What Is Heart Rate Variability (HRV)?
Enter Heart Rate Variability, or HRV. Simplistically, this is the measurement of the spacing between each one of your heart beats. We can use apps to check your morning HRV score versus a baseline to help determine your stress level. This is known as your morning readiness – think about this more of a measurement of how RECOVERED you are from the previous day. A good score (60+ out of 100) will help to determine if your body is ready to take on another day of hard training, or if you are better off with some active recovery.
Why Is This Important?
Consider how you are currently gauging your daily readiness for training. For most, when you get up in the morning, we use this type of flow chart. If you:
- feel good – you come to the gym.
- feel a little beat up – you probably still come to the gym and try to psyche yourself up.
- feel bad/stressed – maybe then you take an off day or come in and workout harder to get your mind off of work/family/etc…
Most of us adapt very well to stressful situations, so simply listening to your body can only go so far. HRV gives our training one more dimension to allow us to continue performing optimally!
What Do I Need To Get Started
- Polar H7 Chest Strap – This will run you about $50, but is necessary as this measurement requires tapping into the electrical side of your pulse, so unfortunately those wrist HR trackers that measure your blood flow are not as accurate.
- Sweetbeat (iPhone) $10 app – I have had the most consistent results and from my research, this app gives the most reliable data.
- Elite HRV (any device) FREE. This is a great starter app. Very user friendly, but you don’t get as much information as you do from sweetbeat.
HRV scores are typically out of 100, and your app will help you interpret your daily results. Be on the look out for a big spike or drop in daily resting heart rate (RHR), HRV score, or the apps stress measurement. Chat with your coach if you need assistance figuring out what your results mean.