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Old 03-18-10, 12:49 PM   #1
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Heart rate range, what does it mean?

I started using a Heart Rate monitor. At rest, I'm below 70 bpm. When cycling I'm between 150 and 160 almost every time I look at it.

I'm a little suprised it's not more variable. Even when climbing hills, the rate changes very little. It will drop below 150 bpm if I'm stationary for three or more minutes.

I'm 53 years old and 210 lbs @ 6' even.

How can I better understand what this data means?
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Old 03-18-10, 01:03 PM   #2
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Heart Rate range and Heart Rate Zones are the same thing. You will need to find you HR zones based on one of the standards. You can go online to find one of the HR calculators. I use Friel's to do my HR Zones. You will also need to find your resting HR (taken while lying in bed early AM) in order to establish the heart rate reserve. It is difficult to get your Max HR so you will need to estimate it. The Heart Rate ranges are usually broken down by aerobic, endurance, lactate and anerobic. Some times a % of Max HR is used to determine the Zones i.e. Z3 = 80 to 85% of MHR, Z4 =86 to 92% of MHR, it depends on the formula used making it more important to determine the Max and resting HR.


One reason your HR stays in the same range is that most riders will push themselves into Z3 where they know they are working but are still comfortable. I'll guess that once you determine your ranges that is where your Z3 lies. Once you begin training using HR you will tickle the upper zones that will increase your power at Z3 and also enable your body to accept the uncomfortable feelings that riding in Z4 and beyond provide.

A good resource to learn about HR Zones is Friel's book for cycling over 50 or some of the online explanations such as Korvonen's.
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Old 03-18-10, 01:21 PM   #3
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Basically it means nothing, nor is your age/weight relevant. Heart rate is only informative if it's compared to one's measured maximum. Formulas are useless for determining maximum. Then one can develop a training regime for either performance or health or both.

Age is irrelevant as is max. heart rate for a reasonably fit individual. Max. does not change much if any with age or fitness. I've been 174 max (cycling) for something like 10 years (from 60 to 70) with no change. For running/sprinting my max is 190.

Maximum heart rate has little to do with fitness. It's mostly genetics. Blood volume per heart beat does have a lot to with fitness as does a low resting heart rate.

You might google "heart rate training" or "heart rate zones" and you'll get many of articles on the subject.

The first issue though is to decide on your goals and see how heart rate might help accomplish them.

I use one to insure I work hard enough periodically to get my heart rate high enough (over 90% max) for health reasons and somewhat to make sure I keep my lactate threshold up. I also like to see how my speed profile varies with my heart rate profile over the years as I have a data base. It helps me maintain a state of denial about ageing. Not all that usefull, but I find it interesting.

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Old 03-18-10, 03:31 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info. According to the Korvonen's formula, I'm exceeding my max while commuting to work!


Your estimated maximal heart rate: EMHR = 220 - AGE 167
Your heart rate reserve: HRR = EMHR - RHR 102
Your Target heart rate: THR = HRR * INT + RHR 136.4
Lower End of Target Zone: THR - 10 126.4
Upper End of Target Zone: THR + 10 146.4



I wonder what's happening during my group rides?
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Old 03-18-10, 03:52 PM   #5
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Yeah, Michael, that's very common, and it's one reason almost nobody here (or seemingly anywhere outside a doctor's office) pays any attention to formula-based estimates of your personal max. It's hard to measure, as well, and some think it's not safe to measure it. I'm not a doc, so I don't know.

What I as well as a lot of others have used is the ventilatory threshold, which approximates the lactate threshold. Friel's book, referenced here by Allegheny as well, contains a procedure for that, that one can do oneself. He also has a method for defining your training zones based on it, and an excellent explanation of what the zones mean, how to use them, and the underlying theory behind such training strategies.
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Old 03-18-10, 06:45 PM   #6
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Target zones are different depending on your riding and health goals. They are also different depending on the sport. Runners use different ranges than we do.

What type of conditioning is the cited target zone for? It may be entirely appropriate for whatever sort of conditioning it's talking about.

Whereas your measured typical rate may be the ideal zone for a different type of conditioning.
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Old 03-18-10, 07:09 PM   #7
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Wide variety of answers - as wide as the answers you find on the web. Those of us who have been down this path know from experience that max heart rate formulas are only for population averages - and we are not average. I suspect the best response here is AJs. I know that my comfort zone is about 145 - 150, when I am warmed up and moving along well. I can do a sustained sprint up to 165 and I am panting like a dog at 180, by 190 I feel like my lungs are about to burst and occasionally I can get up to 195. So as AJ says - you are probably well conditioned at Z3, you may want to consider some interval work to push your comfort zone, you will most likely gain power and stamina.
The reference AJ cited is good and is what I started with about 3 years ago. But don't treat it as gospel - it's only one trainers view of the world.
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Old 03-18-10, 07:30 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
Thanks for the info. According to the Korvonen's formula, I'm exceeding my max while commuting to work!


Your estimated maximal heart rate: EMHR = 220 - AGE 167
Your heart rate reserve: HRR = EMHR - RHR 102
Your Target heart rate: THR = HRR * INT + RHR 136.4
Lower End of Target Zone: THR - 10 126.4
Upper End of Target Zone: THR + 10 146.4



I wonder what's happening during my group rides?
220-age is garbage. Garbage in, garbage out. There have been numerous threads on MHR discussing this.

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Old 03-18-10, 11:16 PM   #9
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Measuring and using heart rate as a training and riding tool is useful, but only on a personal basis. Such measurements are nearly useless as a comparative with others. Plus, heart rate can and does change due to a variety of circumstances. Because of that many people use "perceived exertion" as a more appropriate and useful tool.

In my personal case I'm buying a heart rate monitor to use because I've discovered by borrowing one that it is a useful way of pacing myself over longer rides. By correlating heart rate and cadence I can ride maximum pace while not becoming tired too soon. That way, even though my mind is saying either "your going too fast", or "you need to speed it up" I have objective numbers to make the decision on.

Interestingly, over the past couple years I've been able to raise my "cruise" heart rate by 20bpm while my muscles feel no different and my average speed has increased by nearly 20%.
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Old 03-18-10, 11:45 PM   #10
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My resting hr is 58, when i was very fit it was around 50 (age 20). Now, making allowance for weight (190) at age 64 i try not to exceed 130 bpm. Today i lost 3.5 pounds on my ride. I weigh myself before i ride and try to get enough water and food to come close to my starting weight. I usually stay between 110 to 120 bpm for max weight loss. I weighed 155 at age 20. My goal is 165 pounds, should take about a year to year and a half. I will do it by increasing my distance keeping the same rate. I am sure i could get up to 150 to 160 bpm with no harm but will take the less stressful route.
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Old 03-19-10, 05:31 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
Thanks for the info. According to the Korvonen's formula, I'm exceeding my max while commuting to work!


Your estimated maximal heart rate: EMHR = 220 - AGE 167
Your heart rate reserve: HRR = EMHR - RHR 102
Your Target heart rate: THR = HRR * INT + RHR 136.4
Lower End of Target Zone: THR - 10 126.4
Upper End of Target Zone: THR + 10 146.4


I wonder what's happening during my group rides?
Until you determine what your max HR is the zones will not reflect your body's. It is possible to get close to your MHR while riding a trainer or riding up a longer hill. I use a figure of 174 for my MHR based on being able to hit 168 at the end of a two hour trainer workout and doing a progressive sprint until I couldn't push any harder. I have also hit the same value when sprinting at the top of a longhill, that really hurts and I almost fell off the bike.

My coach sets my training plan based on time, cadence and HR zones. He uses the Friel zones. Last year I established my zones based on Korvonens and found that I was having difficulty reaching some of the tasks assigned by the coach. There is a difference in the zone values and once we were both using the same HR zones things got a lot easier/doable for me.

In races and fast group rides I've found that it doesn't matter what HR zone I'm in because the group dictates the zone and if I want to be there I just have to ride.
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Old 03-19-10, 06:33 AM   #12
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Target zones are different depending on your riding and health goals. They are also different depending on the sport. Runners use different ranges than we do.

What type of conditioning is the cited target zone for? It may be entirely appropriate for whatever sort of conditioning it's talking about.

