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How To Lower Your Resting Heart Rate (and Why)

Do you want a resting heart rate that rivals Lance Armstrong’s 35 beats/minutes?

But you do not want to cycle 6 hours a day? Well you have come to the right place. I have a more efficient method I would like to share.

Why you should want a lower resting heart rate

The more efficient your heart becomes at supplying your body with blood during times of need the lower your resting heart rate will become. The lower your resting heart the fitter you are. And the quicker your heart rate drops to resting heart rate after exercise the less likely you are to die of a cardiovascular (heart) event. Dumbing it down even further: The less times your heart has to beat over a period of time, the younger it inherently remains – it is simple probability.

When do you measure RHR?

The best time to measure your RHR is when you wake up. First thing in the morning is when your truest RHR will be. It is when you and your heart will be most rested.

My Resting Heart Rate Hover's around 45 bpm

How Do You Measure RHR?

  1. HR watch. I have a heart rate monitor watch which I would recommend if you are going to be training your heart. Click here to see the best heart rate monitor reviews.
  2. Take your pulse. But I see no reason that you can not just do it the old fashioned way. Keep in mind your heart rate fluctuates, and that is a good thing, so don’t be alarmed if it goes from 60 to 70 beats per minute in two consecutive minutes.

My Tips To Lower Your Resting Heart Rate

Tip 1

Exercise regularly but differently.

  • long and slow
  • short and fast
  • heavy lifting

This will keep your heart guessing and force it into maximum efficiency in minimal time.

When I bought my first heart rate monitor 1 year ago my RHR was 75 beats/minute. It is now regularly 40 (after a good nights sleep). It will not take you 1 year to get your RHR down that low. Your heart is a muscle and it responds, subconsciously, to your bodies demands. The bottom line is you need to stress your body regularly and differently to maximise the efficiency of your heart muscle.

Tip 2

Follow this training routine for 4 weeks.

Follow my weekly (sample) movement pattern until you reach your desired resting heart rate:

DayMovement StyleTimeMovement TypeExamples
MonRest0 minn/a
TuesShort and fast15 minSprintsSprint training, Sprinting 1
WedHeavy lifting25 minHiiTLifting weights 1, Lifting 2
ThursRest or activity60 min Optional activityActivity 1
FriBodyweight exercises20 minHiiTHiiT 1, HiiT 2
SatSport90 minIce hockey, soccer, football, rugby, squash, basketball etc.
SunLong and Slow90 minHike, bike, swim etc.Long and slow holiday exercise

As a definition:

  • Long and slow = you can still talk to the person next to you.
  • Short and fast = 12-15 minute all out 30 second sprints with 90 second rest periods repeated 5-8 times.
  • Heavy lifting = 25 minutes of (HiiT style) weight lifting. So one after the other and repeated, squats, bench press, back row, shoulder press etc.
  • Play a sport = join a sport (preferably a team sport) but even golf will work. Enjoy yourself  and you will also relieve stress.
  • Body weights = 20 minutes of bodyweight exercises really fast. I like bur-pees, pull-ups, pushups, jump squats. I do them all to failure and keep repeating through the cycle of exercises I choose to do (usually 4) for 15 to 20  minutes.
  • Rest = Sleep in, do nothing, relax.

I would like to point out that this prescribed lifestyle includes no more than 25 minutes of ‘workouts’. And includes at least twice weekly 90 minute activity (not working out).

A guarantee: if your RHR is above 75 when starting this lifestyle in 1 month it will plummet 15 beats/min.

Tip 3

Do not over exert.

I have noticed that if I overtrain, usually by going too hard on Wednesday (heavy lifting) or Sunday (long and slow), my RHR the morning after that activity will be at least 60 beats/minute (20 beats/min higher than my usual RHR). So when I say long and slow I mean long and slow. Keep your heart rate below 70% of max (so you can maintain a conversation the entire time). The sprints, heavy lifting and bodyweight days are all kept under 25 minutes so go hard and go home. But keep the slow days slow.

Tip 4

Get at least 8 hours of sleep each night.

I don’t think it is by any surprise that my RHR drops to its lowest on Sunday mornings. I am guaranteed to have a solid sleep the two previous night, compounded, my body is functioning at peak efficiency.

Tip 5

Maximise your enjoyment factor; do things you love to reduce stress.

The more you enjoy somerio thing the more you do it. So make sure you pick the activities you enjoy, the type of sprints you like the most (bike, run, swim), the bodyweight moves you like etc.

Tip 6: And most important

Exercise regularly but differently.

Did I say this already?

  1. You do not have to be an elite athlete to have a very low RHR
  2. What you need is a very efficient robust heart (more optimally attained by varying intensity, time and muscles worked)
  3. You achieve this with regular but varying exercise loads
  4. It keeps your heart muscle guessing and forces it to achieve maximum efficiency.

Did you find these tips useful?—>Please leave a comment

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I approve these tips from around the web (sources shown below):

  • Stay hydrated
  • Relax by getting a massage

Sources and further reading:

Other blog articles you might be interested in:

Scholarly articles:

{ 5 comments }

wedding dresses uk August 14, 2011 at 6:15 am

I will definetely come back to see more.

David Blair April 1, 2012 at 9:42 am
Jamey Kramar April 3, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Cool david, going to go check it out now.

Krishnan Thyagaraj April 3, 2012 at 11:18 pm

Hi, I am 74 years old & have been distance running & weight training, over the last 40 years.My resting heart rate, recorded on a 24 hour worn hospital fitted cardiac holter, showed resting heart rates in the low 30s, in line with my own observations over the years, on quite a few occasions, the RHRs do slip into the high 20s too. Have had no adverse symptoms over my decades long training regime. On the day of the holter test, did a hospital supervised Tread mill test, reching 100% of the targeted heart rate at a MET score of 15.9. The echocardiography too yielded satisfactory results.
Personally, i attribute the RHRs i have to the exercises i have been doing, noticeably & significantly increasing the stroke volume- am mainly on vegbetarian diet, focussing on proteins, Carbs, high fibre courses, the blood cholestrol rtates are well within range.

Tim Qu June 23, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Awesome planner, exactly what I was looking for. Im 17 and used to be fit back when I trained as a Black Belt in Taekwondo but unfortunately let my self go (fitness wise not body size lol) as I moved and had to start a new life. My current RHR is 85 bpm, would you be able to give me some examples of exercises I could do to get back on track with my fitness?
Cheers,
Tim

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