What is Heart Rate Monitoring, and how is it used in team sports?
Heart Rate Monitoring (HRM) has become one of the most important indicators of cardiovascular fitness over the past few years.
Today, this data is no longer limited to runners, cyclists or fitness enthusiasts. We can observe an increasing number of team sports players (both professional and amateur) wearing heart rate monitoring devices during training sessions and games. Football, rugby, field hockey and korfball are just some of the disciplines using this parameter for performance analysis.
Rugby is currently one of the sports in which using heart rate monitoring data can be most beneficial
So, what is a Heart Rate (HR) and how can we measure it?
Heart rate is an important indicator of the state of an athlete’s body during physical activity. It measures the number of times the heart beats in one minute. It is strictly related to the workload being placed on the most important muscle in the human body – the heart.
The heart rate parameter is different for every person. It depends on age, gender, and fitness level. Children and women have higher heart rates than men. Athletes (both men and women) tend to have lower heart rates than non-active people because their heart volume increases due to adaptation. A resting heart rate between 60 and 100 beats per minute is considered normal for adults. However, well-trained athletes might have a normal resting heart rate closer to 40 beats per minute.
Heart Rate monitoring is currently being used even among the youngest athletes
How can we measure it?
Nowadays, checking your pulse by putting fingers on your neck is not sufficiently accurate for professional sport.
During training sessions a player’s Heart Rate can change every second, reaching very high numbers when exercising with heavy loads or extreme intensity (so called ‘red zone intensity’).
To get accurate information about their Heart Rate value, the players put small monitoring devices strapped around their chest. Thanks to electrodes placed in an elastic strap – this professional equipment is comfortable to wear not only on training sessions but also during the game.
Information from the Heart Rate Monitor is sent to a receiving device (usually watch/smartphone/computer). For example – Heart Rate monitor provided by Sonda Sports performance tracking system, connects with the GPS tracker by Bluetooth.
Afterward, the data is collected and transmitted with other parameters to the server and then processed in the application. The information can be viewed and analysed after the training session or, with a Wi-Fi connection, can also be watched LIVE during the training or game.
Sonda Sports system allows to track Heart Rate and Heart Rate Thresholds and compare it with other statistics measured
Using the Heart Rate Monitoring in sports – the benefits
Heart rate monitors allow both the athlete and coach to define the effort intensity. This can influence the value of Training Impulse (TRIMP) and High or Very High-Intensity Distance (HID/VHID) covered during a particular session.
Some of this data (for example TRIMP) can also be used to calculate the risk of injury, which is a key indicator in professional sport.
When analysing data in the app, you receive objective values which are difficult to argue with. Heart rate graphs show how long it takes for the player’s heart to return to its resting state. It’s an important parameter that cannot be underestimated.
Nowadays, it’s almost impossible to find an elite team, that doesn’t track and monitor Heart Rate of its players.
Collected data can be used to improve training sessions and adjust them to suit a player’s current performance level. What‘s more, with heart rate monitoring, it is possible to determine how long the player should rest after a training session.
Long term heart rate observation helps to keep an eye out for indicators of overstrain, injuries and early signs of illness. Preventing sports-related injuries has proven to be crucial in modern professional sports.