Resting Heart Rate
The measurement of resting heart rate or pulse rate (the number of heart beats per minute) should be taken after a few minutes upon waking whilst still lying in bed. Give your body some time to adjust to the change from sleeping before taking your pulse (2-5 minutes). If you are not able to take a measurement first thing in the morning, make sure you lie down for at least 10 minutes before taking a measurement. Taking a radial or carotid pulse measurement (at the wrist or neck) is usually the easiest method. See Measuring your heart rate.
Get a baseline measure
You can monitor your resting heart rate over time, writing down the heart rate each morning for a few weeks. After a while you will get an idea of what your average resting heart rate is. Once a normal resting heart rate has been established, it becomes easy to determine your physiological state.
Changes in Resting Heart Rate
During a period of training, small changes in resting heart rate can reflect adaptation processes, or just a normal responses to the previous days training load. Resting heart rates can also be affected by ensuing illness, fatigue and overtraining. Also be aware that other factors such as smoking and caffeine, and some medications, can cause changes in resting heart rate. If your resting heart rate is 10 beats per minute or greater above normal then please let your coach know, and if it persists you may want to see your doctor.
According to the Guinness World Records, the lowest resting heart rate on record is 27 bpm belonging to Martin Brady (UK, b. 24 March 1969) - tested at the Guernsey Chest and Heart Unit, Channel Islands, UK on 11 August 2005.
What should it be?
Normal resting heart rates range anywhere from 40 beats per minute up to 100 beats per minute. Ideally you want to have a resting heart rate between 60-90 beats per minute. The average resting heart rate for a man is 70 beats per minute, and for a woman 75 beats per minute.
How Fit are you?
As you get fitter, your resting heart rate should decrease. This is due to the heart getting more efficient at pumping blood around the body, so at rest more blood can be pumped around with each beat, therefore less beats per minute are needed. See this resting heart rate chart which shows the expected heart rate for different ages and levels of fitness.
See the Resting Heart Rate FAQ
- resting heart rate chart.
- All about Heart Rate and Exercise.
- Measuring Heart Rate — how to measure, using the manual and monitor methods.
- A discussion of What is a normal heart rate?
- Exercise Heart Rate — a measure of intensity and fitness.
- Maximum Heart Rate — how high can you go? and a table of maximum heart rate related to age.
- see also the table of Heart Rate training ranges.