Maximise your gains: A closer look at Whoop’s innovative strength trainer feature
Whoop has rolled out recently a new Strength Trainer feature. It promises to give you a more complete picture of your workout load. By keeping tabs on exercises, reps, and weight usage, Strength Trainer calculates the load you put on your musculoskeletal system and factors that into your overall Strain score.
Earlier this year, the company hinted at various updates, including long-term trends, improved journaling, stress tracking, and strength training features. With the arrival of strength exercise tracking, all these updates have been implemented. Whoop’s recent acquisition of PUSH has played a key role in developing the Strength Trainer feature.
We reviewed the Push fitness band back in 2017. The wearable works via something called velocity based training. By monitoring lifting speed, the wearable gives you info that guides you to adjust the load and volume of training to optimise performance and reduce the risk of injury. It does take some time to learn how to interpret the data, but once that is done, the wearable is very useful. It removes the guesswork from lifting.
The Whoop feature works a bit differently.
Using Whoop’s Strength Trainer
The Whoop Strength Trainer function measures the impact of your strength training workouts and the strain they impose on your body. By employing an accelerometer and gyroscope, it tracks the volume and intensity of each exercise repetition. The software then estimates your max volume based on your workout history and calculates your personal muscular load using the max intensity for each exercise from your performance profile.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
Your Activity Strain metric measures both cardiovascular and muscular loads. After a workout, you are able to see if a specific activity was more cardio-intensive or muscular-intensive.
Starting a workout
To start a workout using Strength Trainer on WHOOP, select it from the action button (the “+” sign) on the Home screen. Then its a matter of choosing from pre-built templates, previous workouts, or create a new custom workout. To create a new workout, name it, add exercises and/or supersets. Then select Start Workout, Record the device location, select continue, and the countdown will begin.
The workout consists of three phases, namely Warmup, Workout, and Cooldown. Warmup prepares the body to prevent injury, and the Workout phase begins after the warmup. During the live session, the active set is displayed. Cooldown is the gradual return of the heart rate to baseline after the workout.
Each screen displays a running clock indicating the entire activity duration. There’s also a timer showing the current set’s duration, your heart rate with percentage zone relative to the maximum, and the current exercise, where exercise details are available by selecting the “i” icon. Additionally, the screen shows the current set number and total sets, reps, and weight.
Access the exercises tab by swiping left, tapping the icon or the three dots at the top right corner of your screen. The screen displays all exercises in your workout, including completed and non-completed sets. A green checkmark indicates completed exercises and a spinning wheel displaying the current exercise.
The play button is used to initiate the next set, and you can add more exercises, edit reps, weights, or end the set or the activity. You can reorder the exercises by dragging and dropping them after tapping and holding the two horizontal lines beside them. When the last set is completed, you can choose to end the workout and proceed to your cooldown.
You’ll then have the option to fill out a rate of perceived exertion survey. It ranks the workout intensity on a scale from 1 to 10.
There’s lots of data to play with.
Once the workout is over, the activity details screen appears, which can also be accessed from the Home screen. The Strain section contains the time of the activity, the activity name, total Activity Strain, and the percentage of the activity that contributes to the cardio load versus the muscular load, along with a coaching summary of your performance.
Interestingly enough, a number of users have noticed that Whoop is awarding them a higher Strain Score with the feature than previously. Which made them realise they were overtraining in the past in order to hit the suggested daily strain recommendation.
In the Exercises tab, swipe through each exercise to see the number of sets, tonnage (total volume of weight lifted, taking into account the number of reps and weight, including a percentage of your body weight depending on the movement), number of reps, and a green highlight indicating when each exercise was performed. The HR zones tab provides a breakdown of heart rate zones and the duration spent in each zone.
Availability of Whoop Strength Trainer
Those with a Pro Whoop subscription were the first to receive the Strength Trainer feature. By now, it should have rolled out to everyone. Just make sure you are running the latest software.
Also, check out of detailed Whoop 4.0 review. Investing in the wearable offers users invaluable insights into their sleep, recovery, and daily activities. This new Strength Training feature takes this further by allowing users to increase strength, and enhance overall fitness more efficiently while minimising the risk of injury.
Whoop Strength Trainer – FAQ
What is the Strength Trainer function in the Whoop 4.0?
The Strength Trainer is a new feature in the Whoop 4.0 app. It quantifies the muscular and cardiovascular load of your strength workouts. By building your workout or selecting a pre-built option, Whoop uses the information about the volume and intensity of your training to understand the true exertion placed on your muscles, bones, joints, and tissues. This results in a comprehensive view of your training efforts. You also get more insights into your performance, and a more comprehensive Strain score.
Will the WHOOP Strength Trainer recommend what to lift and when?
While the feature doesn’t currently have this functionality, the long-term goal is to be able to recommend what to lift and when. WHOOP can track how fast you are moving and whether you are struggling to lift. Therefore it could potentially make recommendations based on that data.
How does the Strength Trainer track exercises like planks or pull-ups?
For exercises like planks, you should leave the weight field blank unless you’re adding weight with a plate on your back or something similar. When it comes to reps, just put in 1 for now and keep the timer on when you’re in the plank. For pull-ups and push-ups, there is still slight movement that Whoop tracks and that goes into the calculation. For planks, where there is literally no movement, Whoop estimates the muscular load based on internal data and comparisons.
Can workouts be copied and edited in the Strength Trainer?
As of now, there isn’t a feature to copy and edit workouts. The Whoop team has noted this feedback and is considering how to implement this feature.
Can I add exercises or details about my workout after the fact?
The team is currently considering this feature, but it’s not available yet. The Whoop team has noted that they are concerned people might not accurately recall the full details of their lifts, including the number of reps and weight after the fact. However, they do see the value in this feature and are considering implementing it.
Can I undo a set in the Strength Trainer?
Yes, if you started a set by accident, you can tap the three dots in the top left and click “discard set” to return to the rest timer. If you accidentally started and stopped a set and didn’t lift anything, WHOOP should recognize that and give you no credit. To be doubly sure, you could always change the number of reps on that set to 0 and add another set.
Can I add custom exercises to the WHOOP Strength Trainer?
The WHOOP team is planning to add a feature that allows users to add their own custom exercises. In this feature, you’d be able to create your own custom exercise and then select which of the current tracked movements it is most similar to, so that you can get an accurate muscular load calculation.
Can I see my workout history in the Strength Trainer?
As of now, the Strength Trainer doesn’t provide a feature to see your workout history. However, the Whoop team is continuously developing and improving the app based on user feedback.
Can I preprogram rest times for each set and movement and have a timer?
Currently, the Strength Trainer doesn’t have a feature to preprogram rest times for each set and movement. However, the Whoop team is considering this feature.
Could the WHOOP Strength Trainer have a feature that automatically detects when I start and stop sets?
The WHOOP team has briefly discussed the idea of improving the start-stop experience, possibly by detecting the start and stop of sets automatically, but there is no confirmation on whether or when this feature might be implemented.
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