Interpreting HRV Trends in Athletes: High Isn’t Always Good and Low Isn’t Always Bad

Though the concept of HRV is relatively simple, its interpretation can be quite complex. As a result, considerable confusion surrounds HRV data interpretation. I believe much of this confusion can be attributed to the overly simplistic guidelines that have been promoted for the casual-end, non-expert user.

HRVtraining

This article was written for the FreelapUSA site. The intro is posted below. You can follow the link for the full article. Thanks to Christopher Glaeser from Freelap for inviting my contribution as I’ve found this site to be a great resource.

Interpreting HRV Trends in Athletes: High Isn’t Always Good and Low Isn’t Always Bad

Heart rate variability (HRV) monitoring has become increasingly popular in both competitive and recreational sports and training environments due to the development of smartphone apps and other affordable field tools. Though the concept of HRV is relatively simple, its interpretation can be quite complex. As a result, considerable confusion surrounds HRV data interpretation. I believe much of this confusion can be attributed to the overly simplistic guidelines that have been promoted for the casual-end, non-expert user.

In the context of monitoring fatigue or training status in athletes, a common belief is that high HRV is…

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4 thoughts on “Interpreting HRV Trends in Athletes: High Isn’t Always Good and Low Isn’t Always Bad

  1. It seems that with HRV methods, just like HR based training, lactate based training and everything else, that there are enough confounding factors to make all quite confusing.

    I am starting to think that the only way to judge if a training plan is working is to use it for a while (6 months) and see if performance has improved.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for you comment, Greg. I can follow your thought/conclusion very good as I know this feeling of “all theory is grey” very good.

      [BTW: I’m doing now since 11 month a HRV based training… with results I never ever had in the past. I learned a ton about myself, how I respond to different stimuli (the good ones and the bad ones, the self made ones and the ones I can’t change, and so on) and how to adapt my training to my current situation/state. The “downside” is… it needs some sort of constant awareness, which was at the beginning quite challenging to keep up with. But after a time I got used to it and it’s a my daily driver.]

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    2. Yeah agree Greg, I think the main thing to always remember is that we are all different, so what works well for one person may not work as well for another with I think the best example of this being the studies where they looks at training plans like polarised and threshold, although polarised turns out the best in average, there’s usually some individuals who react very well on threshold, and some who react poorly on polarised, so I always think it’s probably best to try altering plans every so often if you’re not getting the improvements you want to see if that makes any difference.

      That’s being said, I also think it’s worth starting with the training plan that works the best on average (so polarised plans using lactate testing to ensure 80% is below 2mmol) as that shows as having the best results on average (and to me it’s the easiest to see the improvements over time as your watts at lactate increase) then tweaking it if you’re not seeing the results you want/your improvements stagnate

      Liked by 1 person

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