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Thread: HR questions

  1. #1
    Senior Member CJ C's Avatar
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    HR questions

    Ok i am trying to get a gauge on my efforts, my fitness and my fitness improvements. Looking for random internet input from other clydes, will be querying my Doctor next time i visit him

    today my garmin said i hit my max heart rate for a bit, but i didnt feel winded or hurting on the section it said i did.

    now if i do my short 15mile ride i try to stay around 160-163bpm, and my longer ride of 35-40mile ride i try to keep around 145-150bpm.

    the bpm seems high doesnt it? But thats where I know and feel I get a good workout in those ranges. (actually been thinking i could push it a bit higher)

    oh btw I am 34 years old 5'8" and 239lbs

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    Climbers Apprentice vesteroid's Avatar
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    I wouldn't worry much about your computer saying you hit max for a second or two. My watch frequently tells me I hit max right after a start a run, but I knowi don't.

    As far as where you fall in the range of others, I wouldn't worry about it. It only causes doubt if someone post lower than you.

    What I watch for is improvement. When I started running I would almost always push up into the 180s at almost any pace or distance. 4 months later I can run 10 miles and not get over the 160s and even on race day when I am running as hard as I think I can I rarely hit 180

    Also the hr zones figured from your age only are always innacurrate. There are a variety of test out today that will give you accurate hr zones such as the leaf test or lactic threshold.

    I personally think the two zones you listed are decent enough targets for your training. The longer rides should be about ride to build an endurance base. The shorter rides could probably bump up a bit, at least one day a week.

    Another thing to improve hr is interval training, you have to teach your system to push then recover. Pushing into zone 4 for a period then recovering down to zone 2... Rinse repeat.

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    How are you determining your max heart rate? If you're using 220-age, you're probably using the wrong number. Did you have a stress test or perform one with you HRM?

    From my own riding experiences your numbers are pretty close to my own. I view the HRM basically as a tachometer for my heart. I know I can't usually sustain 165 bpm, but I can push into the upper 160's for a minute or two, then recover.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CJ C View Post
    now if i do my short 15mile ride i try to stay around 160-163bpm, and my longer ride of 35-40mile ride i try to keep around 145-150bpm.

    the bpm seems high doesnt it?
    Not really. The (220-Age) formula is for determining your max HR if you've been sitting on the couch watching TV for the last couple of years. As you develop cardiovascular fitness, you shouldn't be surprised if your max HR changes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CJ C View Post
    Ok i am trying to get a gauge on my efforts, my fitness and my fitness improvements. Looking for random internet input from other clydes, will be querying my Doctor next time i visit him

    today my garmin said i hit my max heart rate for a bit, but i didnt feel winded or hurting on the section it said i did.
    If you weren't close to puking you didn't hit your maximum heart rate (assuming the transmitter didn't glitch - mine gets confused by the static buildup on a freshly laundered jersey until I've started sweating).

    The 220 - age formula is an average with a standard deviation of 12 so there's a 34% chance that a 34 year old's real maximum (186 from the formula) is somewhere between 186 and 198, 14% for 198 to 210, and 2% for 210 to 222. In the other direction it's 34% likely to be 174-186, 14% 162-174, and 2% 150-162.

    Even knowing your maximum is pretty worthless since different peoples' bodies start producing more lactic acid than they can process at various percentages of that and useful exercise intensities are in turn a fraction or multiple of that number.

    For training purposes you want to find an approximation for where your body starts making lactic acid faster than it can dipose of it and define zones around that. Friel approximates Lactate Heart Rate as the average over the last 20 minutes of a 30 minute all-out effort. Carmichael bases zones around what's achieved in the second of two 8 minute time trials with a prescribed warm-up protocol. The Carmichael test will be disproportionally affected by your aerobic work capacity which varies between individuals, but is a lot easier to accommodate psychologically and logistically.

    now if i do my short 15mile ride i try to stay around 160-163bpm, and my longer ride of 35-40mile ride i try to keep around 145-150bpm.

    the bpm seems high doesnt it?
    No. 160-163 could be any where between an all-day endurance pace (if you had more fitness) and slightly beyond your lactate threshold (somewhere between uncomfortable and painful and becoming more so after the first 10, 20, 30 minutes...)

    If you care (being as fast as you can be, being able to prepare for endurance rides with the least impact on your schedule, or burning the most calories in the least time are all good motivations not related to racing) you need to do one of the test protocols.

    Friel's zone definitions can be found on-line or you can consult _The Cyclist's Training Bible_. Carmichael documents his in _The Time Cruched Cyclist: Fit, Fast, and Powerful in 6 Hours a Week_ and I'd bet the protocol and zones can be found on-line too. Carmichael's book is a lot smaller and pragmatic with a handful of ~3 month training plans that fit in the titular 6 hours a week.
    Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 04-11-12 at 08:20 PM.

