Does resting heart rate predict aerobic capacity

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  • #4399

    I’m just wondering about what the research says about this. I have a very low resting heart rate, but I have not spent a lot of time training specifically for endurance. I do some stair climbing sometimes with a heavy pack for about 3-4 hours a week on average. Recently also technical climbing.

    Otherwise I’ve been doing a lot of strength training for years, mostly low rep high weight but in recent years more high rep low weight.

    So when I’m in the mountains I can get the job done, but it can feel pretty shitty and I’m slower than other guys I know.

    So what I’m wondering is:

    Either the low resting heart rate (lowest measured is 38, average is around 42, measured over the course of a few months with an HR monitor) is just genetic, and it has no bearing on my capacity.

    Or the years of hard strength training did something, and I have this low HR because my capacity is pretty good, and the reason I don’t perform that well in the mountains is because I don’t know how to push hard enough.

    Perfomance-wise in absolute numbers with stair climbing the best I can do now is just to climb 1000 meters in 2 hours with a 14 kg pack (taking the elevator down) and boots in zone 1. 600 meters in an hour with just sneakers in zone 2.

  • Inactive
    Anonymous on #4402

    There is certainly some change on resting HR when people engage in endurance training. But there is also a big genetic component just as there is in max HR.


    Thrusthamster on #4406

    Does it mean anything performance-wise though?

    Anonymous on #4408


    No performance implications. Sorry. Now if your resting HR dropped from 52 to 42 during a base training period you can be sure that there would be an improvement in aerobic capacity.


    Anonymous on #4524

    I like to think of these as “cocktail party” metrics. They’re easy to grasp so the general public assigns them significance and chats them up incessantly. In addition to resting HR, VO2max and Training Peaks’ CTL are also in the cocktail party club.

    More important metrics would be performance-based: speed at 2 mMol, event-specific MaxLASS, event-specific AnC, watts per kilogram, etc. All of these latter metrics have a “where the rubber meets the road” performance component. That performance component is a good filter for which metrics matter and which don’t.

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