T Nation

Resting HR for Combat Athlete


I realize this is conditioning related, but I'm interested in getting information from guys that train or compete in combat sports.

I fancy myself a good athlete, have been naturally since youth, and I work very hard on my conditioning. Something about being exhausted when another man is trying to choke me or punch me in the face gives me pretty good incentive to work hard in this area.

Now, I read that a normal person's resting heart rate was anywhere from 60-100 bpm, and elite athletes could be as low as 40 bpm. This prompted me to check mine, and it was 60 bpm. It was a bit disheartening. I hold my own on the mats in the conditioning department, but still, something about being in the normal folks range irks me.

Which brings me to my question, if you don't mind, could you guys tell me what your resting heart rate is just for the sake of my curiosity? If you guys are all considerably lower then maybe I need to rethink my training, or just work harder possibly.

I'd also like to know if any of you have had success with doing specific heart rate training, like using a HR monitor to stay in specific ranges for specific times. I've never done this, I just wrestle, box, lift, run (sprints and distance), and cycle. I'm wondering if I need to get more specific with my training to get to another level. I think I work hard enough, but maybe not smart enough.


Either there isn't a single pulse among 40 of you, or this is a dumb thread. Since I assume all of you are alive I will have to consider it the latter.

In that case I will give myself a "cool story bro".

Goodday ladies and gents.


cool story bro.

I am a big fan of using a heart rate monitor- when training.

its an easy way to find out how hard you are working or not- when you train by yourself
or if your conditioning is bullshit cardio like machines at the gym vs sprints or something else.

a lower heart rate is like one thing to look at-
its not as though x number puts you in x category
unless you use them regularly with training

resting hear rate for an older guy- im 39 im in the low 60's to mid 70's
in my early 30's low 50's
in my mid twenties well below mid 40's

again its just another thing to look at


Well, this prompted me to check mine, and I'm apparently at 60 as well.

Of course, I quit smoking last June after ten years, so the fact that it's come down that far (and I guarantee it's down, because my heart no longer races when I wake up like it used too) means I'm winning.

I wouldn't base conditioning around it. When they say "adult athletes" they don't mean T-Nation posters... they mean guys like Floyd Mayweather or Michael Jordan or Olympic athletes and pro linebackers and shit.

Base your conditioning around when you're gassing out, not your heart rate. Keep an eye on it I guess, if for nothing else that it is kind of interesting, but I wouldn't get too caught up.


forget about heart rate, just keep focusing on improving your conditioning, don't get paralyzed by analysis, even if its 40 or 60 it won't change the fact that you have to keep training hard in order to improve.


That makes sense. Basically the number is more or less arbitrary, when considering all other factors, unless using it to gauge/monitor your workouts.

I'm 32 so maybe 60 is decent for my age. I had not considered the age factor.


Quick question? So you were expecting your heart rate to be that of an elite athlete?


I think this is good advice. After giving this more thought last night, I started questioning why it mattered what my heart rate was if my performance in the gym was acceptable.

Still, I may have to test out some target heart rate training to see if (a) I can lower my resting heart rate, and then if successful, (b) did my work rate/capacity improve and have any carryover to the mats.

I've only run across one program in this regard, supposedly tailored for combat athletes, but it's around $40 for the book and then however much a HR monitor costs. Still weighing the cost to benefit ratio, which is why I was curious if any of you do this sort of thing with any appreciable results.


You are on to me! I'm not quite arrogant enough (almost but not quite) to think it would be 40, but yes, I was hoping to at the very least break 60. Had it even been 59 I probably wouldn't have bothered starting the thread, but I fell in the "normal" range. Apparently it doesn't mean as much as I may have thought though.


Excellent points!

I suppose I'm just looking for some way to improve on what I've already been doing for conditioning, which is just work really hard on conditioning, since I still fall into the "normal" range through my efforts.


and you shouldn't consider the age factor. age is only a number. Do you think Bernard Hopkins or randy couture say, well, im "this age" I should expect lower results or not quite as good as i once was. thats a crock of shit. Main stream medical would love to have you beleive that age makes a difference. well, it doesn't. don't use age as a crutch or excuse.


I can appreciate the sentiment in what you are saying, and I enjoy the T level of it all, but I'm not sure where it fits in this case. Maybe Randy's resting heart rate is higher now than when he was an olympic alternate.

When using a range given by medical science; whether it be resting heart rate, blood pressure, or lab results from blood-work, then age certainly has to factor in the equation. That is, if you want an accurate assesment of where you stand amongst your peers. For example, if we were using a range of 40-59 bpm for RHR of elite athletes it would make a difference to me if the guys who were sub 50 bpm were also sub 30 years old. If elite athletes in their 30's are more in the range of, let's say, 54-59 bpm then I'm not that far off for my own RHR. We all age, and it's just a gauge, not an excuse.

Thanks for the pep talk though. The youngsters will not mistake me for being old on the mat tonight when we wrestle. Not that they ever do.


I posted but I guess it did not go through. My resting heart rate sitting is 44-46 bpm. It was in the lower 50s. worked real hard before my last fight to get it down, only to find out that was not the weak link in my conditioning. You can have some good luck with using HIIT and running with sprint intervals.

3 minutes on an eliptical on the highest setting, I could only turn about 44-46 rpm out of it, going for 3 minutes I can work my heart rate up to about 172 or so and be recovered to 115 bpm in about 1 minute.
The idea is that you want to be able to recover as quickly as possible.

Believe it or not there is a great thread on this over at Sherdog.


Thanks Ranzo, I will check it out.


Bondslave - nice post.

Age is a gauge.
I like that.

I will add that a coach I worked with - doing post college Greco
was very big on hear rates,sleep patterns, very detailed notes on diet etc,and temperature taken Daily.

and using it as DATA- that's all.
he had a very professional approach

and used the results of those daily little tests - to see any spikes or changes
yes there where normal fluctuations but he was looking for anything unusual
and would respond with training, rest, more recovery ect.

keep in mind this was during the wrap up of a very intense training cycle
where little mircons of information may mean something

I did get to learn that some variations of body temp or RHR did sometimes
lead to days where I felt like ass, needed more food, more sleep, more ice.

so yes the science end of can be helpful - but for the most part its arbitrary.


Lol normal tends to include gym athletes. When they say "as low as" that usually means the best of the Pro athletes, and in this case endurance athletes. Like the 1st place Triathlete, even the 200th is probably doing way more cardio then you think. If you said you trained for a few organized bouts a year then I might say you can possibly expect to break 60 even then it's tough.


Wait, so is 60 good then?

I'd like to go around telling everyone that my Beats Per Minute is fantastical, but I'm not gonna do it if it's a lie...


Irish - My RHR is 52, and my wind sucks in the ring (compared to the pros I've been sparring). Last time I was in the hospital on a painkiller / muscle relaxer combo I was setting off the crash alarms because my HR and breathing dipped so low. It's just a number, VO2 max is a much better indicator of endurance.


Dammit. I was going to tell EVERYONE... challenge people at bars and what not to see who had the lowest... you have ruined my fun...


LOL It's probably good but nothing to brag about. I'd say it's like benching 275.