Your resting heart rate is often a good determination as to how fit you are, as well as indicating if you’re either over training or unwell which will show up as an unexplained increases in resting heart rate.

If using a heart rate monitor, make sure that there is a good connection between the chest strap and your chest, with adequate connection fluid, as often most heart rate monitors will require a little body perspiration prior to performing consistently.

It’s important to remember that the best time to take this test is first thing in the morning, when you awake, as simply getting up and walking around your bedroom will cause your heart rate to rise, with other factors such as smoking or caffeine, also causing an increase. Remember to take your resting heart rate over at least 3 days so that you can get an average reading.

For example, if on day one you record 72 bpm (beats per minute) day two you record 78 bpm and on day three you record 72 bpm, then your average is 74 bpm.

Look at recording your time for a full minute to make the test as accurate as possible.

As you become fitter through cycling, your heart becomes more efficient at pumping blood around the body, especially if combined with a reduction of the plaque (fatty deposits) within your arteries. As a result, you will find your resting heart rate (RHR) gets lower so you will need to check your RHR on a regular basis and recalculate any target zones you have, especially if working with a heart rate monitor.

These ratings provide only a generalization of your fitness and health, there are many other factors which may account for variations in heart rate such as medications, illness and stress.

Resting Heart Rate Matrix (Men)

AGE 18 -25 26 -35 36 -45 46 – 55 56 -65 65+
ATHLETE 54-60 54-59 54-59 54-60 54-59 54-59
EXCEL’T 61-65 60-64 60-64 61-65 60-64 60-64
GOOD 66-69 65-68 65-69 66-69 65-68 65-68
ABOVE AV 70-73 69-72 70-73 70-73 69-73 69-72
AVERAGE 74-78 73-76 74-78 74-77 74-77 73-76
BELOW AV 79-84 77-82 79-84 78-83 78-83 77-84
POOR 85+ 83+ 85+ 84+ 84+ 84+

Resting Heart Rate Matrix (Woman)

AGE 18 -25 26 -35 36 -45 46 – 55 56 -65 65+
ATHLETE 54-60 54-59 54-59 54-60 54-59 54-59
EXCEL’T 61-65 60-64 60-64 61-65 60-64 60-64
GOOD 66-69 65-68 65-69 66-69 65-68 65-68
ABOVE AV 70-73 69-72 70-73 70-73 69-73 69-72
AVERAGE 74-78 73-76 74-78 74-77 74-77 73-76
BELOW AV 79-84 77-82 79-84 78-83 78-83 77-84
POOR 85+ 83+ 85+ 84+ 84+ 84+

If you have any concerns about the functioning of your heart, you should consult a doctor who can examine you personally and give their expert opinion. Don’t rely on comments and feedback here as medical advice.

Check this article on How To Work Out Your Cycling Heart Rate Zones