Heart Rate Variability (HRV)

The Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is a measure of the variation in time between each heart beat, otherwise known as the R–R interval or the inter-beat interval. The time between each heartbeat is not consistent, it varies with every beat. Measuring how much it varies can be used to access fitness and recovery in athletes. The Polar Fitness Test uses HRV in its measurement.

purpose: to test the heart rate variability as a measure of fitness and predictor of stress and illness.

equipment required: various equipment can be used, such as a heart rate monitor, smartphone HR app, finger pulse sensors.

procedure: Best results are achieved when the subject is at rest, and measurements taken over several minutes. Monitor your HRV daily, understand your baseline measurement, and monitor the changes over time. See more about resting heart rate measurement.

Heart Rate Measurementscoring: Usually an increase in HRV represents a positive fitness adaptation, whilst a reduction in HRV reflects stress, a poor recovery status and an overtrained state. The HRV level can be used to help guide the training intensity and the timing of recovery sessions.

advantages: as technology advances, the HRV can be accurately measured on readily available cheaper devices such as smart phones.

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