How to Increase Whoop Recovery Scores

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.

woman with brown hair sitting on a gym floor holding an iphone

What is Whoop?

It’s a wearable device about the size of a wrist watch that collects data like heart rate variability (HRV), resting heart rate (RHR), respiratory rate, activity, and sleep patterns.

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.

Many of my Strength Nutrition Unlocked students use Whoop, and a question that comes up a lot is, ”My recovery is low. Should I train or not?”

Let’s start by looking at what the recovery scores actually mean.

woman with brown hair sitting on a gym floor holding an iphone with the whoop recovery app open

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.

screenshot of sample displays from the whoop app showing a green recovery

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.

screenshot of sample displays from the whoop recovery app showing a red recovery

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.

screenshot of sample displays from the whoop recovery app showing sleep data

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.

screenshot of sample displays from the whoop recovery app showing sleep phases

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

Obviously, what you need to improve will be very personal which is why working with a coach 1-1 or in a group can help you hone in.

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.

Get your first month of Whoop 4.0 with onyx band free.

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%.

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Hi, I'm Steph!

Nutrition and fitness coach for women, Lord of the Rings nerd, and depending on who you ask, crazy cat lady. My mission is to help you fuel for more, not less: bigger muscles, strength, energy, and possibilities. We’ll do it with my signature blend of science, strategy…and a little bit of sass.

DYNAMIC DUMBBELLS Program

Build muscle, strength & power AND take all the guesswork out of your workout with this 3x weekly written-for-you dumbbell strength program.

GET FREE DUMBBELL WORKOUTS

Strength Nutrition Unlocked

For women lifting weights who want to get stronger, build muscle, have more energy, and perform better. Implement the four keys you need to unlock your next level of strength in this 8-week program.

Get free dumbbell workouts