Suppressed Max HR, how much is expected?

TLDR:
Should max HR in a ramp during a training block be suppressed and is this a good indicator of fatigue. 8 weeks off and my maxHR is 10bpm higher.

After 8 weeks off the bike (initially for some rest but then for 6 weeks after an operation) I’ve done 2 ramp tests recently where my max HR was 191 and 192bpm which is about 10-12bpm higher than my ramp tests earlier in the year.

I know now I was fatigued - my first proper year of structured training and increased FTP from 226 to 302 but I looked at other issues to blame for my tiredness (diet, cooling, sleep, etc) instead of just taking a break.

I think my increase in max HR kind of justifies my fatigue theory, but my question is whether some suppression of max HR is expected during a training plan - I know we have rest days and recovery weeks but are we supposed to be back to 100% after a block?

I’m asking so that I can keep an eye on it over the next year as I start training again, I.e. if my max HR in a ramp test is low, it could be a good time to take a week off.

I find tracking HR values useful, but I’d advise against pinning too much significance on a single day or even a singular parameter like max HR. Speaking really generally, HR differences as a result of fatigue are more progressive and can occur across a range of intensities (I personally see an elevated HR at lower intensities when I’ve overdone it) so you’re better off keeping an eye on general trends and how they relate to other markers of fatigue- RPE, sleep etc.

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After 8 weeks off it absolutely makes sense your max HR was higher.

I’d be more focused on what your max HR is while you’re actually training, and then if you can’t hit max, it might be an indication to take a few days off.

To be honest, personally, lack of sleep (which i guess can be caused from too much training), is what impacts my HR the most. Very individual - don’t look into it too much.

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According to this meta-analysis, overload training reduces maximal HR by 4-7 beats/minute.

https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/42/9/709.long

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