Heart rate variability (HRV) is becoming more common and is used to measure recovery and stress from bouts of training. It measures the balance or imbalance within the Autonomic nervous system or ANS. You can read more about it HERE.
Without getting too deep into it and this becoming a long boring post, just know that HRV measures how well the ANS is working by measuring the time or frequency between each peak of your heart rate and has nothing to do with how many beats a minute your heart beats. For example 2 people with a heart rate of 60 beats per min. can both have totally different HRV readings.
Now back to why I was writing about HRV in the first place. I was just reading this study: Predictors of individual adaptation to high-volume or high-intensity endurance training in recreational endurance runners.
The athletes had numerous tests done but the one that stood out to me was the use of HRV. Their baseline HRV was taken before the study. They were then put into two groups, one group doing high volume training (HVT) and the other doing high-intensity training (HIIT).
The results showed out of the athletes in the HVT group it was the ones with the lower baseline HRV reading that improved the most. The opposite was then shown in the HIIT group with the athletes with the higher baseline HRV reading improving the most.
This makes me wonder now if I was training endurance athletes would I now take an HRV baseline and then decide what method of training to use. It also opens questions about is this true for other types of athletes and really challenges coaches who are just using generic training programmes for their athlete. Is the coach really getting the best results??
Lastly, I wonder of all the people using HRV as part of their training, have any of them taken any sort of a baseline reading to work from.
The study I have mentioned can be read HERE