If HR recovery is a good indicator of a person's risk of death (or fitness level), and <12 beats a minute is abnormal, what is a good number for an athlete to possess? Using the HR max as a general guideline, how can I combine that with HR recovery to accurately gauge an athlete's readiness for near-maximal conditioning? I mean, if I did a HR recovery test on someone, what are some good numbers that will determine whether or not a person should be doing intense anaerobic exercise (sprints, etc.)?
Maximal heart rate should only be tested in a medical setting and isn't necessary for training someone athletically. Congenital heart defects, valve problems, and arterial blockages are unknown factors... sometimes even the clients don't know they have these issues. Unless you have medical clearance from a cardiac specialist, I would advise that you use the standard 75-85% of estimated MHR to be safe, using interval training to hit the 85-90% number in short spurts.