Vice President of Performance Kristen Holmes and Director of Analytics Emily Capodilupo break down everything you want to know about the WHOOP strain metric. They talk about where it came from, how it works, what it measures exactly, as well as all the things that cause strain beyond exercise.
Kristen and Emily also discuss how to balance strain with recovery in relation to what your training goals are, and explore someÂ new features available with the WHOOP Strap 3.0Â that will help you do just that.
I’d like to thank them both for coming on the show and sharing their insight–when it comes to understanding how to make the most of WHOOP data, there’s nobody better.
3:27 – Where WHOOP Strain Came From.Â âWe originally were inspired by the Borg Scale [of perceived exertion, 6-20]. We added 21 to put our own little stamp on it,â Emily says.
4:39 – What Does it Measure?Â âIt specifically measures cardiovascular load,â Emily explains. âIt does not measure muscular skeletal load. You might do a lot of squats and work your glutes really hard…â but that wonât cause high strain if it doesnât also get your heart rate going.
5:05 – How is it Individualized?Â âIf you and I both got a 15, we both worked relatively equally hard within our capacity, but if weâre at different fitness levels we couldâve objectively done very different things,â Emily states. The reverse is also true–if two people do identical workouts, it will cause less strain on the one who is more fit.
6:32 – Why WHOOP Doesnât Count Steps.Â âSteps are a very limited metric. Strain is sport agnostic,â Emily says.
7:49 – What Causes StrainÂ (besides exercise)? âItâs also things that are stressful,â Emily explains. âAll the little things in life add up in ways that you might not realize.â
9:03 – Day Strain vs Workout Strain.Â âIf you have a big event later on in the day, it might be wise to take action to mitigate your day strain.â Kristen shares some tips for how to do that.
12:15 – Canât Manage What You Donât Measure.Â A soccer team on WHOOP tried to taper before NCAA championships, but found the players didnât actually reduce their overall strain because of their social activities. After monitoring their day strain, a year later they got it right and won the national championship.
13:25 – Strain is Logarithmic, Not Linear.Â Individual workout strains donât add up to your day strain, which falls in line with usersâ level of perceived exertion. âIt actually is easier to go from a 10-mile run to an 11-mile run than it is to go from a 1-mile run to a 2-mile run,â Emily says. âThe longer you go, the harder you go, the harder it becomes to build strain.â
16:25 – Using Strain to Help Train.Â Do you want to maintain, restore, or functionally overreach? âThis is my capacity today [yourÂ recovery], whatâs my physiological intent? And that dictates what type of strain you want to put on your body,â Kristen explains. OurÂ Weekly Performance AssessmentÂ helps guide you.
17:45 – Balancing Strain & Recovery.Â âWe want to make sure weâre not telling people âOh youâre red, stay in bed,ââ Emily says. She describes some active recovery tactics.
21:59 – New Strain CoachÂ available with Strap 3.0. âItâs a live, real-time feature thatâll help you train in the moment, not just understand trends.â Emily says. âI think for folks who donât have the resources to have a personal coach, thatâs the gap that WHOOP is filling,â Kristen adds.
26:12 – WHOOP Live.Â âYouâre literally seeing fatigue happen in real time,â Emily states. âAs a long-time coach, overlaying physiological data onto video has always been kind of a pipe dream,â Kristen notes, âand to make it a reality is super cool.â