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Old 04-15-08, 05:52 PM   #1
Metric Man
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HR Monitor questions

After a couple of rides with my new Polar F6 HR monitor I have a couple of questions. I noticed a few times that it went into the stratosphere with the reading...at least I hope that's what happened. I looked down and it was reading 171, ( I was pumping pretty hard ) and the next thing I know it said 218! Then it fell back to the low 170's almost immediately so I'm inclined to believe it was an anomaly. Should I expect a few unnatural spikes with these?

Also, I have a hard time keeping an eye on it while it's on my wrist and decided to mount it to my bars which are now starting to resemble a car. Is there a good "clean" way to do this?
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Old 04-15-08, 06:17 PM   #2
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Mine (not a Polar) does that every now and again. It said I maxed at 229 on the way to work this morning. With an average of 142 on the 50 minute ride, I had only three minutes in Zone 4 and 15 seconds in Zone 5, so I figure it's safe to assume a fault of some sort.
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Old 04-15-08, 06:20 PM   #3
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Mine (not a Polar) does that every now and again. It said I maxed at 229 on the way to work this morning.
High stress job or bad traffic?
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Old 04-15-08, 07:39 PM   #4
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High stress job or bad traffic?
Sorry don't meant to change the subject. Just notice your have the same bike 2007 Trek 1600 SLR I have. Just want to say Hi & see how you like yours, upgrades? I got mine for 2 months now & only have 100 miles on it. I love my bike!
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Old 04-15-08, 07:48 PM   #5
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Sorry don't meant to change the subject. Just notice your have the same bike 2007 Trek 1600 SLR I have. Just want to say Hi & see how you like yours, upgrades? I got mine for 2 months now & only have 100 miles on it. I love my bike!
I like it. It was a good bang for the $$ but all it did was wet my appitite for some carbon fiber. I've had it since September and with the exception of a couple of flats I've put about 1300 trouble free miles on it since. I did upgrade the saddle, added Speedplay X pedals and put on the Cateye Enduro but that's all. Currently I'm thinking of getting a shorter stem to get a better position on the bike.
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Old 04-15-08, 10:45 PM   #6
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looked down and it was reading 171, ( I was pumping pretty hard ) and the next thing I know it said 218! Then it fell back to the low 170's almost immediately so I'm inclined to believe it was an anomaly. Should I expect a few unnatural spikes with these?
This normally happens when its too dry between your skin and the strap, make sure you dampen the strap really well before putting it on
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Old 04-16-08, 08:30 AM   #7
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High stress job or bad traffic?
Lust.
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Old 04-16-08, 01:16 PM   #8
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Another possibility is electircal signals nearby which you can't do anything about other than change your route.
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Old 04-16-08, 01:38 PM   #9
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besides electrical interference which someone else mentioned a flapping jersey or jacket will cause it too.
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Old 04-16-08, 05:06 PM   #10
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Thanks for the input...at least I know my ticker isn't about to blow!!
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Old 04-17-08, 05:07 AM   #11
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it would be nice if you could program an upper limit into these things. I came home yesterday with a 232 for a max which is utterly bogus. My real max is currently 183. If I could tell it to discard anything over say 185 I'd have better data.

The one I have supposedly has an algorithim to discard spurious readings but clearly it could use some work.

I find I have more problems with jersey flap when I don't wear an undershirt (er, Base Layer). I guess I should have bought smaller jerseys
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Old 04-17-08, 05:54 AM   #12
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This normally happens when its too dry between your skin and the strap, make sure you dampen the strap really well before putting it on
If the humidity is low (dry day) with wind, syntheic jershey material causes static charges that makes peaks happen. Your instructions say to dampen your shirt before wearing it out.
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Old 04-17-08, 09:27 AM   #13
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Last thing that I want to do is alarm anybody, but it is possible that the heart monitor is working properly - and that your heart rate really was 218 for a moment.

One of the most important things about heart monitors is that they provide information relevant to how hard you and your heart is working. From the information that you receive from monitors, you can then modify your workout to maintain your target heart rate (THR). Conventional thinking is that when you work out, your THR should be 75%-85% of your maximum heart rate.

