Garmin is improving its training tools on older smartwatch models by introducing Heart Rate Variability (HRV) tracking and other analysis features to Fenix 6 smartwatches with a new software update.
Smartwatches can be better value than cycling computers as they give you 24/7 health monitoring; HRV is one of these many features.
HRV status tracks your heart rate variability while sleeping and is a feature that Garmin launched on its Forerunner 955 and Forerunner 255 smartwatches last month, with the aim to give a clearer indication of when recovery is needed.
Garmin has already started its beta rollout of HRV to the Fenix 7 and Instinct 2 series, and this has now been extended to the Fenix 6 family.
HRV tracking measures variances in the frequency of your heart beats, which can be influenced by various factors in and outside of your training. Training stress, life stress, work stress, lack of or plentiful sleep, alcohol and caffeine can all lower HRV, while effective rest can help it bounce back up.
Having one of the best smartwatches for cycling for tracking HRV is useful as it can help inform you when you’re fully recovery for doing a tough indoor cycling session such as a HIIT workout, which packs in a lot of intensity in the upper training zones .
HRV status displays your HRV values for the night before and, after monitoring your sleep for a period, Garmin then shows how this compares to your baseline which is plotted on a easy-to-read colour-coded graph.
This screen is displayed on the smartwatch when you wake up and is also pushed to the Garmin Connect app.
The public alpha firmware update which can be found on the brand’s forum here (opens in new tab)with download links available for all watches in the Fenix 6 range: Fenix 6s, Fenix 6s Pro, Fenix 6, Fenix 6 Pro and Fenix 6X.
This update is not being automatically pushed to the smartwatches, so you will need to manually download the software at this stage. With it being an alpha update for testing purposes currently, there may still be bugs that the brand needs to fix, and the brand asks that these issues be reported here. (opens in new tab)