Heart skipping beats!?

Not sure if I can give this a good description - sometimes I can feel that my heart skips a few beats during a hard workout. Usually, this comes from not warming up enough, ie on the first VO2max interval or threshold interval. I can literally feel the heart stops a bit, then tries to catch up with all the blood it needs. Here is an example that I got from today’s ramp test:

You can see right around threshold my heartbeat literally dropped out that my HR strap wasn’t even able to pick it up. Knowing that this usually passes with some rhythmic breezing it’ll go away I just kept going and the HR strap picked it up on the next ramp.

My question is has this happened to other folks? I remember there are reports on endurance athletes getting enlarged hearts (not sure what the term is). But not sure if that correlates to what I’ve experienced. Also, one thing to note is that I didn’t experience dizziness, drop of power (as you can see…) or saw really attractive women during the workout…




One hypothesis is that I haven’t had enough electrolytes in my system – I did have a relatively low salt meal the night before and I’m a salty sweater…

If this is more then a technical hardware dropout, you should see your doctor :slight_smile:
(specially if this happened more then once)


Worth seeing a doctor just in case, could be arrhythmia. Exercise can be a trigger.

I’m a doctor myself and I would also recommend seeing a doctor, especially if this occurs during exercise as you described.


I suffer from ectopic beats. Have done for years as many people do. It’s just that most people aren’t aware of them. Go see your doc if you are worried at all.

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I found my A-fib condition training with HR. I was fortunate. After a nervous night in the hospital, I was cleared back to full training. Worth the appointment for sure :+1:


As you will no doubt this is exceptionally common, I have read that if it affects one particular region of your heart it is nothing to worry about. I’ve had this in and off for years, I am almost certain that for me it is other stressors in my life which trigger them. If I’m mentally ‘in a good place’ they go away.

Sounds like it is not a hardware problem, if you feel it. You’ve seen the advice above: doctor.

Otherwise, I have had similar things happen, breaks in the heartbeat (but I would expect the line to bottom out, not to skip), spikes …

Last year I had some workouts with a max-pulse of 240 … a few with 220 … I can tell you, that didn’t happen.

I bought a new strap and the problem went away. Straps are consumables and when we use them and wash them 5 times a week, some can quit working.

But a visit to the doctor is a given.

I’ve had a few appointments having heart tests re a similar thing. For me it was all good, basically the cardiologist told me that there’s a number pacemakers in the heart, when the cells in one of them are dying (normal process as they then regenerate) they fire off random beats causing that skip a beat feeling. This will apparently go away on its own. So after all my tests there’s no problem according to the professionals. But still see a doctor just to be sure.

Do you feel anything other than an odd sensation? Does it happen at rest? How long do you go between these episodes?

Lots of people live with asymptomatic arrhythmias that aren’t likely to be harmful. That said, if you are at all concerned please speak to a Doctor - you may have to wear a temporary monitor so that this can be recorded on an ECG and properly diagnosed as your average sports HR monitor isn’t enough to say what is going on.

Not wanting to sound like an arse, and not doubting you may feel your heart doing weird stuff but the graphic above is a simple hardware drop out, not “missing beats”.

As above, go see a doctor.


Hang on, we’re supposed to wash heart rate straps?


Well, I do. They can irritate enough on long distance rides without the extra sandpaper effect of salt.

the garmin strap even has instructions to wash each 7 uses to prevent salt accumulation from prohibiting proper working. Outdoors, that might be OK, but indoor the strap is always drenched, so I wash it more often.

Yeah this only happens when I’m doing hardwork on the bike - not in normal life and not during easy riding. I suppose getting my hands on portable ECG is probably the next logical step…

Thanks everyone for the advice - booking an appointment with an ECG machine just to check it out. Probably no biggie considering I almost made it to 5w/kg this morning :stuck_out_tongue:


Go see a doctor

Do not assume that because you are very fit that you cannot have a major health problem. Go see a doctor immediately if you believe you are having an irregular heart beat under any circumstances. Not being concerned because it is ‘only’ when working very hard is incorrect. See: Athletes dropping dead during competition. It isn’t common but it happens, you need a medical professional to weigh in on your situation


If you can feel your heart doing funky stuff you have to go see a doc & figure out what’s going on.

I was very familiar with somebody whose heart would stop beating once in a while. He would atually say, ‘My heart’s stopped.’ Eventually it stopped, didn’t re-start in time, and he passed. So it can happen.

As just happened…once again:

"The results are clear; I suffer from a heart condition that worsens with intensive effort…”
Sounds super familiar. :persevere: If it can happen to pro riders, who are way more fit, it can happen to you.