5 Best Training Timers

Updated: Nov 15



A timer can make for a great training aid. If used properly they can boost exercise productivity which can dramatically increase how much gets done in a session. Furthermore, anyone who trains with a timer will attest to how they can bring structure and scaffolding to an otherwise disorganised and rickety exercise routine.



In previous articles – EMOM Training, AMRAP Training – I likened a training timer to having a military drill instructor at your side (though a better analogy would’ve been that of a physical training instructor). I see this as no exaggeration; and I’ve heard it said by many a trainer that the silence of a countdown timer exerts no less of a motivational force than would an instructor bellowing demands in their ears.



Training timers have been made popular (I should say more popular, as they’ve always featured in boxing gyms) by the CrossFit movement. Every day around the world scores of CrossFit enthusiasts, like warriors keeping time to the beat of a war drum, exercise in accordance with inexorable ‘tick!’ ‘tock!’ of the countdown timer.


The benefits of training with a timer include

Improved productivity
Provides goal setting opportunities: the goal of trying to exceed a certain rep count or that of continuing exercising unabated for a set time
Enables you to focus on your training and not on checking the time or waking up your phone
Enhances motivation and focus during the session


What training timers can be used for

HIIT: High Intensity Interval Training
EMOM: Every Minute on the Minute
AMRAP: As Many Reps As Possible
Interval: Short burst of high intensity training followed by low intensity rest periods
Combat Sports
Cross Training
CrossFit
Circuit Training
Skipping


Essential features

Before purchasing a training timer there are a few thing that you ought to consider first. For example, you should ensure that the timer allows you to select multiple interval options. That is, the interval duration length can be stipulated by the trainer. This sounds like a bit of a no brainer but some timers cap the interval duration. Capped interval lengths reduce the general application of the timer and will prohibit you from taking part in AMRAPS.



Other essential features include rest period options and automatic interval elapse and restart function. An automated function – say where, after a 3-minute boxing round concludes, the timer counts out the rest period and then restarts – saves you the irritation of having to fumble with the timer to start your next round (or interval).



The final essential function includes audible notification of elapsed intervals. You certainly want a timer that beeps, bleeps or buzzes. Furthermore, it should be LOUD! If it isn’t you won’t hear it above the beatbox or the clanking of weights.

1: Senshi Japan Interval Timer, Stopwatch, Counting Up Timer, Alarm, Vibration (£10.99)

Product Particulars (click image for availability)

  • Boxing Gym Timer. Counts each individual round and rest periods.

  • Includes an interval timer and stopwatch function so that you can auto programme start and stop alarms.

  • This timer is extremely easy to use and requires no technical ‘know-how’.

  • As well as interval alarms there is the option to set to vibrate or beep.

  • This timer boasts a colossal 99 rounds!


Senshi’s interval timer is perfect for the person who wants a simple start/stop jobbie which doesn’t involve the faff of a thousand features.


Simply set the number of desired rounds, the rest period, hit start and away you go!


In addition to its fool-proof simplicity, this no-nonsense training tool has a maximum of 99 rounds. Impressive though this is few will ever see that final lap elapse.


However, irrespective of whether or not you’ve got 99 intervals in the tank, least you know Senshi’s timer will see you through a big sesh.



2: ATOPHK Interval Timer Sports Stopwatch Clock LCD Digital Large Display Alarm Counting Time Countdown Vibration (£13.99)

Product Particulars (click image for availability)

  • Super accurate 1/100 second split timing which measure time at an accuracy of one hundredth of a second. Use the precise split time feature to measure multiple events.

  • Set interval times from between 2 to 99 repeats and measure up to 99 minutes 59 seconds.

  • Loud alarm and/or vibrate interval notification function. Comes with built-in belt clip.

  • Universal use perfect for all types of training sessions including boxing, weightlifting, running, CrossFit, Tabata, EMOM and AMRAP.


ATOPHK’s timer is a step-up in sophistication to Senshi’s. For an extra three English pounds you will receive all the aforementioned functions but also a highly accurate split timer. This enables the pedantic trainer to record super accurate scores.


Moving on from ATOPHK’s training timer’s superior technological IQ, it features a hefty 99 interval repeats whilst also measuring a second shy of 100 minutes. So if after that 10 minute kettlebell jerk AMRAP you feel that you’ve got a few thousand more reps in the tank, well you can keep going . . . and going . . . and going . . . and . . .


