European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 91, Issue 1, pp 79–87 | Cite as

Quantitative Poincaré plot analysis of heart rate variability: effect of endurance training

  • Laurent MourotEmail author
  • Malika Bouhaddi
  • Stéphane Perrey
  • Jean-Denis Rouillon
  • Jacques Regnard
Original Article


The aim of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Poincaré plot analysis of heart rate variability (HRV) in observing endurance training-induced changes. Four 10-min manoeuvres were performed (supine lying, standing, steady state exercising and subsequent recovery) by eight control subjects before and after a short-term endurance training and by eight subjects trained for at least 3 years. HRV was assessed by traditional time- and frequency-domain indexes, in parallel with the Poincaré plot analysis. In the latter each R-R interval is plotted as a function of the previous one, and the standard deviations of the instantaneous and long-term R-R interval variability are calculated. In our subjects, the Poincaré scatter grams became gradually narrower from supine to exercising, with progressive parasympathetic withdrawal. Short- and long-term endurance training led to higher aerobic power (p<0.05) and ventilatory threshold shifted towards higher power output (p<0.05). All HRV evaluation methods showed that HRV values were higher after training both during supine lying and standing (p<0.05). The Poincaré scatter grams were wider in the trained state. Standard deviations of the Poincaré plot were significantly correlated with the main parameters of the time- and frequency-domain analyses, especially concerning the parasympathetic indicators. These results suggested that Poincaré plot parameters as well as the "width" of the scatter gram could be considered as surrogates of time- and frequency-domain analysis to assess training-induced changes in HRV.


Autonomic cardiovascular control Heart rate variability Poincaré plot Spectral analysis 



We thank the subjects for their reliable and cheerful contribution. This work was funded by the granting of the EA 479 by the Ministère de l'Education Nationale, de la Recherche et de la Technologie.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurent Mourot
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Malika Bouhaddi
    • 1
  • Stéphane Perrey
    • 3
  • Jean-Denis Rouillon
    • 2
  • Jacques Regnard
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Physiologie MédecineFaculté de Médecine et de PharmacieBesançon cedex France
  2. 2.Laboratoire des Sciences du SportBesançon cedex France
  3. 3.UPRES-EA 2991Faculté des Sciences du SportMontpellier France

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