A heart rate analysis of the cardiovascular demands of elite level competitive polo

L. Rachel Wright, M. Derek Peters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Polo has an established tradition and is played in over 80 countries. No previous research has attempted to determine the physiological demands placed upon the players however. There is therefore limited evidence from which to develop strength & conditioning programmes. The aim of this study was to quantify the cardiovascular demand placed upon players during elite polo competition. Heart rate was recorded in seven professional male polo players (age 28.71±4.31 years; mass 72.13±5.46 kg; handicap 6.14±0.38 goals) during two high-goal polo matches, and was classified into heart rate zones based on ASCM guidelines. The mean heart rate for the match was 150 ± 20 beat.min−1, with the 3rd chukka producing the highest mean heart rate of the 5 played (154 ± 23 beat.min−1). The largest proportion of playing time was spent in the hard heart rate zone. The results suggest that polo evokes a high cardiovascular load and training should therefore include aerobic fitness training in addition to technical skill development. Further research is needed to advance knowledge of the physiological and biomechanical demands of this sport and employment of suitable methods of notational analysis is required to extend appreciation of the technical and tactical nature of the sport.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-81
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • horse rider
  • heart rate
  • aerobic fitness
  • elite


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