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  1. #1
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    50+ Max Heart Rate

    Hi any ideas for one of the over 50 club, 53 to exact to find, or closely estimate my max heart rate? I would like to train using my new Garmin edge 305 and want to find the best way to find my max rate.I am in fairly good shape weight 145 height 5' 7". I have started riding after being off of the bike for about 7 years.I work out at the gym regularly using the eliptical trainer and I play basketball.

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    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    the general rule for men is 226 minus age and women is 220 minus age..

    I have personally seen people vary widely with these baselines but they are pretty true for most people..

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    RacingBear UmneyDurak's Avatar
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    Well only way to find out is to find some good hill and after a warm up sprint it as hard as you can. Umm might want to talk to your doctor first thought, just in case...
    I see hills.... Bring them on!!!
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    Senior Member rodrigaj's Avatar
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    Heart Zones Cycling by Sally Edwards and Sally Reed.

    Warm up well.
    Develop a pace at a comfortable breathing rate.
    Start reciting the "Pledge of Allegiance".
    Increase HR by 10 each 10 minutes.
    When you can't recite PoA anymore you are at 80% of maximum HR.

    Best done on a trainer.

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    OnTheRoad or AtTheBeach stonecrd's Avatar
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    Only way to tell is through direct measurement, the formulas don't work very well. As said if you are healthy get on the bike and find a hill or sprint or do anything until your vision narrows, you start seeing black spots and you feel like you are going to puke. That will be your max until you hit a higher mark. I'm 50 and the formulas have me in the 170 range, I have hit 197 2 or 3 times now, never higher though.

    Disclaimer:
    I also would not attempt this unless you have had a recent physical and probably a EKG just to be sure.
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    Senior Member 8Lives's Avatar
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    I am 47 and the last time I tested max heart rate was whe I was rowing about 4 years ago. Man, it is painful! My suggestion would be to build you training zones off of Lactate threshold, basically the highest heart rate you can maintain for 20 minutes (after warming up), instead.

    Joe Friel's book "the Cyclist's Training bible" is a good resource. I have also heard good things about Saly edwards book as mentioned above.

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    I agree that, IF you're fit, just go really hard and the number you see is a good estimate of max HR.

    I'm 53 and used to see 205 or so when I was ~30, when I started training hard last fall I would occasionally see 190-192 and that was definitely a "get off the bike and rest" point. The funny thing is, after 10 months of spin classes, weights, losing 23 lbs, my empirical max HR (the highest number I can push to) has DECLINED to about 180. My resting HR has also fallen. I don't have good records, but I have some evidence that the same rides (steep climbs done at similar speeds) six months apart are showing me about 10 beats/minute lower for the same work. So, I think I accomplish the same power output with a lower HR, but max HR has fallen. I'm not sure if this is expected or not, but that's what has happened...

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    Quote Originally Posted by jsmil4901 View Post
    Hi any ideas for one of the over 50 club, 53 to exact to find, or closely estimate my max heart rate? I would like to train using my new Garmin edge 305 and want to find the best way to find my max rate.I am in fairly good shape weight 145 height 5' 7". I have started riding after being off of the bike for about 7 years.I work out at the gym regularly using the eliptical trainer and I play basketball.
    Max HR is a largely useless measurement. If you want to train based on HR, do the field test that is detailed in a sticky post at the top of this forum, and base your HR ranges off of that.
    Eric

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    Like the OP, I've noticed that my MHR of 2 years ago (when I first started cycling again) is now unattainable. I would regularly max at 172 on a hill, sprinting at the top, but now that I am in much better shape, I max at 164 (I'm 61).

    My theory is that my heart has gotten stronger, and maybe pumps more blood with each beat, so until my legs get stronger, I won't see those high heart rates (enlarged chambers or more efficient pumping?). I have noticed that my blood pressure goes way down after a ride, and that may have something to do with the lower MHR. If the vessels are dilating more now than when I started, the heart doesn't have to work so hard.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodrigaj View Post
    Heart Zones Cycling by Sally Edwards and Sally Reed.

    Warm up well.
    Develop a pace at a comfortable breathing rate.
    Start reciting the "Pledge of Allegiance".
    Increase HR by 10 each 10 minutes.
    When you can't recite PoA anymore you are at 80% of maximum HR.

