WHOOP goes direct-to-consumer with performance wearable system
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Wearable technology and performance company WHOOP announced that as of Tuesday it is making publicly available its performance optimization system, a product that was only offered to professional or college athletes, military, Olympians or via select pre-orders.
According to Will Ahmed, founder and CEO, the WHOOP Strap 2.0 will continue to deliver “actionable data” to athletes, teams and trainers to optimize performance, something he believes is missing from other competing tracking devices on the market today.
“I think where wearables or trackers have failed to date is that they tell you a vague version of what’s happened, but they don’t tell you effectively what to do,” he said. “From a product standpoint, we can now tell teams and athletes, ‘This is what you need to do to perform at a higher level.’ We really designed the whole product from that standpoint where you can wake up with a recovery and that recovery tells you how much strain your body is capable of taking on.
“Then, at the end of the day, we look at the strain that’s accumulated on your body, and we say, ‘This is how much sleep you need before you go to bed to optimize for recovery tomorrow.’ It’s really actionable.”
The waterproof wearable device and system, which currently retails for $500 through the company’s online store, will additionally measure body temperature and heart rate, among other metrics.
Ahmed explained that with athletes’ use of the WHOOP wrist strap, the four-year-old startup is seeing players go through an entire season without overtraining, reducing injury by 60% and averaging 40-plus minutes of additional sleep per night, a metric that plays into the company’s round-the-clock monitoring differentiator.
“If you desire to become a better athlete, then not only do you need to train smarter, but you need to recover more efficiently,” said Travis Illian, strength and conditioning coach for the UConn men’s basketball team in a statement. “WHOOP is a powerful tool to help the athlete understand how their body is responding to training and other lifestyle stressors.”
WHOOP has worked with teams across the five major U.S. professional leagues in addition to clubs in the English Premier League and major college conferences. Heading into the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, WHOOP worked with upwards of 30 Olympians, including now 23-time gold medalist Michael Phelps.
“We have been about partnering with athletes and giving them the best product experience so that they can meet their potential,” Ahmed said. “At every phase of the business, we’ve grown with that in mind where we’re really partnering with athletes and our focus has been on validating that WHOOP data can optimize performance. For us, we’ve now gotten to a stage where we believe we can do it on a much wider scale and treat everyone as partners.”
WHOOP’s collaboration with members of the Cleveland Cavaliers this past season, including three-time NBA champion LeBron James and guard Matthew Dellavedova, grabbed headlines when the Australia native was caught wearing a WHOOP band in-game, which the league currently prohibits.