WHOOP Review- all the cr*p bits, will you waste your money 💲? “A: Maybe”, best discount

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Active: Monday 20 Nov onwards. I am certain this *IS* the best deal Whoop offers.

 

WHOOP Review – Will you waste your money? Is it accurate? Can I get a discount?

Updated: 14 Apr 2024

A detailed WHOOP Review: As an athlete who has used every version of WHOOP since 2016, I can confidently say that the WHOOP 4 band is a top-end athletic, fitness, and readiness tracker that is particularly useful for those who often push themselves to the limit. It provides deep insights into your readiness to train and optimal sleep needs.

In my view, WHOOP’s high-tech and attractive strap is worth the investment if you want to fully understand your training and sleep habits, as it coaches you toward optimal performances and outcomes. When it comes to accuracy, I have found WHOOP to be highly accurate when properly worn.
WHOOP 4 review image of band charger & strap
If you’re unsure whether you should choose WHOOP over a Garmin Forerunner 965/Fenix or Apple Watch, I have also included those comparisons in this review as sometimes, a Garmin or Apple Watch is a better choice. Find out when and why further below.

WHOOP’s monthly membership is required and there isn’t the upfront cost of buying the band. Membership is priced at $17/£16 per month and that compares favourably to the upfront cost of a sports watch spread over 3 years. Get a free WHOOP Band and trial membership here (promotion automatically applied).

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Best WHOOP 4 discount code right now: Free WHOOP and a free month on the app

 

Let’s start with a summary review of WHOOP with more detailed insights further below, and if you want to skip straight to the section that discusses all the cr*p bits (as promised in the title) go here.

Verdict : Whoop 4.0 review : Can be accurate - Will be Insightful - Might be cheaper than some watches
  • Price - 80%
    80%
  • Apparent Accuracy - 95%
    95%
  • Build Quality & Design - 90%
    90%
  • Features, Including App - 95%
    95%
  • Openness & Compatability - 75%
    75%
87%

Summary: Whoop 4 Strap Review

As a long-time user, I can say that Whoop is the best at coaching athletes on how and when to sleep, when to rest, and how to measure their training intensity. It was the first wearable device made specifically to focus on athletic readiness, and even seven years later, the Whoop Band 4.0 and its platform are still ahead of the competition.

whoop 4 strap review and comparison to band 3

Unlike other wearables, Whoop’s coach sets a goal for your workout based on the optimal amount of exertion to get the biggest gains considering your current state of readiness to train. It works with your existing training routine to coach you on how well your body handled your workouts and gives you sleep guidance to help you perform at your best the next day.

The latest Whoop 4.0 band fixes the accuracy problems I found in my earlier reviews and it’s also easier to use. The charging time and battery life are also much improved, thanks to new, market-leading battery technology. Whoop also captures additional sensor data to give you a wider range of health feedback, and there are Whoop-branded sports clothes with special pockets where you can put your Whoop band so that it records optimally and doesn’t get in the way or pose a danger to others.

The beauty of the excellent app lies in its clarity with intuitive separations of daily insights, trends, and science-based feedback from Whoop Coach. Whoop’s app has steadily improved over the years, with improvements ranging from a few minor tweaks to accommodate the recent additions of temperature, blood oxygen saturation, and respiratory rate metrics to its latest, market-leading AI coaching feature.

Whoop 4.0 band clasp mechanismWhoop automatically records your workouts on the band, and you can add a GPS track by recording on the app or syncing a bike workout from popular platforms like Strava. The app also fosters communities of like-minded athletes from your sport and country.

Overall, Whoop is a great package for serious athletes seeking an edge in their sport. Get one if you want a different approach from a company leading the market through innovation rather than churning out yet another me-too feature of little use. The monthly membership fee is worth it to ensure you always have the latest hardware strap, and to understand and be coached on your readiness-to-train and optimal sleep.

Pros

  • Accurate during sports if an arm sleeve is used (buy a sleeve!)
  • Strain calculation for weights is superior to all competitors who use heart rate alone.
  • Superb app with clear advice, deep insights and actionable guidance for sleep, recovery & strain
  • When worn on the wrist, resting/sleep HR accuracy is sufficiently accurate for recovery
  • Comfy to wear at various body locations
  • Changing straps quicker than Apple Watch
  • Safe to wear during most team sports with Whoop apparel

Cons

  • Subscription models have benefits but not everyone likes them
  • Band has no screen, unlike a watch
WHOOP 4 strap on wirst review with gymnastic rings
Image|WHOOP.com

WHOOP Review – All the Cr*p Bits

I like WHOOP and I’ve used it for many years since it was first launched. It’s not perfect and I know why. Here are the negatives for you…