    Best done on a trainer.
    Not to hijack, but hey, rod, you got a Mondonico avatar!! you ride one? I love mine!

    Road Fan

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    Dan J chinarider's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=socalrider;4969334]the general rule for men is 226 minus age and women is 220 minus age..

    QUOTE]

    The "general rule" is worthless.
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    Senior Member rodrigaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
    Not to hijack, but hey, rod, you got a Mondonico avatar!! you ride one? I love mine!

    Road Fan
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  13. #13
    bac
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    [QUOTE=chinarider;5108674][QUOTE=socalrider;4969334]the general rule for men is 226 minus age and women is 220 minus age..

    The "general rule" is worthless.
    It's worse than worthless - it's harmful. If that rule works for you, it's by coincidence only. It seems this HR myth just won't die.

    ... Brad

  14. #14
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckb View Post
    I agree that, IF you're fit, just go really hard and the number you see is a good estimate of max HR.

    So, I think I accomplish the same power output with a lower HR, but max HR has fallen. I'm not sure if this is expected or not, but that's what has happened...

    Hi, chuckb, I've read (not a real expert, just play one on the 'Net) that getting the same power with lower HR and having a lower max are to be expected. I don't train as hard as you, I'm seeing better strength, endurance, and power, with a little drift-down of my MRHR, but nothing noticable with my max hr. I don't consider it very significant.

    Road Fan

  15. #15
    Healthy and active twobikes's Avatar
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    I am 61. I recently bought a MIO Sport heart rate monitor watch at a very good price. After programming my birth year and my weight, each pulse reading also tells me what percentage of my maximum heart rate it is. Factoring that information tells me it calculates my maximum heart rate at about 167 bpm. A newer formula says one should divide current age by 2 and subtract the answer from 210. Then multiply 0.05 by current weight (five percent of current weight) and subtract this figure from the answer in the previous sentence. If you are a woman, this is your maximum heart rate. If you are a man, add 4. By that formula my maximum heart rate is 173, which is only 6 points away from what the heart rate watch calculates. Both of those are about a dozen points above the old 220 minus age formula's results.

    I use the maximum heart rate to find a target heart rate while exercising that will optimize weight loss. That is the old 65 to 80 percent of maximum heart rate range. So far, it seems to be helping. Using heart rate while riding has also made me work a bit harder and made me stronger.
    Last edited by twobikes; 08-20-07 at 08:57 PM. Reason: correct math error
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    Dan J chinarider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twobikes View Post
    After programming my birth year and my weight, each pulse reading also tells me what percentage of my maximum heart rate it is. Factoring that information tells me it calculates my maximum heart rate at about 167 bpm. A newer formula says one should divide current age by 2 and subtract the answer from 210. Then multiply 0.05 by current weight (five percent of current weight) and subtract this figure from the answer in the previous sentence. If you are a woman, this is your maximum heart rate. If you are a man, add 4. By that formula my maximum heart rate is 173, which is only 6 points away from what the heart rate watch calculates. Both of those are about a dozen points above the old 220 minus age formula's results.
    Any formula is based on averages only & can be way off for any particular person. Its like saying the average male is 43 yo, 5'9'' and weighs 160 lbs (made up numbers) and making all clothes for that size. If you're average they will fit, if you're not...........
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  17. #17
    bac
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    Quote Originally Posted by twobikes View Post
    After programming my birth year and my weight
    You're already in trouble. If you HRM doesn't have a way to manually plug in your MHR (as it really has little to do with age), your HRM will not be useful at all.

    Your MHR is genetic based - not age based.

    ... Brad

  18. #18
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chinarider View Post
    Any formula is based on averages only & can be way off for any particular person. Its like saying the average male is 43 yo, 5'9'' and weighs 160 lbs (made up numbers) and making all clothes for that size. If you're average they will fit, if you're not...........

    There was an academic paper on heart rate formulas, trying to trace the history of 220-age=MHR. No conclusive history was found, rather a circular path. Authors also tried to integrate the MHR data from a wide range of average-based studies, and found this: MHR=205.6-0.67*age. They said that it is accurate to within 6 or so %. To get better predictive accuracy they had to base formulas on additional factors, such as gender and state of conditioning.

