Heart Rate by Palpation

Updated: Aug 20, 2020


Purpose: To provide a basic indication of cardiovascular health & fitness, by assessing the total number of times the heart contracts in 1 minute

Overview: Normal RHRs generally lie in the range of 60-100 bpm, though there is a wide range of healthy variability. Highly fit, endurance athletes may have very low resting HRs (e.g., in the 40s).

Heart Rate Rationale

Heart rate, both at rest and during exercise, is an indicator of the level of exertion of the heart. In addition, the amount of work the heart performs is directly related to its contraction rate, i.e. heart rate.

Heart Rate Protocol

  1. Locate the points on the radial artery. The technician should place their forefinger and middle finger over the artery and press gently until the subject’s heart beat is felt against the fingertips.

  2. For resting measurements, measure the subject’s heart rate by counting heart beats for 15 s and multiply by 4. Also measure the heart rate for 1 minute.

  3. For exercise measurements, measure the subject’s heart rate by counting heart beats for 15 s and multiply by 4.

Reference:

Ferguson, B. (2014). ACSM’s guidelines for exercise testing and prescription 9th Ed. 2014. The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, 58(3), 328.

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