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  1. #1
    Bike Curious.... bobby c's Avatar
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    Did I reach my max HR?

    A couple of months ago I did a solo ride (50 miles) and pushed it more than usual. One section has 4 consecutive hills - a couple of them are over 15% grade, the other 2 are around 10. At one point (the end of the 4th) my HR got to 184, highest I've ever seen it. What makes me wonder if this is my max (or close to it) is right after hitting it I felt sick - like a period of 10-15 seconds where I felt I had the flu or something. It passed pretty quickly as my HR dropped - is this a good indication that my max had been hit?

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    Dan J chinarider's Avatar
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    My guess is its pretty close. Did you feel like you reached your limit? Also, how far into the ride did this occur? If you had been riding for a long time, you may have already depleted your energy level to the point that you couldn't get to your true MHR.
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  3. #3
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    What I do when I want to check that, is about 100 yards from the top of that 4th hill, shift up a couple gears if you think you can, then get out of the saddle and sprint to the summit. I need to have been riding for a couple of hours and to have climbed a long hill with the final 10 minutes at the maximum effort I feel I can sustain for that period, then a sprint. And I need to be really well rested. My max was 184 when I was about 54.

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    Senior Member Bolo Grubb's Avatar
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    I hit 194 once going up a steep hill. Near the top I started to see spots and felt like I was going to pass out. That is when I saw 194. I figure that is close enough to my max to use for now

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    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    It seems like the fitter you get the harder you can push yourself. Yesterday I saw 187 on my HRM. Last year I only saw 186. I thought your MHR was supposed to drop one BPM each year you get older?

    Which gives me room for thought... what's my true MHR?

  6. #6
    Bike Curious.... bobby c's Avatar
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    I was probably 1 hour into a 3 hour ride, pushing hard. I'll try the trick of pushing up a couple of gears when I hit the 4th hill. I don't know if I could ride any harder, perhaps at that effort longer so maybe my max is a bit higher.

    From all the reading I've done, your max. stays constant through your life, it doesn't drop age or fitness.

  7. #7
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobby c

    From all the reading I've done, your max. stays constant through your life, it doesn't drop age or fitness.
    Where did you read that? I can't seem to google it up.

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    I fear angry birds Santaria's Avatar
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    Nope, when I'm 76 at my current fitness level I'd have a max HR of 167.

    Based on an age of 76 and using the formula 205 - Age/2
    Maximum Heart Rate (Calculated) = 167

    % of Maximum Heart Rate Reserve*
    Percent 60 sec. 10 sec. 60 sec. 10 sec.
    ------- ------- ------- ------- -------
    100 167.0 27.8 167.0 27.8
    95 158.7 26.4 161.6 26.9
    90 150.3 25.0 156.3 26.1
    85 141.9 23.7 150.9 25.2
    80 133.6 22.3 145.6 24.3
    75 125.2 20.9 140.2 23.4
    70 116.9 19.5 134.9 22.5
    65 108.5 18.1 129.5 21.6
    60 100.2 16.7 124.2 20.7
    55 91.8 15.3 118.8 19.8

    * Percent of maximum, corrected for resting heart rate of 60
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  9. #9
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    Your at max when all goes black and you pass out..

  10. #10
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobby c
    From all the reading I've done, your max. stays constant through your life, it doesn't drop age or fitness.

    I don't think you've read much then on the subject. Your max HR does decrease with age. There wouldn't be the rough formula of 220 minus your age if it didn't. Of course that formula is very innacurate, but it does capture the fact that there is an age relationship.

    You're closer on fitness. Max HR doesn't vary much with training. However, a well trained individul is probably going to be able to push their HR to a level that that same person untrained couldn't reach.

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    Bike Curious.... bobby c's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
    I don't think you've read much then on the subject.
    My, aren’t we a well cultured individual. The internet certainly brings out the best in some people.

    Anyhow, many sources do say that your MHR doesn’t change with age. I just picked up Sally Edwards & Sally Reed’s book “Heart Zone Cycling” in which they state that MHR doesn’t change with age. Of course they’ve only written about a dozen books on heart rate fitness, so what do they know? Here’s something that Edwards says: “Max HR does not decline with age. It only declines with a age in sedentary individuals.” (http://www.howtobefit.com/determine-...eart-rate.htm). Silly girl, what does she know?

    Now that doesn’t mean that she (and other exercise physiologists who make the same claim) are 100% correct, but for people who are active into old age and are tracked over time, there isn’t a certainty of a drop off in MHR. As I grow into old age (I’m active in the 50+ forum) I’m not expecting any drop off. But if people wish to believe it will for them, that’s fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
    There wouldn't be the rough formula of 220 minus your age if it didn't.
    After all Wikipedia states the formula as fact so it must be true. And when I was a kid, there was another formula that must be true because people said it! Don’t swim for 30 minutes after a meal. Well that has to be true to per your logic – since that formula existed, it has to be true.

    BTW – love your new bike. I ride a ’05 TCR Comp 2 – the Advanced looks to be one sweet ride.

  12. #12
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Bobby c: sorry to rain on your parade. I've been tracking my MRH for the past 11 years, and sure enough, yup, it declines about 1 beat/year. So I gotta say that in this case, Sally Edwards is full of it. All my relic friends report the same thing. Lance Armstrong reports the same thing. Also, the statement in the list in your link, that MHR is your anchor point for all your zones, is also in error. It's LT that's your zonal anchor point, and in fact and in experience, that point does NOT change very rapidly with age in fit individuals. Mine has declined 2 beats in 11 years. So she's sort of right about your zones not changing much with age, but totally wrong about the reason for that.

    Lots of people can write books. Some of them sell a lot of books. I still don't happen to believe that some of us are going to fly away into the sky sometime soon, even though the most popular book in America states that as fact.

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    Bike Curious.... bobby c's Avatar
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    Well there are those have been tracking for 20+ years who haven't seen a drop. So it varies, it is not written in stone one way or another. I'll let you know in a few years!

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    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    It goes down one BPM per year until you're dead, then it's zero BPM.

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    Senior Member sounddevisor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuan
    It goes down one BPM per year until you're dead, then it's zero BPM.
    Cool! I guess that means I've got about 182 years left to live! Sweet!

  16. #16
    bac
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
    I don't think you've read much then on the subject. Your max HR does decrease with age.
    There is SOME debate about this but most now agree that in the TRAINED athlete, your MHR does not decrease with age. For a couch potato, it does decrease for a variety of reasons.

    Any formula using age as a variable just isn't valid in the trained athlete.

    ... Brad

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    bac
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobby c
    A couple of months ago I did a solo ride (50 miles) and pushed it more than usual. One section has 4 consecutive hills - a couple of them are over 15% grade, the other 2 are around 10. At one point (the end of the 4th) my HR got to 184, highest I've ever seen it. What makes me wonder if this is my max (or close to it) is right after hitting it I felt sick - like a period of 10-15 seconds where I felt I had the flu or something. It passed pretty quickly as my HR dropped - is this a good indication that my max had been hit?
    Given your description, I would say no.

    ... Brad

  18. #18
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bac
    There is SOME debate about this but most now agree that in the TRAINED athlete, your MHR does not decrease with age. For a couch potato, it does decrease for a variety of reasons.

    Any formula using age as a variable just isn't valid in the trained athlete.

    ... Brad
    No debate necessary for the older TRAINED athlete, who all find that yes, it does decrease with age. Sorry, dude. If you think I'm not TRAINED, you're welcome to come on my next group ride or on the 400k this Saturday.

    One of my best riding buddies, a 4:17 miler at 26, has been training continuously for the past 50 years. His HR is now a few beats slower than mine even though he can still drop me on the steep bits. He's 68, I'm 61.

    Not that formulas produce exact results. Everyone is an individual, so formulas only produce an approximation. 205 - Age/2 gives a pretty good one, at least for me and my TRAINED buddies. There also seems to be a sex difference. Women's hearts seem to run a bit faster.

    Any 60 year-old riders who still have MHRs over 200, please post here! I'm at 173 this year.
    Last edited by Carbonfiberboy; 05-08-07 at 10:13 AM.

  19. #19
    seattle based cyclist merlinman's Avatar
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    of course your MHR drops with age. ALL the guys I ride with know this from experience. We'd all kill for our maxHR from 20 years ago. I'm 50 with a max HR of 175. I am HIGHLY trained. I was HIGHLY trained 25 years ago and my maxHR was 200. There may be genetic mutants out there who are the exception, but the rule applies. It matters so that people who use HR training create their zones appropriately.
    Andiamo!!

  20. #20
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    Max HR

    This is as close to the facts that you will find out there.

    http://www.bewegingsfysiologie.nl/ar.../heartrate.pdf
    Kinesiology

  21. #21
    Bike Curious.... bobby c's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocMatt
    This is as close to the facts that you will find out there.

    http://www.bewegingsfysiologie.nl/ar.../heartrate.pdf
    Funny you should mention that article, I had begun a post that I put aside while waiting for some clarification, here it is:

    OK, as the OP I based my assumption that Max HR didn't drop with age (for the trained athlete) based on a statement by Sally Edwards' books and a couple of other people who reported no drop over 20 years while maintaining a high level of fitness. Clearly that is not the experience of most other people so I emailed Sally and asked her for any clarification. She pointed me to the online Journal of of Excersise Physiology - edited by a Dr. Robert Robergs. Here's an interesting paper he did (in conjunction with another) on Max HR:
    http://faculty.css.edu/tboone2/asep/Robergs2.pdf

    Anyhow, the paper did not specifically address the issue of the effect of age on Max HR so I emailed Dr. Robergs (author of the study) and asked him if there had been any research on the effect of aging and Max HR. He responded today:

    "Hi Bob;

    It is clear that HRmax declines with age, but the rate of decline is by no means consistent between all individuals. On the issue of the decline and fitness, research is pretty clear that endurance trained athletes have a lower than expected HRmax.

