What is the bracelet worn by Van der Poel?

Training 07/04/24 15:05 Migue A.

What cannot be measured cannot be improved. A principle that means having as much information as possible that can help improve the performance of the cyclist. Activity monitors, such as the Whoop wristband, have become an ideal complement that allows the cyclist's physical data to be collected 24 hours a day to check that the so-called invisible training is being carried out in the best possible way.

Everything under control with the Whoop fitness tracker

Information has become one of the pillars of today's world. A paradigm that is no stranger to cycling where taking into account every minimal parameter that can affect the cyclist's performance is crucial to quantify its influence and be able to affect it accordingly.

This explains the boom that Big Data is having in sport in general and cycling in particular, in order to optimise the processing of huge amounts of information.

Until recently, when it came to quantifying the cyclist's performance, the data obtained in training and competitions was essentially used, information that has been available for decades, firstly through heart rate monitors and nowadays with power data as well as the different tests that cyclists underwent.

However, the so-called invisible training was left aside, the activity that the cyclist carries out beyond his training sessions in which nutrition and recovery are fundamental pillars, not only when it comes to assimilating the training sessions carried out but also to know when the cyclist's organism is capable of accepting a new training load and in what quantity.

To monitor this unexplored aspect of training, the use of activity monitors such as the Whoop wristband, popularised by some NBA players and now worn on the wrists of many cyclists, not just the members of EF Education-EasyPost, which Whoop sponsors, has become standard.

What does Whoop provide?

Knowing certain physiological parameters of the cyclist is a plus for coaches when it comes to quantifying more precisely the training load they apply to their pupils, which until now was only estimated on the basis of generic models.

Thanks to 24-hour monitoring of parameters such as heart rate, heart rate variability, temperature, hours and quality of sleep, respiratory rate and activity level, the Whoop bracelet manages to establish a profile of how the cyclist's body works. This information is much more complete and detailed than the typical activity bracelets that have become popular among athletes and that show very general information about the steps walked, hours of sleep...

This amount and detail of information is what justifies Whoop's business model through the payment of a subscription to access the data, the really important thing about Whoop and which is evident in the simplicity of design of the bracelet itself, which is limited to a minimalist device without any type of screen or interface to show us live data. What we want to know has to be through its application, either on the mobile or on the computer.

In addition, the simplicity of the Whoop device is designed so that continuous use does not interfere with the cyclist's activity, either during sport or in their daily life. Therefore, in addition to the wrist, the device can be worn on a bracelet or on any of the garments designed to house the Whoop, such as shorts, sports bras, vests, running tights, swimming costumes and even underwear.

The data provided by the Whoop wristband allows the trainer not only to adapt the workouts and their intensity with total precision but also to anticipate when the cyclist is going to fall ill. However, its great advantage, the amount of information it provides, is also its Achilles' heel, as it requires a certain amount of knowledge to get the most out of this activity monitor, so for now its use seems to be limited to high-level sportsmen and women such as professional cyclists.

In any case, if our level is not that, we can always benefit from essential data such as sleep monitoring, stress associated with daily activities and training, or recovery control, which are parameters that can be understood by the average user, although each user will have to quantify how to apply them to their training planning and whether it is worth paying a subscription to know this basic information that other sports activity monitors are also capable of providing.

Nevertheless, the Whoop bracelet inaugurates a paradigm, the continuous monitoring of our parameters, which, as happened in the past with heart rate monitors or later with power meters, will surely become one of the keystones of training control, even for amateur cyclists. Time will tell.



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