  • Cost: from $17/month subscription fee. Like an expensive sports watch, if you don’t use it to its full potential you can be wasting your money. Unlike an expensive sports watch that’s updated every 18 months, you get a free WHOOP if one is released during your contract.
  • Subscription: Contracted for the agreed duration after a one-month trial.
  • Battery life: 3-5 days on a single charge. This can be inconvenient, especially if you are travelling or forget to charge your band regularly. WHOOP’s USB charging puck also contains a battery and can be separately charged while you still wear your WHOOP. You can even keep wearing the WHOOP and charge it with the puck (looks a bit silly though!)
  • Missing features: No screen, no inbuilt GPS, no map, no music controls, no smart notifications. If you want a map, GPS tracking, music controls, and smart notifications then you’ll need your phone. The WHOOP app can record your GPS track, or your GPS track can come from, say, a bike computer provided you are also recording the ride with WHOOP.
  • Endurance Strain Accuracy: Not 100% accurate for some sports due to wrist movement. That’s true of every wrist-based optical HR watch despite what reviewers tell you. You might get lucky because of the details of exactly when and how you use it…you might not. Workaround in sport: Always wear WHOOP on your upper arm with a sleeve or, failing that, an inch or so up from your wrist bone. If you don’t go for WHOOP always use a chest strap with your watch otherwise you’ll still face the same issue.
  • Strength-based Strain Accuracy – don’t kid yourself, while heart rate is a good measure of strain for endurance athletes, heart rate alone cannot correctly account for the strain/load from strength activities. That’s why WHOOP use technology by PUSH which incorporates elements of velocity-based training. No other mainstream wearable does that. So WHOOP will still be a bit inaccurate but far more accurate than the methods you might currently use…even if you use a Polar H10 chest strap, it’s still wrong! Just sayin’…you’ll need to follow a strength workout so that WHOOP can interpret movements in the context of the muscle groups used. There is no other way around that unless you have smart weights which communicate their weight and movement to a wearable.
  • Sleep/Recovery Accuracy  – Inaccuracies can occur due to the capture of raw HR data and other factors shared by all wearables. WHOOP uses the correct algorithms/calculations based on your HRV. So if you get incorrect HRV/recovery stats then it’s mostly down to the capture of the raw HR data. There are simply inaccuracies that come from how you might sleep on one side of your body and other factors shared by all wearables.
  • Sleep Stage Accuracy – All wearables cannot accurately determine sleep stages. It’s just a fact!
  • Readiness Accuracy -There is no one agreed-upon scientific way to measure readiness as a whole. Wearables use different algorithms to estimate readiness, and WHOOP’s algorithm is based on heart rate variability (HRV), which is a proven scientific measure of how your body handles stress. However, HRV is not the same as readiness.
  • Obsessive/addictive: Can exacerbate the obsessive and dedicated nature of high-level sports people, leading to unhealthy training habits
  • Suitability: Designed for athletes and fitness enthusiasts, not for people looking to achieve more general health goals
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Active: Monday 20 Nov onwards. I am certain this *IS* the best deal Whoop will offer in 2023.

OK back to the full detailed review of WHOOP now. If I haven’t put you off yet, this link gets the best WHOOP discount possible anywhere.

 

 

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Best WHOOP 4 discount code right now: Free WHOOP and a free month on the app

What is the WHOOP band?

WHOOP 4 is an armband that includes an optical heart rate monitor, several other types of sensors, and a state-of-the-art battery tech. It has swappable bands and can be worn in other locations with WHOOP-specific apparel.

More than that, the app uses heart rate data for readiness guidance and coaching advice, all powered by novel interpretations of aspects of your heart rate variability (HRV) and other physiological metrics. It uses real sports science that I would classify as trusted sports tech.

How the science works

The insights into readiness and the data that support the sleep coach come from your nightly HRV at low levels of Heart Rate (HR), tweaked by HR trends and other data.

Your workout strain comes from heart rate x duration. The higher the heart rate, the more weight is given to the time spent at that level.

Recovery insights come from complex maths. Signals in your heart rate at night determine how the nervous systems in your body are balanced. An average of those signals gives a nightly score that is weighted alongside your resting heart rate, sleep performance and respiratory rate. To an extent, these are all different measures of the same thing but looked at from different physiological perspectives.

The result of the algorithm is a simple, single readiness number.

As you rest during the day, the more your readiness score improves.

Over time, WHOOP analyses how your body performs and can suggest the volume of sleep you need tonight to achieve a certain level of readiness tomorrow.

The details are complicated but that’s the gist of it.

WHOOP Band 4 Review on a runner with Strap
Image|WHOOP

Where the science fails

During strength workouts, your heart rate will never truly reflect the muscular strain your body goes through. Determining muscular strain figures from heart rate will always be wrong even if you use a chest strap, Garmin or Apple Watch. However, WHOOP DOES correctly assess the recovery and readiness from HRV as your body adapts to a completed strength workout. Better than that, since mid-2023, WHOOP used uniquely new tech that will get strain right in strength workouts when no one else can.

WHOOP 4 band for weights with reddit opinions for UK and US in 2023

WHOOP Strap 4 Review – Who’s it for?

If you are a cross-fitter, HYROX lover, biohacker, endurance athlete or gym rat, WHOOP could be for you. Let me elaborate

  • Team sports – WHOOP will support usage in your sport and the training in the gym that supports your sport. If you are in a pro team then it’s more likely that your coach will want your entire team to use the same tech. Some Pro teams use WHOOP.
  • Cross Fitter/Hyrox – WHOOP is the de facto tech standard in CrossFit. However, I recommend wearing the band away from your wrist, normally on your upper arm. The lack of glass on WHOOP makes it better suited for the rough and tumbles of CrossFit.  If you did more detailed research, you would find that no current product properly identifies the strain component of strength work. Once WHOOP integrates PUSH, WHOOP will have the ability to be the market leader for several years.
  • Gym rat – similar to the cross fitter but you will need to be especially mindful of the accuracy of WHOOP, or any wrist-worn wearable, on your high-impact cardio workouts.
  • Biohacker – WHOOP is good here and covers some good metrics like SpO2 and respiratory rate, however, there are deeper-leaning products out there like Biostrap EVO, although WHOOP is a significantly more polished offering in the round.
  • Triathletes, cyclists and runners – You probably can find better products to track your HR over all those miles. That said, WHOOP can be a good sleep & readiness tool that’s more easily worn throughout the day than a Garmin. Plus WHOOP’s recovery scores are less gimmicky than Garmin’s Body Battery (which is not science-based). Furthermore, cyclists can broadcast WHOOP’s heart rate to their Wahoo Bolt / ROAM easily enough to avoid duplication of tech sensors.
  • Ultra Athletes – might consider Garmin, Coros, Polar, or Suunto.
WHOOP comparison to strap 3 clasp mechanism
It’s smaller (WHOOP 4.0 on the right)

WHOOP 4 History A Review of What’s New

The new WHOOP looks similar to the Gen 1, 2 & 3 products but it’s smaller and wholly different inside.

