WHOOP 4.0 Initial Accuracy – Is it Accurate in the Gym?
For my WHOOP Band 4 Review later this year I’m teaming up with Hunter from the FitGeatHunter YouTube channel, he’s one of the very few YouTubers that do more serious gym/Cross-Fit heart rate testing across a range of devices and a range of exercise types. He’s had his WHOOP 4 for a couple of weeks.
I don’t produce videos or do much gym work/Cross-fit, whereas Hunter only does YouTube and Cross fit. Seems like a pretty good match to me! And he’s a nice guy and a great presenter!
In addition to what Hunter is doing in the gym, I’ll be adding my swim, bike & run accuracy results once my WHOOP 4 arrives.
These first tests from Hunter are all with WHOOP worn on the wrist, which is typically a common, but bad, place for optical HR devices and even worse when lifting and twisting in the gym. His subsequent tests will use the upper forearm and bicep, the latter should hopefully produce good to excellent results (edit: that seems to be the case). For some of my tests, I’ll probably also wear WHOOP on the underside of my wrist as I seem to get better results there, although my aim for my own stats will be to always wear it with a WHOOP arm sleeve during exercise.
1. WHOOP on the Wrist in the gym
Here are some results from earlier tests
And here are Hunter’s first impressions based on his first tests. These results weren’t so good but the video is entertaining and worth a watch!
It’s early days and early day accuracy with most new optical sensors is not great when worn on the wrist. Less great when also used in the gym!
There are some promising signs of accuracy from these early tests by Hunter in the gym and I’m hopeful that I’ll see much better results when I’m out running and cycling in easier conditions for the tech.
However, WHOOP is becoming the de-facto, go-to Cross Fit tech tool of choice. The rigours that Hunter is putting the WHOOP through are precisely the ones where WHOOP needs to focus on improvements rather than trying to appease triathletes like me.
Hunter’s use-case for WHOOP places more emphasis on assessing the accuracy of the time in the various HR zones. This is particularly important for determining strain, which is WHOOP’s thing. People like me, and I suspect dcr, are more interested in WHOOP being correct at any given time and so useful for regulating effort level over longer workouts. I guess you can obviously argue that if it’s correct at any one second then it will be correct for the zone-based calculations! I’ve usually found with WHOOP (v3 and before) that it was generally sufficiently accurate to determine strain but less reliable when it came to being used as a pacing tool. I’m hoping that will be improved in v4.
Note: Using heart rate is not a great way to determine the true strain from, for example, lifting heavy weights. At least it’s not for me. That said, WHOOP’s acquisition of PUSH earlier this year promises a market-leading platform for gym-goers worldwide. PUSH seems to be able to more correctly assess the strain during strength-based workouts by working out the number of reps that each weight was lifted, and so counters the inaccuracy of relying on HR for this kind of workout. #Exciting.
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