Review: 6 Months Tracking Recovery & Strain with the Whoop Strap

Sep 21, 2021
by Sarah Moore  

"Train hard, recover harder" has become a mantra among fitness enthusiasts and elite athletes alike in recent years and the demand for foam rollers, massage guns, compression gear, ice baths, meditation apps, blue light glasses, and mobility programs has exploded. But which of those things are worth the time and money?

The Whoop Strap is a small computer with a PPG-heart rate sensor that you wear on your wrist that tracks metrics related to your recovery and training load 24/7 such as heart rate, heart rate variability, and respiratory rate. The strap analyzes these metrics alongside the quality of your sleep - the amount of mentally restorative rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and physically restorative slow wave sleep (deep sleep) you're getting compared to the time that you're in minimally beneficial light sleep or awake - and gives you a 'Recovery score' between 0 and 100% based on where you are in relation to your baseline.
Whoop Strap 3.0 Details
• 5 days of battery with a 60-minute charge
• On wrist charging
• Water-resistant spec to IP68, fine for swimming
• Stores up to three days of data
• Metal frame, plastic body
• 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope, and PPG-heart rate sensor
• Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) compatible
• Colors: 14+
• Weight: 0.64 ounces / 18.14 grams
• MSRP: $30 USD monthly
www.whoop.com

It then gives you a recommendation for how much strain your body can handle on any given day and records a 'Strain Score' out of 21 for each day that denotes how hard you've exerted yourself. A light walk might be a 3 on the strain scale, while a hard all-day mountain bike ride would likely get you up to 19 or 20 on the scale. If you slept soundly and have a 70% recovery, Whoop might suggest that you build up to a 15 strain for an optimal balance of strain and recovery. If you had a couple too many drinks and stayed up late and your Recovery score is only 31%, Whoop would suggest that you take it easy that day and only build up to a 7 strain for the day. Your strain is based on your max heart rate and the duration of the activity.

Unlike competitors Garmin, Suunto, Fitbit, or Apple Watch, you don't need to pay for the hardware up front. Instead, you pay a monthly fee for the product, which ranges from $18 USD per month if you commit to 18 months, or $30 USD if you pay monthly, and the hardware comes with the membership. The wearable doesn't work without the membership since the hardware needs to connect to the analytics software via Bluetooth in order to give you recommendations for how much sleep to get and how much training load you should be able to sustain on a given day.

If you're curious about the impact of something like stretching, hydration, alcohol, caffeine, eating vegetarian, light exposure, or having a sauna are on your Recovery score, you can choose to log those specific behaviours in the 'Journal' and your Monthly Performance Assessment will analyze your Recovery scores from each day. For example, if you want to know whether having caffeine after a certain time affects your sleep, you would select to track that in the journal, and then every morning you would record what time you had your last coffee in the app. At the end of the month, Whoop's analytics will let you know whether your recovery score is impacted by what time of day you consume caffeine.

While the main target is undoubtedly fitness enthusiasts and elite athletes, Whoop is really about looking at yourself as a a high performance machine from every angle and the company has done research with elite knowledge workers like CEOs and professors who want an extra cognitive or psychological edge over others in addition to athletes.



Getting Started

Whoop sends you the strap and charger in the mail when you subscribe to a membership online, and from there it is easy to adjust it to your wrist and connect it to your phone through the Whoop app. Whoop says that you should wear the strap just behind your wrist bone for the most accurate reading and suggests the left arm for right-handed people.

You immediately get readings after your first sleep, but the strap will be calibrating to your body to learn its baseline metrics for the first four days you wear it. After four days, you receive your first Recovery score which is the personalized measure of how ready you are to take on Strain. If you're between 67 and 100%, your score will be green, if you're between 34 and 66%, your score will be yellow, and if you're between 0 and 33%, your score will be red. After five days, the Strain Coach feature is unlocked and will give you suggestions for how much training load you can sustain that day based on your recovery.


The strap calibrates to your body as it learns its baseline metrics and then gives you personalized recommendations.
You can track what the app recommended you do and how much training you actually did.
It's a good feeling to be "in the green" and not as great of a feeling to be "in the red."


After seven days, Whoop begins to give you recommendations for what time you should go to sleep and wake up since consistent sleep times have been proven to improve the quality of your sleep.

After 14 days, you get your first Weekly Performance Assessment which is a weekly breakdown of your last 7 days of data. After 30 days, you get your first Monthly Performance Assessment in your app, which goes into detail on the habits that you are tracking.


Just one of the 12 pages of data that are available in the Monthly Performance Assessment.




Using the Whoop Strap

Unlike a bulky sports watch, the Whoop Strap is extremely low-profile and it's easy to forget that you're wearing it. It's also much more discreet than traditional sports watches if you want to wear it out to dinner or during a meeting. Its small size also means that the heart rate data is more accurate than an ill-fitting watch, especially for people with smaller wrists, because the heart rate sensor is always close to your skin. After six months, I still find it hard to unlock the clasp and I generally pull it on and off over my hand unless I have a pointy object at hand to pry the clasp open, but otherwise, I find it very comfortable and easy to use.

One feature that is excellent is that you can charge the watch while it's still on your wrist. The app will give you a notification when the strap is below 20% battery life, after about five days, and then you simply slide the charger on top of the watch and go about your day while the watch charges back up.

While the device isn't waterproof when it is charging, it's otherwise quite bombproof and you can wear it in the sauna, swimming, in the cold, and on muddy bike rides. You can also take the strap off the sensor and throw it in the washing machine when it gets dirty, or swap it out for another since Whoop offers about 900 different coloured straps. Of course, I chose the oil slick option.

