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Old 01-06-12, 10:33 AM   #1
Papa Wheelie
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How do I *PROPERLY* use a Heart Rate Monitor?

So I got one as a gift, and I rode with it yesterday, and it was kinda fun to see how high my heart was going; how quick I recovered; what my peak was; and what my average was, but is that what I am after, or is there more?

I set me "zone" at 122 (low) and 180 (high) and saw a peak of 186, and averaged 144 for my ride.

At 41 years old, is going up to 186 good or bad? Should I be able to use this HRM as a tool to increase my VO2?

Thanks!
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Old 01-06-12, 11:22 AM   #2
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220-(age) x 0.85 will be a good workout zone for you. You need to take this from a MD/DO though.

So 220-41= 179 (your projected 100% peak HR for exercise)
Multiply by .85=152bpm for a good, long, steady workout. 1/2hr - 1hr+

MTB'ing is not quite as aerobic and "steady" as something like road biking though. MTB'ing is more like circuit training. Anaerobic up the hills, recover down the hills, repeat. So you may be pushing 190 up a hill, but recovering OTW down.


If I were to bring you into my lab for a stress test, I wouldn't expect you to exceed 180. I wouldn't stop you if you did though. As long as I've got you hooked up to a 12lead, I can tell if you're starting to lack blood flow to your heart. I did one on myself when I was 25y.o. My max (100% target) was 195bpm, but I hit 206. It's not all that dangerous as long as you don't get too outta control.

Listen to your body and don't over exert yourself. If you're ready to vomit...back off a bit.
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Old 01-06-12, 11:29 AM   #3
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Depending on what you want to achieve, you need to first understand what an HRM can tell you, and how you can use that information to your best benefit. If all you care about is average and max HR during your workouts you are missing the real advantage of what the HRM can do for you.

Taking your waking and resting heartrates every morning, and then tailoring your workouts based on your bodies current state of recovery can be more beneficial than monitoring your heartrate during the workout because it will keep you working as hard as your body can, without overtraining.

Monitoring how quickly your heartrate returns to normal during a workout or in between intervals will also help you to tailor your workout to provide you with the best benefit. Its also a good indicator that you may be undertraining or overtraining within each portion of a workout session.

HRMs are a very valuable tool if you use them properly, unfortunately most users fail to take the time to understand all of the various ways that the information can be used, and instead they become much like a speed indicator that just satisfies curiosity.

Before you can figure out how you want to use it, you might want to check out these two articles to start, and then do some more research regarding the many ways that an HRM can benefit you.


Marathon Guide Heart Monitor Training

How to be Fit How to use Heart Rate Monitor

Last edited by Stealthammer; 01-06-12 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 01-06-12, 11:55 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by ed View Post
220-(age) x 0.85 will be a good workout zone for you. You need to take this from a MD/DO though.

So 220-41= 179 (your projected 100% peak HR for exercise)
Multiply by .85=152bpm for a good, long, steady workout. 1/2hr - 1hr+

MTB'ing is not quite as aerobic and "steady" as something like road biking though. MTB'ing is more like circuit training. Anaerobic up the hills, recover down the hills, repeat. So you may be pushing 190 up a hill, but recovering OTW down.


If I were to bring you into my lab for a stress test, I wouldn't expect you to exceed 180. I wouldn't stop you if you did though. As long as I've got you hooked up to a 12lead, I can tell if you're starting to lack blood flow to your heart. I did one on myself when I was 25y.o. My max (100% target) was 195bpm, but I hit 206. It's not all that dangerous as long as you don't get too outta control.

Listen to your body and don't over exert yourself. If you're ready to vomit...back off a bit.
Thanks Ed! This is good, no, GREAT information!

As you stated MTN biking is like interval/circuit training, and my heart rate is NOT constant. Riding my SS has only exaggerated that. I did not have my "zone" properly defined yesterday (it was 60 on the low, and 160 on the high, which I think are the pre-sets), and spent sometime over it, but I never felt like I was pushing it too hard. When I started to look at the paperwork last night, and saw that my 100% target was 180, but that I had exceeded that, I wondered if that was trouble. I hoped not, because I know I have pushed it to that zone MANY times before.

I will try to limit my time above my 100% max, but I also won't be afraid of going there to get to the top.


Thanks!


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Old 01-06-12, 11:59 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Stealthammer View Post
Depending on what you want to achieve, you need to first understand what an HRM can tell you, and how you can use that information to your best benefit. If all you care about is average and max HR during your workouts you are missing the real advantage of what the HRM can do for you.

Taking your waking and resting heartrates every morning, and then tailoring your workouts based on your bodies current state of recovery can be more beneficial than monitoring your heartrate during the workout because it will keep you working as hard as your body can, without overtraining.