Whereas your measured typical rate may be the ideal zone for a different type of conditioning.
TSL old bud, which citation of a target zone are you responding to? Which post?
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Old 03-19-10, 10:07 AM   #13
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Now, making allowance for weight (190) at age 64 i try not to exceed 130 bpm.
On what do you base this? If its based on 220-age or any age based formula it really has no validity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LAriverRat View Post
Today i lost 3.5 pounds on my ride. I weigh myself before i ride and try to get enough water and food to come close to my starting weight. I usually stay between 110 to 120 bpm for max weight loss. I weighed 155 at age 20. My goal is 165 pounds, should take about a year to year and a half. I will do it by increasing my distance keeping the same rate. I am sure i could get up to 150 to 160 bpm with no harm but will take the less stressful route.
Sounds like you should be drinking more. I think the idea of a fat burning or weight loss zone has been pretty much debunked. The important thing for fat loss is total calories burned. Increasing distance will burn more calories and adding some higher intensity training including interval workouts has been shown to increase calorie burn. Increasing the intensity on some rides wil make you more fit and make it easier to add distance.
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Old 03-20-10, 07:49 AM   #14
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Well, I tested my resting heart rate this morning, an average of 5 readings over a 30 minute period while still in bed at dawn gave me a 63 bpm. That's good, yes?

I can tell you that even on a recovery ride at 16 mph on the flats, my HR is in the 150 to 160 range.

I should find a max reading this week. I'm going skiing in Utah, and the combination of altitude and fit local friends will push things a bit.

But guessing that my Max HR is 180 bpm, my relaxed-pace HR reading seem high. According to these values, I'm at 86%.

Zone 1 65% of MHR (recovery rides)
Zone 2 65-72% of MHR (endurance events)
Zone 3 73-80% of MHR (high level aerobic activity)
Zone 4 84-90% of MHR (lactate threshold(LT,AT); time trialing)
Zone 5 91-100% of MHR (sprints and anaerobic training)

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Old 03-20-10, 08:23 AM   #15
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You have to keep checking your heart rate. Every couple of months mine changes. I'm up to 164 max now and then I down load a program to give me my training zones. The program I use is just a base and you have to change your maximum heart rate instead of using there's, to get a more actuate reading.
http://www.machinehead-software.co.uk/
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Old 03-20-10, 12:42 PM   #16
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Well, I tested my resting heart rate this morning, an average of 5 readings over a 30 minute period while still in bed at dawn gave me a 63 bpm. That's good, yes?

I can tell you that even on a recovery ride at 16 mph on the flats, my HR is in the 150 to 160 range.

I should find a max reading this week. I'm going skiing in Utah, and the combination of altitude and fit local friends will push things a bit.

But guessing that my Max HR is 180 bpm, my relaxed-pace HR reading seem high. According to these values, I'm at 86%.

Zone 1 65% of MHR (recovery rides)
Zone 2 65-72% of MHR (endurance events)
Zone 3 73-80% of MHR (high level aerobic activity)
Zone 4 84-90% of MHR (lactate threshold(LT,AT); time trialing)
Zone 5 91-100% of MHR (sprints and anaerobic training)
I don't think anyone can say what MRHR is good or bad. Mine goes down when I'm riding more, am well-hydrated, and have a good night's sleep. Lowest I've ever seen is around 56, FWIW.

Here's how I check it: Stay in bed lying still as soon as possible after waking up (this is the best part!) take off my watch and hold my fingers on my pulse. Count the beats for 60 seconds. Do this several times trying not to move and with my muscles as relaxed as possible. Take the lowest reading, we're looking for a minimum. I don't use the HRM for this.
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Old 03-20-10, 12:49 PM   #17
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It doesn't seem to me to be wise to obsess over any particular sign, especially things like BP and HR. They are only valuable when viewed in concert with an overfall assessment. To do otherwise can either cause you to be a bit hypochondriacal, or to ignore other symptoms that may be pointing to a serious problem. It is probably OK to satisfy a bit of curiosity. It is also probably OK to use HR as a personal refection of physical performance. Beyond that they are just a couple numbers in the whole paint-by-numbers picture of our body.
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Old 03-21-10, 09:20 AM   #18
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I've just started using a HRM also. I've hit a max of 175 but only once. The first few rides I tried not to focus on the hrm but ride at a PE similiar to that of which I was accustomed. I've noticed that I tend to be in the low to mid 140's without fail. I'm trying to correlate a PE to HR. It's all new to me though so much learning to do. I've been told that your recovery rate is a good indicator of your fitness also.

Yesterday I did a 25 mile ride/loop. First half into a pretty stiff wind then back. I can tell you at simililar HR's I was going almost twice as fast on the way home as out. Great ride.
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