You can either track your activities by pressing "Start" and "Stop" in the app, or you can let the app auto-detect your activities. The strap itself does not have a GPS in it, but if you start and stop your activities when you head out manually, you can enable your phone's GPS to track the distance. If you let the app auto-detect your activity, it will only record your heart rate data and not your route. If you choose, you can pull your Whoop data into Training Peaks, Strava and Equinox+.

The auto-detect option is impressively accurate, and most of the time the app can figure out whether I went on a mountain bike ride, a run or a hike just based on my heart rate data. If it's uncertain, it will just log "Activity" in the app. Occasionally, I have had it register an activity with a higher score than accurate (for example, an easy walk with a 15 score when those are usually 4-6), but for the most part, I've been impressed with its ability to record and then analyze my heart rate data to determine what activity I just completed.

When I compared the average heart rate from my Whoop strap with my Garmin computer and a heart rate strap, I found it to be within a couple beats per minute most of the time, although the Whoop strap takes a second longer to adjust when you adjust your intensity.


The strap analyzes the quality of your sleep - the amount of mentally restorative rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and physically restorative slow wave sleep (deep sleep) you're getting compared to the time that you're in minimally beneficial light sleep or awake. After seven days, Whoop begins to give you recommendations for what time you should go to sleep and wake up since consistent sleep times have been proven to improve the quality of your sleep.


As for tracking sleep, I initially would press the "Start" and "Stop" options for that, but I found it ironic to have to press a button on my phone to use a device that is supposed to help me learn to sleep better, so I started just letting the app figure out what time I went to sleep and what time I woke up. With this, I've found it best to leave the app open in the background when you go to sleep so that it doesn't take too long to analyze the sleep and calculate your recovery score in the morning. Occasionally, the app will think I woke up earlier than I did or went to bed later than I did, but you can adjust the sleep time retroactively if it detects it incorrectly and overall I found the Recovery scores to accurately reflect how my body was feeling the majority of the time.

I also find it interesting to delve into how much deep sleep I get each night compared to how much REM sleep and at what time of night each phase of sleep occurs. If you want to nerd out about sleep, I highly recommend this podcast with Dr. Matthew Walker and his book "Why We Sleep." Whoop told me that you should aim to have half of your total sleep in REM and deep sleep phases.

While I initially used the Journal feature extensively, I found it time-consuming to track a whole bunch of different categories or too difficult to quantify and so I have streamlined the categories that I track. I think the Journal feature is one of the most interesting things about the Whoop Strap however since it makes me more aware of the things I do each day and how each behaviour impacts my sleep and recovery scores. One thing that I got really interested in thanks to the Whoop Strap is cycle tracking and how hormones affect you differently at different parts of the month. If you are a woman or have any female athletes in your life, I highly recommend reading Roar by Dr. Stacy Sims.


I think the Journal feature is one of the most interesting things about the Whoop Strap however since it makes me more aware of the things I do each day and how each behaviour impacts my sleep and recovery scores.


Limitations

While the strap might start to give you Recovery scores, sleep recommendations, and strain recommendations early on, I found that the Whoop Strap gets better with time. At first, its recommendations for sleep were on the low side and it would recommend that I get less sleep than I was actually getting. Over time, it started to give me more accurate sleep recommendations.

I also had a glitch with my heart rate data early on, where the strap measured my heart rate at 193 beats per minute. Since my maximum heart rate is closer to 180, that wasn't an accurate high heart rate and so all of my Strain scores were on the low side. I spoke with a Whoop representative, and they were able to lower that artificially high heart rate in my profile so that all of my Strain scores were more representative of how hard I was working. Whoop said that any member is able to chat with a Whoop agent and get that score changed and also that the Day Strain is independent of the Recovery score. That means that even if you just wear the strap to sleep and don't wear it during the day, you should still get an accurate Recovery score.

The wearable also works better for cardio-based workouts than strength workouts I found. Since your heart rate is very low during a strength workout and bounces around a lot, the Strain score usually registers quite low compared to the perceived effort. If you try to get into the optimal strain score on a day that includes a strength workout, I found I would usually end up overdoing it and spend a couple of days in the yellow.

Another limitation I found was that the device only stores three days of data. Therefore, when I headed out for a long weekend out of cell phone service, I lost a day of data and lost my data streak. Not a big deal, but something to consider.

Something that is both a good thing and a limitation is that the strap doesn't have a GPS in it. That means that it relies on your phone's GPS to record your ride, run or other activity distance, and if you leave your phone at home, you'll only get the heart rate data unless you bring another device with you like a Garmin or Wahoo computer to track your ride's elevation, distance, and route. The plus side of not having a GPS in the device is that the battery life is much, much better than your average sports watch or cycling computer. Whoop said that they elected not to have a screen on the strap to improve that battery life as well.




Pros

+ Small, comfortable and discreet
+ Great battery life, charges on wrist
+ Robust app and analytics
+ You get to know what helps and hinders your performance
Cons

- Subscription based
- No integrated GPS
- Only stores 3 days of data




Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesThe Whoop Strap is smaller and more comfortable than any sports watch available and the battery lasts much longer than a traditional sports watch since it doesn't have a GPS device or a screen. Overall, I find the Whoop's Recovery scores and recommendations for Strain to accurately represent what my body is capable of and the analytics that the app provides are extremely robust. Whoop really makes you think about all of the smaller details that go into optimizing your sleep and recovering from your training and help you get to know yourself better.

