Home > Journals > Medicina dello Sport > Past Issues > Medicina dello Sport 2014 March;67(1) > Medicina dello Sport 2014 March;67(1):109-17



To subscribe
Submit an article
Recommend to your librarian





Medicina dello Sport 2014 March;67(1):109-17


language: English, Italian

Ultra short-term heart rate after exercise: new tool to monitor recovery in athletes?

Ostojic S. M., Stojanovic M., Calleja-Gonzalez J., Jourkesh M., Idrizovic K.

Biomedical Sciences Department, Center for Health, Exercise and Sport Sciences, Stari DIF, Belgrade, Serbia


The measurement of heart rate recovery (HRR) to monitor the balance between training load and recovery has become particularly popular in previous decades. The present review describes the regulation of HRR responses after exercise and particularly presents concept of ultra short-term HRR evaluation as a new tool for evaluation post-exercise phase in athletes. Studies showed that central mechanisms, particularly post-exercise vagal nerve reactivation due to change in release of inhibitory commands from the cortex to the parasympathetic nerve centers, must play a main role in HRR disturbances, rather than changes in sympathetic nerve activation, arterial baroreflex, exercise reflexes originating from mechanoreceptors or chemoreceptors in active muscles or metabolic factors during exercise. It is important to control the intensity of exercise that is performed directly before the assessment of HRR in order to more accurately evaluate changes in HRR within or between subjects. The optimal method for obtaining duration of post-exercise HRR monitoring is not clear. HRR after high intensity exercise has found to be faster in those individuals, irrespective of age, who had a higher aerobic capacity and HRR is known to change with endurance training. Most investigators analyzed post-exercise HRR at 1-min intervals, with only few studies assessed HRR during the first minute post-exercise, particularly in 10-second intervals. This could be of particular interest for programming training in sport and exercise, since according to work rate analysis, average time to recover after high intensity running bouts is less than 15 sec in intermittent exercise. It could be postulated that athletes with 2 lower ultra short-term HRR during first 20 seconds post-exercise are better adapted to high intensity exercise due to several possible mechanisms (i.e. restoration of parasympathetic tone, changes in plasma volume, de-accumulation of metabolic factors, psychological arousal). Measurement of ultra short-term HRR could be new simple, sensitive and specific tool to monitor recovery phase in athletes, which requires further investigation in the future.

top of page