Friday, January 5, 2018

Overtraining and Heart Rate Variability (HRV)- Part II

As promised, I'm back to talk to you more about HRV and how to measure it.  In my last blog, I explained what HRV was all about and how effective it is at helping to predict or diagnose overtraining.  Now, I'm going to tell you what you need to buy/get in order to measure HRV.  The first thing you need is a good Heart Rate Monitor (HRM).  There are dozens on the market and they include finger monitors, optical arm bands, wrist watches, chest monitors, etc.  Obviously, the most accurate would be a wired monitor.  However, you'll only see them in a lab setting and most are cost prohibitive.  So, I'm not going to even talk about those.  Of the wireless HRMs, I believe the best are made by Polar.  Why?  Because they're the pioneers in athletic HRMs, and an industry leader with over 30 yrs. experience, and they seem to be one of the most accurate over the years..especially their wireless chest monitors.  I bought all kinds of Polar HRMs over the years, coded, non-coded, ANT+, Bluetooth, etc. and the best one for monitoring HRV is the H7 pictured below:

The Polar H7 HRM is Bluetooth compatible with smart phones and one recommended by the software App I use called EliteHRV.  You can buy it online for $50.  It's not Polar's top of the line HRM, the H10 is, but it does the job.  The H10 is firmware upgradeable, has twice the battery life as the H7, new measuring algorithm, and has internal memory for storing up to 8 hrs of activity. But it's nearly double the price of the H7.  If you have the $$$, I'd spring for the H10.  If you're on a budget or don't care about the enhancements, go for the H7.

The software App for my iPhone is EliteHRV.  They have a great website and a great .pdf file that you can download telling you everything you need to know about HRV.  Go to Best of all, the App is FREE!
I've just started using EliteHRV.  In fact, tomorrow is only my second morning HRV reading.  In order to get accurate data you need to perform daily HRV measurements in bed while lying down (when you wake up in the morning).  Yes, that means you have to wear your HRM to bed- no big deal.  I'll let you know what I think in Part III..after I take my 2nd consecutive morning HRV test.  Together with Strava's Form/Fitness/Fatigue Chart..I believe you'll have a better idea if/when you're overtraining.  Overtraining can set you back more than not training at all.  Power ON!  Coach Rob

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