Measuring Stress

We have spoken about Heart Rate variability (HRV), stress and performance in the last few posts. In todays post I want to highlight some ways that you can measure your HRV. To recap, heart rate variability (HRV) is a well-understood phenomenon allowing us to monitor objectively physiological stress (Altini 2018a). If we can monitor stress (good and bad) then we can act before it has a negative impact and use it to improve our performance. (Marcelo Campos 2017)) for more on this.

Now we know why, how do we actually measure it? There are several easy to use devices which measure your HRV either by ear clip, wired finger clip, chest strap, Bluetooth finger clip or your camera phone and now your watch.  Some manufacturers I have used are:

  • EliteHRV (@elitehrv 2018)
  • Hrv4Training (Altini 2018b)
  • Ithlete (@myithlete 2018)
  • Complete Coherence (Watkins 2018)
  • Biocom Technologies ( 2018)

I have also used the Polar V800 for the collection data which I then export and analyse with KUBIOS hrv software.  This export function is no longer available from Polar as they have incorporated the analysis of the data into the watch itself. Their new watch Vantage V (PolarGlobal 2018) still has the optical sesnors on the back of the watch for the collection of heart data but still uses their chest strap for the collection of HRV data to ensure accuracy

 When measuring HRV it is important to:

  • Have accurate data
  • Avoid confounding factors such as coffee or recording after a late night
  • Take a recording first thing in the morning upon waking, at the same time and position eg sitting.
  • Take it 4-5 times a week for 4 – 5 minutes each time.

(Schwellnus et al. 2016) highlights the importance of collecting both subjective and objective data in order to draw meaningful conclusions.  Ensure the platform you choose allows for this.

Next post we’ll talk about HRV and teams.

@elitehrv 2018, Elite HRV – Heart Rate Variability, @elitehrv, viewed <>.

@myithlete 2018, ithlete heart rate variability training tool, @myithlete, viewed <>.

Altini, M 2018a, ‘Heart Rate Variability: a (deep) primer’, hrv4training, 23/11/2017,<>.

Altini, M 2018b, hrv4training, viewed <>. 2018, Health Assessment products with Heart Rate Variability Analysis (HRV), viewed <>.

Marcelo Campos, M 2017, Heart rate variability: A new way to track well-being  – Harvard Health Blog, Harvard Health Publishing Harvard Medical School, viewed 15 November, <>.

PolarGlobal 2018, Polar Vantage V | High-end multisport & triathlon watch for ambitious athletes | Polar Global, viewed 16 November, <>.

Schwellnus, M, Soligard, T, Alonso, J-M, Bahr, R, Clarsen, B, Dijkstra, HP, Gabbett, TJ, Gleeson, M, Hägglund, M, Hutchinson, MR, Janse Van Rensburg, C, Meeusen, R, Orchard, JW, Pluim, BM, Raftery, M, Budgett, R & Engebretsen, L 2016, ‘How much is too much? (Part 2) International Olympic Committee consensus statement on load in sport and risk of illness’, British Journal of Sports Medicine, vol. 50, no. 17, pp. 1043-1052.

Watkins, A 2018, Coherence Trainer, viewed <>.

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