Everyone has that a friend who has really torn in quarantine. Alone in their kitchen, they painstakingly prepared bowls of pan-fried salmon salads with shallots, chickpeas and arugula; snuggled up in bed every night for more than eight hours of restful sleep; and spent the long lonely weekends walking or cycling for hundreds of kilometers.
This person is probably wearing or has thought to be wearing a Whoop Strap. The screenless, low-profile group was developed at Harvard University, where founder Will Ahmed was captain of the varsity squash team. Since then it has been used by everyone from the NFL and Steph Curry to Navy SEALs. It has two LEDs and an accelerometer that tracks biometric data such as sleep data, respiratory rate and heart rate variability to achieve proprietary measurements of blood pressure and recovery for optimal athletic performance.
But more than any other fitness tracker I’ve tested, the Whoop Strap draws a clear line between those who love to work out and those who live Do fitness. This only makes sense if you are already a very experienced athlete or have a robust supplemental training system. Most of us – especially in the midst of a global pandemic, ecological disaster, and economic disaster – likely won’t benefit from this strap, and that’s OK.
Free with purchase
Even Whoop’s business model differs from every other fitness tracker I’ve tried. Rather than releasing progressively different versions of the same tracker each year, Whoop only updates their simple material as needed. The current iteration, the Strap 3.0, has better battery life (up to 5 days), Bluetooth for connecting to bikes and other devices, and new, incredibly comfortable ProKnit straps.
The Strap itself is free, but you need a Whoop membership to see the benefits. It starts at $ 30 per month, or $ 18 per month with an 18-month commitment. In addition to Strap 3.0, you also have access to advanced company analytics and Whoop “teams”, which are organized around your interests (I joined the Road Runners and Women 30-40).
The build quality of the sensor and strap is nice. ProKnit bands are particularly soft, come in a variety of colors, and are easy to slip into the clip and replace. You are supposed to wear the strap about an inch above your wrist and tight enough that it is difficult to slip a finger underneath; it’s also optimized to work anywhere from your wrist to your biceps. What was uncomfortably tight on the first day quickly became unnoticeable.
The smartest feature is a removable battery that slips right above the sensor. You don’t have to remove the strap from your wrist to charge it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll remember to put the battery back on. Fortunately, you can simply buy extra batteries ($ 30) so you never lose a minute of data tracking.