For a penny short of £14,00 this is a well-rounded piece of kit that will do the job for most all types of training.


3: Gymboss Interval Timer and Stopwatch (£17.99)

Product Particulars (click image for availability)

  • Compact interval timer times one or two intervals between two seconds and 99 minutes.

  • Built-in stopwatch and clock feature.

  • Secure and Removable Belt-clip included.

  • Auto mode repeats through intervals. Chime and vibration interval notification; alarm duration can be set for one, two, five, or nine seconds.


Of the all the training timers on the market Gymboss’ has received by far the most reviews. After more than 1000 comments, the vast majority of which are favourable, Gymboss still retains 4.5 stars.


But why’s this timer bossing it with the reviews?


On the face of it that’s a difficult question to answer. The Gymboss timer sports the same features as the two previous products: programmable interval duration, endless intervals, chime and vibration notification function.


However, the one distinguishing feature that sets it apart from its competitors is alarm duration function. This nifty little additional application, if it can be called that, enables you to set an alarm to sound for longer.



4: Everlast Interval Training Timer (£40.49)

Product Particulars (click image for availability)

  • Features both dual interval timer and stop watch modes.

  • nterval training timers are the perfect boxing gear necessity for a core workout.

  • Adjustable rounds and rest periods.





Everlast’s interval training timer has received much positive feedback. By all accounts it is a durable piece of kit that more than adequately satisfies the qualities expected from a timer.


In addition, reviewers have commented favourably on the adjustable round and rest period function – which allows you to select the interval duration.


Furthermore, the alarm notifications are sufficiently loud enough to be heard over the clanking of Olympic barbells or the pounding of boxing gloves. It also comes with a handy feature that enables the user to attach it to the wrist or belt, making it a perfect training companion for a punch bag session or AMRAP.

5: BTBSIGN LED Interval Timer Count Down/Up Clock Stopwatch with Remote for Home Gym Fitness (£59.99)

Product Particulars (click image for availability)

  • Multi-function timer with 5 different modes. Can be set to count down or up in minutes and seconds. Includes a stopwatch which counts up to 99 minutes, 59 seconds.

  • This timer comes with handy pre-programmed timer settings. Tabata button: store 20seconds work time and 10seconds rest time, repeat 8 times; FGB1 : Store 5 minutes train time, 1 minute rest time, repeat 5 rounds; FGB2 button: store 5 minutes workout time, 1 minute rest time, repeat 3 time.

  • Customizable interval timer that enables you to program and store your workouts with the amount of work time versus rest time with numbers of rounds.

  • Crystal clear LED and high contrast display allows you to see the bright LED numbers from all corners of your gym or home.


BTBSIGN’s LED training timer is as good as gets without having your own personal trainer keeping a keen eye on the clock and calling out intervals.


Of all the products thus far reviewed BTBSIGN’s timer offers by far the greatest range of features – but then it should at more than double the price.


In addition to the standard functions we expect from a training timer, this one comes with a plethora of pre-programmed settings. These are useful because they enable you to initiate a session without the faff of manually imputing the programmes. You can, quite literally, just hit a button and go.


Another nifty feature worth mentioning is that of being able to store your previous workouts. This is perfect for boxers/Thai boxers as you can set, say, a standard professional fight length – 12 X 3 mins or 5 X 3 minutes respectively – including rest periods, and get stuck in without the embuggerance of resetting rounds.


And finally, all these features are presented to you via that bright LED interface.

To Conclude

A good training timer can enhance the experience of an exercise session. They can eradicate the irritation of having to reset intervals manually allowing you to focus on your session and not the time.


Moreover, a training timer, when used effectively, will enhance motivation meaning you will get more from your workouts.


Also, as mentioned in the introduction, they can bring structure to your sessions which will almost certainly boost your productive performance.


All the products featured in this review – from Senshi’s bargain basement jobbie to BTBSIGN’s ultra-high-tech all singing all dancing multi-function timer – will bring the above benefits to your training sessions. Now all you need is ‘tick!’ ‘tock!’ and some training ideas.

Put your timer to the test with these 5 EMOM sessions


(As we are very interested in user feedback at Hungry4Fitness, I would be very grateful if you could take a few seconds out of your day to leave a comment. Thanks in advance!)

Blog Author

Adam Priest is a former Royal Marines Commando, professional personal trainer, lecturer, boxing and Thai boxing enthusiast.