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    You don't state what you're considering to be your "max", so can't comment on that. Your ride averages don't look unussual.

    I'm 42, 6'4", 250lb and have a max of 185. It's not unussual for me to do a 40 mile ride in the mid to upper 150's.
    Birth Certificate, Passport, Marriage License Driver's License and Residency Permit all say I'm a Fred. I guess there's no denying it.

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    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJ C View Post
    Ok i am trying to get a gauge on my efforts, my fitness and my fitness improvements. Looking for random internet input from other clydes, will be querying my Doctor next time i visit him

    today my garmin said i hit my max heart rate for a bit, but i didnt feel winded or hurting on the section it said i did.

    now if i do my short 15mile ride i try to stay around 160-163bpm, and my longer ride of 35-40mile ride i try to keep around 145-150bpm.

    the bpm seems high doesnt it? But thats where I know and feel I get a good workout in those ranges. (actually been thinking i could push it a bit higher)

    oh btw I am 34 years old 5'8" and 239lbs
    You are lucky. I am on beta-blockers that limit me to about 140. Working on getting the docs to take me off them. I'm 56, 240 (hit a high of 306).

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    Senior Member digibud's Avatar
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    not your max

    [QUOTE=CJ C;14087880 snip

    today my garmin said i hit my max heart rate for a bit, but i didnt feel winded or hurting on the section it said i did
    snip

    the bpm seems high doesnt it? But thats where I know and feel I get a good workout in those ranges. (actually been thinking i could push it a bit higher)

    oh btw I am 34 years old 5'8" and 239lbs[/QUOTE]

    Your max is not what GARMIN says..it's what your body says. Go out and climb a too-long hill and give it 110% for as long as you possibly can until you are MAXED out...totally spent, spitting, drooling, snot running without another ounce of push left. THAT is your max. And it's higher than when you started getting in shape....
    It's a good number to know. So is your AT (anaerboic threshold). That number is the number where you change from "I can keep this up but if I got one or two more beats per minute more, I'll start to get out of breath in a few minutes". THAT will change too...

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    Judging from the numbers from my Garmin, my typical rides are like this:

    1hr on trainer: average ~80% of max, range of 75%-88%
    1hr on road (climbing): average ~83% of max, range of 78%-92%
    2hrs on road (climbing): average ~80% of max first half, 78% second half, range of 75%-92%

    My numbers are probably different than yours though, since I push big gears on climbs for training so after a while muscle fatigue will kick in.

    I personally think BPM alone is rather pointless, since it doesn't really tell you how hard you're working without a relative baseline to compare it to. At the same time, I don't think an exact HR(max) is necessary for most people. Even the "official" tests are only a theoretical HR(max) since some people cannot get to their max from physical activity alone, and it is not a static number to begin with.

  10. #10
    Senior Member nkfrench's Avatar
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    HRMs are great tools. They help motivate people to exert enough to benefit from the activity and motivate other people to keep from overexerting.
    220-age is a formula that gives you a starting estimate. It can be grossly off.
    My HRM often gives erratic readings at the beginning of exercise. It's just a device anomaly until I start sweating. It was spiking with MHR 219+ then 55 when I wasn't even breathing hard, hadn't broken a sweat.
    When you hit your "real" MHR, you will know it. I find my MHR to be about 10bpm higher in hot weather. Trying to keep cool makes your heart work harder than just trying to facilitate cycling.

  11. #11
    not as fat as I was Biggziff's Avatar
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    My chest HR sensor (Garmin) will often record a much higher HR than is true when my shirt or jacket is flapping in the wind during a ride. Tiny amounts of electricity generated by the material rubbing around causes this.

    If you want a good guide on HR training, read this:

    http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Monitor-.../dp/0915297256
    humans can be so....rude

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    Senior Member CJ C's Avatar
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    thank you guys for all the info and opinions, it great keep them coming.

    I use HR as one tool, to try to get better and healthier. its not the only benchmark used, but i like it as not every day is the same (wind, tired, hungry/full, stress, sore) so i use HR and the burning in my legs to gauge my effort for a ride. I have no clue what my max HR is and only a small grasp of my resting HR (65-70 i think).

    the 100% HR garmin showed wasnt a fluke or a spike, there was a reason for it. There is a steep "bump" i wanted to carry my speed all the way through it and after so did have to put hard effort to do that, but i wasnt ready to puke or breathing hard when i did it. the hard effort was felt but it didnt feel like a 100% max.

    as some pointed out, i should/could push a bit more. I will. I am going to look into that Carmichael that kind of fits the time constraints i have.

