Sometimes it’s important to stick to a specific time. For years now, I’ve been using a workout timer regularly to optimize my training. But I also find such a timer to be very useful in other (private and professional) situations.
In this article, therefore, everything will revolve around the purpose of such workout and other timers. I will briefly introduce you to the most important advantages and fields of application of such timers and then I will introduce you to a few models and applications that you can use for them. I promise you that my favorite timer will surprise and inspire you.
A workout timer for your strength training
Taking the right breaks in strength training simply makes it more effective and easier to track. This is particularly important in order to efficiently adapt your own training to personal progress and to achieve optimal progression. The latter is particularly important if you want to build muscle mass effectively . However, good timing is also of great importance for targeted increases in strength during maximum strength training.
In general, if you take your breaks too short, your muscles have not yet regenerated enough to call up enough power for the next training set. However, if you take your breaks unnecessarily long, your training will also be longer than it should be. If you take your breaks far too long, your risk of injury increases because your muscles cool down too much. This should not be underestimated, especially with heavy basic exercises such as the deadlift or shoulder press .
With a workout timer, you can make your training more effective and safer and save some time at the same time.
A timer for your interval or tabata training
Probably the most obvious application for a workout timer is as a HIIT or Tabata timer for interval training. These types of training live from the fact that certain exercise and break intervals are adhered to. As a result, they put the organism under stress and help you to increase your endurance in a time-efficient way and to stimulate your fat burning .
This also applies to all other types of interval training. I regularly use interval runs in my running training when I want to run my target distance faster . For this it is important that the intervals and speeds are tailored to my goals and that I adhere to them.
In learning and in your work
I work with timers not only in sport, but also in other parts of my life. That actually always makes sense when I’m doing something where I want to achieve as much as possible with as little effort as possible. This applies to both work and learning. I wish I had known these techniques in my studies; then I could have gone to party even more. 😉
For example, do you know the Pomodoro technique? In addition to the 80/20 rule, this technology has fundamentally changed the way I work and made it many times more efficient. The aim is to maximize focus and thus work efficiency through targeted concentration phases with breaks . Strictly according to the specifications of the inventor, the Pomodoro technique has a concentration phase of 25 minutes and is followed by a 5-minute break. In the concentration phase, a task is carried out and no distraction is allowed. With the exact times you can of course try out a little what works best for you.
I have described these and other methods in my article on self-motivation . In this context, such tools are also extremely valuable.
Workout timer types
Now that you can understand the meaning and areas of application of such a timer, I would like to introduce you to a few different types of timers. Depending on your use and preferences, another tool may be right for you.
Maybe you think it’s very obvious. A timer is just a timer and every cell phone these days has a built-in stopwatch. However, some options that you may love for your workout or work are probably not on your agenda. I came across my favorite timer today, totally by accident.
Stopwatches as workout timers
The simplest variant of all is certainly the classic stopwatch. As mentioned before, this is already built into every cell phone these days, so it doesn’t cost you anything. You don’t have to lug anything around with you as you would with a stopwatch in the past.
In addition, every cell phone today has a built-in timer function. You can set a countdown of which you will be informed by a signal tone. A disadvantage of this is that you have to set and restart this again and again and you have to pick up your mobile phone again and again. This can be a potential, unwanted distraction. But for a standard tool that everyone already has in their pockets, a great thing!
Special workout timer apps
Especially for tabata training or other interval training, I find an app that is optimally tailored to this. With a stopwatch you have to keep looking at the time, reset it every lap and, if necessary, reset it and start it. A normal stopwatch does not emit any acoustic signals and a standard timer only emits once.
If you have fixed intervals with loading and unloading in front of you, you can use a Tabata timer app for this. There are various good and still free versions in the Appstore for both Apple and Android devices. There are slightly more complex versions with different sounds and, for example, a combined music version for a few euros. This is especially interesting if you have to organize group training.
In any case, get a solid outdoor Bluetooth speaker * so that the whole thing sounds neat and not like a can. 😉
My current favorite: A cube-shaped timer
Last but not least, I would like to introduce you to my new favorite among the timers. It is a compact plastic cube with four different, preset countdown times. This is available for just under ten euros on Amazon * in different colors with different times. If you turn a number up, the timer starts to run. If it expires, it informs you about it with a loud signal tone.
I got myself two dice that cover my timer needs very well. I always use the red cube (1, 2, 3 and 5 minutes) as a break timer for my training. As soon as I’ve finished a sentence, I turn it to the side that corresponds to my currently planned break. As soon as it beeps, I turn it to zero and do my next set. I mainly use the white cube (5, 15, 30 and 60 minutes) for studying and working. Here you get the dice *
More workout timers
Of course, there are other types of timers that you can use. For example, I know a power lifter who trains with a classic egg timer. Most of them, however, should be very well taken care of with my suggestions.
A large digital wall clock with a built-in timer and remote control, such as you often find in Crossfit boxes, for example, is definitely very cool. If you want to set up a really decadent home gym, this might be interesting. Maybe I’ll get one of those things one day.
How does it look like? Are you already using a workout timer for your workout? Do you use a timer for other activities, like your work or when you have to study? Could I perhaps inspire you with this article to give it a try? Do you have a particularly cool timer that I should introduce? Feel free to write to me in the comments!