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WHOOP 4.0: The Wearable Designed for Elite Athletes

The WHOOP wearable brings some hi-tech features including sleep, workout, heart rate feedback and more advanced biometrics in a simple package.

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Elite athletes who have been looking for a smart device that tracks their fitness progression and biometrics will be excited about WHOOP wearables. Dubbed the “24/7 wearable fitness and health coach,” the latest iteration of the device — WHOOP 4.0 — monitors your recovery, sleep, training and health all while providing personalized recommendations in addition to coaching feedback. The coolest part? WHOOP monitors your metrics around the clock and can last up to five days on a single charge.

Unlike a Fitbit or Apple Watch, the WHOOP device doesn’t have a screen, so you don’t get access to notifications like you would with other wearables. In fact, WHOOP won’t offer you any type of insights unless you have a membership and are logged into the companion app (compatible with Android and iOS). Users can choose the subscription option that works best for them whether it’s the $30/month plan or an annual plan that’s paid for upfront ($300).

If you’ve been on the hunt for a no-frills fitness and health wearable, WHOOP is worth checking out, especially if you want a better understanding of where your baseline fitness levels are and how your body recovers. Here’s everything you should know before getting one.

Buy WHOOP ($30/month) 

What Can WHOOP Do?

WHOOP offers tons of features that continually monitor some of your vitals along with your fitness progress, how you recover and even what your sleep patterns look like. Like its predecessor, WHOOP 4.0 takes your training activities into account to help you learn when you should push through a workout and when you should take it easy.

The band also tracks your sleep cycles to figure out how much sleep you should be getting every night. It takes into account the quality of your sleep, and measures when you’re in sleep debt. Also known as sleep deficit, which is when you sleep less than what your body needs. WHOOP 4.0 will also measure your blood oxygen levels and skin temperature to better help you figure out what your baseline metrics are; this way, for example, if you struggle through a workout, you can measure your current biometrics, such as your heart rate, against your normal baseline. This may help indicate when you’ve overworked yourself and might be struggling to recover. With the WHOOP app, all of your physiological metrics live in one place.

Another metric is your “Recovery” score which offers a daily measure of your body’s readiness to perform, whether it’s during exercise or working a desk job. WHOOP’s performance analysis looks at how your body adjusts to stressors throughout your daily tasks and also provides your recovery score via a color coded percentage. Several factors, including your heart rate variability (HRV), resting heart rate (RHR) and respiratory rate, are taken into account when calculating your WHOOP recovery score.

There are three tiers of recovery: green, yellow, and red. If your score is in the green (between 67-100%), this means you’re primed to perform and well recovered. If your score is in the yellow, (between 34-66%), your body is in active recovery but can take on moderate strain. If your score is in the red (between 0-33%), you need to rest. Lower recovery scores typically indicate you have overtrained, are sick, are under severe stress, or are not sleeping well. While your WHOOP score is a helpful indicator of how your recovery is moving along, it—and other information obtained from WHOOP—should not be treated as medical advice or used to diagnose health issues. In the event of injury or illness, you should always seek professional medical attention.

In addition to health monitoring, the WHOOP strap also acts as a haptic alarm that gently vibrates to wake you up.

WHOOP touts itself as a wearable that tracks everything but feels like nothing. If you’re looking for an unobtrusive option that’ll monitor your day-to-day activity and help you better understand your recovery patterns and sleep cycle, we recommend giving WHOOP a go.

What Can’t WHOOP Do?

WHOOP doesn’t offer a lot of the features you get with other wearables and smartwatches like the Apple Watch, Garmin’s Vivoactive and the Samsung Galaxy Watch. WHOOP’s focus is tracking your vitals whether it’s during a grueling workout, a rest day or while you’re asleep. It was designed for athletes who want to perform at their peak by understanding how and when they need to exert themselves and when they need to recover. WHOOP won’t tell you the time, function as a form of contactless payment or count your steps—instead, the wearable tracks your daily total cardiovascular load which offers a more comprehensive metric than step-counting alone.

How Does WHOOP Work?

The WHOOP tracker is the small square component (it measures 1.5-inches x 1-inch x 0.5 inches) that sits on the standard band, which is really just acting as a holder. In fact, users have the option to remove WHOOP from the band and place it inside athletic wear — including leggings, underwear and arm and knee sleeves — that WHOOP designed for this purpose.

The WHOOP 4.0 sensor suite features 5 LED lights and 4 photodiodes which use green, red and infrared light to track your metrics with increased accuracy. Although the latest model is 33% smaller than its predecessor, it still has the same 5-day battery life as the WHOOP 3.0. Battery running low? No problem, the 4.0 battery pack can wirelessly charge your WHOOP device in approximately 2.5 hours.

