Resting heart rate not dropping in spite of training, is it relevant?

Last night I discovered that my GF probably has a lower resting heart rate than I do. She’s a bit athletic (running + boot camps), but not as much as me.

What ever I do, my resting heart rate is around 58-62. It probably dropped two bpm in the last 1-2 years, compared to others that seems like nothing. I track it with a Garmin watch I wear at night.

Otherwise my heart rate seems normal: Max of 197 bpm, can hold 80% of maxHR for 20min. (all out effort), heart rate recovery is 40-60 (depends on the intervals), it’s also super reactive (going up and down). The efficiency (power/HR) got a bit better, depending on how it’s defined. When resting during the day heart rate falls below 70.

I am not that young anymore, but also not that old yet. I started doing regular exercise around 3-4 years ago, little by little I did more. Now being around 400+ hours / year with cycling alone.

Searching around I found that general consensus is that it’s basically genetics. Apart from that, does it have any meaning?

Will my resting heart rate ever go down? Does it even matter? (Will I always be as slow as I am now? :smiley: )

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No it doesnt really matter.

It might lower eventually, but then it might not.

It is mainly genetically determined and for some people reduces with age irrespective of training… there are other factors at play other than training history or current training.


Ok thanks :slight_smile:

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As said it doesn’t really matter.

A lower RHR may mean you are getting fitter but it might also mean that your overtraining (worn out) which will lead to you becoming less fit. Dozens of other factors can affect RHR too so it might be a sign of neither.

FWW, For me the pattern usually goes that, the day immediately after a hard training session/ ride my RHR is slightly higher than average and a few days after I’ve recovered its lower than average. But there are exceptions. Its slightly low this morning, after last nights session which perhaps means I’m worn out (it certainly the way I feeling) so I’ll do nothing today and try to get a good night’s sleep before my TT on Saturday. Then again it might mean nothing!


n = 1 my rhr is lowest when I’m lightest (even at the same/ similar fitness).

I tend to use it depending on how I’m feeling - I suffer with allergies, so (again n=1) it helps me differentiate allergy related sinus issues v virus/ bacterial sinus. If I am sick, I wait until it normalises before resuming training, which is often a day or two after feeling better.

Alcohol seems to have the single biggest impact for me though - elevated all night and in the morning!


I came down with covid last wednesday and had a (on that day) rhr in the normal range, hrv normal, sleep score pretty normal but felt something was up in the morning. by 1pm my HR was consistently between 100-120bpm and I had developed a mild fever and felt bad - sure enough it was covid.

I’ve recovered by sat/sun and now my rhr is quite low, 10bpm lower what I’d consider normal. rhr is way up like 15-20msec higher than what I’d consider normal. Body battery is in the 50s now but was 93 in the am. So should be fully recovered based on these metrics.

What should I make of all this data? I don’t yet feel like to hammer a VO2max workout but will do a short endurance ride after work. How do you navigate your metrics? Looking back I don’t know if it’s worth tracking these metrics for me at all as I don’t find them very actionable because for me they were quite delayed. It didn’t “warn” me of the upcoming illness and now that I’m recovered I once again go by feel and not the metrics. How do you approach your garmin metrics when it comes to high fatigue/illness and training?

I wrote this 10d ago in the “Using Garminwatch to track RHR” thread but no one responded. Maybe it fits into this thread?

As you train more, your heart (a muscle) gets stronger and your stroke volume goes up, reducing your resting heart rate (simply put). How trainable this is probably comes down to genetics and how long you’ve been an endurance athlete for. I wouldn’t loose sleep over it and focus on Watts rather than RHR/HR.

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My RHR varies too - I use moving averages because of that. I also think there may be quite some variability because of the way it is measured (eg. movement in the night).

My RHR usually is up when I have bad sleep (illness, alcohol) or after hard workouts (for 1-2 days). Sometimes 2-3 days after a hard workout it falls a bit below the normal range for 1-2 days (nights with very good sleep).

I don‘t interpret the numbers much. More like how is the average RHR in the last six months compared to the six months before that.


This is totally wrong. A lower RHR is an adaptation of the heart to higher stroke volume. In sum, if it’s not going down your VO2Max is not going up.


It can be a sign of that but its misleading it can also be a sign of overtraining resulting decreasing fitness. It can also be a sign of a lot of other things! I wouldn’t put to much faith in it by that sense it doesn’t really matter and you are better off listening to your body more.


No I am not. Do you reserach and read my whole post and stop being argumentative.

You have mentioned just one aspect.

It matters a lot!. Not the day to day variation but the long term trend. Not until those numbers start dropping in the low 50’s at least, you can consider yourself fit.

Not really IMO, its either a sign that your improving fitness wise or overtraining leading to lower fitness or something else entirely!

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I’m really not trying to be argumentative. But this is just basic physiology. If your RHR is not going down, your stroke volume is not going up, at least in a meaningful way.


I’m not disagreeing with you, yes it can be a sign that, you are getting fitter but it can be the sign of overtraining or something else. If you want to ignore the latter and see it purely as a sign of fitness that’s your prerogative.

Nonsense… lets pick a random number, I say 32 - 36 bpm, I must have elite level fitness.

Wheres your evidence or have you just picked that out of thin air?

My 17 year old daughter has a resting HR of 42 and has never done a day excerise in her life.

Yes of course a lowering of resting HR in an individual it can be an indication of fitness improvement, I dont think anyone said otherwise. It equally can also just be an indicator that you are getting older (as RHR typically declines with age.) How do you know which is which?

It not worth worrying about, and in the sense it doesn’t matter because you can’t control for the other factors that affect it, often more than fitness, for example age, gender, medications, medical conditions, diet, hormones, fatigue etc.

The OP was comparing themselves with their other half, that really doesnt matter and doesnt indicate anything necessary.

Performance is the best indicator of performance (AC) not resting HR.


Just adding information: I‘ve had a lab test done around a year ago (a friend works in a lab and wanted to test equipment, I was all over it since I read about it on the internet).

One of the tests was for vo2max, the result was 52 (which is a bit lower than what my garmin tells me). However l’m not sure where to place the number regarding performance.

What you say makes sense, but aren’t there other restrictions to vo2max which can improve too (lungs, blood cells, unless they are already maxed out)?

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In my experience, long term fatigue leads to a higher RHR, and inability to elevate heart rate when working at intensity.


Stroke volume seems to be the easiest to change in a relatively short time and is a central factor to VO2max.

Others include capilliarization, plasma volume, mitochondrial density, that are trainable over the long term. You’re not going to do much about your lung capacity except make it worse over time. You’ve kinda got what you’ve got there, but you can train inspiratory muscles to prevent fatigue over the course of intense sessions… but that’s probably not helping your VO2max in spite of marketing hype.

Normally the limiter of VO2max is not your lungs or breathing.


Thanks for the explanation.

Wonder if there’s anything to manipulate on your training structure. 5 days a week is ideal. Try to get one long ride. 400h seems enough to start seeing changes. Keep the z2 easy so you can crush the hard workouts. Stack days. 2 big weeks 20h+ a year. Some ideas.