Whoop recovery scores can seem confusing. Wondering how to increase your recovery score on Whoop? If you have a low recovery score, should you still train that day?
If you have a Whoop recovery tracker or are curious about how to improve your recovery overall, this article will give you some suggestions.
What is Whoop?
From there, Whoop uses its algorithm to score your recovery, giving you a personalized look into recovery, cardiovascular strain, sleep, and more.
This kind of recovery tracker gets to know your baseline and patterns over time. Not only is it useful in tracking recovery from day to day, it also helps to see when certain behaviors are – or aren’t – contributing to better recovery.
Let’s start by looking at what the recovery scores actually mean.
What do the Whoop Recovery Scores Mean?
With Whoop, your recovery score is displayed each morning from a scale of 0-100%. It’s divided into three ranges and each is given a color.
Green = 67%-100%
This means your body is ready for strenuous activity, and this is a good day to go for it. You’re likely well recovered.
Yellow = 34%-66%
A yellow score means you can still train but may not want to go full out. You’re likely ready for moderate cardiovascular activity.
Red = 0%-33%
You likely need rest or at most, active recovery.
If your score is red, you generally don’t want to push it with intense training, especially if HRV, RHR, sleep and / or respiratory rate are off from your baseline.
This can be really helpful if you’re the kind of person who feels like you should push through hard training on a day you don’t feel recovered.
For what it’s worth, other recovery tracking systems use similar scales to assess your readiness to train each day.
Though the verbiage and exact score ranges may differ, the concepts are generally quite similar: Well-recovered? Go for it. Poorly recovered? It’s probably a good day to rest or do active recovery.
What About Paying Attention to How Your Body Feels?
Whether you use a recovery tracker or not, I encourage my students and clients to pay close attention to how their bodies feel. (Additionally, I teach my students how to use the concept of auto-regulation in the Calm module of Strength Nutrition Unlocked.)
This, together with data and personalized recommendations from Whoop can really help you understand the ways how you’re feeling overlaps with recovery.
For example, you might be very sore because you did unfamiliar exercises, started a new training plan, or did a lot of volume in a training session. This can result in delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), microscopic damage to your muscle fibers.
Even if you’re super sore, you may have a pretty high recovery score because Whoop focuses on cardiovascular strain and nervous system readiness, not muscular fatigue / soreness.
You might be a weightlifter or powerlifter who lifts super heavy and gets fatigued from a set of 5×5 squats, but your activity strain is in the range of 4-6. That doesn’t mean your workout wasn’t hard. It just means that your overall cardiovascular strain was lower.
Personally, I’m a big fan of paying attention to the data and how I feel.
Examples of other recovery signs to pay attention to:
- How heavy the weight feels
- How fast you’re able to move
- Coordination & stability
- If you usual rest periods are sufficient
- Capacity for higher skill movements
- How well you’re able to regulate your breathing
Of course, training isn’t the only thing that will impact recovery. Keep reading!
How to Improve Your Whoop Recovery Scores
Improving your recovery – whether you use a wearable recovery tracker like Whoop or not – is important for all athletes. That includes women strength athletes, weightlifters, and CrossFitters.
There are several factors that can impact your recovery, including but not limited to:
- more sleep – including more consistent sleep & wake times
- improving hydration
- improving nutrition – including eating enough overall and getting enough protein and carbs
- reducing alcohol intake
- including short naps
- doing meditation
- adjusting workout intensity / volume
- weaving in active recovery days
For my clients and students, the biggest factors tend to be sleep, eating enough to fuel their workouts, and setting better boundaries in life
My Personal Experience with Using Whoop Recovery
I’ve been using Whoop for recovery tracking since April 2021.
Personally, I chose Whoop over other systems because I can wear it on my upper arm in addition to my wrist. That works better for me with both Brazilian jiu-jitsu and lifting.
After leaving mountain bike racing in 2010 and constantly tracking my training with a Garmin, I stopped tracking anything with regard to workouts or recovery for over 10 years.
I believe the decision for athletes to use a recovery tracker is personal, and there are pros and cons depending on your personality and goals.
However, you might struggle with getting enough recovery or backing off on your training because you fear losing progress. If you tend to overtrain or struggle with taking rest days, Whoop can help you make data-driven decisions.
Do you use a Whoop recovery tracker? How has it helped you as a strength athlete? Let me know in the comments below.
This post contains affiliate links. All content, opinions, and words are my own, and I only ever share products I believe in 100%.