Your maximum heart rate is determined by subtracting your age from 225. For example, I'm 56 y.o., so my maximum heart rate is (225 - 56 =) 169 My THR range is 75%-85% of that or 126 (75%) to 143 (85%). So, when I workout, my THR is between 126 - 143 beats per minute. Depending on my level of fitness, I might be able to workout comfortably with my pulse in the 140 - 150 range.

But, for a 50 y.o. the Maximum heart rate is 175. What happens sometimes when someone consistently exercises at or near their maximum heart rate is that the heart delivers a few extra beats - called premature ventricular contractions (PVCs). When that happens, the heart monitor picks up the extra beats, calculates them and shows a pulse of 218 or something like that. Because the PVCs occur infrequently, the very high pulse over 200 can be mis-interpreted as heart monitor error and attributed to some of the things that it's been attributed to in this thread.

I'm not a physician, and I don't really know what the problem with your monitor is, but I do know that what you described can occur because of abnormal heart beats or PVCs. And, if you're posting this in the 50 plus forum, then your maximum heart rate is in the 170 range - higher than the American Heart Association recommends for working out.

More about THR can be found here:

http://www.americanheart.org/present...dentifier=4736
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Old 04-17-08, 09:35 AM   #14
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Thanks for the heads up Hearty. My son in-law is a Doctor I'll hit him up on this. Based on my weight and age I have a max HR of 168 so I try to keep it around 145 or so for my 80 or 90 minute ride.
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Old 04-17-08, 09:43 AM   #15
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Mine does the same thing as yours. First I thought it was the cold, then it warmed up and it still did it. Then I thought it was the wind, same thing. Anyhow, when I get a pretty steady reading, I just go by that. Sometimes when the readings are all over the place, I just turn it off.
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Old 04-17-08, 09:59 AM   #16
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This normally happens when its too dry between your skin and the strap, make sure you dampen the strap really well before putting it on
Exactly!

As for mounting the wrist HRM on your handlebars, you might try a 1-2" section of grey foam pipe insulation underneath.
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Old 04-17-08, 10:09 AM   #17
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Thanks Old School. I ended up using a piece of handlebar foam I had leftover from my MTB and it seems to be good.
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Old 04-17-08, 01:58 PM   #18
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There are many formulas for calculating maximum heart rate and workout target heart rates.

The old standard for determining maximum heart rate is 220-age. Others that I have read are: 208 - (.7 * age); 205 - (.5 * age); 210 - (.5 * age) +4 (for men)... the list can go on. A very accurate method to determine your maximum heart rate is via a field test. This can be performed on one's own or by a professional, e.g., a sports medicine clinic.

For determining target workout heart rates there are also a number of formulas for calculating heart rates. For example: maximum heart rate * a percentage (170 * .85). Another uses one's resting heart rate in the calculation. If you have access to a sports medicine clinic you can schedule a VO2 max and related tests. These are very accurate methods to determine how hard to work out.

Each max heart rate and training heart rate formula has its adherents. There is no 'right' or 'wrong' since each person's physiology is unique. One of my riding buddies is 61 and his maximum heart rate is 177 determined via a field test. I'm 50 and my MHR is in the low 170's. His resting heart rate is 45 and mine is 38. I do interval sessions with a target heart rate of between 150-162 (approx. 85-92% of max).

While boiler plate formulas give a person a place to start, effective training comes with education and experimentation to find what is right for you.

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Old 04-17-08, 02:41 PM   #19
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Thanks Old School. I ended up using a piece of handlebar foam I had leftover from my MTB and it seems to be good.
Polar actually do a bar mount for bikes. The early mounts stayed on the bike with a couple of Zip ties- but my later one is just a semi rigid Moulded lump of plastic that goes on the bars with the monitor. I prefer the old type though.

On the "Interference"- it could be that. Riding with other HRM users could cause cross interference- and High Voltage cables do the same (Overhead or in the road). There is one area on out rides where we get massive interference from Radio transmitter aerials- so try to see if you are getting the spurious readings in the same spot on the ride.

