Anyone using HRV? (Heart Rate Variability)

Thank you for such a detailed answer. I only started recording this week. The protocol is to run the Stress Test first thing every morning, using my Garmin Fenix and HRM. So far it correlates very well with RPE and the cycling stress of the day before.


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Great! The Garmin strap + morning measurement is certainly a good way to measure

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I’ve been using Elite HRV and I am seeing correlations between hard workouts and abnormal readings. Yesterday I did my first threshold workout of the training season and the app told me I was highly parasympathetic indicating the body was either fighting an infection or in deep recovery. I opted for the lightest recovery ride in the library this morning (today was a scheduled off day). I’ve seen similar results following the extremely long duration trad base med volume rides as well.

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Today is the first time I get a reading that doesn’t make a lot of sense:

Yesterday morning I got a reading of 1, i.e. Max Low Stress.
Yesterday was a very relaxing day, barely any stress of any type
Had a good night of sleep

…And the reading this morining is 45 (moderate stress).

We’ll see.


Question about HRV for the experts :slight_smile:

I’m looking for the best HRV app for my Apple Watch 6 that doesn’t require me to remember to take a morning reading.

I am aware that apps that average sleeping HRV overnight aren’t as good as something that takes a manual reading when you wake, but maybe there is an app that can get that value automatically? The Autosleep app (for example) seems pretty good at knowing when I wake up so maybe something could use that time to identify the most recent HRV reading?

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This one is pretty good and discussed in this thread.

Estimating aerobic threshold using @marco_alt HRV Logger has been briefly discussed on the Iñigo San Millán training model thread. It is somewhat relevant there as ISM’s “Zone 2” seems to fall right at LT1. However, a deeper dive into this subject seems to belong here.

After some initial confusion on my part, I managed to conduct a little ramp test today to see where .75 DFA/alpha 1 fell. I based the protocol on @BJRMD blog, etc, 6 min steps where you throw out the first reading at 2 mins, achieve a sort of steady state, and take readings at 4min and 6min (again, each stage is 6min total).

The second two data points during each stage were close to each other so I feel confident in my execution of protocol.

HR @ LT1 - 129-131bpm (measured several times over the last 18 months)
HR @ 0.7-0.8 DFA (alpha 1) - 128-130bpm

I did a final 6 min stage at 134/135bpm and DFA/alpha1 was well below .75 for all three data points of the stage.

neato burrito!

(used a Wahoo Tickr via Bluetooth, thanks for the tip @carytb )

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hi @guyc, just a pointer here regarding our app, I am sure there are alternatives, but hopefully this is still useful information:

in HRV4Training we recommend measuring with Breathe in the morning. However, the app simply reads the last data point from Health (actually the RR intervals, so we can re-compute rMSSD instead of using SDNN which is not ideal). Hence normally you would use Breathe, then read the data immediately after, fill in the questionnaire, etc.

If you do not take a measurement with Breathe, most likely the watch still has some HRV data from the night, so you can just read it instead of measuring. This process still requires that you open the app and read the data when you wake up (or shortly after), as we look only at the past few hours. I would still do so in any case as the questionnaire and additional information is of great help for you to make sense of the data, as it’s all context that can help understand why there are certain physiological responses.

In general, I would recommend not using this approach, as for reasons I’ve tried to explain in various posts linked above, you’d end up measuring in an unknown sleep stage and time, both factors affecting the validity of the data (both the circadian rhythm and sleep stage might have a large effect, while if you measure in the morning, you remove both issues)

However, practically speaking, you should be able to use HRV4Training in this way to compute rMSSD from the last data point found in the app (just one data point as the use case is the one detailed earlier).

Hope this helps, some of these considerations are reported in these 4 slides I just put together:

Thanks @marco_alt for the detailed response. I guess I was looking at something “set and forget” like the Whoop, but without the known drawbacks of that system. I was hoping that the Apple Watch would be able to figure out when I got up and work backwards. :slight_smile:

My issues with having to do something when I get up are these:

  • Main problem - I will often forget
  • Sometime I sleep badly and wake earlier than I want to, then I’m never sure when to take a reading. Is it when I wake up or when I decide I’m going to get out of bed?

