Whoop recovery score lower during recovery weeks

As the title suggests, my whoop recovery tends to sit around 37-60% during a recovery week. I have no idea why.

  1. Bike workouts are short, easy/endurance with more time focused on stretching/drills etc.
  2. Sleep score is 95% (consistent bed/wake, avg 8 hours), although I have been making an effort to shift both bed and wake earlier by 2 hours.
  3. RHR is in normal range
  4. Respiratory rate is normal,

HRV is the only thing that is “lower than average,” and it appears that this is tanking my score.
My working theories are…

  1. My HRV sees higher peaks in response to the fluctuation of training intensity a la super compensation mechanism. This drives my average HRV up, so that when it levels off during a week of reduced strain, it is lower relative to average.
  2. I can remember a podcast where the TR guys discussed catecholamines. So maybe, although I feel fine, my body is finally catching up on the damage done and I truly need to give it more time than I’d prefer to fully recover and adapt.
  3. The 2 hour shift earlier in my sleep schedule has not habituated yet and so my sleep is not as good as I think it is.

Thoughts?

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I am having the exact same experience right now.

My hypothesis is that aerobic exercise with some mild to moderate strain keeps blood volume high, HR low, and HRV high. If you stop effort/exercise altogether during recovery weeks as I have tried, these metrics fall (or increase) in the wrong direction, leading Whoop to “think” you are doing worse when compared with your personal averages. I tried doing absolutely nothing for a week, which led to poor scores, then I tried doing really easy workouts for a week (Pettit -1, Gibbs @ 90% intensity, Ptarmigan @ 85% intensity), and my scores were all 90% and above. It seemed like my body preferred some minimal aerobic work for general health and sleep quality if you are able to make yourself avoid even full intensity endurance work.

In addition to the Whoop score, my subjective feeling of recovery was much higher/better with some minimal work.

Purely N = 1.

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You can read up on user’s experiences:

IMO, Whoop is not a reliable source to base training off of.

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Agreed. I tried Whoop for a while and got nothing from it.

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It also seems quite expensive considering that pretty much all metrics are covered by most smart watches. An Apple Watch for example sets you back 400ish bucks. That’s about the costs of 1.5 years of using Whoop. :man_shrugging:.

Okay, to be clear, many of these are non-answers. I’m not interested if you feel you had a bad experience with Whoop or think their service is expensive. Those answers offer nothing in the way of interpreting this curious data, which may or may not have physiological significance. If you believe the data is unreliable, please tell me why.

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Because there has been a lot of inconclusive science when it comes to HVR data. It is inconsistent and there is a lot of “bro science” behind the marketing.

You can find a lot pushing back on the whoop claims but not a great deal of reliable info to support their claims.

Check out some of the people who were once sponsored (id you’re not into scientific research) and once they stopped getting a check they bailed.

They do have great marketing for sure though.

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“The problem though? All of that is undercut by the accuracy of the optical heart rate sensor. And based on the overwhelming amount of feedback you all have given me as I’ve been testing this over the course of this year, many of you that have tried Whoop, agree. That sensor simply isn’t all that accurate when you sit down and compare it second by second to other products on the market. And given it’s the only input into Whoop, thus the only input into the Whoop platform is the data coming off that sensor, it becomes a real issue. Atop that, you can’t manually override failures when they do occur. When my 5-minute pedal to the store looks like the most intense 35-minute effort of the week, it screws up all the numbers. And there’s literally nothing I can do about that. I can’t just zero that out.”

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Just my n=1 but I found the recovery score to be in no way connected to how my body actually felt or how prepared for intensity I was. Whoop would tell me I was trashed and should take a break when I actually felt great and primed to tackle a tough one. Conversely, it would tell me I was ready to roll after a really tough day when my body was actually trashed.

Get more from RHR on my Garmin and just listening to my body.

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I’ve had the same experience with whoop for 2 months (have had it for 4 in total) where my recovery scores bear no resemblance to how I feel or perform.
As a result I have decided to ditch whoop. I have lost all confidence in the system.
The final straw was today when my recovery was 33% and hrv low despite having a rest week and doing all the right things. I did my ramp test as planned and felt great, adding 15watts from my previous score.

I wouldn’t say that has been my experience, although I do think it is much more useful when trying to do higher volume where you are approaching the level that could lead chronically to overtraining.

Before I ditched the whoop, I had the same thing happen. Recovery scores would progress downward during a recovery week. I lost confidence in the product and moved on to a blank wrist and a self assessment of how I feel. How novel!

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i used whoop for a year. I learned a lot initially, but since I discontinued it a month ago, really nothing has changed with my training., except I am less concerned about sleeping with the electronic device ( and its EM radiation) 2 inches from my head, night after night.