New Format

  • It’s now a third smaller but with a similar clasp mechanism
  • The strap is attached to the pod in an improved manner that can be more easily removed or changed
  • Special WHOOP apparel has pouches that allow the WHOOP pod to record on different parts of your body eg with an arm sleeve (#recommended as essential)

New Sensors

New sensors form the core of WHOOP, these are completely new

  • More accurate heart rate sensor with more LEDs
  • Skin temperature sensor which improves the sleep & fertility algorithms and the future inclusion of illness tracking.
  • Blood oxygen (SpO2) sensor that improves the sleep & recovery algorithms
  • Introduces vibration that can be used to optimise the wake time from your sleep stages

New Battery

  • Leading-edge tech – a more energy-dense silicon anode battery
  • The 5-day battery life is the same but the battery is physically smaller and seems to charge slower.
  • New battery pack charger – WHOOP’s cradle holds a charge which can be used to boost WHOOP’s battery life even whilst on your wrist.

There are several additions to the WHOOP app, the online platform and the reports the app produces. Partly this covers the new pieces of data that are now captured but the WHOOP platform is a continually evolving thing in any case with one of the more recent innovations being the journal which correlates tags/feelings/behaviours with performance…so you know what to avoid or repeat in the future.

Q: When will we see Whoop 5 and will you review it?

A: This Whoop 5 article speculates on new features likely to come from a new strap in 2024 and I will of course review it

How Does WHOOP Calculate Strain?

WHOOP’s strain advice comes mostly from your heart rate. WHOOP builds up a score linked to your heart rate and the amount of time you spend at progressively more intense levels and then that score is further contextualised within your normal range. It’s a highly personalised score, and it’s also a complex algorithm so if you need some more details this article explains every aspect of WHOOP’s strain score.

WHOOP Strain – everything you need to know

WHOOP’s strain score calculation was significantly improved for strength workouts in April 2023 and follows the science of velocity-based training (VBT). When you follow a routine, WHOOP tracks reps, intensity and weight, and applies that to a known profile of the rep you perform to determine the muscular strain impact on all muscle groups. These are then added to give you a simple breakdown of the cardio and muscular strain, and how that follows through to recovery and sleep needs. No other mainstream wearable does this and it is just about the only way to properly assess strength workouts even a Polar H10 won’t be as accurate (honest!).

WHOOP – Ground Breaking Strength Training with PUSH? Or Damp Squib?

The downside is that you need to build and follow a strength routine on the WHOOP app and whilst that part of the app looks good it could do with streamlining.

Does WHOOP Calculate Recovery?

Yes, WHOOP calculates recovery and readiness to train.

Q: The average nightly recovery for WHOOP owners is 58% but where does recovery come from?

A: WHOOP’s calculation looks at HRV, resting heart rate, sleep performance (actual vs. needed) and your respiratory rate and shows a simple percentage number to guide you. Your recovery is contextualised within your personalised range.

 

How Do I use The WHOOP 4.0 Strap?

This is perhaps the easiest question of the lot. It’s a case of wear it and forget. All the information and insights you want will be on the app, plus some larger and more pretty charts and the like on the web platform.

The only two exceptions to the wear-and-forget mantra are when you either want to charge it, remove the strap or broadcast the heart rate to gym equipment or a bike computer.

Unboxing

You get the pod, a strap and a cable plus bits of paper you will never, ever read. Charge it up and put it on, you know what to do. It needs to be snug but not tight. Try to have it at least 1cm from the wrist bone during sport.

WHOOP unboxing the strap and charger

Charging WHOOP

Just slide the charging cradle onto the strap while you’re still wearing it. Simple! Of course, you can take the band off as well to charge and the cradle itself charges via a USB-C cable.

Whilst the WHOOP strap is sufficiently waterproof for pool or sea swimming, the charging cradle isn’t. The charging cradle is splash-proof meaning you could maybe shower with it if you want to.

Tip: Update the Charger firmware

WHOOP 4.0 Review Broadcast Heart Rate

WHOOP App>3 bar menu>Device Settings>Broadcast Heart Rate>Enable

When you enable the WHOOP strap to broadcast HR you will use a tad more battery and you will also have to manually pair it with a Bluetooth receiving device. You could rename WHOOP to change how it appears to other wearables when you could connect it to your bike computer or some gym equipment. Simply put, you could broadcast to your Zwift, your Peloton bike or Carol/Nordic Bike or work alongside your RUNN on the treadmill. Used in this way, WHOOP is a generic Bluetooth heart rate monitor and will connect to many pieces of sports kit.

Change or Remove the strap eg for WHOOP clothing

One end of the strap slides off the WHOOP pod and the other end clips on/off. Attaching a different strap is super easy. Maybe you want a different colour strap? You got it! There are even custom straps available too.

With the WHOOP Body clothing options, you can put your WHOOP somewhere other than your wrist during exercise and this is generally a good idea. My favourite is to use the Arm Sleeve as this is probably the most accurate place to wear any optical HR tech, including WHOOP/Garmin/Polar/Scosche/Wahoo. Special WHOOP bras, shorts and tops give you other options too.

You can optionally take off the metal clasp before inserting the WHOOP pod into the clothing.