Of course, the main drawback to the Whoop Strap is the monthly fee, but what the Whoop Strap and analytics platform offer is unique. If you're going to try a Whoop, I would suggest committing to the 6, 12, or 18-month membership up front since the analytics get more accurate with time.
Sarah Moore



133 Comments

  • 89 2
 DCrainmaker had a great review of this device. the TLDR was that the optical heart rate sensor is not accurate. and thus all of the conclusions calculated based on HR data cannot be trusted
  • 18 7
 It is a very long review! Recommend reading it for sure though. I did have some weird HR data during some of my activities which artificially inflates the Strain score for those days, but overall it wasn't far off my chest heart rate monitor and the numbers were super consistent during sleep which is when the Recovery score is set (it's not dependant on the activities you did during the day. Whoop even said that you can just wear the strap to sleep and not during the day if you just want to use the Recovery score and not use the Strain Coach.)
  • 10 38
flag Snfoilhat (Sep 20, 2021 at 14:55) (Below Threshold)
 There are thousands of tech companies, but tech business plans are mostly a combination of just a few common ingredients. This one appears to lean pretty heavy on the stuff Theranos is made from
  • 20 0
 @Snfoilhat: username checks out.
  • 2 3
 Yeah, sometimes I wonder if it's very accurate. That said, I do think it's very precise. So even though the HR metrics may not be dead on, it does give you information about how things are going for you relative to previous measurements. So it still provides a useful and workable baseline for recovery and sleep if one is looking to improve routines and habits.
  • 3 0
 The DCRainmaker review was written regarding the Whoop 4.0 shipping later this month. He said the hardware of the 3.0 was a dumpster fire I hadn't heard that until he wrote it. You certainly can't trust it to tell you the exact number of minutes you got in deep sleep, but in general, my subjective sense is it is mostly useful for telling you how well you are recovered or not. He was hoping the 4.0's hardware would/should address the issues he details.
  • 34 0
 First off, almost all of the data collection from many of these devices is inherently flawed. The consumer wants convenience over efficacy, so wrist-based devices have become the norm. Wrist based optical sensors are notoriously terrible for measuring HR, especially during movement and intense activity. Sleep analysis is based largely off of movement, so it's extrapolating sleep quality from that. HRV has been around for a long time (Russians started using it with cosmonauts in the 60s I believe), but there is no agreed upon singular method for measuring and/or analyzing it, so each product can only be compared to itself. A lot of these devices are extrapolating info based of algorithms and stored data (think Polar, who offer a VO2 max test using a short HR chest strap test...they're obviously not actually measuring VO2, but using stored data to inform the score based off of other measurements).
Second, "predicting" performance potential is a slippery slope at best. We all have had or witnessed performances that shouldn't have happened if based solely on current objective and subjective data. At best, these measurements can be used to calculate the cost of something, but not predict future performance. For example, if your recovery score is 30% it doesn't mean you can't go out and set PRs or have a terrific performance. But it could mean that you most likely won't do that 2 days in a row without taking some time to recover, as the tank eventually runs dry.
A fair amount of research is being done with HRV and recovery/performance, but as usual, the marketplace jumps on something and runs with it before we have a good amount of info. WHOOP is just that, they had a ton of seed money and were slick with their marketing and partnerships. They are by far not the best device on the market. IF you're interested in exploring other options, I would suggest looking into Morpheus (trainwithmorpheus.com) or Omegawave (omegawave.com) as options.
OR
You could ride your bike, have fun, and rest when you feel like it (assuming you're not a pro racer who actually makes a living off of riding).
  • 3 0
 @thirdeye73: that's exactly the thing. Most of this data depends on HRV, and if you want that it's accurate (and useful), you need accurate HR readings. Not accurate to determine if your HR is 50 or 55, but measuring down to 1/1000sec differences between hear beats (that's what HRV in fact is). No matter how good algorithm interpreting results is, doesn't help much if input data is already wrong, as all current optical sensors are just not good enough (with Polar, you need to wear HR belt (with ECG accuracy) to be able to do all HRV based tests).
So yeah this product sounds fancy, and I'm sure lots of people will be thrilled about it, but in reality data it gives out are more or less useless, as they are based on input data having whole bunch of errors.
  • 1 0
 Does optical heart rate measurement also depend on the type of skin? I've got dark skin and did a test with a Suunto Ambit 2S, chest strap and Garmin Vivofit with optical HRM. I got the Garmin as it also broadcasts over ANT+ so that I could use it with the Suunto for mellow rides where I wouldn't want to wear a strap but still want HR data. But for the experiment the Suunto read the HR chest strap and the Garmin showed the wrist HR data. It was way off. Like, tens of BPM. Especially when going harder, the wrist HR just doesn't catch up. I wouldn't trust it for HRV. But yeah, it might work better for lighter skins. If any, the ones from MIO make most sense to me as they actually shield the sensor from ambient light.
  • 2 0
 @vinay: yes, it's dependent on a lot of factors, including fit, skin color, arm hair and how deep your veins are. Darker color, more hair, deeper veins and poor fit all lower accuracy unfortunately.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: Yes skincolor can effect optical HRM. As does anything that can influence the passing of light. optical sensors are in fact fairly accurate, hopitals for example sometimes use them fingerclips when there is no need for a full ECG. Optical HRM on the wrist through Wearables however can be distorted by a number of variables. Starting with skin color or tattoos, does the watch sit tight enough, do you bend your wrist and therefor possibly move the watch and so on... Now when you go hard and your HR changes rapidly, the wrist watch can't keep up since you probably move your wholebody faster and therefor again moving the watch which impedes the HRM.
Use the watch only for mellow activities when HR- accuracy is not as important such as hiking, yoga or a chilled afternon ride and when it comes to actual training rides or workouts, use a chest strap.