Also thanks @shulikrw I’m trying that app now. It’s nice and simple but seems to be telling me to focus on recovery every day this week. :man_shrugging:

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I have found recently that this app kinda sucks!!

I found it pretty decent but since around Christmas it thinks i am bascially dead. I finished carson today after whoop saying i was 75% in the green. Afterwards TT said I was 1.1 ready, I have the settings

smoothing +4 and intensity +9

I bought a whoop before Christmas and much prefer the way they use their data.

Have you thought about the Oura ring. That links automatically to HRV4training I think.

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@guyc @mrpbennett I don’t totally disagree that there are times when the app suggests rest when I am feeling good and suggests that I’m highly recovered when I’m feeling awful.

What I remember here is that it is only a data point, not a script that I have to strictly live with. How I feel on a day-to-day is still my main guide.

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I tend to ignore when its says I’m recovered when I’m clearly not, however, if it says I need rest when I feel OK I’ll knock back what I was planning to an easy workout just incase it’s giving me early warning of something lurking in my body.

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That is an important part of the “verification” of the threshold- make sure the DFA a1 does suppress further at the next stage up.
Well done!

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Thanks @BJRMD. Today I used the real time feature in HRV Logger to “go a little below, establish steady-state” and then “go a little above, establish steady state”. More free form than the stricter protocol yesterday. Further validation.

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I listened to a an interesting and informative podcast last night on DFA/Alpha1.
Still a bit of a mystery to me
Edit: Just realised it was with @BJRMD. I really enjoyed it and it made things a lot clearer.


I just got a Polar H10 as the readings from the Tickr seemed to be a bit all over the place despite showing LT1 heart rate where I thought it was 130bpm@ 160W. I just did an 8 minute step test and it only touched .75 at 140bpm@ 183W but the readings seemed to be more consistent. More tests required I think.

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hi all,
I wanted to share a bit of data that might be informative for some as there isn’t much out there on differences and similarities between night and morning measurements

Below I show the two tools I use (camera measurement in HRV4Training in the morning) and Oura ring (night data). You can easily extrapolate to using another app / sensor for morning measurements, while it might be a bit harder to extrapolate to other ‘night HRV’ sensors, as many do not provide the average of the night (which is in my opinion the best way to use night data, see: )

Anyways, Since I started working with Oura, I’ve been looking more closely at morning vs night HRV data. See my last 30 days below. Great consistency in baseline changes for both heart rate and HRV between Oura’s night data and HRV4Training’s morning measurements :ok_hand:

I’ve tried to annotate the stressors, both positive and negative:
‣ a little extra alcohol intake around end of the year: affects night data more, as it is a “late stressor”
‣ consistent training, “high” volume and intensity, which typically lowers HR
‣ biofeedback 20 minutes per day. Possible effect on HRV

Morning and night measurements are both valid ways to capture changes in baseline physiological stress deriving from training and lifestyle stressors, as long as a few simple best practices are followed

Some more pointers are available here:

I hope this helps

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The drastic effect of alcohol on my morning HRV and recovery was so shocking it has made me DRASTICALLY reduce my alcohol consumption. The first time I used HRV4Training I was consuming alcohol in varying amounts daily so the effect of it was hidden as it was “embedded” into my base figures. It was only when I used HRV during a Dry October that I saw what a difference it made. The increase in popularity and quality of 0.0% and 0.5% Beers has made my transition to almost teetotal quite easy.


Does anyone else find their HRV takes an extra day to respond? One example is I had a good 90 minute TR ride on the trainer (Echo) Friday and an just over an hour of steady climbing (1550 feet in 5 miles) on the fat bike Saturday. Sunday I felt a bit used but my HRV was slightly above normal. I won’t be surprised if it’s below normal Monday.