Skip to content


Heart rate variability (HRV) is defined as the variability in time between consecutive heart beats or RR wave intervals. The RR wave intervals are constantly fluctuating secondary to the interaction between pulmonary ventilation, blood pressure and cardiac output to maintain blood pressure homeostasis within specific limits. HRV can therefore inform on the responsiveness of the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which in turn informs on the athlete’s stress response to training and life demands, physiological adaptation and recovery.

These Best Practice Guidelines are intended for performance support practitioners, coaches and athletes in the Australian high performance sport system and outline best practice for the measurement, analysis, and interpretation of resting heart rate and heart rate variability for the purpose of monitoring athlete stress, acute training responses and/or adaptation to training over time.


These guidelines are an initiative of the Australian High Performance Sport System. The Australian Institute of Sport acknowledges the support of contributors and their organisations:

  • Clint Bellenger, University of South Australia
  • Rodney Siegel, Australian Institute of Sport
  • Jamie Stanley, South Australian Sports Institute
  • Katie McGibbon, Queensland Academy of Sport

Return to top