Int J Sports Med 2008; 29(3): 238-243
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-965162
Training & Testing

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Reliability of Postexercise Heart Rate Recovery

L. Bosquet1 , 2 , F.-X. Gamelin2 , S. Berthoin2
  • 1Département de Kinésiologie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada
  • 2Faculté des Sciences du Sport et de l'EP, Université Lille 2, Ronchin, France
Further Information

Publication History

accepted after revision February 13, 2007

Publication Date:
05 July 2007 (eFirst)


Passive postexercise heart rate (HR) recovery is currently used in the assessment of endurance athletes to determine changes in performance or in the clinical setting as a predictor of all-cause mortality. The purpose of this investigation was to assess the reliability of HR recovery. Thirty healthy subjects performed two maximal and two submaximal treadmill exercises, followed by 5 minutes of passive recovery. HR signal was used to compute raw and Δ (exercise - recovery) HR after 1, 2, 3, and 5 minutes of exercise cessation. A mono-exponential function was fitted to the data using the least squares procedure. We found no significant bias between repeated measures. Relative reliability was lower for Δ HR when compared with raw HR (0.43 < ICC < 0.71 vs. 0.68 < ICC < 0.83, respectively). Absolute reliability was relatively constant over time for raw HR (SEM = ∼ 8 %), while it decreased exponentially from the 1st (SEM = ∼ 20 %) to the 5th minute of recovery (SEM = ∼ 8 %) for Δ HR. The reliability of parameter estimates from exponential curve fitting was less consistent, since both ICC (0.43 to 0.88) and SEM (5.7 to 21.4 %) differed from one parameter to the other according to the intensity of exercise. We conclude that passive postexercise HR recovery reliability is heterogeneous. Raw HR is the desired method to describe it.


Prof. Laurent Bosquet

Département de Kinésiologie
Université de Montréal

CP 6128, Succ. Centre Ville

H3C 3J7 Montréal


Phone: + 51 43 43 89 49

Fax: + 51 43 43 21 81