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Thread: Max heart rate.

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    Senior Member stridercc's Avatar
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    Max heart rate.

    Hi, I got my first heart rate monitor for Christmas , and I was woundering if anyone knew a good test to find your max heart rate. Thanks in advance.
    -Matt-

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    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Those who have reduced medicine to an exact science claim that your maximum heart rate is 220 (beats/min.) - your age (years). Personally, I don't buy the linear age correction term. Because of individual differences, I prefer to correlate heart rate with breathing effort / aerobic threshold. For maximum aerobic training, aim to keep your heartrate around 80 percent of the rate which triggers panting.
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    Ditto on John's statement deriding the 220 - your age formula. If I went by that I would never climb any hills.

    It varies a lot with fitness, and there is even a separate formula for more fit "elderly: folks. (Which I can't remember right now.) Hey, for my mom, age 88, 220 - 88 would mean her heart rate should never get over 132. Difficult for most folks to keep it that low!!
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    The Female Enduro velo's Avatar
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    Yes, don't use that formula. You will not be getting the most out of your riding if you do. I did max. heart rate tests last year, but this year we changed it to an endurance type test.

    I think the basic structure of the test was a good warm-up, about 5 min. at 24 mph, then +1 mph for every minute after that until you blow and your heart rate is at its highest. This was done on an indoor trainer , in about a 53 by 16, and about this time of the year.

    Hope that helped,
    velo
    Last edited by velo; 01-01-02 at 05:04 PM.
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    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    I too got an HRM for Christmas. I purchased The Heart Rate Monitor Book for Indoor and Outdoor Cyclists by Sally Edwards and Sally Reed, so I'll know what the numbers mean and how to "properly" use the HRM.

    In the book, Sally gives a good formula for determining max HR. It is:
    210 minus half your age minus 5% of your body weight (in pounds), plus 4 for men (plus 0 for women).

    I'd recommend this book or any book that helps you understand what the numbers mean and how to use the HRM.
    Last edited by RonH; 01-01-02 at 04:18 PM.
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    The Female Enduro velo's Avatar
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    Originally posted by RonH

    In the book, Sally gives a good formula for determining max HR. It is:
    210 minus half your age minus 5% of your body weight (in pounds), plus 4 for men (plus 0 for women).
    I just tried this formula. It's more accurate than the other one, but it's still off by quite a lot. I still recommend doing an actual test for the best results.
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    The 220-age formula is actually fairly accurate -- usually within about 3% -- for males with no history of heart trouble between the ages of 20 and 40. It's when you get outside that range that you have trouble. To some extent, moreover, even a tested maximum will be an approximation because it is dependent on a wide range of variables -- time of day, time of year, subject's fitness, subject's subjective exertion limits, etc. A friend of mine was tested for max every two weeks for a few months some years ago [it was a university sports medicine study], and his maxes ranged from 185 to 211. The 220-age formula would have given him 188 at the time.
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    Senior Member stridercc's Avatar
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    Hey thanks a bunch for the advice so far. Right now I think I will go with velo's idea because it seems the most personal and I'm only 17 so I'm not in the age group. Although 24mph seems a lot more like a work out then a warm up .
    -Matt-

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    Here is a method of finding max heart rate from the Polar Site.

    Have a short workout in your primary activity at your maximum level of exertion using the interval training method.

    1) Warm up for at least 10 minutes.

    2) Workout for 3 interval sets of at least 3 minutes each, pushing yourself to your maximum level of exertion.

    3) During the last interval set, try to push yourself even harder than you did in the first two.

    4) Rest at least 2-4 minutes between each interval.

    The highest number of heart rate is your maximum heart rate value. However, it may be possible that your Maximum Heart Rate might actually be higher. Therefore, you should do this workout a couple of times and take the average between them.

    I hope this helps.
    If you do these test right you will most likely feel like puking when you are done. If not you may not have pushed yourself hard enough. Finding MHR is not a pleasant esperience!
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    I've been using a heart rate monitor for about 6 months, just wearing it whenever I ride. I seldom go over 175 on the road. Recently on a steep climb off-road I got up to 195, at which point I was pretty well maxed out. I am 63 years old. The point is that for me 220 minus something or other does not give remotely the right idea of my maximum heart rate.
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    Mad For Marinoni !!! Captain Crunch's Avatar
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    Interestingly enough my max heart rate is pretty much the same whether using the 220-age calculation or through actual testing. There are about 2 bpm difference and this is certainly subject to change and withing the 3% error rate of the calculation.

    My max heart rate is only 185.
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    Member Felix C's Avatar
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    The 220 minus age is a good guideline for establishing workout goals, the main thing I use a HRM for is on my recovery rides to assure that I don't overdo them. i do use them for intervals, timetrials etc, but I've learned from experience what I need to do, you should also be aware of the skewing that dehydration will cause while you are training.

    I've had some fun with HRMs and once told my out of shape brother (who happens to think he's a medical expert) that my HR got to 196 during a time trial, he lost it! He told me how dangerous it was to get a heart rate that high.

    So I got even with him, he just got a HRM for his birthday last month.

