Best Fitness Tracker for BJJ (3 Options Compared)

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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 the most challenging to my physical stamina compared with other martial arts.

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

Short on time? Here’s my quick answer to the best fitness tracker for BJJ:

The best fitness tracker for BJJ is the Fitbit Charge 5. Its slim form-factor and alternate strap sizes allow it to be worn under the Gi comfortably without getting in the way of practice or sparring. The Fitbit Charge 5 also gives valuable data on activity levels during BJJ.

Fitbit Charge 5

★★★★★ 5/5

Fitbit Charge 5
My personal choice for fitness tracking for BJJ.

This fitness tracker helps you track your heart rate, fitness levels, recovery, sleep, and way more, all in one slim form factor, which makes it great for most martial arts.

In the rest of this article, I will compare fitness trackers to find out the best fitness tracker for BJJ and tell you more about my favorite.

BJJ Fitness Trackers: Gi Vs. No-Gi

Martial artists practicing BJJ techniques in 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 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.

Fitness Tracker Chest Strap For BJJ

Man wearing a heart rate monitor with 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 to your body.

The Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor is a fitness tracker with a chest strap and has an incredibly slim form factor, making it a popular option for Jiu-Jitsu practitioners.

Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor

★★★★☆ 4/5

Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor
An excellent option for No-Gi rolling.

You can wear this chest strap that frees up your wrists and limbs for rolling efficiently during Gi and No-Gi rolling. It’s slim enough to cause the least discomfort of most trackers while being incredibly accurate as a tracker.

What’s particularly useful about the Polar H10 is that it can sync with just about everything as it functions as a companion to your regular fitness tracking device or app.

You can use it as your primary BJJ heart rate monitor while leaving your smartwatch or phone in your locker and then sync the data over Bluetooth once you’re done. It syncs with Polar, Garmin, Apple watches, and even fitness apps like Apple Health, Strava, and Nike.

A chest strap like the Polar H10 is sometimes considered the best heart rate monitor for Jiu Jitsu as it allows you to have 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 into 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!

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.


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Fitness Tracker Wearables For BJJ

Wearable fitness tracker

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, and 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.

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.

WHOOP 4.0

★★★★★ 5/5

WHOOP 4.0
Advanced fitness tracking with wearable options.

The WHOOP 4.0 offers the most advanced technology of most fitness trackers on the market, and now the ability to disconnect from the strap and use it in wearable clothing makes it an excellent option 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 myself, but it’s hard to ignore the accuracy and usefulness of WHOOP products.

The WHOOP 4.0 comes as standard as a tracking device with a wristband attached. The wrist band on the WHOOP can be removed anytime and placed in other kinds of 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 it’s 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!

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.

My Personal Choice For Best Fitness Tracker For BJJ

Fitbit Charge 5 on the forearm

When I began looking for a fitness tracker, I considered a bunch of 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 extra time before purchasing as I was waiting for the Fitbit Charge 5, which has become my fitness tracker of choice for BJJ.

Fitbit Charge 5

★★★★★ 5/5

Fitbit Charge 5
My personal choice for fitness tracking for BJJ.

This fitness tracker helps you track your heart rate, fitness levels, recovery, sleep, and way more, all in one slim form factor, which makes it great for most martial arts.

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:

Health Fitness
ECG
(assess for atrial fibrillation)
Readiness Score
EDA
(response to stress)
Active Zone Minutes
Stress Response Score 24/7 Heart Rate Monitoring
SpO2
(Oxygen Saturation)
SmartTrack
Heart Rate Variability 24/7 Activity Tracking
Breathing Rate VO2 Max Measurement
Sleep Score Waterproof
Source

My Fitbit Charge 5 offers 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” allows 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 are done on the Gi cloth itself.

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 much frustration for my sparring partners so far.

When it comes to No-Gi, it’s obvious that there is a difference in noticeability. The Fitbit Charge 5 is slim enough 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!

So there you have it! You might want to consider a WHOOP or a fitness tracker with a chest band wearable for No-Gi. Whatever you go for, don’t let it get in the way of your rolling and advancing through those belts! The Fitbit Charge 5 is my fitness tracker of choice for BJJ and the one I use and enjoy with the Gi.

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