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First, How is recovery heart rate defined and measured?
Second, What are good to poor values for comparison?

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Is there any particular reason you're worried? –  Ivo Flipse Jul 1 '12 at 5:22
@Ivo, Not worried, just curious. I would like to use it as another training metric. –  Regan Sarwas Jul 1 '12 at 19:59
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3 Answers

Again, this is something that is subjective and going to vary from person to person.

I generally monitor my HR a few times during the week first thing when I wake up, and occasionally when I'm just sitting around watching TV. These will give you baselines. When I finish a workout, I'll take my HR immediately, and once again in a minute or two. These are what you compare to when you are checking it.

What you are looking for is a consistent drop. If your HR stays elevated compared to your normal trend, then you may be tired, had a harder workout than usual, weather is different, you had too much caffeine that day, etc etc. HR is a metric that is highly variable depending on a lot of conditions.

For me personally, my morning resting HR is about the only one I pay attention to on a consistent basis. If it's elevated for a few days over what is normal, then I know something is off.

HR is not one of my favorite training metrics to use, as there are so many different variables that can affect it day to day, or even hour to hour.

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JohnP: have you looked at restwise.com? one of the primary markers they use to determine recovery is resting heart rate. thought you might be interested. –  Ryan Miller Sep 5 '12 at 15:13
@RyanMiller - I use it to gauge recovery and monitor a daily RHR as I said. What I meant by not using it as a training metric, is that I don't base my workouts off of HR zones, because it is wildly variable depending on many different factors. –  JohnP Sep 5 '12 at 16:03
I was only asking if you were familiar with restwise as a tool and/or had experience with it. I wasn't using it to debate anything in your answer. I up voted your answer. –  Ryan Miller Sep 5 '12 at 18:49
Ah, no, I hadn't seen that. I'll take a look at it tonight, thanks. I thought it was a training zone type sight, my misunderstanding. –  JohnP Sep 5 '12 at 18:52
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Normal heart rate recovery is a decrease in your hr of 20-25 bpm (in 1 minute). For a fitter person it would be 30-45 bpm (in 1 minute). Abnormal heart rate recovery is usually defined as 12 or fewer bpm (in 1 minute).

For the number 12 this is the ref

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Do you have a reference for these? –  JohnP Sep 5 '12 at 14:41
For the number 12 this is the ref: nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199910283411804 ... But I do not remember where I learned other numbers. Here (goo.gl/fdXuj) it says "normal heart rate recovery, which is a decrease of 15 to 25 beats per minute." –  spinodal Sep 5 '12 at 15:08
Ok, then you are missing a critical component. Those are rates of recover PER MINUTE, not blanket numbers. So a normal HR recover is 20-25 bpm per minute. That's a big difference between someone at 160 only recovering to 140, vs. someone recovering from 160 down to RHR over a few minutes. –  JohnP Sep 5 '12 at 16:02
recovery heart rate means that... per minute or per two minutes, not to rest heart rate... it's the definition... –  spinodal Sep 5 '12 at 20:34
Mmm...no. Your statement flatly states "Normal heart rate recovery is a decrease in your hr of 20-25bpm". Some general person without much knowledge will take that as a specific statement, not as a per minute rate. –  JohnP Sep 5 '12 at 21:51
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Directly from RestWise.com:

Sports science has confirmed the link between variation in resting heart rate and overtraining. But this link is neither easily understood nor directly correlated. The problem is that an elevated resting heart rate can indicate training stress... but it can also simply mean that you had a rough day at work. To complicate matters, an elevated pulse may be a sign of sympathetic overtraining, whereas a dramatically lowered pulse may indicate parasympathetic stress. Restwise analyzes resting heart rate variability within the context of both your heart rate history and your other daily inputs. Our algorithm then distills this complexity and adjusts the calculation.

Resting heart rate should ideally be monitored during sleep or first thing in the morning, before getting out of bed. Day-to-day variations in resting heart rate of approximately 5% are common and not usually associated with fatigue or stress. However, increases of greater than 5% are typically reported in fatigued or acutely over-reached (sympathetic) individuals.

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recovery heart rate is : "how much the heart rate falls during the first minute after peak exercise". this is not directly related to resting heat rate. –  spinodal Sep 5 '12 at 15:18
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