Strava: Everything you need to know about the world’s biggest social fitness app

A user opens Strava on their Galaxy A51.

Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Between fitness trackers, heart rate straps, and global positioning, dedicated athletes have more data than ever. One platform poised to help users centralize all these stats is Strava. Find out everything you need to know about the largest social network available for athletes.

What is Strava?

A Galaxy A51 resting on a running sneakers displays the Strava signup screen.

Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

In the simplest terms, Strava is a fitness-focused social app for tracking exercise. Users log workouts, analyze and monitor their progress, compete against friends, and connect with a global community of athletes. Consisting of millions of users, the platform allows individuals to log activities while exploring and sharing routes (and performances) worldwide. Although the app started with a dedicated focus on running and cycling, it has since expanded to support more than 40 types of workouts.

  • Alpine Ski
  • Backcountry Ski
  • Canoe
  • Crossfit
  • Cycle Sports
  • E-Bike Ride
  • E-Mountain Bike Ride
  • Elliptical
  • Golf
  • Gravel Bike Ride
  • Handcycle
  • Hike
  • Ice Skate
  • Inline Skate
  • Kayak
  • Kitesurf Session
  • Mountain Bike Ride
  • Nordic Ski
  • Other
  • Ride
  • Rock Climb
  • Roller Ski
  • Row
  • Run
  • Sailing
  • Skateboarding
  • Snowboard
  • Soccer
  • Stair Stepper
  • Stand Up Paddle
  • Surf
  • Swim
  • Trail Run
  • Velomobile
  • Virtual Run
  • Walk
  • Water Sports
  • Weight Training
  • Wheelchair
  • Windsurf Session
  • Winter Sports
  • Workout
  • Yoga

What makes Strava different from other fitness apps?

A user reviews their recent activity on the Strava Home screen.

Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Strava differentiates itself from other popular fitness apps through its robust social component. Rather than simply logging workouts and analyzing personal data, users connect with friends and athletes around the globe. As of now, there are more than 100 million athletes in 195 countries using Strava. That means constant route updates, comparative data, and revolving leaderboards.

Strava offers a global community of over 100 million athletes worldwide.

Each Strava user creates a unique profile similar to that of a social media handle. From that profile, athletes can share completed activities, upload photos related to their workouts, and even like or comment on the activity of others. You can follow friends’ fitness journeys or friend other users through the platform. The app also houses endless clubs users can join to link up with like-minded athletes. These include everything from local clubs based on location to options based on goals, habits, or even specific routes. You can also join challenges, such as a monthly climbing challenge, and earn trophies within the app.

A Fitbit Sense displays a user's apps on screen.

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Apps like Garmin Connect or Samsung Health feature micro versions of the interactive features Strava offers. Furthermore, while many major health apps correspond to specific ecosystems or devices, Strava is compatible with a never-ending list of GPS devices, trackers, and other third-party apps. You can use it on a Galaxy Watch 5 as easily as on an Apple Watch Series 8 or Fitbit Sense. If you don’t own a tracker, you can upload activity on your smartphone or on Strava’s web-based site. The app can also link with popular services such as the Fitbit app and Google Fit to automatically upload your data.

Finally, Strava is a site for athletes, but the company strongly believes that anyone can be called an athlete. Where other platforms cater to specific activity levels, Strava adapts to whatever level you want to pursue. Some users track dog walks and some are training for the Tour de France. The point is, Strava is a comfortable, user-friendly platform for all levels.

Strava Features

The key features of the Strava platform include activity tracking and socializing with other users.

  • Activity Recording: Users can record exercises directly using the Strava app.
  • Device Support: The platform is also compatible with many GPS devices and heart rate monitors.
  • Social Network: Users can post workouts, photos, and videos, and can like or comment on others’ content.
  • Beacon on Phones: Strava’s Beacon feature generates a shareable URL so safety contacts can follow your activity in real time.

What is a Strava Segment?

A user reviews the Strava Segments in their local area.

Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Strava Segments represent popular stretches of road or trail. Using GPS data, these designated portions of terrain – whether land or sea – are highlighted by Strava so users can find favored local spots. With a Strava subscription, the app will record your Segment times so you can see how you compare to previous attempts.

Many GPS activities already contain segments. If you frequent a route and would like to create your own, you can add a Segment from the activities page on the Strava web page.

Competing on Strava: Local Legend, KOM and QOM

Each saved Segment also features in-app leaderboards created and maintained by the millions of athletes on the platform. Leaderboards are organized by activity type (i.e. hikers vs hikers or cyclists vs cyclists), as well as by gender, age, weight, and date of the activity (Today, All-Time, or This Year). With a Strava Membership, you can access these leaderboards in full and compare your Segment performances with those of friends and other athletes. You can also earn Segments awards.

