Heart Rate Monitoring in Team Sports – A Conceptual Framework for Contextualizing Heart Rate Measures for Training and Recovery Prescription.

TitelHeart Rate Monitoring in Team Sports – A Conceptual Framework for Contextualizing Heart Rate Measures for Training and Recovery Prescription.
MedientypJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AutorenSchneider C, Hanakam F, Wiewelhove T, Döweling A, Kellmann M, Meyer T, Pfeiffer M, Ferrauti A
JournalFront Physiol
Date Published05/2018

A comprehensive monitoring of fitness, fatigue, and performance is crucial for understanding an athlete's individual responses to training to optimize the scheduling of training and recoverystrategies. Resting and exercise-related heart rate measures have received growing interest in recent decades and are considered potentially useful within multivariate response monitoring, as they provide non-invasive and time-efficient insights into the status of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and aerobic fitness. In team sports, the practical implementation of athlete monitoring systems poses a particular challenge due to the complex and multidimensional structure of game demands and player and team performance, as well as logistic reasons, such as the typically large number of players and busy training and competition schedules. In this regard, exercise-related heart rate measures are likely the most applicable markers, as they can be routinely assessed during warm-ups using short (3–5 min) submaximal exercise protocols for an entire squad with common chest strap-based team monitoring devices. However, a comprehensive and meaningful monitoring of the training process requires the accurate separation of various types of responses, such as strain, recovery, and adaptation, which may all affect heart rate measures. Therefore, additional information on the training context (such as the training phase, training load, and intensity distribution) combined with multivariate analysis, which includes markers of (perceived) wellness and fatigue, should be considered when interpreting changes in heart rate indices. The aim of this article is to outline current limitations of heart rate monitoring, discuss methodological considerations of univariate and multivariate approaches, illustrate the influence of different analytical concepts on assessing meaningful changes in heart rate responses, and provide case examples for contextualizing heart rate measures using simple heuristics. To overcome current knowledge deficits and methodological inconsistencies, future investigations should systematically evaluate the validity and usefulness of the various approaches available to guide and improve the implementation of decision-support systems in (team) sports practice.

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