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Orthostatic Heart Rate Test

Athletes are often under a lot of pressure to perform well on a regular basis. This pressure can result in the athlete overtraining and/or becoming stressed. The Orthostatic Heart Rate Test is used to monitor the athlete's state of health.

Required Resources

To perform the Orthostatic Heart Rate Test, you require

  • Stopwatch
  • Assistant

How to conduct the test

  • The athlete lies down and rest for at least 15 minutes
  • The assistant records the athlete's pulse rate (bpm) - R1
  • The athlete stands up
  • 15 seconds later the assistant records the athlete's pulse rate (bpm) - R2
  • The assistant records the difference between R1 and R2


To obtain you Orthostatic Heart Rate please enter R1 and R2 and then select the calculate button.

R1 = R2 = Your Orthostatic Heart Rate is - bpm

If the difference is greater than 15 to 20 beats then it is probable that the athlete has not recovered from the previous days training, is under stress or the onset of a possible cold. The athlete should consider adjusting their training to allow the body to recover.

Alternative Approach

Perform the test as above over a period of 14 days and record your OHR for each day. Review the 14 values and determine a typical range.

Example: An athlete's 14 OHR values are: 7, 7, 9, 8, 9, 8, 9, 7, 7, 9, 8, 8, 10, 8

  • 7 - 4 off
  • 8 - 5 off
  • 9 - 4 off
  • 10 -1 off

A typical range for this athlete's OHR is 7 to 9 bpm. If the athlete finds the OHR for a specific day is greater than 9 then review the planned day's training and consider reducing the load and/or volume of work.

A value above the typical range could indicate the onset of a cold or the body has not recovered from the previous day's training. There are other factors that may cause a raised OHR, like a disturbed night, so review the previous 24 hours and see if there was something else that might have contributed to the raised OHR.


Analysis of the result is by comparing it with the results of previous tests. It is expected that, with appropriate recovery between each test, the analysis would indicate an improvement.

Target Group

This test is suitable for anyone but not for individuals where the test would be contraindicated.


Test reliability refers to the degree to which a test is consistent and stable in measuring what it is intended to measure. Reliability will depend upon how strict the test is conducted and the individual's level of motivation to perform the test. The following link provides a variety of factors that may influence the results and therefore the test reliability.


Test validity refers to the degree to which the test actually measures what it claims to measure and the extent to which inferences, conclusions, and decisions made on the basis of test scores are appropriate and meaningful. This test provides a means to monitor the effect of training on the athlete's physical development.


  • Minimal equipment required
  • Simple to set up and conduct
  • Can be conducted almost anywhere


  • Assistant required to administer the test

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Related References

The following references provide additional information on this topic:

  • MOORE, K. I. and NEWTON, K. (1986) Orthostatic heart rates and blood pressures in healthy young women and men. Heart & lung: the journal of critical care, 15 (6), p. 611-617

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (1997) Orthostatic Heart Rate Test [WWW] Available from: [Accessed

Related Pages

The following Sports Coach pages provide additional information on this topic: