If you are reading this you are probably considering if you should buy/try the Whoop Strap 3.0 by Whoop. Well, I purchased the Whoop Strap 3.0 and gave it a try for 6 months (08/19 to 2/2020) and here's my honest assessment.
Overview of Whoop
What is The Whoop Strap?
The Whoop Strap 3.0 is NOT an activity tracker. The Whoop Strap 3.0 is a strain, recovery, and sleep tracker. The strap analyzes your Heart Rate Variability (HRV), Resting Heart Rate (RHR), and sleep to measure your body's recovery.
The strap is a lightweight and waterproof sensor that resides on your wrist, just like a watch. The strap does not have a digital display. There is a clasp that locks to hold the strap in place on your wrist.
The Whoop Strap 3.0 does not have a digital display. The only way to view readings from the strap, and to properly set up the strap, so that Whoop can start analyzing data is to download and connect, using Bluetooth, to the Whoop platform. The platform is an app that can be downloaded from either the Apple app store or the Google Play store.
Once you have downloaded and connected your Whoop strap the platform will begin to analyze data provided by your strap. For the first 7 days do not expect reliable results. For roughly 7 days the Whoop platform is assessing the data provided by your strap and developing a baseline to better understand your data and present you with personalized information. This is why it's highly recommended to wear the strap 24/7.
The platform displays your current recovery, strain, and sleep. The platform includes features such as a strain and sleep coach, Whoop Live, and real-time heart rate broadcast.
Having a better understanding of your recovery is important whether you're a professional or amateur athlete, your recovery is important.
The Whoop Strap 3.0 claims to take the guesswork out of recovery by analyzing the data gathered from the strap and providing you with real-time information, which will hopefully allow you to make a more informed decision about your training and recovery. The data displayed may tell you that your training session could be harder, you are over-training, or that you should take a well-deserved rest day.
Factors of Recovery
So, how does Whoop actually determine your body's recovery? Whoop determines your body's recovery by assessing your daily strain, Resting Heart Rate (RHR), Heart Rate Variability (HRV), and sleep.
Every activity throughout your day, no matter how small or strenuous counts and the Whoop strap analysis how these activities affect your body. You will be able to view your body's real-time strain using the Whoop app on a mobile device. Reviewing your strain allows you to make a more informed decision about your recovery.
RHR and HRV
Resting Heart Rate (RHR) is your heart's performance at rest. A normal RHR for an adult is in between 60 to 100 beats per minute. A lower RHR is typically a sign of better cardiovascular fitness. It's not uncommon to see an RHR of below 60 from an athlete. Whoop monitors RHR during deep sleep. Whoop allows you to closely monitor your RHR during training blocks.
Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is the measurement of time between each heartbeat. Why does this matter? HRV is a good indicator of how fit and ready your body is to take on more training. A low HRV is possibly due to overtraining and is your body's way of telling you that a rest day may be needed.
We all know that sleep is important, and vital to proper recovery. The Whoop Strap helps to reiterate this by tracking your current sleeping habits. The Whoop Strap guides you to improve your current sleeping habits through the sleep coach. The sleep coach provides tips and suggestions that help you improve your recovery, so you can take on the next day. The sleep coach also provides suggested hours of sleep to ensure your body is in the optimal recovery percentage, based on your current performance preference setting you indicated in the application.
How Recovered Are You?
The Whoop app provides a quick visual readout, so you can quickly view your recovery percentage.
The day's recovery percentage is indicated by color and percentage. Green: good to go, Yellow: take it easy, and Red: you may want to take a rest day.
I found Whoop while I was searching for any other fitness tracker other than FitBit. I recently ran into some issues with FitBit and decided it was time for a change.
I feel I must note here that the cost of the strap is free with the subscription. I chose to pay the $30 a month for a 6-month commitment. There are other subscription options, but the minimum option is $30 with a 6-month commitment.
I was really intrigued at what Whoop was saying it could do for me, help me track my recovery. I have a tendency to push my workouts too hard and not recover well enough and become burnt out and not reach the end of a training block, so I decided to give Whoop a try.
When I received my Whoop Strap I was pretty excited to get it going. The setup process was very easy and I had no issues with linking the strap with the Whoop app. Now we wait...
Wait? Yes, you have to allow the strap to analyze enough data to develop a baseline. This is so your data is personalized to you.
I wore the strap 24/7. I never took the strap off for the entire 6-month duration. How did you charge the strap if you never took it off? Great question!
The strap comes with a charging pack that slides onto the strap. You can go about your normal activities (no water activities) while the Whoop charging pack charges the Whoop strap. Note, the Whoop strap itself is waterproof, however, the charging pack is not waterproof.
What I learned
Overall, I believe the Whoop strap helped me to become better focused and attentive to my recovery and listening to my body.
Because of the Whoop strap, I developed a new understanding of how my body reacts to different intensity levels in training. I developed better sleeping habits, and most importantly learned to recognized signs that my body is in need of more recovery.
I believe the Whoop strap helped me achieve my overall purpose of not overtraining and becoming burnt out during a training block.
You hardly even notice that you are wearing the strap on your wrist the strap is very lightweight, which is good. Charging the Whoop was an experience. I needed to charge my strap once a week, sometimes twice on more intense training weeks.
When the strap needed to be charged I would first connect the charging pack to the USB charger and wait for the pack to be charged. Once the pack was charged I could then slide the charging pack onto the Whoop strap, while I still was wearing it on my wrist.
The only downside to this, that I ran into, is that the charging pack cannot get wet. The Whoop strap itself is waterproof, but the charging pack is not.
I would charge my Whoop strap at night, and the next morning I would sometimes forget I put the pack on, so I would hop into the shower with the charging pack still on. Unfortunately, this leads to getting the pack wet. I did this a few times and on the last time the charging pack would not light up. The pack still worked. I could plug it into the USB charger, but none of the lights worked, so I did not know when the pack was fully charged.
At first, the app is a bit overwhelming. There is a lot of data to view. After a few days, you will start to get familiar with the app's UI and the data becomes more readable to you.
I mainly viewed the three main screens recovery, sleep, and strain. The first thing I would do after shutting off my alarm was kick off the data fetch to receive my updated recovery stats.
One downside to the app is that you need to leave it running in the background. If you do not then your data will not be up-to-date when you go to review your stats. If you close the app entirely and then open it back up (for a long period of time ... hours) then it will go and fetch the latest data, but it will take a while for it to catch up.
After my training for the day, I would review my strain to see how my body reacted to the training. After a while, I began to notice a trend that my strain for the same activities would get lower and lower. This is to be expected and Whoop even mentions this in their documentation. If your strain becomes lower for the same activities this is a sign that you are becoming more fit.
I also noticed that my RHR became lower throughout the training block. Alternatively, when I saw that my recovery percentage was within the Red, my RHR was higher than normal, and my HRV was really low. On these days I would plan on rescheduling the day's train. These are indicators a rest day is needed.
I developed better sleeping habits because I wanted to try and get, a yellow recovery rating, if not a green every day. This lead to me putting up or turning off electronics earlier and starting my bedtime routine sooner. Allowing me to go to sleep faster and get up better recovered in the morning.
I believe the app to be somewhat more accurate compared to other activity trackers that advertise RHR monitoring. The other device I wear is a Garmin Fenix. I compared the RHR readings on both and they were somewhat equivalent, plus or minus on the Whoop.
Where I feel it's most accurate is in sleep monitoring. Compared the Whoop to other trackers and you won't get the data anywhere near what is provided by the Whoop strap.
The Whoop strain only measures cardiovascular strain. If you are a runner (I am) or cross-fitter you may see more benefit from using the strap. If you are a weight lifter (I am not) you may not get as good of an experience as someone who's training is gear towards endurance.
Getting to the Point
All this sounds good, but is it worth it? ..... short answer no. I do not feel you get enough out of the strap to justify the high subscription cost.
This strap may be good for professional athletes, but for us amateur athletes I do not think the strap is worth the high subscription price.
Did I learn from the strap and benefit from the strap. Yes, and overall I am happy with the experience, but I believe the strap just showed me what I would've learned in a shorter amount of time.
Strap is lighweight
High subscription cost
Easy to Charge
Battery pack is not waterproof
Develop better sleep habits
App needs to stay running in the background
RHR and HRV monitoring
Only measures cardiovascular strain
The accessories are over priced.
Strap is waterproof
Community is lacking and small
You can join and create teams
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 James Wassinger