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  1. #1
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    AT/MHR the same?

    After years of humming and hawwing about weather or not to buy a heart rate monitor, my wife finally put me out of my misery and bought me one.

    I had a pretty good idea of what my heart rates were when riding (the old fashioned, finger to the neck method) and I'm not competing, but I do like to make the most of what I do and since I'm getting older and my belly is developing, I think the monitor might help me reshape myself back 10 or 15 years (if I use it right).

    The one thing I have to figure is my maximum heart rate and anaerobic threshold.

    The usual figuring for maximum heart rate is 220 - age, but there are other variations on that formula (University of Missouri-Columbia, Indiana University, combining them and subtracting 5 beats for bicycle training) that come up with numbers that are pretty close.

    Anaerobic threshold is found through that test of warming up and then progessively pushing a higher pace until the heart rate does not go up any further.

    Isn't that a maximum heart rate?

    I just got the monitor and I pushed my ride home from work one night and got pretty close to the number I got from doing 220 - age (and probably could have got the rate up just a little more).

    I find I'm riding at 90 to 95% of max for most of my commute, and even with warming up, I average about 83%.

    Is my max rate too low, or am I going too hard? (I haven't done a 2 hour ride with the HRM yet, so I'll see what rate I can sustaing for that).

  2. #2
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    As I understand it AT (anaerobic threshhold) is the point where you are taking in all the oxygen you can and you either hold your exercise at that level, or go harder and run out of O2 forcing you to slow down, or get additional energy from some anaerobic process. Maximum Heart Rate is just that and is commonly well past the rate at the AT. In tests my AT was at around 80% of my Max Rate.
    This space open

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    semifreddo amartuerer 'nother's Avatar
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    220 minus age or any variation on that formula is a very poor estimator. Your actual max HR may vary significantly.

    Max HR is less important for training purposes than AT/LT. See the sticky "2x20 Anaerobic threshold test" at the top of this sub-forum; you can do this on your own to get a pretty good estimation of your AT.

    For more on training with HR get the Sally Edwards/Sally Reed book mentioned in that thread.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 'nother
    Max HR is less important for training purposes than AT/LT.

    For more on training with HR get the Sally Edwards/Sally Reed book mentioned in that thread.
    That's what I thought, and I also thought a book would help. I'll try to pick it up.

  5. #5
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Just one more time.

    As I understand it, as work and heart rate increases, there is a point at which the heart rate flattens out. This is anaerobic threshold.

    At this point, the heart rate can increase, but only slightly, with additional speed.

    I believe I've read that the heart can't increase much past AT and speed is almost impossible to increase beyond a few more seconds after AT is passed.

    If this is true, isn't AT a defacto maximum heart rate, or have I got it wrong?

  6. #6
    Outgunned and outclassed
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    I believe I've read that the heart can't increase much past AT and speed is almost impossible to increase beyond a few more seconds after AT is passed.

    If this is true, isn't AT a defacto maximum heart rate, or have I got it wrong?
    You can increase speed/effort beyond AT for more than a few seconds. Most people can burn above AT for a couple of minutes, however, it hurts like hell and is a distinct pain. You will know when you cross above AT.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker
    Just one more time.

    As I understand it, as work and heart rate increases, there is a point at which the heart rate flattens out. This is anaerobic threshold.

    At this point, the heart rate can increase, but only slightly, with additional speed.

    I believe I've read that the heart can't increase much past AT and speed is almost impossible to increase beyond a few more seconds after AT is passed.

    If this is true, isn't AT a defacto maximum heart rate, or have I got it wrong?
    No it's not. I think your "maximum heart rate" is actually referring to "steady-state HR". True max-HR is determined by doing an all-out sprint and seeing how high you can hit, typically 180-205pbm or so. No one can ride at max-HR for more than a couple seconds.

    At your "steady-state HR", it actually doesn't flatten out at AT/LT, you can continue to pedal above AT/LT and your muscles still start aching. Depending upon how much over you go, you can hold this anaerobic pace for 8-10 minutes if you're barely above AT/LT and your HR will steadily creep to max-HR. If you go over by a lot, like a 100% sprint, you'll hit max-HR in 30-seconds.

  8. #8
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    OK, I think I've got it now.

    Thanks.

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