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  5. How to use Suunto Ambit3's Recovery Features

Training – and making progress in it – is all about finding the balance between stress and recovery. You can push hard, but you also need to take the time to recover. Only then you can step to the next level.

To help you balance your training Suunto Ambit3 has two recovery indicators: recovery time and recovery status. Read on and learn how to take advantage of these features.


Recovery time is an estimate of how long your body needs to recuperate after training. The time is based on the duration and intensity of the session, as well as the overall fatigue, accumulating even at lower intensities. Recovery time accumulates from one session to the next, if you train again before the time has expired. A graph of your recovery time is displayed as one of the screens in the time mode. When entering the logbook, the recovery time in hours is displayed on the screen.

There is one important point to remember: the time is an estimate that is based on activities you have done with your Ambit3. It doesn’t have information about other aspects of life. Did you sleep enough? Do you have flu? Was your meal nutritious and helpful for your recovery?

To get an accurate indication of your actual recovery state, we recommend using one of the two recovery tests.


Recovery status indicates the amount of stress on your autonomic nervous system. The less stress you have, the more recovered you are. Knowing your state of recovery helps you optimize your training and avoid over training or injury.

You can check your recovery status with a quick recovery test or sleep recovery test, powered by Firstbeat. The tests require a Bluetooth-compatible heart rate sensor that measures heart rate variability (R-R interval), such as Suunto Smart Sensor.

Your recovery status is indicated with 0-100% result scale.

Result & Explanation

81-100 Fully recovered. OK to train up to very hard intensity.
51-80 Recovered. OK to train up to hard intensity.
21–50 Recovering. Train easy.
0-20 Not recovered. Rest to recover.

The more serious you are with training and the more tests you do, the more important details are, also in the test results. For a top-level athlete a difference of five points in recovery status may be meaningful where as an active runner will be happy with the four point scale presented above.

When entering the logbook, recovery is displayed as your estimated recovery time; if a recovery test is done within the past 24 h and after your previous move, the display will show the result of the last test. This assuming the recovery has been calibrated (see next chapter).


When you first start using Ambit3’s recovery tests the watch needs to be calibrated in order to provide accurate, personal results. The calibration tests define what ‘fully recovered’ means for your body. With each calibration test, your watch adjusts the results scale of the test to match your unique heart rate variability.

You need to perform three calibration tests for both sleep recovery and quick recovery tests. The calibration tests do not need to be done in sequence, but they need to be at least 12 hours apart. These need to be done when you have no accumulated recovery time. Ideally, you also feel fully recovered and are not ill or stressed during these calibration tests.

During the calibration period, you may get results that are higher or lower than expected. These results are indicated in the watch as your estimated recovery status until the calibration is completed. Once you have completed the calibration, the latest result is displayed when you enter the logbook instead of recovery time.


The sleep recovery test, powered by Firstbeat, provides a reliable indicator of your recovery status after a night’s sleep.

To perform a sleep recovery test:

  1. Put on your heart rate belt and ensure the electrodes are moist.
  2. Press [Start Stop], scroll to RECOVERY with [Start Stop], and 
select with [Next].
  3. Scroll to SLEEP TEST and select with [Next].
  4. If you want to cancel the test, press [Back Lap].
  5. When you are ready to get up in the morning, end the test by 
pressing [Start Stop] or [Next].


The sleep recovery test requires at least two hours of good heart rate data to produce results. The test does not take into account the length of the night meaning you can get similar results after a six-hour sleep and an eight-hour sleep.

If you use your Ambit3’s alarm function, set the alarm first and then start the test. And in the morning stop both your alarm and your sleep recovery test.

During the test you will see the time and SLEEP TEST on the bottom row of the screen.

And last but not least: don’t worry if you have to get up in the middle of the night. This doesn’t make your test unreliable. The test selects the best two-hour period of your sleep and analyzes that.


The quick recovery test, powered by Firstbeat, is alternative way to measure your recovery status. The sleep recovery test is a more accurate method to measure your recovery status. But for some individuals, wearing a heart rate sensor throughout the night may not be feasible.

The quick recovery test only takes a few minutes. For best results, you should lie down, stay relaxed, and not move around during the test. We recommend performing the test in the morning after waking up. This helps ensure you get comparable results day to day.

To perform a quick recovery test:

  1. Put on your heart rate belt and ensure the electrodes are moist.
  2. Lie down and relax in a quiet environment free from 
  3. Press [Start Stop], scroll to RECOVERY with [Start Stop], and 
select with [Next].
  4. Scroll to Quick test and select with [Next].
  5. Wait for the test to complete.


When the test is complete, scroll through the results with [Next] and [Back Lap].

If the lowest heart rate during the test is below your rest heart rate defined in Movescount, your rest heart rate is updated the next time you sync with Movescount.


There are basically two reason for the tests to fail:

  1. Bad skin contact or low HR belt battery will generate bad data and the test will fail.
  2. If you are too stressed for the test, like right after a training session, the test is likely to fail.

The results of the tests do not impact your estimated recovery time.


This blog was first posted on Suunto’s tips and advice page. To learn more visit www.suunto.com


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