Odd Heart Rate behavior following Ramp Test

I has some odd goings on with my Heart Rate following my Ramp Test today, and i am interested if others have had a similar thing happen, and if so what did they learn about it - something to worry about or it is normal, even if not normal for me.

I am a 56yr old just coming off completing shortened versions (as per Plan Builder) of SSBHV 1 & 2. I felt good after a lower intensity rest week and ripped into the Ramp Test and it went OK.

My HR maxed out at the end at 174 which is high for me, but within normal range. HR quickly dropped down to 125 over the minute following failure (normal), but then shot back back up to the 170’s for the remaining 4 minutes of the Ramp Test recovery (not normal for just over 100 watts!), and maxed out at 178.

I had a 14 minute break afterwards, felt a little rough and looking a little ashen looking (a ramp test will do that), but decided to do Carter for some extra endurance. I started it and my HR was in the 150’s (should have been down to 80-90) and it instantly jumped to the 170’s again and stubbornly stayed there for the first four minutes until the first step up in power, when it decided to return to normal (early 130’s).

So that is potentially 22 minutes the HR stayed at an unexplained high level and went even higher with a little exertion.

I have had a couple of similar occurrences before and done nothing about it, and yes i understand i should go to my Doctor and ask the question of her rather than the collective wisdom of a forum, but if others have been down this path before and learnt something, then that seems a good starting point as it might be nothing to be concerned about… or it might be

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Not to be alarmist, but you need to call your doctor ASAP. HR issues like the above are not something to play around with. The possible outcomes are probably very binary:

  • Nothing to worry about
  • Very serious

I don’t know you, so can’t offer a medical opinion. But don’t exercise again till you see your doctor. If it comes on at rest, go to the ER. If you feel bad at all now, go to the ER.


Did you feel that your heart rate was at 170 when it normally would have been much lower?

If you felt okay then it could be your HR monitor is acting up. I would try wearing you HR monitor while you’re just sitting on the couch and see if it gives weird numbers. Or lend it to a friend for them to try on a ride.

Be careful and make sure you know what’s going on before another workout tho.

Doctor appointment has been made now


High 160’s or maybe touching 170 is normal for a ramp test. I am pretty confident the readings were correct based on how i was feeling, but i will check the battery level on the TICKR

Just sharing my experience - At the age of 56, I finished a race took it easy on the way home but the HR hit 200 ( way outside my range) for about 20 mins. Didn’t feel too good after that - ended up being checked out in hospital.
Diagnosis irregular HR and enlarged right heart ( ventricle ). Nothing that can’t be managed . Now 62 and have gone up a grade in criteriums. Looking at TR to take me up another grade.
Total agree on hr monitor scenario - recommend to take your wrist heart if it ever happens again as I have had a few false alarms myself.

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Thanks for sharing that. Now you mentioned the enlarged heart, i recall having mine noted as mildly enlarged on a chest xray a while back. Something to explore with the Doc

Are you sure your heart rate was actually bouncing up and down?

Or could the monitor have been on the fritz?

(I.e. did you feel your heart rate jump up and down)

It wasn’t jumping up and down, it went up to the high level and stayed there during the recovery period of the Ramp Test and warm-up of Carter. I am pretty confident that it was correct based on how i felt.

The battery on the TICKR is at 80% according to the TR App. if i sit up the HR will drop put sometimes as it did in Carter. I have another strap i can try

Don’t forget that you can always take your pulse the old fashioned way — fingers on neck and count. Tech can go haywire, go straight to the physical source to confirm or deny any digital readings.

This will happen to pretty much anyone who exercises with any sort of intensity and/or regularity. The heart is a muscle, if you work it, it’s going to grow. It’s not a bad thing but too much of a good thing is bad. You can always detrain for 3-4 months if you want your heart to shrink.


Have you had your thyroid levels checked? Hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism can both have this effect on the heart. I know as I’ve had it.

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In the context of enlargement through exercise- is that good or bad?

It’s good albeit unavoidable (i.e. there’s nothing you can do about it). Put simply, your heart is stronger. However, getting too big is bad. Just look at Cipo.

No i haven’t, but i’ll add that to the list to consider thanks

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