Failing that- You are just fitter than you think you are. And once you get a bit fitter- you will be able to push the HR up near or even exceed your max. Whether you will be able to breath or see straight is another matter though.
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Old 04-17-08, 05:32 PM   #20
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On the "Interference"- it could be that. Riding with other HRM users could cause cross interference- and High Voltage cables do the same (Overhead or in the road). There is one area on out rides where we get massive interference from Radio transmitter aerials- so try to see if you are getting the spurious readings in the same spot on the ride.
I've been keeping an eye on it since the first day and sometimes, as in today, it didn't do it at all. Same route very similar weather (humidity, wind, temp etc.) So the only thing I did different today was to wet my chest first...that might be it.

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Failing that- You are just fitter than you think you are. And once you get a bit fitter- you will be able to push the HR up near or even exceed your max. Whether you will be able to breath or see straight is another matter though.
Hmmm, I doubt it. Today, without the spikes, I averaged only 142 bpm over 80 minutes with a top rate of 171 bpm. I don't think I'm ready for Flanders just yet.
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Old 04-17-08, 06:16 PM   #21
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So the only thing I did different today was to wet my chest first...that might be it.
BINGO!
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Old 04-17-08, 08:40 PM   #22
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My wife (runner) and I (biker) got into the HR thing last fall. One of the things I learned was that max HR is an individual thing and doesn't fit any particular rule-of-thumb calculation, although they can get you in the ballpark.

In my case (I'll be 58 later this year), I've seen a max HR of 186 while riding. I used to worry about how one discovers the max HR (as if the ol' ticker might blow!) But what I learned is that once you reach your individual max HR, it won't go any higher, regardless of any increase in activity. And there you have it... your individual max HR. Now you can plan your zones. I think there are several methods for determining your own max HR. I just ride as hard as I can for a while and see what I get the HR up to.

After a 3 month layoff from the bike this year, I've ridden a couple of medium short rides in the last week. For today my HR averaged 157 and with a max of 177 or so. I typically saw around 160 in the display (Polar F11). While that sounds high, I've found it to be a fairly comfortable range for my riding.

I had a couple of occasions last year where the HR would spike in the 210+ area. I know that was inaccurate because I would have been able to detect that much difference over my 150-160 normal pace. I always wet my strap sensors before putting it on, but may not have gotten it wet enough of those occasions. It always settled down after the sweat began to flow... so I'm reasonably sure it was a contact issue. I have one of the Polar bike mounts that uses zip ties to secure it. Works great!
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Old 04-18-08, 05:54 AM   #23
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regarding the possibility of PVCs and the OP -- if you are coasting down a hill at 40+ MPH and the HRM reads 230 it seems unlikely to me that it would be due to PVCs, especially if you can see and feel your jersey flapping. If you are climbing a hill at 6 MPH and working near your expected max HR and you see something like that it might be a good idea to have that checked out.
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Old 04-20-08, 12:29 AM   #24
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There are many formulas for calculating maximum heart rate and workout target heart rates.

The old standard for determining maximum heart rate is 220-age. Others that I have read are: 208 - (.7 * age); 205 - (.5 * age); 210 - (.5 * age) +4 (for men)... the list can go on. A very accurate method to determine your maximum heart rate is via a field test. This can be performed on one's own or by a professional, e.g., a sports medicine clinic.

For determining target workout heart rates there are also a number of formulas for calculating heart rates. For example: maximum heart rate * a percentage (170 * .85). Another uses one's resting heart rate in the calculation. If you have access to a sports medicine clinic you can schedule a VO2 max and related tests. These are very accurate methods to determine how hard to work out.

Each max heart rate and training heart rate formula has its adherents. There is no 'right' or 'wrong' since each person's physiology is unique. One of my riding buddies is 61 and his maximum heart rate is 177 determined via a field test. I'm 50 and my MHR is in the low 170's. His resting heart rate is 45 and mine is 38. I do interval sessions with a target heart rate of between 150-162 (approx. 85-92% of max).

While boiler plate formulas give a person a place to start, effective training comes with education and experimentation to find what is right for you.
Correct. Thank-you...
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Old 04-20-08, 01:00 AM   #25
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...Also, I have a hard time keeping an eye on it while it's on my wrist and decided to mount it to my bars which are now starting to resemble a car...
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