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    Senior Member digibud's Avatar
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    don't go with %HR

    I would suggest looking at your actual HR and not your %. The %HR is so very misleading. At some point you will find a hill and learn what your REAL max HR is...and at some point you will (if you watch your actual HR number) learn your anaerobic threshold number when you realize that at (for instance) you can breath OK at 160bpm but at 163 you get out of breath very quickly. Once you know those two numbers you have a good gauge from which you can determine the zones you want to work in. Your garmin won't move your HR% over time even though you will get stronger and your max HR will increase, as will your AT, but YOU will see both numbers go up. My AT has moved from roughly 130 when to 160 in the last year and a half.

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    Senior Member CJ C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by digibud View Post
    I would suggest looking at your actual HR and not your %.
    I never look at the % till after the ride. On my screen while riding i only have Speed, Cadence and HR showing. I use those three and the burning in my legs to judge how i am doing during the ride.

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    Senior Member Seve's Avatar
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    The only safe and most accurate way to get your maximum heart rate is through a proper medically supervised exercise stress test. Talk to your Doctor about the details if you are not familiar with one. As your fitness, age, weight and general health changes your max heart rate as well as your resting will also change over time.

    As a practical matter most people won't seek out an exercise stress test so the only alternative is to push yourself and record your own pulse rate manually or with a HRM. Bear in mind you don't want to harm yourself so you need to have some assurance, from a Doctor, that your heart is good enough to give it a whirl.

    Search for RPE (Borg Scale) Rate of Perceived Exertion - Scale of (0-10) is fine. Read about the different levels of exertion: here is one http://www.fitsugar.com/Rate-Perceiv...itness-1113267 and this will give you an idea of what your maximum effort should feel like. Once you get to this point, record your heart rate and that will be fine for all practical purposes. Take your heart rate manually if you don't trust your HRM.

    If you have a trainer with enough resistance you can do this at home or as digibud suggested, find a longish hill, gear up and give it a go until you simply can go no further. Take a friend with you to be safe.

    From there you can determine your exercise zones for improving cardio vascular fitness, maintaining that fitness and so on. They should and will relate to the RPE scale as well.

    You certainly can take it even further as Drew suggested, if you like.

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    I was having trouble while using a HR monitor on the elliptical. According to the monitor, I was peaking at 220+ multiple times during my workout. This could happen anytime during my workout and I never felt any ill effects from it. Now in my case, I am a extremely overweight individual and it was worrisome, so I asked my Doctor about it (and did some "research" on the web). My Doctor told me that if that was a true heart rate reading, I would be on the floor. He said somewhere around 220 the heart would be beating so fast that no blood would be flowing.

    After suspecting a HR monitor failure, I started looking for why. A lot of times people have it when they first start exercising. This is most often cause by a lack of connection between the strap and the body. As you work out and start to sweat, this connection becomes better and the spikes go away. Supposedly you can fix this by wetting the strap (dependant upon manufacturer guidelines). The other thing is even more simple, the battery in the strap could be failing.

    I replaced my battery and havent' seen another spike since. Although there are conditions out there that can cause exterme spikes while exercising and talking to the Doctor is always good, it's also very likely that it's simply the HR monitor not reporting correctly.

  17. #17
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJ C View Post
    Ok i am trying to get a gauge on my efforts, my fitness and my fitness improvements. Looking for random internet input from other clydes, will be querying my Doctor next time i visit him

    today my garmin said i hit my max heart rate for a bit, but i didnt feel winded or hurting on the section it said i did.

    now if i do my short 15mile ride i try to stay around 160-163bpm, and my longer ride of 35-40mile ride i try to keep around 145-150bpm.

    the bpm seems high doesnt it? But thats where I know and feel I get a good workout in those ranges. (actually been thinking i could push it a bit higher)

    oh btw I am 34 years old 5'8" and 239lbs

    I remember reading a very rough rule of thumb that says you shouldn't take your pulse over 220 minus your age. So at age 34 your max HR would be 186. Then there are bands that people say are supposed to give you a cardiac workout and other bands that are supposed to be a "fat burning zone" but as far as I can tell if you're moving about you're burning calories, and those calories have to come from somewhere.

    If you can hold your HR at 160-something that sounds a little high to me (based on a gut feeling, not any great level of knowledge) but not enough to think you're going to kill yourself along the way.

    Obviously on the internet nobody knows anything about you (and most of us, myself included, aren't medically qualified so our opinions are worth what you paid for them), so if you're not sure you might be well advised to pay a visit to your doctor to get checked out. If I wanted to really push myself hard in a way that I knew would push my pulse to 180 or more for an extended period (220 - my age) then I'd figure it was worth a quick check to make sure I wasn't going to find my pulse went to 0 and stayed there.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

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