Warning: I wore the arm sleeve in a few positions around the bicep/tricep. I found the sleeve too loose to wear on the forearm (I bought it for the bicep in any case). When I wore it on the tricep it worked fine BUT there wasn’t a line-of-sight to my sports watch, so the signal had to pass through my body and thus wasn’t always received and recorded by the watch, the solution to that was to wear the sleeve so that WHOOP was on the outer side of the upper arm, the same arm you wore the watch on. Like this…

 

More: Testing WHOOP on the calf with WHOOP apparel.

More: Using WHOOP on TYR Swimwear

 

HRbutt // WHOOP+Tyr: Butt-measured HR on TYR Swimwear

The WHOOP 4.0 App Review

For a quick overview, WHOOP’s app has 5 main sections summarised here with more details following:

  1. Home – All your current and recent trend data is here on 8 sub-screens
  2. Coaching – Here you get straightforward, actionable advice on how hard to train today and how much you need to sleep tonight. There’s also a dashboard of key health metrics plus access to highly impressive and detailed weekly/monthly performance reports #IndustryLeading
  3. Camera – Take a video overlain with live performance metrics.
  4. Team – Join a team, sports interest or regional-based team and check the awesomeness of your sleep, strain and recovery on the leaderboards. Warning: there are a LOT of awesome athletes on WHOOP that are hard to beat and it’s insightful to see how they recover even if you can’t beat their strain scores.
  5. Hamburger Menu – Lots of learning resources & admin stuff are here. There are also limited links to other software like Strava and you can set your WHOOP to broadcast HR here too.

 

Home Screen

Whoop App Page Layout Schematic
Page Layout – Click

The WHOOP 4 home screen was revamped and expanded in March 2023, containing links to over 20 more screens. The app can initially seem daunting to use, as there is so much detail, insights, and supporting information that can be clicked on from various parts of the screen. However, the main flow is easy to get to grips with, and the matrix of screens shown here works exactly as shown. Swipe left or right for different views as you move from one screen to the next, and swipe up or down for more or less detail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s a lot of information and insight all in one place. But there is way more to discover as you delve into the depths of the app. For example, the first screen lets you tap on an activity or sleep period for minute-by-minute information on your heart rate or, in the case of sleep, some quite detailed stats that include sleep disturbances, efficiency, latency and more.

Similarly, there is more information linked to other screens where, for example,  you can change the workout metric that is graphed on the 7-day trends.

WHOOP Coach Screen

The WHOOP coach advises you on either the strain you should aim for today and/or the sleep you should aim for as recovery.

The strain coach ‘knows’ your optimal level of strain for today based on your recovery, in the example below I can check that I need to aim for a strain of 10.8 today. Now, I can just go ahead and do such a workout or I can use the coach to guide me during the workout. I need to take the app with me to do that and the app essentially tracks a more detailed workout and displays continually updated strain.

Similarly, the sleep coach gave me the headline guidance of needing 7:59 hours in bed. But it can also coach me while I sleep by setting a smart alarm to wake me when I’ve achieved a certain readiness state. Of course, I can also guide WHOOP by saying that I just want enough sleep to get by or that I want full sleep to be on peak performance tomorrow.

Clever stuff.

And it’s clever stuff, presented straightforwardly.

 

The 3rd page, above, is the Health Monitor which gives you a current snapshot of some key bodily metrics like respiration rate, temperature and SpO2. At the bottom of that page is a super-detailed log of those metrics over the last month or so which you might simply be interested in looking at or which might be useful to print & share with a doctor.

whoop app with camer and mettrics overlainYou can probably guess some of the contents of The Weekly and Monthly Performance Assessments. You get some good insights from novel ways of displaying some of the strain data and how each workout places you within productive ranges. The Monthly report is more along the lines of the doctor’s health report and is highly detailed and, I must say, professionally presented.

WHOOP 4.0 Review – Camera Page

A camera does what you’d expect with some nice added touches. For example, you can also add filters and change the metrics that are captured on the video of you sweating profusely mid-workout.

System/Hamburger Menu

There’s not too much exciting to talk about here except to note that this is the place you rename WHOOP for when other devices might want to connect to the heart rate you allow it to broadcast.

If you want to see your data on other platforms, there are connections to Training Peaks and Strava.  For the latter, you can create a custom graphic to display in your Strava feed.

 

 

whoop widgets on iosWHOOP Widgets

Widgets in both iOS and Android are made good use of by WHOOP.

In this image, you can see how widgets give you key, glanceable snippets of information without the need to open the app.

 

Is WHOOP 4.0 Accurate? Test Results and Detailed Review

This is a topic that is going to get a lot of people overly excited.

Q: What do I mean by the accuracy of WHOOP in the context of this review?

A: I use the word accuracy to mean repeatable and actionable. IE that you can rely on an accurate device over the long term to meaningfully guide your training.

I’m sure that most of us would agree that athletes like us can find a reference point to determine the correct HR at any given time (it’s called a Polar H10 chest strap) and such a device can also produce correct RR beat information for HRV. Similarly, we could also find comparators for WHOOP’s other data points like respiration rates, temperature, SpO2 and so on.

However, WHOOP gives us a ‘Readiness’ Score. But where is the comparator for that? A: There is no accepted industry standard definition because each vendor has its algorithms and readiness scores.

Then we might ask. “What is Strain?“. Those of us familiar with HR Zones and TRIMP could come up with a definition of strain but heart rate zones vary from person to person and could themselves vary based on your fatigue state or whether you’ve just used stimulants like caffeine. Some of those factors are unknowable.

whoop 4 band review with strain ai gpt coach

Then we might want to compare wrist-based optical heart rate with a lab-standard HR chest strap. The wrist is an AWFUL position to capture heart rate during exertion so it will be prone to the vagaries of your exercise or the environments you train in – exactly the same is true for Garmin & Apple sensors!

