Thursday, August 13, 2009

Can your heart predict your performance and growth?

You know that your heart is important – just see how far you get in the gym without it. But aside from the basics of life and death, your heart matters a lot more than you might think: It ultimately determines your muscle growth!

Researchers in South Africa wanted to see if they could link changes in heart rate recovery to exercise performance. To test this, they put two groups of participants through a series of intense workouts.

After analyzing the data, the researchers found that the rate at which your heart recovers from exercise can be used to monitor and, in some cases, predict your overall recovery. And this will help you establish an optimal training load/recovery ratio that can have you hitting peak performance and muscle growth with every rep!

So here’s your FUSION FACTOID: Start paying attention to your heart, because if your heart leaves the party early, your workout quality will tank and your potential gains will evaporate. So here’s what you do: Monitor your heart rate and time between sets to see how long it takes you to catch your breath for more work. Make sure you’re not working too hard, but work as hard as you need to. Do this and you’ll never be overtrained – just overgrown!

Source: Lamberts RP, Swart J, Capostagno B, Noakes TD, Lambert MI. Heart rate recovery as a guide to monitor fatigue and predict changes in performance parameters. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2009 Jul 3 [Epub ahead of print].

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