Ok guys and girls,
As most of you know Heart Rate Variability is something that I spend a lot of time monitoring and learning about. This post is not ‘about HRV’, this is simply a post on the best ways to physically take the measurement.
HRV is tool that once you begin to understand can make a world of difference!! It has helped me to the point that I couldn’t imagine trying to remote coach and program for people without it. Seriously, I can literally see how much stress a person is under everyday and correlate it to their life and training.
The most important part is the ability to know when to push or when to hold back. Pushing too hard can, over time, cause overtraining and injury which is the NUMBER 1 thing I try to avoid. Injuries will put a massive curveball into your training and reaching your goals. Period.
There is without a doubt a STRONG correlation between constantly low HRV readings and injuries.
So anyway, HRV is great, blah blah blah. But it can only be helpful when the data is accurate. There is no point having inaccurate readings, it defeats the entire purpose and can screw up the programming that is written from it.
HOW TO TAKE YOUR HRV:
So here is exactly how I recommend you to take your daily HRV reading if you want the most accurate data:
1) You must do it as soon possible after waking up (before any crazy stimulation)
2) You must do the exact same thing every morning (even if you wake up at a different time)
3a) Wet the sensor before putting on the chest strap
3b) If you use the finger sensor then no need for water
4a) Find a comfy half seated half lying position to take the reading in (with headrest)
4b) If your monitor struggles to take the reading while you are lying/seated try fully seated (with headrest)
4c) If your monitor struggles to take the reading while you are seated try standing (but relaxed)
* I have only ever met one person that needs to be standing for their HRV to be accurate. It is not ideal.
You are welcome to wake up, get a glass of water and use the toilet before you test your HRV, but you must do the exact same routine everyday. Do not eat breakfast, do not drink coffee, do not get ready for work, it adds too many variables.
The following information I wrote myself for people that use the BioForce HRV System as a troubleshooting guide.
If you are experiencing difficulties in taking your Bioforce HRV measurement reading, please follow the steps below in order.
The best way to troubleshoot is to determine whether the issue is with the connectivity (related to Pulse) or the Valid RR Int. In the Bioforce HRV app this can be distinguished by checking if the “Pulse” is staying solid green. If the “Pulse” is solid green, then you have an issue with the “Valid RR Int.” If the “Pulse” is flickering back and forth between green and red, you have a connectivity issue.
If you’re unable to keep “pulse” green in the Bioforce HRV app, or “pulse” is flickering between green and red, try the following.
Step 1 – Try restarting your phone. This should restart the app.
Step 2a – If using a wireless receiver, make sure it is plugged all the way in the headphone jack. Try removing your device case, as it often impedes the wireless receiver. Also, be sure to hold the wireless receiver close to the transmitter of the heart rate strap.
Step 2b – If using a Bluetooth HR strap make sure Bluetooth is turned on both in the device settings and in the app itself. To do this, open the Bioforce HRV app, and click on the edit tab in the lower right portion of the screen. Then, make sure that “use Bluetooth smart strap” is turned on.
Step 3 – Make sure you wet the inside of the HR strap, the smooth portion of the strap that touches your skin to improve connectivity.
If you’re unable to keep “Valid RR Int” green in the Bioforce HRV app, or “Valid RR Int” is flickering between green and red, try the following.
Step 1 – Make sure your HR is close to your normal resting HR.
Step 2 – Make sure you are calm with no distractions, which includes; talking, moving around, constantly checking the device, or distracting sounds.
Step 3 – If your resting HR is in the low 40’s or if your HRV score is consistently above 90, try taking your reading from a seated position. Doing this will show greater variability. It’s normal for your resting HR to go up a few beats and your HRV score to go down when readings are taken seated.
Lastly, battery life within the heart rate strap will vary. It is not uncommon to have to replace the battery but in some cases, we’ve found simply removing the battery from the transmitter and wiping it down will solve any issues.