  • Local Legend: The Local Legend award is given to the athlete who completes a specific segment the most over a 90-day period.
  • King or Queen of the Mountain (KOM/QOM): The top performer, or fastest time to date, on any segment is awarded King or Queen of the Mountain.

What is Strava Membership and do I need it?

A user reviews the Membership trial screen.

Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

While the free version of the app provides athletes with plenty of useful tools, a paid membership has even more to offer. Below is a list of the additional features included in a Strava membership. If you are interested in deeper insights and a more personalized training dashboard, a membership may be worth the fee. You can upgrade your account for just $7.99 per month, or $5 per month when billed annually. Strava also offers a 30-day trial so you can test-run a membership before dropping any cash.

  • Training Log: At the heart of a Strava membership is a personalized log of all your activities. This log is the easiest way for users to see patterns in their training.
  • Training Dashboard: The training dashboard helps users keep tabs on their performance over time and analyze whether they are training effectively.
  • Goal Setting: A membership allows you to set time, distance, or performance goals.
  • Segment Competition: A Strava subscription also lets you track your progress on favorite stretches and compare your performances to friends and other users.
  • HR & Power Analysis: User’s who record heart rate or power data from fitness devices can also import their data to Strava for analysis. This helps athletes garner deeper insights into their training and cardio output.
  • Route Planning: A membership helps users cover more ground with suggested routes based on the activity of fellow athletes.
  • Compare Efforts: For clear comparisons over time, the app will automatically line up repeated runs and rides for paying members.
  • Personal Heatmaps: With personal heatmaps, Strava members can view interactive recordings of their routes worldwide.
  • Beacon on devices: Without a membership, Beacon offers live location tracking from your smartphone. Paying Strava members can access this safety feature from Garmin and Apple wearables as well.
  • Partner Perks: A membership also grants access to promotions from partner companies including deals on fitness content and gear.

How to set up Strava and log your first workout

A user begins recording a workout in the Strava app.

Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

You can sign up for an account at Strava.com or by downloading the Strava app on your mobile device. The app is available from both the Google Play Store and the App Store.

Once you create a login using either an email, Facebook, or Google account, you can create your Strava profile. You will immediately be invited to record your first run and prompted to allow device location access. If you aren’t quite ready to hit the road, simply skip ahead to further explore the app.

User profile

A Galaxy A51 displays a user's profile.

Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Your user profile is where you will find your basic stats as well as an overview of your progress. It is also where you can see who is following you, who you follow, and what your bio looks like to others.

  • Tap the You tab in the bottom right corner, then tap Profile.
  • Tap Edit and fill in as much personal information as you want. If desired, you can add a photo as well as a short bio.

Record an activity

When you want to record an activity, tap the Record tab at the bottom of your screen. From the Start screen, tap the shoe icon to change your activity to a different sport.

Connecting Strava to your wearable device

samsung galaxy watch 5 apps strava

Andy Walker / Android Authority

As mentioned above, the app is also compatible with many fitness-tracking devices. Follow the relevant directions below to sync up your account. 

Apple Watch

  • Add the Strava app to your paired iPhone.
  • On your iPhone, open the Watch app and tap the My Watch tab.
  • Scroll down to the Strava app. If the app is not already installed, tap Install, then open the Strava app on your Watch.
  • You will be prompted to authorize Strava for the Apple Watch.

Garmin devices

  • Open the Garmin Connect app on your paired phone.
  • Open the app’s menu. This will be either three lines in the top left or three dots labeled More in the bottom right, depending on whether you use an Android or iOS phone.
  • Scroll down and tap Settings, then tap Connected Apps.
  • Tap Strava, then tap Agree and Authorize.

Fitbit devices

  • iOS users
    • From the Strava mobile app, tap the Settings gear icon, then tap Applications, Services, and Devices.
    • Tap Connect a new device to Strava then tap Fitbit and sign in with your Fitbit credentials.
    • Tap Authorize.
  • Android users
    • From the Strava mobile app, tap the Settings gear icon, then tap Link Other Services.
    • Tap Connect a device to Strava then tap Fitbit and sign in with your Fitbit credentials.
    • Tap Authorize.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 or 5

  • Download the Strava app for Wear OS.
  • Sign in to your Strava account on your phone before you pair your Galaxy Watch to automatically sign in to your profile on the Strava Wear OS app.
  • If you are not signed into your Strava profile, you will be prompted to authenticate your credentials on your paired phone.

FAQ

Strava offers a variety of privacy settings for keeping your location hidden. Once you have used Strava for one week and have uploaded an activity, the first and last 200 meters of your activity maps are hidden by default. You can further adjust your settings by tapping the Settings gear icon in the top right corner of your mobile app. Select Privacy Controls Edit Map Visibility.

From the Home tab, pull down until you see a status icon and release. This should refresh the Strava app.

Yes. If you delete an activity from your Strava mobile app, it will delete the activity from Strava.com as well.

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