Whoop 3.0 Question

I know coach @trevor really likes Whoop but reading DC Rainmaker review really made me question the accuracy of the information being provided by the device.


If the HR Optical sensor is not accurate, when doing exercise as reported by DC Rainmaker, then whole strain/recovery metric provided by the device is wrong.

I was really interested in the device but now I just can’t convince myself to spend $300 on something that it is not accurate in the first place.

Alex, thank you for your post! This is a great topic. I actually started using the Whoop since taking on the Head Coach role here at Fast Talk Labs and wanted to give it a good time frame before making any assessments. I’ve been wearing it 24/7 for a couple months now, alongside my Apple Watch (which I don’t use for workout tracking) and my Wahoo TICKR heart rate monitor (which I’ve been using religiously for years).

I think DC’s feedback is spot on. I’ve noticed that there are some large discrepancies with the Strain value and how HR is assessed throughout the day. Because of that monitoring, I won’t rely on it for HR analysis - sometimes it tracks closely, other times it’s way off. For sleep, very much the same. It shows some poor sleep values whereas my Apple Watch (with more optical sensors) shows some vastly different numbers.

I did speak with one of the Whoop customer support folks because of some strange HR values. The solution was to tighten the strap on my wrist. However, this became painful as it was too tight and I was starting to feel some carpel tunnel syndrome from this. The only other option was to move it to the biceps, but I’m not going to wear a strap around my biceps all day.

I would agree with you, Alex. My personal feeling is that while they have some excellent metrics and reporting (the monthly PA report is great!), if it is all based on HR input that is questionable, it’s hard to buy into the product. I’ve found the biggest benefit to be taking the suggestions put out by Whoop and critically thinking about my habits and activities that can affect my recovery. Is that alone worth $30/month? Ehhhh, I’m not so sure anymore. If the HR accuracy was better, I could see it being a more viable option.

Coach Ryan

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Hi coach @ryan,

Thanks for the your reply.

I always wondered why wouldn’t they just release their software for 3rd party devices, like Apple Watch and others, I thought they just couldn’t since their band seemed to be their special secret “sauce”, meaning, their HRM band was head and shoulders above anything else in the market, which according to the review it is clearly NOT the case!

Maybe they will improve on their band for Whoop 4.0 or they will just allow data collection for 3rd party devices, who knows…

Thanks again for your informative review


I had a Whoop band on my wrist for over a year and honestly never really relied on the heart rate accuracy. Like most others I could vary the numbers just be moving my wrist or holding the bars in a different way. Whoop will advise you to use the bicep band for better readings but to me this was another hurdle and not something I wanted to keep doing, especially when I had an Apple Watch on my other wrist.

That said I did get tremendous value from my time with Whoop. It made me think closely about recovery and how my body responds. In my closing months of Whoop membership I ran the Whoop side by side with the Apple Watch and found a bit of a baseline that so far has allowed my the same metrics and value without the monthly outgoing.

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Adam, thanks for your comments on the Whoop as well. I think you mentioned a common theme with that device - it helps us to think closely about recovery and how our bodies respond to demands. As Alex said, I’m sure they will continue improving this, but in the meantime it does have great value to help you get in touch with your recovery and habits.

What did you learn, or how did you end up establishing a baseline when you wore the Whoop side by side with your Apple Watch in those closing months?

Coach Ryan

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Great conversation! I do want to weigh in and say there is some individual variability. For some people it is very accurate and for some the HR reading doesn’t seem to work well. I originally had the WHOOP 2.0 strap and it didn’t seem to record very well. I got the WHOOP 3.0 strap over the summer and have compared its readings to my chest strap and found they matched up extraordinarily well.

Whether that is a result of an improved system in the 3.0 or just strap-to-strap variability, I can’t tell you. It does seem that these wrist based units lack some consistency. I had a Garmin watch that likewise read extraordinarily well compared to my chest strap. I had to replace it with the identical model and the new one is basically useless as a heart rate monitor.

In either case, the primary goal of the WHOOP strap is not to record activities. They use a strain score that doesn’t require remarkable accuracy. This is where I fully agree with Ryan - it could be improved.

