Use Siri as a Personal Workout Timer

There are hundreds of apps available for the iPhone that can be used as a workout timer. But what if all you need is something simple, customizable, and free? Siri Shortcuts to the rescue.

This shortcut does 3 things.

  • Switches Do Not Disturb to on.
  • Starts an Apple Music playlist.
  • It starts a timer to alert you after a set amount of time.

This shortcut comes in useful if you are restricted to time-limited workout sessions. You may only have time in your lunch hour or before work. But with it, you can just hop on the treadmill, or enter the weights room and say:

Hey Siri, start workout

Your playlist will start, the timer will begin, and Do Not Disturb means you won’t be interrupted by messages or emails.

Build your workout timer app

  1. Open the Shortcuts app on your iPhone.
  2. With the My Shortcuts page open, tap on Create Shortcut.
  3. Tap on the small blue circle with three dots inside to give your shortcut a name. Use something memorable, as this will be the Siri uses to run the Shortcut. In this example, we’ll call it ‘Start Workout’.
  4. Choose a color and glyph if you fancy getting creative.
  5. Click Done.
  6. Tap Add Action.
  7. Type ‘Disturb’ in the search bar and choose Set Do Not Disturb from the list of actions that appear.
  8. Tap on the highlighted words in the action, and set it to turn On until Turned Off.
  9. Tap the blue plus icon to add the next action. Type ‘Playlist’ in the search bar and choose Get Playlist from the list of actions that appear. We’ll use this action to select the music you want to listen to while working out. Tap on Playlist, and select your preferred option.
  10. Tap the blue plus icon to add the next action. Type ‘Play’ in the search bar and choose Play Music from the list of actions that appear.
  11. Tap on Show More, and choose whether your playlist shuffled and repeated.
  12. Tap the blue plus icon to add the next action. Type ‘Timer’ in the search bar and choose Start Timer from the list of actions that appear.
  13. Input how long you want your workout to last for, in our example we’re using 30 minutes.
  14. Tap the blue plus icon to add the next action.
  15. Type ‘Open App’ in the search bar and choose Open App from the list of actions that appear. Tap on ‘Choose’ and select Clock from the list.
  16. Tap ‘Done’ at the top of the screen.
Start Workout Timer

That’s it! Now trigger the shortcut by saying:

Hey Siri, start workout

Do Not Disturb is set to on, your music begins, and the Timer app opens, starting the countdown. The Clock app may open in a different tab if you’d used it for something else recently, so select the timer tab, and it will open directly into the time from now on.

Ending your workout

One shortcoming of Siri Shortcuts is that it cannot start or finish an action after a set amount of time. So it’s currently not possible for a Shortcut to end when the timer has completed. The timer will still alert you when finished, though.

To get around this, we need to build a simple shortcut that’s run by saying:

Hey Siri, end workout

This Shortcut will stop Apple Music from playing and turn off Do Not Disturb.

  1. Open the Shortcuts app on your iPhone.
  2. With the My Shortcuts page open, tap on Create Shortcut.
  3. Tap on the small blue circle with three dots inside to give your shortcut a name. Again, use something memorable. In this example, we’ll call it ‘End Workout’.
  4. Choose a color and glyph if you fancy getting creative.
  5. Click Done.
  6. Tap Add Action.
  7. Type ‘Play’ in the search bar and choose Play/Pause from the list of actions that appear.
  8. Tap the blue plus icon to add the next action. Type ‘Disturb’ in the search bar and choose Set Do Not Disturb from the list of actions that appear.
  9. Make sure Do Not Disturb is set to turn off.
End Workout Timer

Now, to complete your workout, say:

Hey Siri, end workout

It’s a simple Shortcut but can come in useful for gym-goers and runners who are short on time.

Would you like to know how much exercise you’ve done that day? In another tutorial, we show how you can ask Siri to read out your health data on your iPhone.

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