Fellow Zwifters, we need your help for a research study that may unlock automatic FTP detection by only wearing a heart rate monitor that records heart rate variability (HRV).
Help the Zwift community benefit from this research in the future by doing a few Zwift workouts from the comfort of your own home. That’s right, it’s a remote study—you don’t even have to visit a lab to help advance science!
We are studying fractal properties of heart rate variability in relation to exercising power outputs measured by your smart trainer.
What are fractal properties: if you’ve ever sat through Disney’s Frozen or stared deeply into nature while procrastinating at work, chances are you’ve either heard of fractals or at least seen them—albeit, possibly without even knowing it.
Like Disney’s Elsa suggests, “frozen fractals” are seemingly never-ending patterns that can be seen in ice or snow. Similarly, these complex structures also exist in many living things, like a plant, where the shape of a branch may closely resemble the entire tree.
Although these patterns can be hard to spot, it appears that their presence seems to be the rule rather than the exception.
Within the human body, the rhythmic patterns of our heartbeat also exhibit fractal structures and investigation into these patterns, or HRV, may provide a unique opportunity to evaluate human performance!
For example, during exercise, the presence of these fractal structures has been associated with low exercise stress and intensity while the absence of these structures has been associated with the accumulation of fatigue and high exercise intensity.
Although this sounds exciting, there is a lot to learn before we can use this to guide exercise and evaluate performance. That’s why we need your help!
The University of Calgary is currently recruiting for a remote cycling exercise study! We are looking for 18–65 year old male and female Zwifters who have a training volume of at least 3 hours per week for the past 3 months.
Using Zwift, we can more readily collect cyclists’ data to accelerate our understanding of HRV in sport science. Specifically, this study will work to understand how fractal structures within HRV can be used to detect exercise thresholds, evaluate recovery and durability, and guide high-performance exercise training.
Participation in this study would require you to:
Perform 4 separate exercise sessions remotely on your electronic cycling trainer including:
One 4-min time trial
Two 20-min time trials
One Zwift race
Complete short surveys about the exercise sessions and your cycling experience
Each session will take ~45-75 minutes to complete for a total of ~4 hours of time
To participate you will need:
An active Zwift account
An active Garmin Connect, Suunto, or Polar account
An electronic cycling trainer such as Wahoo Kickr, Tacx Neo, Saris H3, Elite Direto (for more trainers see zwiftinsider.com/smart-trainers-all)
A compatible sport watch or cycling computer that allows for
HRV “RR-interval” recording (for example Forerunner 620, 630, 645, 920, 235, 255, 735, 935, 945, 955; Fenix 3, 5, 6, 7; Edge 520, 530, 820, 830, 1000, 1030, 1040; all Suunto watches)
And power output recording
A Polar H10 heart rate monitor
*Using the Zwift platform, you would be requested to perform the exercise sessions, record both HRV RR-interval and Power Output using your device, and upload this information to your Garmin Connect, Polar, or Suunto account*
If you are interested in participating, please contact Cody van Rassel ([email protected]) to learn more.
This study is being conducted by Dr. Martin MacInnis and has been approved by the University of Calgary’s Conjoint Health Research Ethics Board (REB22-0159)