As for sleeping, i don't really see the point of knowing how much time you spent in what sleep phase but most wearables will do an alright enough job of detecting when you go to sleep and when you get up which can help you to dial in the regularity of your sleep patterns which should also improve your sleep. (For everyone whos watch sucks at detecting those times, just analyze the HR and movement)

And if you want to go down the rabbit whole, there ist a youtube channel called "The Quantified Scientist" that does scientific testing of wearables.
  • 2 0
 It seems like they have plenty of brand ambassadors who do great marketing for them. IMO people just love having certainty in life, in this case their own recovery status. They don't care whether it's based on a crappy HR sensor and a way-to-simple assumption about HRV.

I've red a way better approach to test whether you need rest a while back.
If you feel lazy and tired and you think it's because you need a rest day:
Do another day of workout and if you still feel the same the day after: Take a rest day!

Most of the times I feel better the day after.
  • 3 1
 The heart rate monitor is getting all this forum skepticism thrown at it, but the hrm is the most plausible part of the product, the grain of truth that the house of cards is built on. HR estimates don’t have a ton of error on them. And sleep cycles can be estimated from HR. But the model of sleep efficacy has wide error bars on it and is influenced by a bunch of other unmeasured factors. You may think the Theranos/fraud joke is overcooked, but all these apps are designed to drive repeat user engagement by detailing little changes from hour to hour or day to day with the implication that the changes 1) are real and 2) matter. But all those wiggly scatter plots are basically flat lines if all the error wasn’t hidden by the app developers and the changes don’t necessary matter. Users are logging in and looking at noise made pretty by UI/UX wizards
  • 4 0
 When the original Whoop launched I was working as a hardware engineer at Big Tech and I was amazed that they (Whoop) basiscally said nothing about it - the entire company just seemed to be a marketing company. I found this extra odd since wrist-based optical sensors are notoriously difficult to get accurate and reliable due to the great explanations above…. if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then…..?
  • 1 0
 @Snfoilhat: YES! finding the signal amongst all of the noise is often the hardest part, and data for data's sake is just masturbation...if you're not using it to inform decision making then it's a waste of time
  • 2 0
 @primozj: Correct...I've known an HRV researcher for a few years (as well as having attended seminars by the creators of Omegawave, Morpheus/Bioforce, and other world-class coaches who nerd out on this stuff), and repeated discussions with him have led me to believe that you should never put all of your eggs in one basket, so-to-speak. HRV is just one measurement of the potential state of the ANS and stress, but should not be your only method of gauging recovery and readiness. A simple RPE questionnaire, finger tap tests, ROM testing, etc have all been used effectively for decades to gain insight into an athlete's state.
  • 1 0
 Not that I'm defending anything, but I compared Whoop with my Garmin chest-strap heart-rate monitor and they are very consistent. Estimated amount of calories consumed is also very close both after MTB and gravel rides. I'm also completely convinced that the analysis of sleep cycles is VERY accurate and it is based on heart-rate variability metric. Sometime my little one wakes up before 6 several days in a row and then when I have chance to sleep longer afterwards Whoop always show that I have excessive fraction of REM sleep and I can feel it because I have lots of dreams these nights too. I do not know who the DCrainmaker is but his conclusion does seem biased or inaccurate for whatever reason. With that being said I'm not going to resume my Whoop subscription after the first minimum duration expires as it is relatively expensive and I learned all that I wanted about my sleep and training and I'm not going to change anything in the nearest future.
  • 1 0
 @milkdrop: DCRainmaker is a triathlete who reviews electronic sports equipment. Typically stuff with body sensors, cycle trainers etc. I don't think he's biased from what I've read from him so far. If you've seen the responses from @mac1987 and @repmuj7 on my post above, I think that's relevant. Apparently optical sensors work better with some skin types than they do with others. It seems to work for you and Sarah, it doesn't quite work for me. Makes me wonder whether it even works well with dark skin (like my skin) in the first place. And if it doesn't, then what? The thing is, they could actually be honest about it and mention "We discourage people with dark skin from using this product as optimal performance can't be guaranteed" (as that's how a business lawyer/marketeer would put it) and then brace for a certain shitstorm. Because in this day and age, you can no longer release a product that isn't fit for all races and both sexes (and the full spectrum in between). And I think this high-strung vibe is kind of getting in the way of this discussion. Wrist based HRM works great for you and Sarah, it doesn't quite work for me. And that's all cool. It is just good to know up front. Now personally I'm not particularly upset at all as I just got that Garmin for the less intense activities and also because it has a silent wake up alarm (for getting up for early rides without waking anyone).

