Heart Rate Drop - Ramp Test

Hi All, i have a question on my HR when doing the ramp test.
When doing the ramp test my heart rate rises in line with the exertion, but towards the end it drops suddenly by 10-15 beats, and i usually have to stop pedalling within the next minute or so. This has happened each time on the 3 tests i have done so far in the plan, using a Wahoo chest strap.
On todays ramp test i was at a HR of 180 (around my max) then it dropped to 164 (and stayed there) and I could only do 1 more minute before stopping. Does this mean i have reached my limit and this drop is normal / expected, as i thought that my HR would stay high around my max until i couldn’t carry on anymore?

Vasovagal syncope, possible arrhythmia or faulty HR monitor.

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I’ve looked at 100’s of ramp tests & never seen HR behave in the manner which you describe. So I’d say it’s very unusual.

Most probably, it means you should schedule an appointment with your Dr and discuss w/ her.


thanks for the replies. This is what i see on the test - near the end HR has risen to 180, then drops to 164, then i am done 1 min later.

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Edit: I’m a sport physiologist, not a physician.

This is almost certainly data error, and not a heart problem. HRM’s are notorious for becoming less reliable when HR is very high.

If you have chest pain or any other reason to believe you have heart problems, seek medical attention. If not, consider getting a better HRM or tightening it a bit, or adjusting its position on your body slightly.

I’ve highlighted below what I believe to be the portion of your chart which contains HR data error.
Reason: HR does not behave like that, even in pathology. Those data don’t look biological. They look electronic.


Thanks for the reply. I will try another HR strap when the next test comes around.
The main reason for asking was that I was seeing the HR drop consistently on ramp tests only. Obviously i much prefer the data error option!

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There may be something about the way you move during a ramp test that is somewhat different than workouts with similar HR’s (though not usually so black and white as to ONLY get HR data error on one test type).


Very strange, something to really look at if it happens more than once. I suppose you reach your maximun effort (and FTP value) when you reach your max HR in a ramp test. Or at least, that is what happens to me. In fact, when a do a ramp test I confirm my maximun HR of 193 bpm, which is basically the same one I reached in a lab. I hope in your case it is just a technical issue or it is just an HR drop due to an excess of fatige.

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Yes, agree. The data drops three times, just look at the perfectly flat horizonal lines, classic HR monitor/channel drop-out behaviour.