Blog post by Marco Altini
A common misconception is that HRV should dictate how you can perform. However, this is not the case. For example, delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and nervous system recovery are on a different schedule.
In this blog, I would like to discuss what it means when your HRV is still within normal after a hard workout, and what you should expect after such sessions.
This can be confusing at times, but there is nothing better than a good (within normal range) HRV after a hard session. Why would this be the case?
A good HRV after a hard session shows that you were able to quickly bounce back. This is a sign of good fitness and an highlights how an adequate training stimulus was applied.
Most importantly, you should not expect your HRV to sink after a hard workout. If that is the case, it does not mean that you did a "good workout" (other common misconception), but it means that you dealt poorly with the workout and could not bounce back within a reasonable time.
Elite athletes hardly ever see dips in their HRV post hard workouts. Are they not training hard or not training enough? unlikely. However, their autonomic nervous system recovers much faster than in other trained individuals, as we can see from the figure below (full paper here).
If your HRV stays suppressed after 24 hours since your workout, most likely:
These are key points highlighted by Andrew Flatt in his research.
When it comes to recovery, HRV is one piece of the puzzle. Having recovered quickly from a nervous system point of view means you have the capacity to assimilate the stimulus. Additionally, a stable HRV highlights how you are also dealing well with non-training related stressors (even more important).
Yet, there should be no surprise if your daily HRV does not correlate with muscle soreness or feel (whatever that means) or performance. HRV is your response: keep it stable.
If today you are resting and your HRV looks good, you are in an ideal situation.
For any feedback on this blog, feel free to reach me here.
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This blog is curated by
Marco Altini, founder of HRV4Training
The Ultimate Guide to HRV
1: Measurement setup
2: Interpreting your data
3: Case studies and practical examples
1. Intro to HRV
2. How to use HRV, the basics
3. HRV guided training
4. HRV and training load
5. HRV, strength & power
6. Overview in HRV4Training Pro
7. HRV in team sports
1. Context & Time of the Day
3. Paced breathing
4. Orthostatic Test
5. Slides HRV overview
6. Normal values and historical data
7. HRV features
1a. Acute Changes in HRV
1b. Acute Changes in HRV (population level)
1c. Acute Changes in HRV & measurement consistency
1d. Acute Changes in HRV in endurance and power sports
2a. Interpreting HRV Trends
2b. HRV Baseline Trends & CV
3. Tags & Correlations
4. Ectopic beats & motion artifacts
5. HRV4Training Insights
6. HRV4Training & Sports Science
7. HRV & fitness / training load
8. HRV & performance
9. VO2max models
10. Repeated HRV measurements
11. VO2max and performance
12. HR, HRV and performance
13. Training intensity & performance
14. Publication: VO2max & running performance
15. Estimating running performance
16. Coefficient of Variation
17. More on CV and the big picture
18. Case study marathon training
19. Case study injury and lifestyle stress
20. HRV and menstrual cycle
21. Cardiac decoupling
22. FTP, lactate threshold, half and full marathon time estimates
23. Training Monotony
Camera & Sensors
1. ECG vs Polar & Mio Alpha
2a. Camera vs Polar
2b. Camera vs Polar iOS10
2c. iPhone 7+ vs Polar
2d. Comparison of PPG sensors
3. Camera measurement guidelines
4. Validation paper
5. Android camera vs Chest strap
6. Scosche Rhythm24
7. Apple Watch
9. Samsung Galaxy
1. Features and Recovery Points
2. Daily advice
3. HRV4Training insights
4. Sleep tracking
5. Training load analysis
6a. Integration with Strava
6b. Integration with TrainingPeaks
6c. Integration with SportTracks
6d. Integration with Genetrainer
6e. Integration with Apple Health
6f. Integration with Todays Plan
7. Acute HRV changes by sport
8. Remote tags in HRV4T Coach
9. VO2max Estimation
10. Acute stressors analysis
11. Training Polarization
12. Lactate Threshold Estimation
13. Functional Threshold Power(FTP) Estimation for cyclists
14. Aerobic Endurance analysis
15. Intervals Analysis
16. Training Planning
17. Integration with Oura
18. Aerobic efficiency and cardiac decoupling
1. HRV normal values
2. HRV normalization by HR
3. HRV 101