Who is WHOOP Best Suited For?

WHOOP’s features were designed for athletes who want to train smarter, sleep better and recover faster to improve their overall performance. If you’re looking for a wearable that can show you incoming texts or how many steps you’ve taken, WHOOP is not for you.

Buy WHOOP ($30/month)

What Does WHOOP Cost?

WHOOP users can choose from monthly, annual or 24-month plans. The WHOOP monthly cost includes access to the WHOOP app, which offers insights into your physiological metrics, tips for recovery based on your body’s specific needs and info on your sleep patterns. The WHOOP app will also provide users with coaching and custom monthly performance assessment reports.

A monthly WHOOP subscription costs $30/month and requires a 12-month minimum subscription period.

An annual WHOOP subscription costs $25/month and is paid as $300 upfront each year.

A 24-month WHOOP subscription is the best value at $20/month, charged as $480 upfront.

There’s also WHOOP Pro, the newest membership option that costs an additional $12/month and offers members free gear, exclusive offers and early access to new product drops that includes accessories and apparel. WHOOP Pro members can take advantage of:

  • Free shipping and returns on all items purchased from the WHOOP store
  • 20% discounts on apparel and accessories
  • A freebie every three months. This includes bicep bands, straps, batteries, WHOOP apparel, arm sleeves and more. If you don’t make your own selection for a free item, you’ll still receive a surprise freebie every three months
  • Access to limited edition WHOOP Pro gear such as apparel and workout equipment

Instead of having the option to buy a WHOOP wearable outright, you’ll pay for one of the monthly subscriptions mentioned above that comes with a WHOOP 4.0 at no additional cost.

Plus: The 5 Best Fitness Trackers for Every Budget

Other WHOOP FAQs

Can I use WHOOP without a membership?

No, but included with a membership is the hardware, SuperKnit wristband, app and progress assessments. Membership starts at $30/month, and the monthly price decreases when you buy an annual or 24 month membership.

Can I shower with my WHOOP?

The WHOOP is totally waterproof up to 10 meters, so yes, you can shower—or swim, skip in the rain, etc.—while wearing your WHOOP.

Can WHOOP measure blood pressure?

Yes, the WHOOP measures and tracks your blood pressure. A healthy blood pressure is at or below 120/80 mmHg. 

What does WHOOP do that Apple Watch can't?

Overall, WHOOP has most of the same fitness features as the Apple Watch, but it's more focused on stats and metrics than trying to be an extension of your smart phone. Since it doesn't have a display screen or capabilities like texting, GPS and music, it stays charged for up to five days, compared with an average of 20 hours for the Apple Watch. Also, instead of an electrocardiogram (ECG), WHOOP tracks your heart rate via a photoplethysmography (PPG), which is purported to be more accurate. Lastly, the WHOOP is more tailored toward helping you achieve optimal recovery than the Apple Watch. 

What Else to Consider

The WHOOP wearable is IP68 dustproof and water-resistant up to 32 feet for two hours. The accompanying WHOOP battery pack is also IP68 dustproof and water-resistant but only up to 3-feet for two hours. This makes WHOOP comparable to Samsung’s Galaxy watch which features the same rating as well as the Apple Watch Series 2—and newer models—which are rated for use during shallow water activities such as swimming but are not rated for use during deeper submersions such as scuba diving.

You can wirelessly charge WHOOP with the battery pack while wearing it to refrain from disrupting the biometric monitoring. This lets you get as close as possible to nonstop health and fitness tracking whether you’re in a sauna, running in the rain, washing dishes or taking a shower.

WHOOP offers bands in several colorways and the hardware on the strap comes in different finishes so you can personalize the wearable to your preferences.

If you decide that WHOOP isn’t for you, you can cancel your membership for a refund within 30-days of receipt to begin the return process. If the 30-day window has passed and you decide to cancel your membership, you have two options: pay the remaining months of your subscription commitment in full or continue making payments on your current schedule until you reach the end of your subscription period.

Buy WHOOP ($30/month)

The bottom line is that WHOOP is an excellent choice for elite athletes working to reach peak fitness levels. If you want a device to track your workouts that also offers in-depth analyses that will help you improve your athletic performance with fitness, health and sleep reports, we recommend WHOOP. But if you’re looking for something that offers less specialized functions, you might want to consider a smart watch or fitness tracker instead.

Read this next: The Best Personal Training Apps of the Year

Note: WHOOP is not a medical device and is not intended to be used as such. WHOOP cannot diagnose diseases and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice and/or treatment.

Prices are accurate and items in stock as of publish time.