Ring craft: the 9 best Apple Watch fitness apps

Get more coloured rings than a bowl of Fruit Loops with our favourite watchOS fitness apps...

We haven’t been this addicted to collecting rings since our first dash through the Sonic's Green Hill Zone.

We’re talking, of course, about the Apple Watch’s strangely addictive exercise rings, which gradually wind around its Activity face as you move, exercise and stand throughout the day.

The best thing about these colourful circles, aside from their motivating nudges, is that third party apps can plug into them via Apple's Health app and boost your daily tallies. 

Like our physiques, it’s fair to say the Apple Watch’s fitness apps are still a bit of a work in progress. Many are still tethered to their iOS app, fail to the make the most of the Watch’s powers, and lack useful complications for live, glanceable info.

But a select few have worked extra hard on their Apple Watch games and fought their way onto our watchOS dock. Here are our kings of the activity rings...

Best for...running motivation (Runkeeper, free + IAP)

The Apple Watch’s running apps still haven't quite turned it into a full-blown Garmin Forerunner, but Runkeeper is currently leading the pack.

Like Strava, Runkeeper uses the Apple Watch Series 2’s built-in GPS to let you run phone-free, something of a blessing for anyone with a hulking iPhone 7 Plus.

It’s more than just a dumb tracker too, with options to set target paces and maximum heart-rates (for the app’s graphs rather than your ticker, sadly).

You’ll still need your phone with you to get Runkeeper’s motivational audio cues, and Watch-only mode can take a little while to both get a GPS fix and fine-tune its distance accuracy (Runkeeper recommends running with both phone and Watch at least 20 times before going it alone with the watchOS app). But teething issues aside, it’s still the best all-round running companion for the Apple Watch.

Download Runkeeper

Best for...a quick home workout (Streaks Workout, RM12.90)

At least two members of the Stuff team have been left walking around like stop-motion animations after attempting Streaks’ tougher workouts, but it’s still our favourite watchOS app for a quick calorie burn.

Choose the length of your workout on the Apple Watch – the choices are 6, 12, 18 or 30 minutes – and it’ll string together your choice of some simple exercises, which are shown with little diagrams and rep counts. Think seven ‘knee raises’, into five ‘stance jacks’, into three ‘supermen’, and repeat.

While you’re recovering, it’ll log these on your calendar, with the aim, naturally, to put together streaks of workouts. It’s a shame the app doesn’t automatically log your movements or give audio announcements of each exercise, but it does work independently of the iOS app – which means you can jump straight out of bed and into a ‘pain’ workout. Or maybe after just a few more minutes in bed.

Download Streaks Workout