TL;DR: Apparently the performance of the optical wrist based HRM technology largely depends on the skin type. It would be good if the manufacturers would test for those different types and report so that potential buyers can decide up front whether it is going to be for them or not.
  • 42 2
 It's a bummer to see so much cool new hardware intentionally made worse in order to facilitate a subscription model. There's no reason the analytics can't run on the device so you can use the product off grid.
  • 14 11
 Kiss the 5 day battery life goodbye if you're running a bunch of stuff on the device
  • 14 0
 @piratetrails: Then run it in app on the phone.
  • 6 5
 I hate paywalls. Happy that Pinkbike hasn’t started charging for word counts in our comments. Last thing anyone wants is to pay another subscription fee.
  • 2 0
 @piratetrails: Why are you conflating "subscription model" with "runs on the device"? They're two completely different things, and it's possible to do a device's analytics processing on a server somewhere else without charging for a subscription. Basically every smartwatch does exactly that. The storage/compute costs of processing off-device are built into the product's price.
  • 1 0
 As a product manager working on machine learning, I guarantee you the analytics CAN NOT be run on this device. They're querying hefty predictive model that look at millions (maybe billions) of data points from over a millions devices. Thats all happening in the cloud. The device is just gathering data and uploading it for the most part. I'd guess the only things that happen locally are heart rate and a few other metrics that get read directly off the sensor.
  • 30 0
 I had a whoop strap for a while and realized it didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know. It was also hard to justify considering you can buy an apple watch for the same price if you space it out over a few years.
  • 19 2
 Agreed. They extrapolate massively from just a few metrics (really just HR, HRV, and accelerometer readings). I think the claim that they can meaningfully parse out light NREM sleep vs deep NREM sleep vs REM sleep is highly dubious. The sleep data is nothing more an algorithmic WAG, IMVHO.

Dylan Johnson did a pretty good review a while back. Consistently there were days where his HRV said he was totally GTG but his legs felt like crap. A relatively easy 2-hr road ride maxed out the strain score. I really only think these things (Oura, etc. included) are pretty useless unless you're truly terrible at listening to your body.
  • 9 1
 +1. On top of that, the recovery scores I was given were completely useless. My best workouts were NEVER when I had a green score, they were almost exclusively yellow.
On top of that for those of us who have high mental stress jobs, it has absolutely no way of measuring this, so would insist that I was well rested and ready for a workout when in reality I was a complete wreck.
In other words, they charge you a lot of money to tell you absolutely nothing useful.
0/10, would NOT recommend.
  • 2 0
 @dd9433: I had the same issue..there just wasn't much correlation with how I felt and how it said I should feel, I'm hoping they get it right soon, the concept is good. ....On a side note, I know people who are less active really like it.
  • 3 1
 @ratedgg13: try a modern Garmin (at least elevate 3 hrm with hrv) if you want pretty decent stress measurements along with the physical activity measurements. My chart lines up pretty damn well with known stressors like big meetings and getting two toddlers ready for a day trip. Also, definitely takes it into account for recovery: I've seen very similar workouts bookended by differing stress events get markedly different recommendations for recovery, in my experience.
  • 1 0
 @ratedgg13: I struggle with the price and my perceived effectiveness of the Whoop, but I will see mental stress show up in my next day's recovery reading. I feel like one day's mental stress doesn't move the needle for me enough to go yellow, but 2 or 3 def does, for me.
  • 3 0
 I had one, I don’t anymore. It’s cool in the beginning, but that disappears somewhat quickly. I think I had the 2.0. My last three wearables have been the Apple Watch, then whoop, and now garmin fenix. To me, the fenix is the whoop and apple combined.

I missed having a watch. Yeah, I could take out my phone, but I’m so used to having the time on my wrist, the quick flick of the wrist to tell the time was a let down on the whoop.

Take always for me… it was justification for when I was sick. For whatever reason, when I’m sick, I don’t believe it (even if I’m dragging ass). But when I had single digit scores, instead of calling myself weak, I’d say
‘Hey, maybe I am sick”. Stupid, I know. My garmin tells me that now with my “body battery”. The numbers were cool in the beginning. I did learn that I go to hard to often, but again, other wearables can provide that feedback without a subscription.

Other than that, the quality was disappointing. Mine broke (wouldn’t charge anymore), but I was over it at that point and it was getting towards the end of my subscription (which is stupid). I’m sure they would’ve replaced (maybe?), but the product was lack luster at the end. It didn’t tell time… not a watch. The sleep score wasn’t accurate. If I take a nap with my garmin, my recover (body battery) adjust. With whoop, that’s your recovery score for the day, even if you crush a huge nap (again 2.0 version). Every ride i did was 20.5. It was always the same. No variation. 2 hours riding with friends to all day soul crushers… same score.

Most people I know, like the whoop in the beginning, but don’t renew the subscription. Your experience may vary.
  • 3 0
 @ratedgg13: @ratedgg13: I second the Garmin recommendation. I have a Fenix 6S, and while I bought it primarily for the GPS tracking, I've found that the sleep and stress tracking is actually pretty good. If I've had a stressful day at work (or just some good old fashioned anxiety!) it's very evident in the data.

The watch won't proactively tell you to slow down on a ride because you had a stressful day or anything like that, but it does give you a "body battery" measurement that is calculated based on your stress levels, sleep quality, and previous exercise activity. I've found is a decent metric for how hard you can/should go in a given workout.
  • 1 0
 @ratedgg13: If you feel like a wreck it doesn't mean that your body is not ready for physical activities. It is your sympathetic system interferes with normal body function. I'm not an expert in psychology and hormones and such things, but often the best way to feel better is to go and do something.
  • 30 1
 I hate that the subscription model that has taken over so many things (grumble grumble Outside+)
  • 21 0
 Subscriptions for content and services make sense, but handicapping hardware so you can sell it as a service is ridiculous.
  • 3 0
 Wait you you hear that there used to be a lifetime "founder's" membership that they just nuked...
  • 1 2
 Umm, magazines have been subscription based for a loooong time. Even when they jumped to the web, the option to pay and not see ads is nice. Permanently paywalled-articles does suck, but that's their perogative to limit their audience, and many services will put almost everything up with ads after a reasonable subscription-exclusive period.
  • 2 1
 When the product is shit….which this one sounds like it is....a subscription model is ideal….
"This sucks I quit…."

