Journal of Systems Science and Complexity

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 104–116 | Cite as

Heart rate variability during high-intensity exercise

  • Samuel Sarmiento
  • Juan Manuel García-Manso
  • Juan Manuel Martín-González
  • Diana Vaamonde
  • Javier Calderón
  • Marzo Edir Da Silva-Grigoletto


The aim of this paper is to describe and analyse the behaviour of heart rate variability (HRV) during constant-load, high-intensity exercise using a time frequency analysis (Wavelet Transform). Eleven elite cyclists took part in the study (age: 18.6±3.0 years; VO2max: 4.88±0.61 litres·min−1). Initially, all subjects performed an incremental cycloergometer test to determine load power in a constant load-test (379.55±36.02 W; 89.0%). HRV declined dramatically from the start of testing (p <0.05). The behaviour of power spectral density within the LF band mirrored that of total energy, recording a significant decrease from the outset LF peaks fell rapidly thereafter, remaining stable until the end of the test. HF-VHF fell sharply in the first 20 to 30 seconds. The relative weighting (%) of HF-VHF was inverted with the onset of fatigue, [1.6% at the start, 7.1 (p <0.05) at the end of the first phase, and 43.1% (p <0.05) at the end of the test]. HF-VHFpeak displayed three phases: a moderate initial increase, followed by a slight fall, thereafter increasing to the end of the test. The LF/HF-VHF ratio increased at the start, later falling progressively until the end of the first phase and remaining around minimal values until the end of the test.

Key words

Cycling heart rate variability wavelet 


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Copyright information

© Institute of Systems Science, Academy of Mathematics and Systems Science, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samuel Sarmiento
    • 1
  • Juan Manuel García-Manso
    • 1
  • Juan Manuel Martín-González
    • 2
  • Diana Vaamonde
    • 3
  • Javier Calderón
    • 4
  • Marzo Edir Da Silva-Grigoletto
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Physical EducationUniversity of Las Palmas de Gran CanariaLas PalmasSpain
  2. 2.Physics DepartmentUniversity of Las Palmas de Gran CanariaLas PalmasSpain
  3. 3.Department of Morphological Sciences, School of MedicineUniversity of CórdobaCórdobaSpain
  4. 4.Physical Activity Sciences FacultyPolytechnic University of MadridMadridSpain
  5. 5.Andalusian Centre of Sports MedicineCórdobaSpain

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