Join Now

June 7, 2019

How the WHOOP Strain Coach Works

The WHOOP Strain Coach provides activity level recommendations based on your recovery. It also lets you know in real time how close you are to reaching your goal.

By Mark Van Deusen

Below we’ll take a deeper dive into how the Strain Coach works, where it came from, and how you can use it to better optimize your training.

Where Strain Coach Came From

WHOOP members have long been familiar our Sleep Coach, which takes sleep monitoring to the next level by suggesting exactly when to go to bed and wake up in order to meet your daily performance goals.

This applies a similar approach to strain (a measure of cardiovascular exertion which we track on a 0-21 scale, both for individual workouts and for your entire day) and makes the transition from feedback to coaching.

How it Works

The Strain Coach gives you an exertion-level recommendation based on your recovery (a daily metric for how ready your body is to take on strain) and strain you’ve already accumulated. When you start an activity, it shows your strain building in real time towards the suggested goal. You can also see how many calories you’re burning and which heart rate zone you’re operating in.

Upgrade Your Training

The initial recommendation from the Strain Coach is based on an optimal state to maintain your fitness level (WHOOP members will recognize this from the Weekly Performance Assessment, but instead of simply analyzing last week’s trends you have access to this information 24/7, in real time). However, that is not always going to be your desired outcome.

The Strain Coach allows you to adjust your goal depending on what your intent is (check out these pieces on max heart rate and heart rate training zones). Maybe you’re tapering prior to a big event, and prefer to train in a restorative state to allow for active recovery? Or, maybe you’d like to push yourself to make fitness gains with a period of functional overreaching?

How the WHOOP Strain Coach works.

Once you’ve set your goal, the Strain Coach lets you know how long and hard to work out in order to meet that goal–whether to keep pushing yourself, or if you’re overdoing it. This allows athletes to make smarter and more informed decisions in the moment.

Should you do that extra lap or set of reps? Like having a personal trainer at your fingertips, the Strain Coach has the answer.


The Strain Coach is only available with the WHOOP Strap 3.0.

Share on and

Mark Van Deusen

Mark Van Deusen is the Content Manager at WHOOP. Before joining WHOOP, Mark served as the Managing Editor and Head Writer for He was also a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and a contributor at Yahoo Sports. A former tennis coach, Mark graduated from the University of Richmond with a degree in Sociology and Leadership Studies.