whoop strain

WHOOP Strain

Strain is a summary metric of the cardiovascular load achieved during an individual Activity or over the course of a day. It is shown on a scale from 0 to 21.

All out, near maximal workouts are considered 18 and above; strenuous workouts are considered 14-18; moderate workouts are 10-14; and everything below 10 represents degrees of light or minimal activity. The same scale applies to your entire Day’s Strain.

Viewing Strain in the App

The Strain overview in the app provides a summary of the day’s Strain and Activities. The overall score displayed represents the Strain you have accumulated over the course of your entire day; to view the Strain associated with individual workouts, tap the button under your score to access each workout. You can also view each day’s Strain statistics (Calories Burned, Average Heart Rate, and Max Heart Rate) relative to the average of the last 30 days by tapping on the flip box at the bottom of the screen.

How Strain is Calculated

Strain is a measurement, on a 21-point scale, which quantifies the total cardiovascular load undergone as a function of the total cardiovascular load you were capable of taking on in a 24-hour period. Strain is personalized and accounts for differences in fitness and ability such that two people who complete the same run could get very different strain scores based on differences in the relative difficulty to complete that run. That means that an Activity’s Strain is a measure of how hard you worked, not what you did. For example, a “very hard” workout for you may be a “near maximal” workout for someone else.

Strain is calculated by the duration of time you spend in each of your personal max heart rate zones, established from your max heart rate. Each percentile has a different weight to how much Strain will increase. The more elevated your heart rate, and for longer duration, the higher your Strain. For example, if you walked casually throughout the day, your Strain score would probably stay low, because even though you were active, your heart rate (and therefore cardiovascular load) did not elevate.

Strain starts to build when you go to sleep and each successive score requires more effort to achieve. This means that you could wake up with a Strain score anywhere from 0 – 4 upon waking, and this is perfectly normal.

Day Strain

Day Strain is a measure of the Strain you have accumulated over the course of an entire day. While individual workouts receive Strain Scores to indicate your level of cardiovascular effort for that discrete period of time, Day Strain provides you with a full picture of the Strain you are putting on your body each day.

Day Strain is very useful in determining what non-exercise activities are contributing the most to your accumulated Strain. This can help you better plan your days leading up to a competition, or can help identify activities during your day that may be contributing to elevated Strain. In addition, Day Strain takes into account Activities you may not consider to be “workouts”, such as your daily commute.

To learn more about Strain listen to Podcast No. 26: Understanding Strain

Strain is a summary metric of the cardiovascular load achieved during an individual Activity or over the course of a day. It is shown on…

How Often Should You Work Out? The WHOOP Strain Coach Can Help

posted: Nov. 16, 2020.


The question of how frequently to work out depends on who you are and what goals you have. Things like age, fitness level, and the intensity and duration of your exercise all come into play, as does what you’re trying to accomplish. Are you training for a specific event? Looking to lose weight? Build muscle? Or maybe just hoping to stay healthy and in shape?
Each person is unique, so the more you can learn about yourself the better you’ll be able to answer this question.


Physiology: A young, physically fit person is likely better suited to exercise more often than someone who is older and out of shape. But, even for you specifically, there are some days when your body is more prepared to handle workouts than others.

Intensity: Generally speaking, the harder you exercise, the less capable your body is to work out as frequently, and visa versa.

Duration: Similar to intensity, working out for longer periods of time also reduces your body’s ability to do so with more regularity.

Goals: If you’re trying to do anything that requires making fitness gains, you’ll want to exercise more often than if you’re simply aiming to maintain your current level of fitness.


The simple answer is “yes,” engaging in physical activity on a daily basis is a healthy behavior. However, it’s important to find the right balance of exercise intensity and duration so that you don’t push yourself too hard (this can lead to Overtraining Syndrome, a common pitfall for many athletes).

As mentioned above, no matter who you are or what you do, sometimes your body is ready to crush a workout and sometimes it’s not. How do you know? Based on your physiological markers, the WHOOP recovery metric provides daily insight (from 0-100% and classified as green, yellow or red) as to how prepared your body is to perform.


This may depend on the type of exercise you’re doing and how much stress you want to put on your body. WHOOP quantifies the strain (an individualized measure of cardiovascular exertion on a 0-21 scale) your body takes on, both for specific workouts and activities, and over the course of your entire day.

Different kinds of workouts naturally vary in intensity, and in turn put different amounts of strain on your body. For example, let’s say your goal was to hit a strain of 10 (considered moderate) for a specific workout. Below are the most common activities logged in the WHOOP app, and the average length of time it takes for people to reach a 10 strain while participating in each.


Using the above chart as a guide, one might conclude that on average swimming or cycling for 50 minutes has roughly the same cardiovascular affect on your body as about 30 minutes of running.

The key to all of this is that workout frequency and duration can fluctuate significantly, as long as you manage your strain appropriately.


WHOOP acts like a 24/7 coach right on your wrist. Every morning, the Strain Coach gives you exertion-level recommendations based on your daily recovery. It updates as your body takes on strain throughout the day, continually advising you on how much more is needed to get to your ideal total.

When you’re ready to work out, you can open the Strain Coach and see a suggested amount of strain for that particular activity. This amount can be adjusted based on your intended outcome.

Do you want to push yourself past what your body can readily handle (overreaching) to work on improving your fitness? Or, maybe you’d like to stay below your optimal zone to help boost recovery (restorative)?

While you’re exercising, the Strain Coach tracks your average heart rate, max heart rate, calories burned, and which heart rate zone you’re in at any given time. As your strain builds, it lets you know when you’ve reached the desired goal for that activity.

Monitoring your exertion with the WHOOP Strain Coach allows you to better determine how often you should work out.

For example, if your body is poorly recovered and you’ve already accumulated strain from regular daily activities, maybe you’ve reached your optimal amount for the day and it’s better to skip your evening workout. Or, on the other hand, if you woke up in the green and only got in a light session this morning, maybe it’s a good day to exercise twice. Either way, the Strain Coach tracks the impact of your workouts and enables you to make more informed decisions.

How Often Should You Work Out? The WHOOP Strain Coach Can Help in Cincinnati, OH. Marcon Chiropractic & Wellness Center is your local Chiropractor in Cincinnati serving all of your needs. Call us today at (513) 474-1111 for an appointment.