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    I just moved HRM to the top of my cycling needs list

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    Senior Member MtnBikerChk's Avatar
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    Originally posted by RonH
    I too got an HRM for Christmas. I purchased The Heart Rate Monitor Book for Indoor and Outdoor Cyclists by Sally Edwards and Sally Reed, so I'll know what the numbers mean and how to "properly" use the HRM.

    In the book, Sally gives a good formula for determining max HR. It is:
    210 minus half your age minus 5% of your body weight (in pounds), plus 4 for men (plus 0 for women).

    I'd recommend this book or any book that helps you understand what the numbers mean and how to use the HRM.
    I also got that book. Acutally, it recommends 4 ways to determine your max heart rate and to then take the average. This will be the most accurate.

    The math formulas tend to be the least accurate because everyone is different. And if you cycle regularly, chances are, the math formula will be too low.

    btw, GREAT BOOK!
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    Try these as a way of calculating MHR (courtesy of Ball State University). They apparently are slighly more reliable than the 220 - age calculation:

    MHR Men = 214 - (0.8 x age)

    MHR women = 209 - (0.9 x age)

    The Heart Rate Monitor Book by Sally Edwards is excellent (was
    $12.95) explains the lot, not heavy and easy to use/follow. It is recommended and sold in conjunction with POLAR heart rate products!

    Library of Congress Catalogue N0: 92-62064
    or
    ISBN 0-9634633-0-6


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    As you get fitter your resting heartbeat should reduce. One trainer I know recomends measuring your heartbeat in bed before you get up, and plot that every day to track your fitness peaks and troughs. Whatever, its a a good excuse to stay there an extra minute.

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    Senior Member Greg's Avatar
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    If you own a trainer, use it for the testing. It'll be much safer than trying to concentrate while riding.

    Stretch well, warm up slowly and gradually build to the max. Make sure you spin afterward to cool down. This is not something you just jump on the bike and do.

    As stated before, if you're not ready to literally blow up during the peak of the test, then you're not trying hard enough.

    I've not found a mathematical test yet that is even close in accuracy.

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    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Perhaps the best use of the HRM is to quantify your heart rate during recovery. (This addresses the distraction/safety issue, as well.) Specifically, how long does it take you to return to, say, 120 percent of your normal resting pulse rate? As you train, your recovery intervals should gradually decrease.
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    Lance Armstrong's Book "7 weeks to the perfect ride" has a pretty good technique for determining your max HR. It's basically like one of the others mentioned above.

    I can't remember the specific's, but it's basically a warm-up, three mile time-trial pedaling at a 90-100 rpm cadence and then a 15-30 min. cool down.

    You should attain your max HR at the end of the three mile time trial.

    I use this in conjunction with my calculated (as stated above) and determined an "average" that I use.

    BTW it's 188.
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    The Female Enduro velo's Avatar
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    Originally posted by stridercc
    Hey thanks a bunch for the advice so far. Right now I think I will go with velo's idea because it seems the most personal and I'm only 17 so I'm not in the age group. Although 24mph seems a lot more like a work out then a warm up .
    -Matt-
    Wait, the 24 mph is the first part of the test (if the speed seems too fast, you can always put it down, just don't give up until you blow totally). You can warm-up anyway you'd like! I would definitely recommend doing more than the 5 min. stated in the test. Sorry about that...

    velo
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    The only way to reasonable detrmine max HR is to do a Conconni (sp?) test, that is use progressive effort to develop a profile of your HR with the objective of seeing when increased effort no longer raised your HR. You can do this at home if you have a trainer with progressive resistance. All you do is continue to increase the workload in 1 min increments and use your HR monitor to determine your HR at the end of each period. Have someone record this and go until increased effort no longer results in increased HR and that is your max. Gives you a nice progressive curve with all the steps in between too.
    Mike Latondresse

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    There are so many variables, that the formulas really don't work for many people. What I've found helpful is to find a steep hill (at least .5 mi. long); go up it as hard as you can go; when you can't go any harder take a look at your monitor; that's a pretty good max rate. You might want to upgrade this every few months. John

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    Member Felix C's Avatar
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    I think you have to go back to why you would want to know your max HR in the first place. What you really want is a way to establish zones for your training, personally most of my training is done in zone #3 and this means I keep the HR around 140, which in turn translates to about 70% of my max HR.

    Training in this way assures that I'm getting good work done, but I don't always wear a HRM since I know from experience how long I can sustain an effort.

    As I've said before, the main purpose of wearing a HRM for me is to remind myself to keep my recovery rides in zone #2. (i.e. around 120-130 BPM)

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    How do you know your 70% of your HR if you don't know your max.....70% of what????
    All serious HR training is predicated on knowing your max and the 220 minus formula is not worth anything. If you don't establish your max HR properly you are just playing around with the monitor.
    Mike Latondresse

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    Mad For Marinoni !!! Captain Crunch's Avatar
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    For some interesting discussin on Max HR and formulas you might want to read some of the post at this site. Beware some of this is off topic but there are a few people in the discussion who really know what they are talking about.

    If the url does not work, do a search in google for the title: "More max HR" in the group rec.bicycles.racing

    http://navigation.helper.realnames.c...&uid=200967722
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