Table of Contents
In this WHOOP 4.0 review, I’ll thoroughly test its fitness-tracking capabilities for boxing and martial arts, focusing on health analysis and recovery.
About the author: Joe, an experienced martial artist, specializes in Boxing, Muay Thai, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Passionate about health data for recovery, he has extensively tested fitness trackers like Fitbit Charge 5, Oura ring, and now WHOOP—to bring you the best research for martial arts.
To save you some time, I’ve pulled together the main things you need to know about the WHOOP:
WHOOP 4.0 review key takeaways
- It’s the best fitness tracking device I’ve used so far (and I’ve used several)
- The band looks and feels great, even wearing it all day and night
- Can be used in boxing or martial arts using ANY-WEAR apparel (at extra cost)
- App is data-rich, but sometimes too heavy and overwhelming
- Requires a subscription (monthly or annual) to use it
I’m yet to find a better fitness tracker for health, fitness, and sleep data all in one. A few niggling feature flaws and a hefty subscription fee are the drawbacks.
What comes in the box
The WHOOP unboxing experience is lean and straightforward, it comes in a neat rectangular box.
Pull the tab to open the contents and find the WHOOP device and band, setup guide, charger, wire, and instructions/setup guide, all inside.
The whole package is simple, straightforward, and easy to get started with.
Setting up the WHOOP
Power up the charger until you have a full charge then slot it onto the WHOOP.
The app should take you through the rest but you also have the mini manual that came with the box.
Style and comfort
The WHOOP 4.0 stands out as the most exceptionally stylish fitness tracker I’ve used so far.
I chose the sleek black variant, finding it versatile for various occasions—from gym workouts to evening outings.
Its compact design and seamless blending between the device and the wristband give it a discreet appearance, not immediately recognizable as a fitness tracker.
Its elegance diminishes slightly during charging, due to the bulky external charging device that attaches to it.
This design aspect is a trade-off for the convenience of continuous wear without needing to remove the band to charge.
The WHOOP 4.0 fitness tracker excels in comfort, being almost unnoticeable—95% of the time—during everyday wear.
Its sleek design ensures it sits snugly against the forearm, hardly interfering with daily tasks, workouts, or sleep or causing discomfort.
The only drawback noted is its tendency to retain moisture.
Although the device is waterproof, the soft band material absorbs water and sweat, remaining damp for an extended period.
This can be slightly bothersome, especially for those who dislike the sensation of wet clothing and so needing to remove the band to let it dry off.
While engaging in martial arts, particularly boxing, the WHOOP 4.0’s slim profile generally performs well.
But wearing it under a boxing glove tends to be uncomfortable and impractical for regular use. More on that, next.
Is the WHOOP 4.0 suitable for boxing & martial arts?
Looking at this device as a WHOOP boxer’s review, its proficiency in fitness tracking is impressive, especially for martial artists.
It excels at collecting vital health data during training sessions. But a few notable challenges arise when trying to wear the WHOOP band with martial arts gear, such as boxing gloves.
The device is slim enough that it would fit under a glove strap, but it’s uncomfortable and causes tracking accuracy issues—so I don’t recommend it.
The solution lies in the innovative ANY-WEAR apparel.
Great performance for workout detection—need to add on ANY-WEAR apparel to make it adjustable to use in martial arts.
These are specially crafted clothing items that allow the WHOOP device to be removed from the wristband and inserted into another position, close to your skin.
You’ll be able to select a solution that suits your specific martial art, so it makes the WHOOP continuously adaptable between martial arts.
I’ve pulled together recommendations for which apparel to use for each martial art:
|Boxing 🥊||ANY-WEAR Arm Sleeve||ANY-WEAR Arm Sleeve|
|Kickboxing or Muay Thai 🇹🇭||Men’s Speed Short||Women’s Speed Short|
|Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu 🥋 or grappling||ANY-WEAR Compression Top||ANY-WEAR Sports Bra|
|Everything else||ANY-WEAR Athletic Boxer||Everyday Thong Pack|
You’ll want to pick form-hugging apparel from the range to make sure it stays in place and continues to give you the best tracking accuracy, even when rolling or sparring.
