Exploring the Feasibility and Applicability of Whoop Technology in NCAA Division D1 Collegiate Wrestlers: A Pilot Study


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Virginia Tech


Although athletes decide to go to college ultimately to get an education, the importance of athletic performance to D1 college athletes and coaches cannot be looked over. Coaches and athletes across the country are looking for the most effective way to prepare and train to optimize athletic performance. New technology such as Whoop wearable devices, are leading the way, helping athletes optimize training and recovery to increase athletic performance. The main purpose of this pilot study was to explore the feasibility and applicability of Whoop technology in D1 college wrestlers. Specifically, the aims were to look at relationships between different Whoop biofeedback indicators and relationships between Whoop indicators and variables such as mood states, hydration status, and vertical jump height as a measure of performance. 9 male D1 college wrestlers (age: 21.2 ± 1.20) wore a Whoop strap every day and night except during competition, for 6 weeks during in-season training. The Whoop strap measured recovery percentage, heart rate variability (HRV), resting heart rate (RHR), sleep, and strain (from training and other physical demands) daily. Participants also completed the profile of mood states (POMS) questionnaire and a vertical jump test once weekly. At the conclusion of the study, participants completed the BEVQ-15 survey indicating their fluid intake habits over the course of the previous 30 days. At the conclusion of the data collection phase, 9 out of 10 participants had enough viable data to use for analysis. Additionally, multiple participants reported that they still use the Whoop device even after the conclusion of the study to continue managing their training and recovery. A 90% compliance rate and continued use of the Whoop technology points to its feasibility and applicability for college wrestlers. Results found that recovery, as measured by the Whoop, was positively associated with HRV and sleep, but negatively associated with RHR (p<0.0001, p<0.0001, and p=0.003 respectively). HRV was also found to be negatively associated with RHR (p<0.0001). Daily strain was negatively associated with sleep, RHR, and vertical jump height (p=0.021, p=0.0002, and p=.037 respectively). Lastly, sleep was positively associated with RHR (p=0.041). To add, there were no significant correlations between mood states as measured by the POMS as well as hydration status, with performance as measured by the vertical jump test. In conclusion, Whoop technology was found to be a feasible tool to use to measure performance and readiness biofeedback indicators in a small sample of D1 collegiate wrestlers and the usefulness of Whoop technology to help athletes and coaches make training adaptations and increase performance is promising.