Heart rate recovery during intervals a way to judge if training to low (or high)?

HI everyone,
First post but I’ve been lurking around for a while.

First off, I am having a hard time not going that deep on ramp tests so I always think my FTP is not as much as it may actually be. The question is, is there a correlation between heart rate recovery and possibly training to low? For example, I did Bluebell and my heart rate was roughly the same starting each interval after each of the 22 intervals, within a couple of beats. Not exactly but I was able to control the heart rate recovery via focus on my breathing. I’ve noticed in the past that it seemed to climb after each recovery.

Sorry if this question was already answered, I did a search but couldn’t find anything.

Thank you,

I would not use heart rate recovery (HRRc) as a measure of whether or not your FTP (or training) is low, high, or just right. Below are just a couple of reasons.

  • HR can be affected by more than just the work and recovery (i.e. sickness, sleep, anxiety, fatigue, etc)
  • Recovery duration
  • Recovery intensity (i.e. 40% FTP vs say 85% in some of the ShortPower Build workouts)
  • Ratio of work to recovery (i.e. 30/30s vs 60/30s)
  • Cardiac drift (over time your HR will slowly raise even if the work remains the same, but will likely plateau until you reach total exhaustion)

intervals.icu reports HRRc for a given workout as the largest decrease in heart rate (bpm) over a one-minute period. HRRc could be one way to assess your ability to recover from intense efforts, but is subject to all of the same items listed above.

I’m not aware of it, and to be honest there aren’t many resources I’ve found that talk about cycling and HRR (heart rate recovery). Here is one:

The article offers a counter to what rkoswald wrote above, and I do think there is some value in using it for trending analysis but not in the sense you are suggesting.

If you think the ramp test is overestimating your FTP, then I suggest doing a simple field test (indoor or outdoor) using long threshold intervals, say a classic 2x20 minute (or starting lower at 3x10), or a long 30-60 minute single threshold effort.

@bbarrera, interesting read. Thanks for sharing.

Hi, for me I think hr recovery is an excellent way of looking at if you are adapting or recovering from a certain physiological training zone. For example, I am doing VO2 intervals x4 of say at a hr at 176-170, and recover until my hr goes to 60% MHR. On average my hr drops to 60% on average 2 mins. If I see that my hr takes on average 1 min 50 sec, then thats a training adaptation, and on the other hand it takes a lot longer to recover, I would stop the workout due to possible over reaching, as my bodily systems are not recovering.
I woud take a rest day, and a couple of easy days, then go at it again, to see if I am recovering from the training load.
IMO, heart rate recovery is a tool if you are adapting to any training load, or not, see if there is a positive or negative trend. Every one is an individual and has their own unique physiology. Just apply the basic principles to training effectively.
I hope this kind of helps,