Beware. Every single competitor product when worn on the wrist for Crossfit is inaccurate to some degree…Apple, Garmin…all of them, compounded by person-specific factors. On the wrist, WHOOP’s recording challenges are no different. It’s the same for all sports that require a lot of wrist movement.

All competitors’ optical heart rate monitors, including Garmin, Apple & Fitbit, are inaccurate to some degree. Whether reviewers & ambassadors tell you WHOOP 4.0 is accurate or inaccurate, the simple truth is that it is probably as accurate as the competition in the round. you might get lucky or unlucky with a Garmin…it’s the same with WHOOP and Apple.

Here’s what I did

  • I undertook 14 bike and run workouts at different levels of exertion. I compared WHOOP 4 on the bicep with its HR data saved on a Coros Pace 2 and compared that to various devices including a Garmin HRM-TRI, Apple Watch 7 45mm SS and Polar Verity Sense.
  • For Morning Readiness/Recovery: I compared WHOOP’s HRV score when worn on the wrist with HRV4Training+H10, Oura Ring’s HRV score and Garmin’s HRV scores.
  • With permission, I’m including FitGearHunter’s extensive video results for CrossFit.

WHOOP 4 Band Accuracy – Bottom Line

Q: Is WHOOP 4.0 Accurate?

A: Yes. WHOOP 4 is accurate for sports when worn on the bicep and gives actionable results at night when worn on the wrist.

If you are concerned about absolute HR accuracy then wear a chest strap 24×7.

Sports – Running & Cycling HR Accuracy

These results show trivial differences between the accuracy of WHOOP, Garmin HRM-PRO and Polar Verity Sense. Surprisingly,  Apple Watch 7 was the worst, I say surprisingly as the Series 6 was very good when I tested it in 2020.

The only criticism of WHOOP would be some minor discrepancies right at the start of some of the workouts. As those results are low-level HR, the strain impact is trivial to the point of irrelevancy.

Other details of the accuracy of WHOOP 4 found similar results to mine including those on Reddit and in the reviews from Michael Kummer, FitGear Hunter and DC Rainmaker.

Sports – Crossfit HR Accuracy

I worked with the YouTube channel FITGEARHUNTER on the accuracy section of this review. He majors in Cross Fit and has performed detailed tests for that sport and he specifically looks at the accuracy of different wear positions. The conclusion is the same though, don’t wear it on the wrist for sport! A further conclusion is that if you really want to wear it on your forearm then the outer forearm gives the best results.

Check out the details in the videos if you want to know more. Hunter is a trustworthy reviewer.

whoop 4 strap accuracy results

Check out these videos for forearm accuracy and wrist accuracy.

Overnight HRV and Readiness Accuracy

As a professional (athlete or coach), it should be obvious that the physiological response is what matters. @MarcoAltini

WHOOP calculates overnight ‘HRV’ by using an averaged rMSSD calculation with more weight given to periods of slow-wave sleep. The result is shown as a single nightly figure in the app. This (HRV) value is then just one of several inputs to a wider, proprietary readiness algorithm that gives a continually updating, single-figure percentage indication of your readiness to train hard at any given time.

HRV methods from different vendors might instead use an SDNN calculation, or look at a single sample of 1-5 minutes when you immediately wake up or use multiple periodic measurements from the night.

Similarly, different vendors use different inputs and weights to fine-tune their unique take on readiness.

WHOOP strap for crossfit games a detailed review
Image|WHOOP, Team Invictus

You might even want to compare any or all of these to how recovered you feel. Which might be irrelevant (it is for me but not for others). What is certainly relevant is physically/mentally how recovered you are and, perhaps more so, exactly to what level are readiness scores a predictor of your peak performances?

Maybe rMSSD/HRV itself is a better predictor when considered in the right context?

In a nutshell: You really can’t compare any of this data…so let’s do it anyway!

WHOOP Accuracy  vs. Garmin Forerunner 955

The Garmin Forerunner 955 introduces new readiness metrics. Just like WHOOP, any readiness metric is proprietary and can’t be compared to a ‘gold standard’ of readiness as there isn’t one. However, we can compare the quality of the data behind the readiness assessments. Here we see that Garmin’s Elevate sensor on the 955 does not produce as good a correlation for HRV as WHOOP when both are compared to a Polar H10 chest strap. Garmin’s readiness assessment simply can’t be as good as WHOOP’s because a fundamental component of the base data is less accurate.

Finally, my data for HRV recovery shows that Garmin’s baseline HRV (0.27) does not correlate with a Polar H10 and HRV4Training, although the day-to-day correlation (0.51) is better.

whoop accuracy, correlation with oura emfit and garmin
Correlation of HRV Readings to Polar H10/HRV4Training (Not Readiness Score) – day-to-day (1) and baseline (2) correlations

 

Surprise, surprise. WHOOP does have a good baseline correlation with the raw HRV numbers (0.78). Now, who would have thought that based on criticisms you hear from some reviewers about WHOOP’s accuracy? HRV accuracy requires algorithms that clean the noise from the recordings and WHOOP appears to be excellent at this, unlike Garmin.

WHOOP Sleep & HRV Accuracy vs. Apple Watch vs. Polar Vantage vs. Oura Ring

The previous generation of WHOOP Band was shown to be 99% accurate in a far-reaching scientific study published in 2022. WHOOP beat all-comers, though it must be noted that all vendors’ tech in this study was their previous generation, including WHOOP.

Garmin beaten by WHOOP: Study shows 99% accuracy

 

Similar sleep accuracy tests are performed on the YouTube channel Quantified Scientist. Rob is a trustworthy reviewer and finds WHOOP to be the most accurate device in his area of expertise, which is sleep stage accuracy vs. a low-grade polysomnograph.