Only when the product is really good is a subscription super frustrating

$30/month is a 6K down payment on a 25 yr mortgage. So from my standpoint I see it as easily convertable to $6000 of captal....and therfore worth $6000.....this is not a $6000 strap.
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: you better not be talking about my $1.50/month Trailforks subscription. If they f*ck with that, I’m out.
  • 1 0
 @sjma: I meant Whoop. before the 4.0 Strap came out, you could (or maybe only the first batch of customers could) buy a lifetime membership for like $400 or something. Then with the 4.0, all those "founders" got moved to a monthly plan, from what I've gathered. So that's pretty shitty.
  • 1 0
 Subscriptions for good content and services such as Whoop (or whatever) makes sense but then companies sholdnt continue to serve you ads or harvest and sell your data (Oh hi Strava).
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: oh that’s miserable. What a scummy company - after having a 3.0 for 5 months and reading the DCrainmaker article, I’m getting a Forerunner 745 or another Apple Watch when they release pricing later this year. This little 3.0 isn’t worth $15 a month, never mind $30. I gave it an honest try but I came to the conclusion that I don’t need a device to tell me to drink less and sleep more. It’s not accurate in matching my perceived ability vs. “recovery score” and I get frequent issues with the battery pack. /rant
  • 34 9
 Hardware that becomes useless when someone turns off the remote server? Hard pass (unless they commit to Open Sourcing the software it runs on when the company goes bust or they get bored of supporting this hardware iteration).
  • 29 13
 @secondtimeuser you might want to throw away your cellphone then.
  • 6 0
 Yea and a monthly subscription, ain’t got time for that
  • 12 2
 @pizzaordie: why? It'll still run even if Google turn off all the Android back end and if something really terminal happens I've got options for flashing alternative OSs like LineageOS.
  • 11 0
 I had one. it was fine, but once you learn what you came to learn about your body (recover time, calorie output for certain level/length of rides) you find you no longer need the data as the whoop told you this same data over ad over again. worth having for 6 months for learning how your body functions, anything after that is a waste of money unless you are pro athlete and want to make sure you dont over train.
  • 11 1
 Fairly certain I can get this sort of information from my existing sports watch, wont share the brand name as it doesn’t really matter, and that has the benefit of also being… a watch, along with a lot of other features which come with it being a smart sports watch.
Not sure who wants this sort of tracking on their body 24/7 but is avoiding having an actual watch on their wrist? Maybe I am missing something here?
  • 4 1
 Lighter than a sports watch with comparable battery.

On-body recharge is clutch if you're training for something and literally don't want to miss a beat (pun made itself, so intended I guess).

No screen helps prevent a feedback loop: just train and see what it meant later, instead of trying to maintain some numbers on the screen. Not saying one training method is better or worse, but some people can't help but chase the data if it's available realtime so the enforced delay can be quite useful.

If you're missing something, maybe it's just not for you. The seemingly "copy-paste from a press release wrapped in a few hundred words of personal anecdotes" contained in this article certainly doesn't help in that regard.
  • 7 0
 If WHOOP just added a small digital screen to tell the time I would be much more interested. Their product isn't a whole lot different from a Garmin watch that also tracks sleep and HR activity. Bonus points if it connected to a phone to show incoming calls/texts
  • 11 0
 I think there is a market for a wearable that doesn't have a screen for the purpose of a low form factor. I just wish they would sell it as a product and not a subscription.
  • 3 0
 @Lineofbestfit: Oura ring.

Does basically the same things, without subscription. I have one and like it.
  • 8 0
 "overall I found the Recovery scores to accurately reflect how my body was feeling the majority of the time."
So you could just go with how you were feeling in the first place I guess then?
  • 6 0
 "While the main target is undoubtedly fitness enthusiasts and elite athletes, Whoop is really about looking at yourself as a a high performance machine from every angle"...

Looks at mirror... ya... no...
  • 9 1
 How long till Outside buys out Whoop?
  • 4 0
 #sponsoredcontent
  • 6 0
 This is a subscription problem looking for a product. Hard no, stick to marketing to the flood pant hipster crowd.
  • 5 0
 Used this for over a year and had enough of the crappy accuracy. Garbage in, garbage out. No thanks. DC Rainmaker documents the wildy inaccurate readings in his review also.
  • 5 1
 So my big thing against this, besides the reported inaccuracies, are simply the fact that I actually want to see my heartrate and various other metrics while riding or working out.
  • 4 4
 Yeah you can check your heart rate on the phone app if you want but not ideal while you're riding obviously. I still used my Garmin computer for riding!
  • 2 0
 @sarahmoore: didn’t see this mentioned, but you mean you used your strap with garmin on Broadcast mode right?
  • 3 0
 Cons: It doesn't connect to my Garmin, so I can't see the heart rate on my bike computer during activities.
I also find the strap, especially the metal part a bit uncomfortable, mostly when laying in bed.
I'm not sure if it really gives me any benefits, my wife gifted it to me, I wouldn't have spent that much (or any) money on it.
  • 3 0
 I think this is just another piece of unnecessary tech for 99% of us out there. I have a couple acquaintances that are now working for Whoop, and the way they talk about data is so cultish. You need to work hard, you need to rest. You need to know how to balance those things, but you don't need a computer to tell you how to do it. You need to listen to your body, and make better, healthier decisions. If the choice is another beer and another hour, choose no, and go to sleep.
  • 2 0
 What a great way to nocebo yourself from training, or to ignore your body telling you not to train, based on some poorly acquired and analysed data. If people listened to their bodies a bit more rather than getting caught up in marketing hype, they would do a lot better. Ride or train to RPE, and pay attention to how you’re feeling. Simple.
BTW 99.9% of the gen pop probably need to do more, not less… those weekly bimbles don’t equate to much, you’re not overtrained, you’re just unfit
  • 1 0
 While I found the information Whoop was telling me, and found it very interesting, it doesn't seem worth it for me if I was seriously training for anything. Which, to be fair, I feel it probably the target audience for the Whoop. I'd rather just pay a 1 time price and get an Apple Watch and get most of the same information plus additional features not included on Whoop (like GPS tracking)
  • 4 0
 Whoomp there it is!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-FPimCmbX8

