Anyone using HRV? (Heart Rate Variability)



@pkwell an account is necessary to run he app but it’s only if you upgrade that you actually have to pay for the subscription.


@GT7 yes we notice this quite often with athletes. It’s. It unusual and is similar to the idea of “DOMS” being worst the second day. Haven’t seen research determining the exact mechanism but we notice it quite regularly.


@og in reference to seeing your Hrv trending downward before a competition, we approach it with a discussion around the fact that hrv can be affected by many things and is not necessarily an issue that will prevent a good performance.

Simply being “nervous” or “anxious” about a competition can change Hrv from its normal values as an example. This is another reasons why knowing that hrv is not the ambivalence pill everyone is looking for is important. It is just one tool that coaches or an athlete should be using to determine training loads etc.

In fact, Hrv is still in its infancy but so many individuals quickly wanting to capitalize on it with these apps and making money has led to a lot of myths around Hrv.


That’s exactly how I’ve been thinking of it, very similar to DOMS.

I’ve wondered if, similar to DOMS, the degree to which I see it is affected by what I’ve been doing recently.

IE If you haven’t been in the gym lately and go squat DOMS is going to be a lot more likely than if you’ve been going 2-3 times a week.

Similarly while I had been riding over the summer I hadn’t done a lot of focused training with SS and threshold intervals etc. Just long endurance mostly.

Might be a good area for someone needing some thesis work if there isn’t much known about it.


Thanks for the info @Lawrence.

Out of curiosity, since tracking HRV have you and your athletes become more consistent with training?

Dan Plews, the guy who set a new AG course record at Kona this year (in 08:24:36!) has actually got a PhD in HRV, plus has done some work with Marco Altini on HRV4T. From the data he’s released it sounds like he’s crazy-consistent with his training. I don’t think it’s a coincidence :thinking:


Marco has been pretty good about documenting his findings, and his reasoning behind the decisions he makes regarding the app and the pro software, that transparency alone is worth grabbing the app. At least if something turns out wrong, you know why, and you know it wasn’t laziness or greed that drove it.


@oggie41 the athletes I work with are motivated developing athletes in their teens, collegiate, post collegiate, and Olympians (a broad spectrum but select group compared to recreational athletes) so there is already a high degree of motivation. It really hasn’t changed that aspect.

What I would say however is it has made them more cognizant of the things that they do in daily life that may hamper recovery. Consistent Training is rarely the issue. Getting adequate recovery IS however.

As the saying goes… youth is wasted on the young😜 they think they are invincible and nothing can prevent them from achieving their goals. They soon discover that sleep is more important than they ever imagined. Same with nutrition.

Another important change is that it has also made them more aware of how travel and jet lag impacts performance and therefore need to better address it when they know they will be travelling for competitions.

So, in short, it hasn’t changed the consistency but it HAS changed the awareness factor when it comes to recovery which may be far more worthwhile.


@mellowdave I would concur, with the caveat that there are so many variables affecting hrv (and the fact that hrv is just one indicator and we sometimes don’t even know what it may be indicating) that it can be very difficult to isolate what is impacting it amongst a ton of variables


It has at least cued me to do an inventory of possible factors to try and determine why mine was lower on a given day, if I wasn’t expecting it to be. I had a low reading a few weeks ago and really expected to be ready for a good training day, decided I doubted that I was getting sick or anything like that but likely was just a bit behind on my hydration. It was the weekend so I caught myself up in the morning and went out later in the day, things went just fine.

And I think the lifestyle factors are important for me. It’s easy to say “I can eat that, I’m going to ride for 5 hours tomorrow” but when I started seeing how much various lifestyle choices change my HRV it helped me toward better decisions.


I recently upgraded to series 4 Apple Watch and the new HRM is pretty good. I’m now in the habit of putting watch on when the cat wants out at 5am, and then using Breathe app an hour later. Just fired up HRV4T app this morning to start having it track HRV by pulling data out of Health. After re-establishing a baseline in HRV4T it will be interesting to see correlation with Health HRV, and if I can correlate HRV trends/changes to how I feel training on bike.

Also, if you have an iPhone its no problem wearing it for days and days and days with just a few 20 minute charge cycles during morning and evening bathroom rituals. Ridiculously easy to drop it on the magnetic charger. With a little extra charging time, even my original series 0 was capable of tracking sleep (but I’m not a fan of wearing my ring or watch to bed). That said, I’m only tracking cycling and strength training. If I was a triathlete then no questions I’d pick up a Garmin 935.


I’ve been using HRV4T for a couple of weeks, using the built-in camera (as they suggest). One day I was able to repeat the measurement 7-8 times and get wildly different results each time: from a low of 7.5 recovery “points” to nearly 10.0. The rMSSD measurements were also all over the place, despite assurance from the app that signal quality was “optimal” each time. It got me wondering whether small(ish) day to day variations are real or just noise. Anyone else have this experience?


I ended up buying a decent HR strap (Polar H10)… it’s really accurate every time now.


Yeah, I’m thinking that notwithstanding the claim that the camera/flash is sufficiently accurate, I may need to use a sensor to get meaningful results.


I have been using the Whoop Strap for a few years now. It collects a ton of data, you never have to remove it, and helps point out when and how much sleep you need to get to maximize your training. Very good product.


Did you repeat the measurement at the same time? (i.e. you tested it 7-8 times right after one another)

If so, then yes, I would look at a bluetooth HR strap like the Wahoo.

If you were testing at different times throughout the day, its likely that your HRV changed based on food intake/caffeine etc.

Weird example: I have a really awful very vivid reoccurring dream where I am a passenger during a plane crash, which seems to cause a significant adrenaline type response in my body upon waking up. I took my HRV reading when I got up and my resting HR was elevated and HRV was depressed, which led to a low rating. I decided to check it again after having some breakfast and calming down a bit, and things returned to a normal reading.

Point being that you want the measurement conditions to be as similar as possible each day for your baseline.


When are you supposed to measure using the HR strap? IN the morning, or evening?


From the HRV4Training FAQ page:

in the morning, right after waking up, so that you can limit the effect of other stressors, similarly to what we would do in laboratory protocols & clinical studies.

The important thing is to make it as consistent as possible each time.


Thank you @oggie41


I picked up a cold over the Thanksgiving Holiday, it’s been interesting to see mine low as I’ve been sick. Usually a day or two of rest and my number bounces right back but I’ve been running low for about 5 days now.


This is a belated question but: do you sleep with the strap on or do you put it on in the morning to measure? Also, do you use any sleep tracking apps in addition to HRV4TRAINING that work with the strap?