Quantified Scientific data comparison of whoop to fitbit oura gamin and apple for sleep stages
via @TheQuantifiedScientist

Check out Rob’s reviews here

WHOOP COACH with AI from ChatGPT

WHOOP’s GPT4 AI gives personalised responses that combine science with YOUR data and YOUR goals

In September 2023, WHOOP boosted its coaching capability with a ChatGPT “plugin”. You can now interact with the AI on the app on many levels ranging from simply using it as a manual to asking it to explain and contextualise your performances or biometric status. This can leverage the AI’s knowledge of sports science principles, peer group data and insights into your JOURNAL entries. to tailor forward-thinking advice to your circumstances…it can even write you a 20-minute 5k plan.

 

WHOOP Coach with AI – this is the way of the future

WHOOP 4.0 & Wider Review Thoughts

My thoughts on readiness accuracy for over 10 years have been to mentally triangulate these three indicators to intelligently arrive at my own decision.

  • Predicted readiness – via a Training Stress Balance (TSB) model
  • Measured recovery – via an HRV algorithm like WHOOP
  • Felt readiness – simply your feel for you, right now.

Anecdote: My best-ever race performance followed a night of zero sleep. Yet I felt good and my predicted TSB readiness, based on historical load, was near perfect. My HRV level was pretty good (as I had been tapering) but the full readiness algorithm factored in factors like sleep continuity and duration so my overall readiness score on the day was FAR below optimal. Conclusion: It is NOT that the readiness algorithm was wrong but rather that I would have performed even better had I slept properly, measured readiness/HRV is not the sole predictor of today’s performances.

 

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Best WHOOP 4 discount code right now: Free WHOOP and a free month on the app

WHOOP 4.0 Review – Strain & Sleep Recommendations – More Thoughts

WHOOP’s strain score is algorithmic and ranges from 1 to 21. Thus it’s easy to get a 10 but much, much harder to push a score of 19 toward 20.

This seems like a fair approach, but some people argue that low-level strain points are added too quickly (although it’s kinda like the RPE scale if you think about it)

I’ve been looking at sleep HR/Sleep-Stage data for over a decade, and the more I look at it, the less I want it. It’s all fascinating, but when you compare different tech tools, you start to realize that they’re all often wrong by some measure or other. If you’re looking for a simple tool that simply records your hours of sleep, then I’m not sure why you would buy into an advanced sports coaching platform like WHOOP.

If you’re an athlete, you might be interested in quantifying the amount of deep sleep when your body restores itself physically, but if you’re a scientific athlete, you’ll look into Polysomnography and realize that EVERY tech gadget’s sleep stage estimations are inaccurate. There is not one reviewer on the net who compares sleep to the proper polysomnography (@thequantiiefsceintist does NOT do this), it’s extremely difficult/expensive to do.

So, I like how WHOOP simply quantifies the volume of sleep I should aim for to achieve my desired outcome on the ‘Get By’ to ‘Perform’ spectrum. That’s useful advice to receive.

WHOOP 4.0 Body, WHOOP Pro & Accessories, Review Highlights

Be different and, at the same time, improve the accuracy of your HR readings with everything from WHOOP underwear to a new WHOOP strap.

You can easily customise your WHOOP 4.0 experience.

Get extra fabric straps in different colours or, more usefully, get an extra Superknit Bicep Band so that you can switch the WHOOP from your wrist to your bicep when you exercise. Shop: Bands

 

whoop supernit straps for the band 4 review

Get some great quality apparel that can also hold your WHOOP band. You’ll get MUCH better HR accuracy and you will keep your regular wristband in a much cleaner and more hygienic state. So I’d recommend either a sports bra, arm sleeve 4.0 or waterproof arm sleeve. Shop: WHOOP Body

For a fully-customised look to differentiate yourself from anyone else wearing a WHOOP 4.0 you can change the colours of every aspect of the device including the metal. Shop: Custom Bands

whoop replaceable band great quality

 

I also also use several WHOOP-branded pieces of apparel. They are all excellently made and I love how they all let me put WHOOP in a correctly-position and customised pocket. The accuracy of readings is probably ‘good enough’ and better than I expected when using the apparel.

WHOOP 4 – 10 top Tips

Here are some frequently asked questions and some lesser questions, hopefully, these will help some of you.

Q: Can I use my WHOOP 3.0 Bands?

A: Yes. the material is the right width and the fixed metal end of the band, although bigger, will secure the WHOOP 4.0. However, the end of the band that threads through the space on the main pod new the new removable attachment. So, yes you can reuse old straps, but there are limitations.

Q: Is WHOOP worth it?

A: Yes, good training decisions are priceless.

Q: Can I use WHOOP with older Garmin sports watches using ANT+?

A: No. WHOOP is not compatible with ANT+. You could buy a clever NPE Wyur device to convert the Bluetooth Signal to ANT+. Nowadays, most bike computers and sports watches will accept WHOOP’s data with a broadcast Bluetooth connection.

Q: What happens if I break or lose my WHOOP Strap?

A: If the strap is in any way defective then WHOOP will replace it. But if you misuse or lose your strap then you would submit a non-warranty replacement request directly to WHOOP

Q: What if there is a WHOOP 5? Would I pay for it

A: No. (Qualifying) subscribers would get one for free. Usually, you would need at least 6 months of your subscription remaining, although predicting what will happen in the future is impossible!

Q: Is WHOOP More Accurate Than a Garmin?