But the main purpose of the WHOOP strap is to monitor recovery and sleep. When we were preparing for the recent episode on sleep, I read several studies about the WHOOP strap and it was surprising how well they stacked up. Not as good as the gold standard lab equipment, but the best commercial product available.


Yes, the main take away I took was to really double down on recovery rather than the training. It did also get me thinking more about HRV and how this relates to my training/recovery process.

The Apple Watch does record HRV but there is no real schedule to when it happens, which is Whoop’s strong point; it measures your HRV at a designated time. What I did do was to get everything into the Health app on the phone and then use an app called HealthFit to push all this data to TrainingPeaks.
Each morning I would fill out some some perceived metrics on TrainingPeaks which then allowed me to compare my own feelings, the data from the Apple Watch alongside the Whoop data collected.
Sleep tracking has been the most interesting part. Yes, Apple now track sleep but I found the data rather generous so I opted to use an app called AutoSleep. With this app you can fine tune the sensitivity of the night and tried to align this with the Whoop data.

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I had a similar result with activity strain, and was told to try moving the strap ~ 1in higher up my arm away from my wrist. Since doing that my riding HR and strain scores have been much more accurate.

Also as Trevor and others’ have noted the recovery & sleep numbers are (to me) the more important metrics. I def can see a correlation between alcohol and recovery. 1 drink = around 15% decrease in recovery.

That said I don’t have an apple watch or anything else, so I can’t compare to those


I’ve been having this conversation a lot with people who have the Whoop and apple watch. I don’t think the Apple Watch is really built for HRV… yet. But I’m guessing it will get better.

My friend who works in tech believes that the accuracy of the HR data on the Whoop can be improved by software improvements. I don’t know enough about this, but she said all the optical sensors have limitations, and the software interprets the data and uses some sort of correction factor. If this is true, than Whoop could improve their data.

I have had similar problems with others: irregular recordings. Whoop tells me to move it up or move it tighter, but then it causes irritation or becomes uncomfortable. I also have a Tickr FIT arm strap, which I usually wear cycling. It had pretty good reviews. Has anyone compared them? What would be the easiest way for me to compare if I wore the two on a ride?

Finally, would these differences be that consequential? I believe the main value of HR data after training is to look at decoupling with power. (Need a podcast on this!) Are the HR numbers that different that one monitor would tell you you did a Z1 ride and one would tell you it was in Z3?

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Hi @lenny3200, welcome to the forums! Yes, I think you hit a lot of points that summarize things nicely. All of these devices can certainly improve. They are pretty good right now though. From my experience, the differences are not that consequential, to answer your question. For example, I’ve seen higher HRmax recordings from my Whoop compared to my chest strap. Maybe it changes the “strain” score on Whoop slightly, but in the big picture, it doesn’t seem to be enough to alter the way the ride is reported in terms of achieving a Z1 vs Z3 ride. So it’s all close enough, and I always come back to the point that we just need to determine what we want to measure and how we want to use that data. From much of the Whoop feedback, it seems like the trends in recovery and sleep seem to allow athletes to become more aware of how their habits affect their performance.

I’m not aware of comparisons (but there is surely something out there) between the arm band and Whoop or others (chest strap). But my understanding is that accuracy improves as you go from wrist --> arm --> chest in terms of HR measurements.

Coach Ryan

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So funny you should mention it but I have tried to compare an Apple Watch, a Tickr Fit and the Whoop whilst cycling on a trainer.
When I was sat in a fairly natural stance on the hoods and relatively stationary upper body each device was within around 2-3bpm of each over.
As soon as I moved position or changed hand location when doing higher intensity work the gaps started to appear. The Whoop was the worst one, taking the longest to register a change in effort; obviously it is difficult to say what is or was correct but I know in myself my heart rate was not that low. The Apple Watch was pretty good at keeping up with the occasional slow response but overall I was more confident in that than the Whoop. Finally the Tickr Fit, which I was wearing on the upper forearm with the sensor on the inside of the arm, appeared to very quick at detecting a change.

The Tickr Fit is my go to hrm for indoor training. The ability to put it on quick and easily makes it idea for early workouts. No more getting into the garage and realising the chest strap is back in the bedroom! Plus it is out of the way of the rivers of sweat that have destroyed too many straps.