I mean whoop there it is....
  • 2 0
 The above link is not a rick roll link, however this one is...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvFZjo5PgG0

enjoy both...
  • 1 0
 I had same issue with weird heart rates… it’s usually when I first start riding and lasts for about 20 minutes. Very frustrating. I don’t know if its the vibration of the bike or what. I’ve actually had good luck turning the strap to true inside of my wrist. Not ideal, but still much prefer using the whoop strap paired with my Garmin than and chest strap.

I find the recovery scores pretty useful. Yes you often already know you’re run down or good to go, but HRV is a good measurement for those days when you’re not sure.
  • 1 0
 I compared whoop to both Apple Watch and heart rate strap data. Super inaccurate, especially with machine-based movement like skierg or rowerg. The accelerometer screws things up. Omegawave is hands-down the best for actual recovery data. That said, only athletes that are training full-time really need something like this.
  • 1 0
 Hi Sarah, thanks for the review. I've heard a lot of users with positive feedback, and then a few people with comments like "it's not accurate, therefore it stinks". I've been considering the Whoop to track recovery in addition to the Oura and options from Fitbit. How do you think the Whoop strap made a difference in your training? Do you think you would have been able to perform as well without it? What do you think of competing options from Garmin and Fitbit?
  • 1 0
 I’ve found the Whoop to be pretty transformative. Strain score and recovery score aren’t that helpful if you’re good about listening to your body, but I’ve found that tracking behaviors and consumptions has really helped me understand how things like intermittent fasting, drinking alcohol, eating processed foods, etc impact my athletic performance.

That being said, if you want that helpful data in your monthly performance dashboard, you have to be dilligent about filling out your daily journal.
  • 1 0
 The bicep strap has been said to be more accurate. I use one after using the wrist strap for months and it is likely more accurate for me since it doesn't move or slide down like the wrist strap does when riding. Would like to see this comparison by PB.
  • 1 0
 I was initially interested in this, but the subscription and data reliability reports I've seen are off putting. Also, as others have said, optical HR sensors do not work as well on those of us that are not lighter-skin humans. I own 2 different watch-things with 2 different optical sensors and both give different numbers compared to chest straps during activities. One watch always tells me I sleep like crap, regardless of how I sleep. Somebody mentioned Omegawave, and my experience was it always told me I was fully recovered, even when I knew I was toast from training. Not trying to rain on everything, but would really like to find something reliable, that doesn't need data to be adjusted. In the meantime, I'll stick to my chest strap, my powermeter, and how hungover I feel when I get out of bed.
  • 1 0
 The main con of the Whoop strap in my opinion was the strap. Why in the world would it not be made of some sort of rubber? these were specifically designed to be worn while sweating and the made them out of cloth?!? so every ride or workout I had to thoroughly wash the strap and wait for it to dry. I ended up buying a second strap which sort of helped but just a bad design IMO...
  • 2 0
 I'm afraid if I get this Whoop it would tell me to never go ride my bike based on the number of beers I consume post ride. Hungover or not, I'm going to ride!
  • 4 4
 I've been using this for about 20 months and I've found it quite helpful to understand how important sleep is to my recovery and performance. I know others who have changed their alcohol consumption b/c of the data. I re-upped my 18 month contract recently. It also can help with early detection of COVID as significant increases in overnight HR and respiratory rates are a symptom of the virus. Added bonus, the strap can talk to your head unit or device so that you don't have to wear another HR monitor.
  • 3 0
 Lost me at subscription. Maybe you can just sign up for a month and then bin it off after you learn what you want to.
  • 3 0
 Whoop strap 3.0 isn't available anymore as of a couple weeks ago, pretty crap timing.
  • 9 4
 Poor timing, I know... The product has changed with the 4.0 (unfortunately I didn't know the timing of the release!) and it now has a haptic alarm, measures blood oxygen and skin temperature, and the charger is now waterproof, but the app and reasons why you would use it / functionality are still the same so hopefully this is still useful!
  • 3 0
 For the love of god anyone that has this please stop Strava'ing every days strain. Idgaf about how you sleep every night
  • 1 1
 I was very interested in this product and was excited to start using it and ended up returning it after three weeks despite getting support from Whoop as the heat rate data was not accurate and the HRV data was way off compared to the numbers from my Garmin and Wahoo chest straps.
  • 1 0
 I’m convinced that mountain bikers are the unhealthiest group of athletes on the planet. Let’s just drink more beer and eat more pasta f*ck the data it’s fake and inconsistent
  • 2 0
 Looks pretty good, tho I have a £20 Amazefit Neo, which gives Mr hrm & sleep tracking. No sub required
  • 1 0
 Stopped reading when I saw "monthly subscription"... are you kidding me, that little bit of info is not worth $20-30/mo! Not even worth $5/mo...
  • 3 2
 What happened to just riding your bike? All this bs is adding more hassle than it's worth! Ride hard, when you're legs don't work you're done.... It's that simple.
  • 1 0
 I think you forget that some (many) of us are out here to improve our physiology so that we can get better results between the tape. For those in that demographic, the Whoop can be one of the many tools in the tool box.