A: Chest straps are more accurate than wrist optical HR sensors. As I show above in extensive accuracy tests, WHOOP is accurate when worn on the biceps. If you are concerned about high levels of accuracy then you will not use ANY VENDOR’s optical HR monitor for sports on your wrist. It is that simple. When it comes to resting HR measurements eg whilst at sleep/rest then I’m certainly not convinced of the accuracy of Garmin’s Body Battery and neither are the sports data scientists I know. Just because one piece of tech may ‘feel’ right it doesn’t mean that it is right.

 

Q: Where is the most accurate place to wear WHOOP?

A: I’ve tested most of the alternative wear positions with WHOOP. Certainly, the biceps are good and I expected that to be the case. The calf was also an accurate place but butt-measured HR was somewhat variable when swimming or running. My recommendation is to wear it on your biceps.

Q: Is it worth upgrading from WHOOP 3.0 to WHOOP 4.0

A: Yes. Just do it. The only caveat would be original WHOOP Pioneer members who may be able to continue indefinitely with their free access to the current features of the app without paying a subscription.

Q: Is WHOOP better than the Oura Ring?

A: They are different. Oura Ring Gen 3 is a great sleep tracker that will estimate your readiness from HRV and sleep parameters. However, Oura is unsuitable as an athletic-grade activity tracker or HR monitor. ie It cannot accurately measure strain.

Q: Is WHOOP better than Biostrap EVO?

A: Yes, WHOOP is better. Biostrap is similar to WHOOP but not as athletically focused and with a less good app.

Q: How do I wear WHOOP?

A: You can wear it anywhere. You will get the best results from wearing it on the upper arm and get good-to-mixed results wearing it with WHOOP apparel. Wearing it so that it touches the wrist bone is the very worst place for accuracy during sport for any wearable! If you have to wear it near the wrist wear it two finger width away from the wrist bone and further up the forearm

Q: How do I charge WHOOP?

A: Charge the WHOOP by simply sliding it into the charging puck, you will first have to close WHOOP’s metal clasp. The charging puck has inbuilt battery storage, so can be used on the go or when plugged in. A neat feature is that you can charge WHOOP with the puck whilst wearing it. A realistic battery life is 4 to 5 days based on WHOOP’s state-of-the-art battery tech.

Q: Is WHOOP better than the Apple Watch?  or Garmin Forerunner, Garmin Fenix, Polar Vantage & Fitbit?

A: WHOOP lacks a screen that watches have! If a screen is what you want then don’t buy WHOOP. WHOOP is a wear-and-forget, unobtrusive band that’s better suited for certain sports and for wearing whilst sleeping. Most major platforms have some form of readiness assessment but with WHOOP you get a whole platform that is geared toward readiness and coaching.

Q: How do you cancel WHOOP Membership?

A: You can cancel your WHOOP membership at the Membership section of app.whoop.com. Cancelling is free within 30 days but after that, you will be charged until the end of your contract period

Best WHOOP Strap Alternatives compared to Apple Watch, Garmin & Biostrap

WHOOP has a wholly unique band+app platform offering with no direct competitor. However, several alternatives track activity and address your readiness to do it.

WHOOP 4.0 Band compared to Apple Watch

The Apple Watch is capable of taking HRV readings which 3rd party apps can use to determine readiness, the best of which are Training Today and Athlytic. The former is visually appealing but the algorithms seem wrong to me. Whereas the latter has good algorithms but presents the data in an overly complex way. Both require either manual or periodic manual readings to get the best accuracy whereas WHOOP continuously takes automatic readings for extended periods.

You would choose one of the Apple Watch apps because you are already invested in the Apple ecosystem and perhaps also own the Watch and use it for other things like making calls and interacting with your iPhone.

Garmin compared to WHOOP 4 Strap

My tests show that Garmin’s resting HRV appears less accurate than WHOOP, however, Garmins can calculate strain via heart rate from chest straps which is usually accurate. The Garmin app and watch present lots of pieces of data often in quite haphazard ways and are certainly not as focused on Strain, Sleep and Recovery as WHOOP. Indeed Garmin has multiple, conflicting measures that indicate recovery including all-day stress and body battery. Which do you use? Supposedly it’s Body Battery but that is not based on any published science that I’ve seen and I believe it to be Garmin taking generally good HRV data but then adding an unproven interpretation layer above it with ‘random’ assessments of other factors that might affect readiness.

You would choose Garmin if you were a committed endurance athlete who also wanted visual feedback on a watch and perhaps the ability to pair it to sports sensors.

Biostrap EVO compared to WHOOP 4 Band

Biostrap EVO is the most similar product to WHOOP and gets extra insights into sleep and strain from extra wearable sensors. However, the app could be slicker and the band is poorly made and doesn’t look good when worn. You would probably consider Biostrap if you wanted more unusual data about your body ie you are a biohacker. Sporty people should buy WHOOP, not Biostrap EVO.

WHOOP 4.0 Strap compared to Fitbit

Fitbit’s advanced app features also require a subscription plus the watch. The future of the Fitbit brand and app is uncertain after the acquisition by Google. Fitbit is a risky buy in 2023. Fitbit’s sensor quality is poor compared to Apple and Garmin. If you are an athlete or a wannabe athlete, hopefully, I’ve just dissuaded you from buying a Fitbit. Don’t do it!

Eight Sleep vs WHOOP Band

Eight Sleep is the best sleep tracker and it also accurately records nightly HRV as a means of predicting your readiness. It has no way to capture activity data but is great for the overnight piece as it gives data to you and your partner without either of you needing to wear a gadget. It also smartly regulates bed temperature to reduce the cost of air conditioning in the summer.

Polar Verity Sense compared to WHOOP

Polar Verity Sense (Polar Sense) is an excellent optical heart rate monitor for sports, worn on the upper arm. But that’s it. Its battery will not last long enough to cover sleep tracking nor does it have the additional sensors for sleep as found on WHOOP.

