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

Laurent Mourot, Malika Bouhaddi, Stéphane Perrey, Jean Denis Rouillon, Jacques Regnard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-87
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Autonomic cardiovascular control
  • Heart rate variability
  • Poincaré plot
  • Spectral analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology (medical)

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