker.

I’m not usually a fan of subscription services, but it’s hard to ignore the accuracy and usefulness of WHOOP products.

The WHOOP 4.0 is standard as a tracking device with a wristband attached.

The wristband on the WHOOP can be removed anytime and placed in other wearables to keep tracking your physical activity without having to wear it on your wrist.

WHOOP trademarked their wearable products named Any-Wear™, which offer a vast range of clothing and sports apparel with which you can insert the WHOOP 4.0 tracking device into.

WHOOP has wearables that fit just about any scenario you might need, whether for BJJ, other martial arts and sports, or just regular use.

Once you have your WHOOP, you could grab one of their Any-Wear™ compression shirts, which allow you to slip the WHOOP device into the sleeve.

The shirt is made from a mix of polyamide and elastane, making it an excellent rashguard for No-Gi WHOOP BJJ.

They also have other sportswear compatible with WHOOP 4.0, such as shorts, leggings, and sports bras.

They even have underwear that allows you to insert the WHOOP 4.0 into the waistband for tracking your activity 24/7, whether working out or not!

These wearables open up a world of opportunities for your daily life, hobbies, and sports – especially martial arts!

Common questions about fitness trackers for BJJ

Before we get to the conclusion, let me answer a few questions that you’ve probably had after finding your perfect fitness tracker:

Can you wear WHOOP during BJJ?

You can wear a WHOOP during BJJ using an Any-Wear™ Arm Sleeve or other compatible Any-Wear™ wearables for the WHOOP 4.0 or a WHOOP Upper Arm Sleeve for the WHOOP 3.0.

The device can be removed from the band and added to a wearable to track activity during BJJ.

Can you wear a heart rate monitor during BJJ?

You can wear a heart rate monitor during BJJ by using a heart rate monitoring chest strap, like the Polar H10, or a wearable fitness tracker that slots into clothing like the WHOOP 4.0.

What should your heart rate be for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

It’s normal for your heart rate to be within the 120-150 bpm (beats per minute) range during a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu session.

I personally have experienced an average 129 bpm during a 90-minute BJJ session, with a peak of 174 bpm during sparring.

How do I add BJJ to my Apple Watch?

To manually add a BJJ session to your Apple Watch, open the Health app on your iPhone > Browse tab > search for “Workouts” > tap on Workouts > tap “Add Data” > select “Martial Arts” or “Wrestling” as the Activity Type > tap “Add” to finish.

The best kind of data to add to your Health tracking app is by using fitness tracking devices like the Polar H10, or WHOOP 4.0, as these devices will collect much more accurate data together and automatically sync to Apple Health.

Final say on fitness trackers for BJJ

So there you have it! You might want to consider a WHOOP or a fitness tracker with a chest band wearable for No-Gi.

My top recommendations are the Polar H10 or the WHOOP 4.0 because they’re the most comfortable to use during BJJ. But I have also had some success with the slim Fitbit Charge 5, which is a close third option.

Whatever you go for, don’t let it get in the way of your rolling and advancing through those belts!

What to read next

Now that you’ve got my thoughts on fitness tracker options for BJJ try these articles next:

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