Using the WHOOP app
WHOOP’s accompanying app stands out for its extensive, detailed data analysis capabilities.
It requires some adjustment initially, as the influx of health data can be daunting and challenging to absorb.
But the strength lies in its constant, round-the-clock data collection, which is delivered to your app for easy browsing.
The ‘Today Overview’ feature employs an innovative circular dial design to display key metrics such as Recovery, Strain, Sleep, and HRV, offering a quick snapshot of your daily health status.
When the Strain meter (blue) goes beyond your Recovery meter (yellow) then the app will show that you’re pushing too hard and need to take a break.
From the Overview, you’ll also see your alarm, health monitor, today’s activities, and key statistics all on one screen.
You can customize the key statistics to display the stats that are most important to you.
For me, that meant customizing to see health stats like HRV, respiratory rate, and resting heart rate so I could see them immediately.
You also have access to the Stress Monitor and Strain & Recovery graphs from the overview.
Stress Monitor is part of what will contribute to your overall strain (a decimal number) for the current day.
Whereas the Strain & Recovery graph gives a breakdown of both metrics over the last week to see any recent trends.
Things get even deeper with entire tab pages for Sleep, Recovery, and Strain that give more detailed breakdowns of the key factors contributing to your health and energy day-to-day.
You’ll also be able to select auto-detected workouts to see how you performed, including cardiovascular zones, that are contributing to your strain.
The Coaching tab helps to provide insights that combine your daily health metrics with your own daily journal.
You can set up the app to ask you to complete a mini-survey each day so you can better connect the dots between habits, how you feel, and your health metrics.
On top of that, they have recently introduced a WHOOP coach that’s powered by AI so you can ask questions about your own health data—I didn’t dive into this feature as I was doubtful about it just being a gimmick.
Overall, I found most of the health data useful but it often makes me feel overwhelmed and apathetic.
And it gets more overwhelming when the WHOOP app sends many notifications throughout the day. I found it very annoying and disruptive.
It’s clear that the WHOOP gathers plenty of health information and makes it all accessible. But after using it for several weeks, I still wasn’t inspired to dig into my data too much.
Though I have been using fitness tracking devices for the last couple of years the novelty may have worn off. The first few months of gathering health & fitness data are the most fascinating.
At this stage of fitness tracking options on the market, I want something as premium as this to give me insights automatically.
Ideally, I want my device to send me engaging trends and lightbulb moments about my own health. That doesn’t happen here, but it’s also not a common feature among any fitness trackers.
In time that could change with WHOOP and other devices as AI technology becomes more adopted into insights.
WHOOP tracking accuracy
Incredible performance for workout detection—need to add on ANY-WEAR apparel to make it adjustable to use in martial arts.
Since there’s no point in using a fitness tracker without accuracy, let’s look at trying it out day-to-day, during workouts and heading off to sleep.
Daily activities detection
Generally, the WHOOP is good at detecting my day-to-day activities.
It knows when I’ve begun walking a small distance or more, where my heart rate rises slightly and subsequent stress levels.
There’s always going to be a little lag at the beginning while sensors detect slightly intensified walking but it does a good job of detecting 90% of the time.
The only issue I found with tracking the day-to-day is that there’s quite a delay with getting that health information.
WHOOP isn’t really the device to get immediate feedback on your activities, as the sync is slow so it’s better to review once per day, in the evening or morning while you’re charging up.
The WHOOP gets an improvement in tracking actual workouts because there’s usually a noticeable difference in your body heat and heart rate that helps detection.
So once you start kicking up the gears for a workout, the WHOOP’s detection is even more accurate in my experience.
When you sync to your app, WHOOP will give you the option to confirm your activity type with an automated suggestion.
The suggestions are surprisingly accurate, most of the time. I don’t know how it recognizes jogging versus throwing some fists in boxing—but it does know the difference.
