most comfortable heart rate monitor strap for women
My husband got me a trainer for my bike for Christmas (good husband!) but I'm feeling like I need some way to quantify my workouts on it, rather than just time, since it's easy to be lazy when you're riding in one spot in the house. So I'm looking into getting a heart rate monitor, but I'm worried about the strap chafing. Frankly, I'm a D-cup and on top of that I need to lose a few (say 20-30) pounds, and I'm concerned that a strap which might be comfortable for running while you are upright might feel a little different when bent in the road cycling position.
So, for all the ladies out there, any experience, comments, suggestions? Do the straps vary much between brands and are they comfortable worn below the bra? I've noticed the strapless HRMs, but they all seem to require you placing your fingers on buttons on the watch face, so you only get an intermittent reading rather than continuous feedback for your workout.
Kate, my wife is a similar size (perhaps a bit larger) and she has tried 3 strap options. The larger fabric Polar strap felt very comfortable but was 'bulky' and did not work well with a sports bra (lots of material in one area). The smaller (standard with Polar watches) strap eliminated the bulk concern and was comfortable for her (after some careful placement). However, note that some people complain about the rubber edge (front 1/3 of the strap) digging into their skin (personal fit may be an issue for you). Polar also sells a sport bra with the monitor built inside (actually it's just a bra with holes to fit the standard strap in against the skin). My wife hated this one (bra was very uncomfortable). The Numetrex bra is not sold in larger sizes (over 34C) so that was not an option (unless you like tight clothing at the gym). Strap cream (instead of wetting the strap with water) is supposed to help with HRM straps. If you don't sweat a lot (i.e. to keep the strap moist) then consider getting some of the cream... it helps with the comfort and accuracy of the HRM.
Recommendation: try the thinner Polar strap + Buh-Bump electrode cream. The straps have the transmitter on the front which is right where the sportbra strap is. My wife slides her bra just over the top edge of the HRM strap (but not over the transmitter)... this seems to keep everything in place. You could also experiment with wearing the strap slightly lower (no bra interference but possible discomfort rubbing the top of the belly).