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Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

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Old 10-18-2008, 12:15 PM   #1
Dan Donche
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Heart Rate Recovery

Awhile ago I was doing some research about max heart rate and I came across a great article (unfortunately I can't remember where that article was) that talked about how much overemphasis was placed on max heart rate and training zones, yatta yatta yatta, and it went on to state how heart rate recovery was a more awesome way of gauging CR fitness or performance levels than other common methods. So I tried to research HRR and found a significant lack of documentation on it.

It seems like common sense to me, really, that HRR would play an important role in high-intensity activities such as MMA, where fighters must be able to exert themselves and have only 1 minute to regain a low heart rate. I can understand how that would be helpful.

The only thing I found was some article stating that if your heart rate drops less than 12 beats after 1 minute of rest following exercise, you have problems. What I was hoping to find was the optimal amount an athlete could expect to see (I've been able to drop from around 180 BPM to around 120 BPM after 1 minute, so I guess that's good?)

Does anyone else know anything further on this? I'm interested to hear what you guys have to say. (I was also inspired to research this after finding out that Rich Franklin focuses on improving HRR by sprinting/doing intervals on a treadmill for a predetermined amount of time--5 mins? and then monitors his HRR to see how well he's improving. Interesting.)

EDIT: I also use the acronym HRR in this case to designate heart rate recovery, however, I understand it can also be used to mean heart rate reserve, something I don't really want to get into as I don't think it applies to anything important.
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Last edited by Dan Donche : 10-18-2008 at 12:19 PM.
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Old 10-18-2008, 01:37 PM   #2
Steven Anderson
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Re: Heart Rate Recovery

I receive an extensive EKG every year as required by my profession. I have to "walk" on a treadmill until I reach 80% (I believe) of my max heart rate. Once I reach that point, the treadmill stops, I get off, and then lay flat until my HR drops below 100 BPM (which the Doc says is very indicative of a healthy heart). So, yea, I think being able to recover quickly from any type of exercise, especially intense exercise such as CF displays an exceptional level of fitness. I'll try doing a search on this as well and see if I can dig up any "official" studies and what not.
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Old 10-18-2008, 02:01 PM   #3
Delita Wright
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Re: Heart Rate Recovery

Funny, but as bad shape as I am in, the first thing I noticed about starting to do WODs is that my heart rate and breathing don't give out on my nearly so quickly and also return to close to normal very quickly. I mean, I noticed a huge different after just a couple weeks of WODs. Of course, no nothing of the science. I did pass the one stress test I've had with flying colors, so not worried about it.
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Old 10-18-2008, 05:13 PM   #4
Brian Lau
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Re: Heart Rate Recovery

I blogged about this a few months ago:

http://spartantraining.blogspot.com/...rtRateRecovery

(WFS)

Info about heart rate recovery is about halfway into the post, and there are numerous links to scientific articles. If you are are recovering 40bpm within a minute, you're in good shape.
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Old 10-19-2008, 03:58 PM   #5
Dan Donche
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Re: Heart Rate Recovery

Great blog entry, Brian. I'm going to have to check out some of those references you cited (I'm all about learning the physiology stuff.)
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Old 10-19-2008, 06:02 PM   #6
Geoff Pitluck
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Re: Heart Rate Recovery

Interesting post. As an aside, I think the HRR time would be a function of how long one's HR has been elevated. A 400m will come down quicker than a 10k, with less of an oxygen debt to make up, no?
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Old 10-20-2008, 06:17 AM   #7
Christian Mason
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Re: Heart Rate Recovery

Yes, everything else being equal. Everything else is rarely equal though :-)

You HR might recover faster from a 10K if you were performing below your aerobic treshold, since there will be minimal/no oxygen debt. That's rarely the case for anyone on here so I'd imagine you mean with both runs performed all out.

However, I can say that when I did multihour training runs, if I didn't do a "kick" at the end, my HR recovered quickly.
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Old 10-20-2008, 09:10 AM   #8
Geoff Pitluck
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Re: Heart Rate Recovery

True, Christian, things rarely are. And yes, I was thinking of comparing maximal efforts of both shorter and longer time periods.

When I used to do longer, 20 mile+ Saturdays, my training pace was rarely at anything close to maximal effort. More like 10+ min/mile. I just wanted to get used to the changes that would start around 18 miles, period. And, yes, like you said, it would not be too long before my HR was under 100. But after running a 26 mile race, with my best effort, it took quite a while.

To me, HRR is a measure of the ability to get out of oxygen debt, which is a crucial component of cardiovascular fitness. My original point was just that, when designing a chart of HRR improvement over time, it might help to use a designated period of time that the HR is elevated, so that the improvement measured would more accurately reflect CV improvement. Not trying to complicate the issue. There are clearly many variables to consider. Just saying..
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Old 10-20-2008, 09:38 AM   #9
Christian Mason
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Re: Heart Rate Recovery

Geoff - I agree that would be really interesting to see. I wasn't trying to be nitpicky with the point about level of exertion.


I wonder if it would be possible to map this mathematically for different times and levels of exertion. It's been years since I did any serious math, I fear this is going to make my brain hurt.

Something like, for various levels of fitness, recovery time is f(x) where x = "O2 Debt" (as a function of time HR is elevated, and % average HR is above anaerobic threshold).

I'm probably over thinking this.
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Old 10-20-2008, 09:42 AM   #10
Nathan Newsom
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Re: Heart Rate Recovery

When I was in the Air Force that is how they did their PT test. Go on a bike for about 10 min until your HR got to around 140 and slowed the bike down and timed your recovery. they scored it on a 1-100 scale with some sort of formula that incorperated your age, time it took to get your HR up and recovery. then they figured it was BS and went back to the old PT test...run, pushup, sit up. ppl failed that test that should have passed and the oposite. I think its BS too
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