    Thanks for the questions.

    Rob"

    So unless personal experience indicates otherwise, I'll go with the doc. Unfortunately he didn't cite any research that backs this up but I'm sure he has more important things to do than to respond to me. In addition, his last statement "research is pretty clear that endurance trained athletes have a lower than expected HRmax" seems to be contrary to other opinions that HRmax doesn't change with fitness level.

    Anyhow, I contacted the good doctor again for some clarification, here's what how he responded:

    "Hi Bob;

    For any person, endurance training seems to lower the HRmax a little. This is not a clear observation, or a well-researched fact. However, those of us who do all this testing see this a lot, and most research that has quantified differences in measured vs. predicted HRmax show this trend. This decrease is not large, and of the magnitude varying between 0 – 6 betas/min. However, I have tested many athletes with a HRmax > 10 beats/min lower than expected. To confuse things a little though, I have also tested some athletes with a HRmax greater than expected – but these individuals are few and far between. Bottom line is that there is no universally simple answer here.

    I would also like to add a comment, and that is HRmax may mean very little anyway. Maybe those individuals with a lower HRmax have a higher stroke volume, which is a good adaptation. Those individuals with higher than expected HRmax values may have lowering stroke volume at maximal exertion, which is a bad thing for performance and their heart. Given the difficulty in researching maximal cardiac output and stroke volume, we just do not know these central cardiovascular responses during intense exercise well yet.

    Rob"


    I'll report back in 20 years with any contrary results (assuming my heart is still beating)!

  22. #22
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobby c
    "Hi Bob;

    For any person, endurance training seems to lower the HRmax a little. <snip>
    Rob"
    Your observed HRmax will go up and down continually during the training cycle. It will be lower after 3 weeks of Build cycle, for instance. If you then take a couple of weeks off, it will be higher again. Nothing too mysterious there. Hard to know if that's what the doc meant when he stated that endurance training may lower HRmax. It's hard to do this kind of research because there's no funding and it's almost impossible to control for the variables.

  23. #23
    Member MarinRodie's Avatar
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    I did a Max hr test and LTHR test with my new coach for the first time on Thurs evening. I had to hold it at 340 watts for one min and I hit my max of 199bpm. That is the highest I have ever seen it!!!!! I thought I was really going hard at 180 or so but 199 good god man. oh ya I did the test on his computrainer.
    Last edited by MarinRodie; 05-12-07 at 12:29 PM.

  24. #24
    Down 10# and 11 inches Ginny's Avatar
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    Can I interupt this discussion by asking what the max heart rate means?

    I'm a 40 yo female with a resting HR of 81 (yeah, I know, no lectures, I'm working on it).
    I ride on a trainer for 30 minutes each morning I don't ride outside. Accorning to the places on the
    net I've found, my MHR should be around 180. On my trainer rides I do 5 minutes above 180 if I can sustain that. I usually gear up pretty well and work the sh*t out of my legs for that time. Today I saw 200 BPM. Only for a short couple seconds and then I had to coast for 10 seconds to let my HR drop fast. I saw spots and since I ride BEFORE breakfast (belly fat, gotta get rid of it) it really depleted whatever blood sugar was hangin around. The last 15 minutes of my ride were in the 160 range. This time though I couldn't ride AND have my BPM slow. No matter how slow I pedalled, my HR stayed at 140-ish. Finally I just got off and sat down. Then it took way longer than usual to recover back down to the 80s.
    I feel fine right now, my mood is fantastic! I'm never in this good a mood.
    So, did I do something wrong? Is my max HR higher than the 180? Should I never push it up like that again or will doing that more regularly help my resting rate go down?
    Comments? Help? Thanks?
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  25. #25
    Banned
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    During my last mtb ride I got up to almost 200 bpm, my head started hurting, my face felt like it was on fire. I couldn't catch my breath. No matter how easy I would take it, my HR wasn't going down fast enough, and I couldn't get cooled down. After about 20 minutes of walking my bike and pouring water over my head did it finally go down enough for me to feel comfortable. The post ride pics I looked like I was on death's door.

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