I was chatting with something recently about how they had given up on the Microsoft Band v2 and gone to a newer Garmin device. Garmin makes some excellent fitness wearables, but the reason for the move was that the “Band doesn’t track interval workouts for runs.”
Well, that’s simply not the case. You can absolutely create circuit/interval workouts. Along with the Band v2 hardware release, Microsoft has also improved the backend Health dashboard capabilities greatly. One of those capabilities is embedded in the Workout Planner and it allows you to build your own workouts to store on your Band to use as guided workouts. Just like any type of workout planner, the Health Dashboard offers a selection of exercises to pick from and then allows you to mix, match, and reorganize to fit your ideal workout.
For most, the Health Dashboard is just a place to view synched data, but with the recent improvements it can be much more than that. Why Microsoft hasn't promoted this capability more is beyond me, but its powerful stuff. The new workout builder is almost like a batch scripting tool for fitness. Whatever workout you can imagine you can pretty much use the workout builder to create. I know many of you have created “weight” workouts, but did you know you can also create circuit training workouts for running?
The key here is changing from a list of exercises (exercises that you do consecutively until finished) to a circuit of exercises, altering how the circuit should operate (rounds or minutes) and then setting the completion type (distance, duration, and repetition).
To do this...
- With the Health Dashboard open in your web browser, go to Workout Planner/Build a workout and then tap or click the down arrow next to List (the default).
- When List expands, tap or click the Edit icon (represented as a pencil).
- Change the type of workout to Circuit.
Now, when you add exercises from the available list (choose from the Cardio category for running), you’ll be able to build a list of circuit exercises. Band v2 will monitor the progress of your workout based on your selected completion criteria (distance, duration, or repetition). And, you can mix and match. For example, you can jog for 1 mile and then sprint for 30 seconds.
Here’s a circuit workout that I perform using Band v2.
Like I said, Build a workout feature in the Microsoft Health dashboard is like a PC scripting tool. Add your exercises, determine completion, and in the case of circuit workouts, go back to the beginning, start again, and do as many rounds as you need. It’s like a huge If/This/Then/That or GOTO Start scripting block, but only limited by your imagination and the exercises available in the dashboard database (which is constantly growing, btw).
I'm still waiting for sharing feature, though, so Band users can share their awesome workout creations. For now, whatever you create can only be viewed and used by you.