If you’re just out playing in the woods on a bike, absolutely just go ride ya bike.
  • 1 0
 Pointless - buy an Apple Watch, Garmin or Fitbit. $30 month is super steep for anything other cellular bill or internet in our digital lives.
  • 1 0
 I absolutely hated my Apple Watch. Wrist notifications are so obnoxious and detract from the experience of being human. I get so annoyed when I’m trying to talk to someone and they keep looking at their wrist like a robot.
  • 2 2
 Speaking of subscription- who is joining me boycotting Strava? I decided after 1yr I’m not down pay $6 a month for pointless service. Trailforks has 9 month left - we will see #outdoormagazine…
  • 3 0
 I just roll with the free version of both. Use MTB Project when I'm somewhere outside of my TF square.
  • 5 0
 I'm quite content paying for Strava given I used it constantly, have for several years now, and get zero ads in it. If you find the service pointless, you already wouldn't be using it at all much less paying for it.
  • 3 0
 Used to have a Whoop Strap in college for all dem bar gals.
  • 2 0
 If you have an Apple Watch, I recommend the app - Athlytic; no need for an extra device
  • 1 1
 I do thing human being need a device, that tell you to lighter when u have hangover, for the price i would prefer to work with online coach towards specific goals
  • 5 2
 Eat Less, Move More.
  • 2 0
 How long was the review period?
  • 5 2
 It's in the title! 6+ months
  • 2 0
 @sarahmoore: Sorry! I read the whole article, very carefully looking for that information but somehow missed the title. So embarrassing!
  • 3 1
 @jrcd: No worries, guess I should have included it somewhere in there as well!
  • 3 1
 The longest ad I've ever seen..
  • 2 0
 PB - the world's toughest focus group.
  • 2 0
 $30 a month? So, I can have an Apple Watch after about a year? Hard pass.
  • 2 0
 30bucks for every month????
  • 1 0
 Interesting concept but I'm gonna go with the Jolanda method. Listen to your heart.
  • 2 0
 WHY CAN'T IT JUST BE HOW YOU FEEL!!!!
  • 2 0
 Whoop whoop
  • 2 0
 Whoop de doo
  • 1 0
 Looks for price.. $30!!!! keeps reading... per month. dang.
  • 1 0
 I think I'll rely on my on board 'how do I feel today' analytics system.
  • 2 0
 Subscription? No thanks.
  • 1 4
 "register an activity with a higher score than accurate (for example, an easy walk with a 15 score when those are usually 4-6)"

What exactly makes you think it got it wrong? Isn't that the point of this, to tell you things you can't detect on your own? Maybe you were more dehydrated on that walked than other walks? Maybe you had worse sleep the night before. Which goes to:

"Occasionally, the app will think I woke up earlier than I did or went to bed later than I did, but you can adjust the sleep time retroactively"

Why would adjust it? Unless it's grossly off and registered super early bedtime because you laid on the couch and zoned out watching a movie, aren't you supposed to trust it? If it just detected a slightly late bedtime or early rise, doesn't that just mean you maybe didn't fall asleep as rapidly as you thought or "woke" earlier than your brain noticed?
  • 3 3
 You can see the heart rate data at the end of your activity. If I barely broke a sweat, I know that something is off is Whoop is showing I had a heart rate of 175 at one point, regardless of how dehydrated or sleep-deprived I am! For the sleep detection - it's usually pretty good about knowing if I'm zoned out or actually asleep and it's quite accurate for the falling asleep part. Where I had issues with the detection was if I woke up at 4am and had trouble falling back asleep, but eventually slept until 7am. Whoop would detect the sleep from 10-4 for example, and then I would just adjust it to 7am in the app when I actually woke up. When it re-processed the data, it agreed that I did get extra sleep as well and sometimes it adjusted the Recovery score as a result of more sleep.
  • 1 0
 Sounds like their algorithms, at least the sleep one, need work. Garmin will detect a mid-night wake-up and indicate it, but still record the "full sleep" as the whole night. I assume they're constantly working on it, but this is called 4.0, by now I'd figure it would at least be as good as the competition.
  • 1 0
 I got tired from reading that...
  • 4 2
 This ad sucks
  • 2 0
 Whoops. I did it again.
  • 1 0
 I'ma whoop yo *ss!
No but really, who comes up with these names!?
  • 1 0
 MSRP: $30 USD monthly
Ahahah
  • 1 0
 For once, a nice looking Failure Bracelet.
  • 1 0
 In the future you won't own anything and you'll like it
  • 1 0
 I will be sticking with my Garmin Fenix 5X but this does seem pretty cool
  • 1 0
 Cons: Does not tell the time.
  • 1 0
 I will in me whoop
  • 1 2
 Needs a sphincter clamping guage so ya know when yer gettin or given a little rumpy pumpy. Need a computer to tell us this.
  • 2 1
 You go to bed at 930 ???
  • 2 0
 haha, weird flex right?
  • 1 0
 Yeah but.... OIL SLICK!
  • 2 2
 Welcome to 1984
  • 2 2
 Such technology didn't existed in 1984
  • 3 1
 @fracasnoxteam: lol. I think you missed the reference.
  • 3 0
 @MikeyMT: or did you missed the joke? ;-)

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