T Nation

resting herat rate

could anyone tell me if there is some sort of chart or standard available to determine what is a normal resting heart rate is for a 37 year old man?the reason i ask is that i have monitored mine via a pulse monitor for the last few nites.my average sleeping bpm is 72.that seems a bit high to me.as for exercise,i lift 4 days a week and play volleyball for 2.5 hours one night a week.i eat decently and take vitamins and i quit smoking 8 months ago?besides that,i dont take any medications and i am not overweight,(i am actually trying to gain weight).i do have one or two cups of java a day but never near bedtime.i also know that my average heart rate while lifting is about 130 bpm based on 1.5 hours i spend working out.if anyone has some thoughts or insight into this,please educate me!thanx in advance,russ

Resting heart rate is more genetically determined than training influenced. I would not worry about it if you have been consistently measuring it. I see resting heart rates on 30-40 year old men from 40-90 every single day independant of training status. On the other end of the spectrum, my resting heart rate is 35-40 bpm independant of my training status. Resting heart rate used to be considered a sign of training status, but this is not the case any more.

I’m not a frequent poster but I assume Jason is a professional of some import and additionally, I learned something new. It would be a huge statement if say for ex., a schools’ track team would, on average, have the same BPMs as the chess teams’. Given improvement in work capacity, why wouldn’t the heart, being stronger and more efficient,slow down at rest? Sounds like you Jason are an excellent endurance athlete.

Good points, sir. Especially the “consistently measuring” part, as you are then establishing baseline. I do believe HR drops as aerobic fitness improves, and as recovery is integral to same, is of use, day by day, in determining whether an athlete has indeed gotten enough sleep, is overtraining, etc. (in absence of inotrophic stimulation by various thermogenic supplements). If this is no longer the generally accepted view, would you elaborate, please? I know my own HR varies as described above. Yes, we live in a different world where the term “bradycardia” is concerned. If your own resting HR is genetically that low, perhaps there is no where else for it to go while in maximum shape, without your ventricles trying to do their own thing.

Resting heart rate has some significance, especially if way out of the norm or if there is a significant change from baseline. Of course you have to know your regular baseline to know if things change.

What really tells you if you are adapting to exercise is how your heart rate changes in response to maximal exercise.

Oxygen uptake is low at rest and cardiac output (heart rate x stroke volume) is easily maintained in most people. Even if you have increased your ability to eject more blood per beat it may not carry over to resting measurements.

So if you want to really measure your cardiovascular condition, you want to occasionally do a graded exercise test. I don't care how you do it, but choose the exact same protocol and measure your heart rate at each workload.

For example: A simple progressive bike test

Sedentary Baseline

resting HR = 60 bpm
50 watts = 90 bpm
100 watts = 120 bpm
150 watts = 160 bpm
200 watts = 185 bpm
250 watts = 195 bpm, max effort, end test

After 6 months of regular training:

resting HR = 60 bpm
50 watts = 80 bpm
100 watts = 110 bpm
150 watts = 145bpm
200 watts = 165 bpm
250 watts = 180 bpm
300 watts = 190 bpm
350 watts = 195 bpm, max effort, end test

Please realize that I made these numbers up, but I hope the concept displayed makes sense. Resting and maximal heart rate numbers may or may not change and who really cares. Submaximal heart rates will show change. If you have improved your aerobic fitness, you will have a lower heart rate at each workload and will have a longer test overall. That is how I would judge improvements in aerobic fitness, not by looking at resting heart rate.