WHOOP 4.0 Band Review – Take Out

When worn properly, WHOOP 4 is accurate for me as a heart rate tracker. WHOOP’s sleep coaching and strain coaching are effective ways to guide your training with HRV principles.

Its form factor is ideal for both sports usage and for wearing in bed to track sleep – a watch is not the best thing to wear in bed – if you don’t wear your Apple/Garmin watch at night then your recovery data IS wrong.

It is hard to fairly criticise WHOOP. Perhaps the only notable omission by WHOOP and all its competitors is a proper accounting of strain from pure strength workouts. WHOOP’s integration of velocity-based training principles from its 2021 acquisition of PUSH (2021) gives WHOOP the edge over all competitors.

The WHOOP 4.0 Strap and its app are the market leader in its tightly defined area of competition – wannabe Pro Cross-Fit athletes, strength-based athletes, team sports athletes and pro sports athletes. The relatively unique form factor and the superb app will also have wider appeal to athletes in other sports.

Subscription prices always seem expensive, yet if you replace a high-end sports watch every couple of years, the overall cost of ownership is surprisingly similar.

WHOOP 4 Price – Join For Free with a Free Band

Join WHOOP for free. Get a free band, a free joining fee and the first of 6 months’ subscription for free. That’s a lot of free. Starts at Eu17/$17/£16/mo here at: WHOOP.com

 

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Best WHOOP 4 discount code right now: Free WHOOP and a free month on the app

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14 thoughts on “WHOOP Review- all the cr*p bits, will you waste your money 💲? “A: Maybe”, best discount

  1. Hello! I am interested in buying a 2 year membership for Whoop. When I add it to the cart the price is 379 Euro (down from 444 Euro), so the discount is 65 Euro, which is not quite 20%. The prices are the same when I click on your link or go to their webpage directly. Do you know if there is something wrong or is the 20% ad a bit misleading? Thanks a lot.

  2. Hello
    I’ve been researching whoop for a few weeks now. Would you recommend for someone wanting to change their health lifestyle? Pretty much a beginner in the workout world.

    1. Hi
      I probably would NOT recommend it unless the following applies to you
      1. You plan to ramp up your weekly trainign hours to over 10
      2. You simply want a 24×7 wearable and prefer a band format to a watch

      But there could be other reasons that I don’t know about that would mean it makes sense for you

      Please feel free to ask any specific questions. Whilst it is a good product I won’t try to ‘sell’ it to you.

      1. I couldn’t agree more. mySASY has a way of determining stress, recovery and training readiness at a much more sophisticated level using spectral analysis of HRV during postural change. Used by many top athletes.

      2. i think you are just using some of their marketing words.

        mySASY is not an especially sopisticated product compared to the competition.
        If you want to reply furhter (and don’t work for the company) please be more specific in the claims. and if you work for the company please say so (I will still let you publish and you can even put a link in your comment profile!)

      3. I don’t work for mySASY. But I have tried (and own) to measure recovery and design training loads Polar Vantage, WHOOP, Garmin FR965, mySASY, Elonga (same company as mySASY).
        Elonga has switched from a chest strap to an optical sensor, but it only measures in the supine position because optical HRV measurement is no longer accurate enough when moving.
        From the HRV analysis, Elonga calculates recovery status, stress status and training readiness. In other words, he will measure the state of sympathetic, parasympathetic and also with regard to the history of measurement he will give a recommendation. And not only regarding the length but also the level of training load. Because sometimes shorter more intense training is more appropriate, sometimes rather long, sometimes rest or active recovery. Similar to mySASY, but the output is more values. Much is described on mySASY.cz, some on mySASY.com, so there is no point in repeating. I wouldn’t be writing if after 2 years of experience and even comparing with alternatives I didn’t have excellent impressions.

      4. thank you for the clarification, i apprecaite it

        let me do a bit of research. at the end of the day there is only so much that has been proven to be valid with HRV and most comapnies have already figured out what this is and i know whoop has. you seem to be describing some novel (to me) uses and from a quick look at their site they are also doing orthostatic tests as well

    1. In my opinion, the determination of recovery status is based on sleep alone. The WHOOP measures activities very inaccurately, the optical sensor showed me a nonsensical heart rate when running. If activities are included in the calculation, the result must be wrong. Then I think that only sleep assessment cannot determine the readiness for training. It’s not just about recovery status.
      The mySASY uses accurate heart rate and HRV measurements to spectrally analyze HRV during postural changes. No one does that. Neither does Polar in the orthostatic test, where I think it only evaluates HRV averages. I find even that better than WHOOP. And finally, practice – WHOOP has sometimes given me results radically different than mySASY. In training, I found that body condition, response to training are according to mySASY and not according to WHOOP. I did not renew WHOOP after a year of use, it did not add value.

  3. Worst customer service!

    I took a month trial and was still on the fence on whether I should move ahead with a subscription. I’ve decided to return a device while I’m still considering the options. I then decided to go ahead and “renew” my subscription which I proposed right through the app. Of course, there was no mention about any extra charges when I selected a $30/mo option. When inquired with their support on the device shipment they said that I had to pay $175 for it or prepay for the annual sub. Which would have been fine, if it was clearly stated at the time of the purchase from the whoop app. Upon explaining the situation, they’ve stated their ground and basically tried to force me into paying extra. I had to waste time and dispute the transaction through my bank. This is very unfortunate as I did like the app and a device. But because of their serious issues with customer support, I doubt I’ll ever be their customer. They should learn the lesson to be willing to work with their clients instead of forcing them into something.

  4. I keep on saying: too much is vague! Too little knowledge, too much variables, little proper benchmarks, incomparable data etc. etc. And men are not machines….

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