I’ve been wearing a Whoop Strap for about 5 months now. If you are unaware, a Whoop Strap is a heart-rate variability monitor (HRV) that should be worn all the time. ALL the time… you can even wear it in the shower. By measuring your heart rate throughout the day and all the ups/downs of life, it can help build a picture of how prepared you are for your next workout.
They basically give you the strap and sensor for free, with the understanding that you are agreeing to pay the monthly fee for at least 6 months. And the monthly fee is $30/month.
I really love seeing the data on this. It’s cool to see how your daily score goes up and down depending on how your life and training are going. It’s also insanely frustrating to be in the yellow or red zones most of the time.
Yellow and red zones? Yeah, that’s how the app presents how well you are recovered. If you are all good, you’re in the green. If you are kind of lagging, you’re in the yellow. And if you are beat, you’re in the red. And I’m pretty much always in the yellow or red.
When I first got the strap, I was ALWAYS in the red. I complained on Twitter about how frustrating that was and Whoop reached out to me to see if they could help. They took a look at my data and said that light was getting through to the sensor, so my readings weren’t as accurate as they should be. They offered to send me a bicep strap to try that instead.
I have tried wearing the strap in multiple places on my body. My wrist was the first attempt, and I guess my bony wrist didn’t fit it very well. Whoop sent me a bicep strap and I wore it on my bicep, which was probably the most comfortable for me, but it also felt the most conspicuous. Everybody seemed to notice it when I wore it there and asked what it was. Perhaps I should have printed up cards with my referral link on it and gave it to everyone who asked?
Even though it’s not a recommended spot, I tried wearing it on my ankle for a while. I liked that placement, but it low key looked like I was on some kind of release program and just waiting for my parole office to pop in to see how things were going. Okay, not that extreme… but still, you get the idea. And after I wore it on my ankle for a week straight, I had a sore spot on my leg where the sensor was. I knew that had to move.
I moved it to my forearm. Not quite as knobby as a wrist, but also not quite as conspicuous as the bicep. I’ve been wearing it there for about a month, but I still move it around. I don’t want to end up with that irritated skin spot like before. I move it to my other arm for night or on my bicep. I also have to keep it pretty tight on my forearm so it doesn’t slide down my arm, which means I end up with indentations in my arm from the strap.
I also take it off to shower. You can wear it in water, but I found that I didn’t like the feeling of the mesh band feeling damp for about an hour after wearing it in water. I tried wearing it in the pool a few times, but it would turn itself inside out with the resistance from the water as I moved my arm through the water.
One really cool tech feature of the Whoop Strap is the battery pack. You charge the battery pack, then you can slip it on top of your Whoop WHILE YOU ARE WEARING IT! Seriously, that’s part of the beauty because you really can get as much HRV data as possible when wearing the sensor all the time and the battery pack allows you to wear it while charging it.
I tried syncing it to my Garmin, but my Garmin never seemed to see the Whoop. It is supposed to have the ability to act as a separate HR monitor, but maybe my Garmin is just too old. (I mean, Garmin did send me an email for 20% off a new one with a message encouraging me to update it. But why, its working just fine!) So instead, I just wear the Whoop, and my Garmin, and my Apple Watch while I run. That may be a bit much, huh?
So there are a lot of things that are pretty cool about this, but I really don’t like wearing it. Like I said, I can’t figure out a placement that I really like. And it seems that I bump the sensor on things and it flips inside out, which obviously lets light in and messes with the accuracy of the readings.
I would probably choose to change position from upper arm to forearm at different times in the same day if changing bands was more seamless too. Call me lazy, but I don’t want to have to un/rethread the band through each time I want to change it. Also, replacement bands can get pricey if you want to play matchy-match with your bands.
My locked in timeframe from when I got my Whoop is almost up and I my mind was set to cancel my membership… but then they announced the new Whoop Strap 4.0. Once again, I could get that sensor for free as long as I commit to another 6 months. If you pay for multiple months in bulk upfront, you get a reduced rate, but I think the shortest amount of time you can pre-pay is 12 months, and I didn’t want to lock into that. If I don’t like the new sensor, I don’t want to lock in for even 6 more months.
But I really want to play with the new one too! The sensor is smaller, so that would hopefully address my concern with bumping it into things so much. And the new band system looks like it’s easier to change out bands.
It’s so frustrating wanting to play with all the latest tech, but still being fiscally responsible!
The new Whoop sensor also works with their new line of clothing items that have spots to hold your sensor, including sports bras and underwear. When I saw that my first thought was, “Hold up! I could have stuck this in my bra?” That probably wouldn’t work without the special clothing to keep it on place, but it’s an intriguing concept. But you know what else that means? Mo’ money…
So, I’ve got about 4 more weeks on my current plan. I could upgrade now and start my next 6 months of Whoop commitment, or I can ride out what I’ve got now and move on. It’s not like I’m training for anything in particular. And I don’t adjust my training based on the readings it gives me either. I look at it and say, “I’m in the red and I’m only 17% recovered, huh? Well… time to lace up the shoes and run 5.” Even when we were on vacation and I was sleeping more at night and running a lot less because I didn’t wake up early, the strap still told me that I was a wreck. In fact, each time I’ve been out of town in the time I’ve been wearing this, the strap says my recovery gets even worse.
So what I’ve learned from Whoop is that vacations are evidently bad for me.
If you’re at all interested in acquiring your own strap, you can get a free WHOOP 4.0 strap (as of this posting) and your first month free when you join with my link. I supposedly get a free month membership if anyone signs up with my link, so I guess that could force my hand toward getting the 4.0 myself, huh?