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If that’s the case, then Whoop’s subscription price is ridiculously high. I can track my sleep using the Apple Watch “Pillow” Free App and my HRV and recovery using the “HRV4Training” App (Paid, but $9.99) which also measure my subjective scores for much less than whoops subscription.

Don’t get me wrong here, I’d love to have one “accurate” device to do it all automatically and displayed in a nice user interface, but the accuracy of the Whoop Band seems to be their Achilles heel at the moment.

Where was the Whoop placed? I feel like the Whoop on forearm == to the Fit on forearm.

There are two things I’m thinking about here:

  1. I like that the Whoop measures the HRV overnight. Honestly, with an infant waking me up in the morning, I don’t think HRV4 (or Apple Watch) would work for me. I don’t have a minute to do nice slow breathing when I wake up!

2. I’m trying to figure out if the Whoop’s Strain score adds anything to training over looking at power metrics. For instance, if I use the Whoop to get a daily strain (including cycling), could Whoop give me better advice on sleep for that night? Also, is there anything that the Whoop’s weekly reports on fitness add to a weekly CTL/ATL/Ramp rate? Or are these only useful to someone without a power meter?

I agree the subscription price is high. They’ll have to do something to keep long term customers. I’m guessing they’ll either come out with a new strap or get bought by another company that integrates their analytics into their system.

The Whoop was on my right wrist; sensor on the outside.
Apple Watch left wrist; sensor outside
Tickr Fit left forearm; sensor inside.

So yes the placement was different and of course will open up any argument about similar readings. Whoop did mention to me that I should use the bicep band for better results but this then defeats the product in my mind. If the device is to be worn 24/7 and provide data 24/7 then it should be a fit and forget, for instance the charging idea is outstanding but if I have to move it get the right data then it does not work for me.

The Whoop strain score will definitely offer something over power metrics and honestly is the reason I continued with the subscription for so long.

Your power metrics and power data are in essence the output metric of your training. So you train to develop these and they serve as a marker for how your progression in training is going.
The Whoop score on the other hand is a metric that is designed to quantify the day to day stresses that you endure. So by monitoring your heart rate and HRV 24/7 it can paint a picture for how your system is coping with not only your training but also your life; being woken up early :wink:
In answer to your question yes it does give you a better picture for your nights sleep as it will take into account a cycling activity plus the day strain to then calculate appropriate rest levels. The down side is that it does not correlate over to anything from the standard TSS based PMC. Whoop will export data to TrainingPeaks but only a daily HRV, heart rate and sleep metrics. It places your Whoop score in a text field so you can not track it very easily. Your PMC metrics are based off a training score from your workouts and so the only correlation I could make was looking at fatigue and form in relation to HRV and then a RPE self diagnosed metric.

This is all great feedback! @AdamC I really appreciate your feedback… gave a perspective that I hadn’t heard before but I found very valuable.

@lenny3200, I think Adam had some good points. The strain score isn’t meant as a measure of your workout, but the overall strain you’ve put on yourself during the day. Since WHOOP is a “recovery” tool and not a “training tool” in the way that a power meter or a Garmin is, that overall assessment of the strain is far more valuable and something you can’t get from any other tool.

My one issue with it is that it’s logarithmic. So, the jump from a strain of 19 to 20 is bigger than the jump from 4 to 10. So, for athletes who spend a lot of time training, almost all of their day scores are going to be 18-21 and it’s really splitting hairs to see the difference. This is something I’ve experienced during the season when I’m preparing for an event. My big days will be 21, but my typical days will be 20 and my easy days can be as high as 18. If there was one thing I could change about their strain score, it would be the logarithmic scale they are using so there can be a little more variation.

But the key thing here is that WHOOP is an assessment of your recovery or “the overall state of your body.” It doesn’t really assess fitness. So it doesn’t add anything to your CTL score, but that’s not what it’s designed to do. It’s designed to tell you where you’re at and whether you are ready to train, in need of rest, if you’ve been over-extending yourself, or if you’ve been recovering lately.

I’m personally a legacy member, so I had to pay for the price of my WHOOP, but have no subscription fee. I admit I do wish WHOOP would go back to that or to some hybrid (you have to pay for the unit and a much smaller monthly or annual fee.)