Int J Sports Med 2011; 32(9): 698-702
DOI: 10.1055/s-0031-1275357
Training & Testing

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Adapting Workload Improves the Measurement of Heart Rate Recovery

R. P. Lamberts1 , S. Maskell1 , J. Borresen2 , M. I. Lambert1
  • 1UCT/MRC Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Human Biology, University of Cape Town, South Africa
  • 2Discovery Vitality, Johannesburg, South Africa
Further Information

Publication History

accepted after revision March 01, 2011

Publication Date:
26 May 2011 (online)


Heart rate after a standardized test varies with a change in training status, possibly compromising the accuracy of measuring changes in heart rate recovery (HRR). The aim of this study was to determine if a change in the exercise intensity would result in a change in heart rate recovery and/or the accuracy of the heart rate recovery measurement. 31 subjects performed 4 submaximal running tests (HIMS). Based on the heart rate after the first HIMS, subjects either completed 4 identical HIMS (SAME (n=9)), 2 standard and 2 faster HIMS (FASTER (n=10)) or 2 standard and 2 slower HIMS (SLOWER (n=12)). Although no changes in heart rate recovery were found when the HIMS protocol was adapted, lower coefficients of variation (CV) and typical errors of measurement (TEM) were found in the SLOWER (CV: 11±7 to 5±3% (p=0.025)), TEM: 6 to 3 beats and FASTER group (CV: 11±7 to 4±3% (p=0.048), TEM: 7 to 3 beats). To ensure the highest level of sensitivity in detecting meaningful changes in HRR over time, submaximal testing protocols should target exercise intensities ranging in-between 86–93% of heart rate maximum.


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Dr. Robert Patrick LambertsPhD 

UCT/MRC Research Unit for

Exercise Science and Sports

Medicine (ESSM)

Faculty of Health Sciences

Department of Human Biology

University of Cape Town

PO box 115

7725 Newlands

South Africa

Phone: +27/21/650/4567

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