Low resting HR - Does it have any meaning for cyclist?

Hello guys.

I was just wondering if a low resting HR have any significant meaning for cyclist? Is it good to have a low resting HR, or the other way around?

Im asking, because after getting in better shape, my resting HR is getting lower - my HR is almost as low as when i peaked last year - and my HR is low’er than alot of guys i know - so im just figuring if it does have any upsides?

My resting HR is currently 34 BPM - and as low as 29/39 when im in very good shape


A low resting HR is a sign of good fitness, although you don’t have to have an extremely low resting heart rate to have good fitness.

It’s a relative thing, so as you get more fit your own resting heart rate goes down. There’s no need to compare to other people though.


As a very general rule, a lower heart rate means you have a higher stroke volume i.e. the amount of blood your heart can move per beat. Your heart is like any other muscle in your body and it can get better at doing its job as a result of training. So, again as a general rule, if your resting heart rate gets lower as you train, it is a sign that your heart is getting more efficient at moving blood which is a good thing.

Like any other physical attribute, some people get a genetic head start so some people start with lower resting heart rates and bigger stroke volumes than others, just like some basketball players get to be 6’ 10" and others are stuck at 5’ 11" :wink:

1 Like

Wow! Even for low HR standards that’s really low. You won the genetically low HR lottery. What advantages that gives you… :man_shrugging: probably none, lol.

Could be there was some scientific meaning, i wasnt aware of. Who knows, i was just wondering. Since some genetically has a high obtainable vo2 max and so on. No need to be dissing :slight_smile:

It does mean that you can claim the medical condition ‘bradycardia’ which you can use to your advantage if you want to get out of doing chores despite the fact that it usually means you’re just fit.


What do people mean when they talk about their resting HR? My Apple Watch usually takes my resting heart rate from when I’m asleep, but I always wondered.

I generally take mine using HR strap before i’ve got out of bed and im lying relaxed. I compare this with what my smartwatch measured in the night. Usually about 41 or 42bpm for me.

When you’re at rest, but not asleep. So when you first wake up and haven’t moved around yet. Most watches use some formula that “calculates” your resting HR. Not sure what factors they use or their accuracy. But my Fitbit is usually consistent enough to track my training stress (ie: my resting HR is higher week 3 of a Build plan than day 7 of recovery week).

1 Like

For what it’s worth, I’ve been using a QS sleep monitor from Emfit. I’ve noticed that my heart rate moves dramatically downward in the morning, a few hours before I awaken, then shoots up near the time I get up. The monitor reports VERY different numbers for the “low average” than anything I’ve ever recorded on waking up. It seems you can get into a “wake up cycle” just prior to getting up, especially if you’ve become accustomed to waking up at a specific time. Thus, my heart rate would be up if I recorded it upon waking.

With the monitor, I track my heart rate across three levels through the night, average high, average, and average low. Additionally, of course, I use HRV (and a LOT of other things). I HAVE noticed a correlation between these figures and the acute training load, however the correlation with day-to-day TSS is very slight (-0.28). I suspect there’s a bit of an offset from WHEN I do the work to when the heart rate is elevated, as I’m really looking at numbers that should correspond to overall stress (exercise and other stressors). I’m sure the science is out there, but it’s a fun math project.

As such, I only use these resting heart rates as a signal tool. If I feel bad, and the numbers agree that I SHOULD feel bad, it’s a good day to back off.

If you’re genuinely getting SUPER low numbers, I’d check out a real monitor to see what’s going on. Though, of course, Miguel Indurain reportedly had a resting heart rate of 28bpm. Your mileage may vary.

I’m not sure but I’m pretty confident that HR under 40bpm might be cause for an investigation. My span is 46-197bpm but I have no idea what practical difference it makes.

Just to add to this. Big up TR: done a lot of training, my resting HR has dropped to 35, sometimes 32 if work does not kick my ass. Thanks guys! :wink:

Low can be something to chat with a doctor about.