Sleep is where a fitness or health tracker can really come into its own since sleep tracking seems to be the most difficult to detect accurately—especially in a non-medical device.
On the whole, the WHOOP has detected my sleep with close precision 85% of the time.
Some of that 15% could be down to improper positioning or strapping of the device, as it can slide around while moving around in your sleep.
But I have been impressed with the WHOOP’s ability to sense naps—something I do rarely, so it doesn’t have a lot of data reference points.
After the initial use of WHOOP for the first week, the sleep data isn’t very useful as it only excels once it has collected a week or more of nights of sleep to be able to give baselines for things like HRV, oxygen saturation, and more.
After getting those baselines, though, it’s addictive checking in on your health stats each day and I found it to closely resemble how I actually felt physically when I was getting sick or just needed more rest.
Comparison with OURA ring
I was a user of the OURA ring Gen 3 for more than a year. Comparing it to the WHOOP 4.0, it seems to me I get more reliable day-to-day health data on the WHOOP.
The OURA would occasionally give me a Readiness score that did not match my actual physical condition at all.
When it would tell me “You’re ready for more!” I’d be thinking “no thanks!” and vice versa.
What is much better about the OURA, though, is the sensitivity and immediate sync between the ring and your phone app.
It would immediately detect a mild activity and notify me when it knew it was complete, letting me analyze it straight away.
For whatever reason, the WHOOP was always much more difficult to get a timely sync and analysis on most activities.
But the OURA isn’t suitable for boxing, martial arts, or strength training since you should remove the ring before any of these activities.
And that’s where the WHOOP shines brighter, you can position it in many places in your body when using ANY-WEAR apparel.
Comparison with Fitbit Charge 5
I’ve also used the Fitbit Charge 5 extensively, which is a great bit of kit for those on a budget.
You’re getting many of the key health tracking sensors that you expect in premium devices like WHOOP or OURA but at a much more comfortable price point.
Data like heart rate, oxygen saturation, HRV, and more are all included in the Fitbit Charge 5—essential to getting a proper understanding of your health.
I think the Fitbit Charge 5 is a great entry option for those interested in fitness tracking but not wanting to break the bank, but there’s still a big difference between it and WHOOP.
The first Fitbit Charge 5 I bought had a malfunction and I had to return it for replacement, but the issues didn’t entirely end there, either.
Fitbit’s app is incredibly clunky and I struggled getting it to sync up a lot of the time. You’re also going to have to sign away your health data to Google’s servers to use it.
You can somewhat get away with fixing the Charge 5 further up your forearm or underneath your glove when using it in boxing, but I did often find the tracking to miss huge chunks as it moved around too much to be reliable.
That’s not a problem with WHOOP when you can change where you want to wear it on your body.
The major benefit to a Fitbit Charge 5 is that it actually has its own screen, so you can use it as a clock but also see some of your health data and activity detection on the fly.
Final opinion on the WHOOP 4.0
Incredible performance for workout detection—need to add on ANY-WEAR apparel to make it adjustable to use in martial arts.
I think the WHOOP 4.0 might be the best fitness tracking solution I’ve found so far and that includes for use as a martial artist.
You do need to make use of the ANY-WEAR apparel line if you want to get tracking data through all your martial arts sessions.
That means an additional cost, which is a bit of a burn. But for something that I want to use regularly for general health and exercise logging consistently, it’s worth it in my eyes.
It’s possible to use the regular band for tracking during workouts but it might not be the most comfortable or reliable.
I’d recommend the WHOOP 4.0 for martial artists above any other option I’ve tried so far if you can stomach the subscription fee.
WHOOP 4.0 Review: Tested For Boxing & Martial Artists
Explore our in-depth WHOOP 4.0 review to see how this fitness tracker fares for boxing and martial arts enthusiasts. Essential insights inside
Product Brand: WHOOP
Product Currency: USD
Product Price: 239
Product In-Stock: InStock