Garmin Fenix 5 and Forerunner 935 updates take fitness fight to Apple Watch

The Garmin Forerunner 935, Fenix 5, Fenix 5S and Fenix 5X are already built for fitness but the latest software update is set to make them even more enticing to the average fitness fiend.

All of those devices will now benefit from customized workout capabilities for strength training, with your wearable keeping track of reps, sets and rest times during bodyweight and free weight workouts - something that will be of big interest to runners, cyclists and triathletes looking to improve their times.

Cardio tracking is also being improved, as you can now log high intensity interval training (HIIT), boot camp classes and more - essentially giving you a more 'proper' all-round look at your daily fitness.

You can also now create your own cardio and strength workouts on the Garmin Connect app, so you’re not stuck endlessly doing the same routines - and hopefully suggested options will appear in the future too.

Calm down

But as well as getting you fitter, this new update is aimed at helping you track and manage your stress. 

It allows for all-day stress tracking based on heart rate variability (HRV) data, so you can view both your current stress level and get a bigger picture of your stress at different times.

The idea is that you’d then be able to make changes to avoid or prepare for the times and situations that cause stress, and to help with that Garmin also offers a Four-Fold Breath relaxation timer, so you can become both a fitter and calmer version of yourself.

These updates seem very similar to those seen in the Apple Watch 2 and LG Watch Sport, as smartwatch manufacturers increasingly turn to fitness as a key reason to own the slimmed-down, wrist-based phone companion.

Garmin - and other fitness brands - are taking the opposite approach, coming from tracking exercise and adding in clever smarts to make them more usable day to day. 

With these updates - especially the breathing timer - Garmin is clearly aiming at being seen as a decent smartwatch option as well as an all-round exercise tracker.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.