Monitoring how quickly your heartrate returns to normal during a workout or in between intervals will also help you to tailor your workout to provide you with the best benefit. Its also a good indicator that you may be undertraining or overtraining within each portion of a workout session.

HRMs are a very valuable tool if you use them properly, unfortunately most users fail to take the time to understand all of the various ways that the information can be used, and instead they become much like a speed indicator that just satisfies curiosity.

Before you can figure out how you want to use it, you might want to check out these two articles to start, and then do some more research regarding the many ways that an HRM can benefit you.


Marathon Guide Heart Monitor Training

How to be Fit How to use Heart Rate Monitor
Thank you Stealth! Yes, yesterday was mostly novelty.
"Ok, I am starting at 72. Hey! Now I am up to 112! Wow! 144, and I don't feel taxed at all! Am I going to be over 200 when I am climbing. Ok, I feel like I am working my butt off, and we are at 186." blah blah blah.

When I got home (and know that I think I got a BASE model HRM), I found that my ride was 1:51 long, and average rate was 144". Is that all?

I *KNEW* there had to be more to it. Those links will be a great starting point to understand how this can be a tool, and not a novelty.

Thank you!
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Old 01-06-12, 12:39 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Papa Wheelie View Post
Thanks Ed! This is good, no, GREAT information!

As you stated MTN biking is like interval/circuit training, and my heart rate is NOT constant. Riding my SS has only exaggerated that. I did not have my "zone" properly defined yesterday (it was 60 on the low, and 160 on the high, which I think are the pre-sets), and spent sometime over it, but I never felt like I was pushing it too hard. When I started to look at the paperwork last night, and saw that my 100% target was 180, but that I had exceeded that, I wondered if that was trouble. I hoped not, because I know I have pushed it to that zone MANY times before.

I will try to limit my time above my 100% max, but I also won't be afraid of going there to get to the top.


Thanks!


As long as you know you can push that hard, it shouldn't be a problem. There are conduction disorders in the heart that can cause you to go into lethal arrhythmia's if your rate gets too high, but it's not all that common. Especially someone your age peaking at 180. I don't consider that all that high. Everyone's different though. Some people just naturally have a lower HR than others and the vice. I think if you're in good shape, eat right, and have consistently exercised...peaking in the 190's won't hurt, but I'd probably want to make sure via a physical. Dr. running and EKG to r/o WPW or something.
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Old 01-06-12, 12:44 PM   #7
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As long as you know you can push that hard, it shouldn't be a problem. There are conduction disorders in the heart that can cause you to go into lethal arrhythmia's if your rate gets too high, but it's not all that common. Especially someone your age peaking at 180. I don't consider that all that high. Everyone's different though. Some people just naturally have a lower HR than others and the vice. I think if you're in good shape, eat right, and have consistently exercised...peaking in the 190's won't hurt, but I'd probably want to make sure via a physical. Dr. running and EKG to r/o WPW or something.
I was just about to mention WPW, but you beat me to it. My WPW went undetected for ~38 years. Took two catheter ablations to correct it (first procedure was not successful), and now I'm good to go.
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Old 01-07-12, 11:20 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Stealthammer View Post
Taking your waking and resting heartrates every morning, and then tailoring your workouts based on your bodies current state of recovery can be more beneficial than monitoring your heartrate during the workout because it will keep you working as hard as your body can, without overtraining.

Monitoring how quickly your heartrate returns to normal during a workout or in between intervals will also help you to tailor your workout to provide you with the best benefit. Its also a good indicator that you may be undertraining or overtraining within each portion of a workout session.
So, this morning, before I even got out of bed, I slapped the HRM on.

I kept it on for 20 minutes, and had an average of 46, but saw it as low as 42, but typically around 48.

After that, I got up, and started making coffee, emptying the dishwasher, and kinda forgot that I was monitoring again. This time the duration was 30 minutes, and the average was 62.


I'll read those links to see what that is telling me.


On yesterday's ride, I was pretty amazed at how quickly I would go from the 180 range, from climbing, down to the 130 range, even when I was pedalling on flat/rolling surfaces.
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Old 01-07-12, 12:02 PM   #9
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If I were to bring you into my lab for a stress test...
Complete curiosity...is that a joke for your basement or something, or do you actually work in a lab?
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Old 01-07-12, 12:10 PM   #10
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"Bring out the Gimp!"
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Old 01-07-12, 07:54 PM   #11
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Complete curiosity...is that a joke for your basement or something, or do you actually work in a lab?
Real deal.
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Old 01-08-12, 05:05 PM   #12
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I got back into biking @3.5 years ago for heart health. Keeping track of what you are doing as mentioned in Stealthhammer's links is really healthy. View your heart like you would your thigh muscle. Only the heart is the primary muscle for your entire life. That heart monitor should be a good friend to you.
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