    But I really agree with the idea that it doesn't really matter at my meager state of development (half couch potato). I need some power/interval work, but really need endurance and base training. My strength and endurance have been increasing, but need more! So a set of zones based on lactate threshold is much more useful.

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  19. #19
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bac View Post
    You're already in trouble. If you HRM doesn't have a way to manually plug in your MHR (as it really has little to do with age), your HRM will not be useful at all.

    ... Brad
    He should be ok if he can manually program working zone limits by percentage. Lower cost (at least) Polars use 220-age at least for males, but on my old A5 I can set the lower and upper zone limits. Not real flexible, but helpful, and not limited by the equation.

    Road Fan

  20. #20
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    I'm 62 and my MHR = 172 this year, well trained. Your number will also vary with conditioning. If you took 6 months off and went out and ran some sprints you might see 5 or 10 more beats than you saw when in top condition. Like others have said, go off your LTHR, which will also vary a bit with your conditioning and state of rest. Mine varies about 4 beats during the season.

    I never bother programming in my zones. Just watch the thing - that's the best. Get used to seeing how your heart responds to various efforts.

    But you asked how to find your MHR . . . The only way I can do it is on a longish ride. After say a 2 hour warm up using all your zones, climb a long hill, at first at LTHR. After 10 minutes to an half an hour, move up about 6 beats and hold that for about 10 minutes. If you've timed it right, you'll be approaching the top of the climb at this point, and will be pretty well destroyed. Come out of the saddle about 200 meters from the summit and give it everything you've got. That oughta do it.
    Last edited by Carbonfiberboy; 08-22-07 at 10:34 PM.

  21. #21
    super newb Marko1962's Avatar
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    Sorry to resurrect an old thread but this heart rate topic has me greatly interested. But firstly a great big HI to everyone here I've been a lurker here picking up hints and tips reading and digesting for a while now

    About me, i'm 46 soon, male from the UK who 3 years ago had a kidney transplant so in my eyes I'm aged more beyond my 46 years. I've been mostly fit all my life until kidney failure in 2003. I have tried to regain my fitness through gym work but because of bugs ever present in gyms I always manage to come down with something that would halt progress for a couple of weeks or so. Gave up on the gym and have gone down the cycling route with much more success, I'm getting fitter and stronger.

    But now my question, my resting heart rate was 46 this morning and 52 as I type this, just a few weeks ago it was around the 70 mark, using my HR monitor on rides I note that my average HR is around 155 to 160 with a max of 211 on one occasion should I be worried, concerned by this max of 211?

    The 220 - age formula has me down to 174 for my max but either that formula has the potential to be way out or perhaps I need to repeat for my maximum HR...

    Advice please anyone?

  22. #22
    Dan J chinarider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marko1962 View Post

    But now my question, my resting heart rate was 46 this morning and 52 as I type this, just a few weeks ago it was around the 70 mark, using my HR monitor on rides I note that my average HR is around 155 to 160 with a max of 211 on one occasion should I be worried, concerned by this max of 211?

    The 220 - age formula has me down to 174 for my max but either that formula has the potential to be way out or perhaps I need to repeat for my maximum HR...

    Advice please anyone?
    I wouldn't be too concerned about the 211 reading or the averages you're hitting on your rides. I'm 55 and often go into the 180s. Nor would I pay any attention to the "formula". It has no validity & represents a guesstimate of an average only. The only qualification I would have is that given your health history, you might want to consult with a doctor. The problem with this is finding a Dr. who is knowledgeable about these issues. Most drs don't have a clue about this subject and will freak out over your 211 reading and tell you to never go above 130 or some similar nonsense.

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  23. #23
    Riding is my addiction jwill911's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    I'm 62 and my MHR = 172 this year, well trained. Your number will also vary with conditioning. If you took 6 months off and went out and ran some sprints you might see 5 or 10 more beats than you saw when in top condition. Like others have said, go off your LTHR, which will also vary a bit with your conditioning and state of rest. Mine varies about 4 beats during the season.

    I never bother programming in my zones. Just watch the thing - that's the best. Get used to seeing how your heart responds to various efforts.

    But you asked how to find your MHR . . . The only way I can do it is on a longish ride. After say a 2 hour warm up using all your zones, climb a long hill, at first at LTHR. After 10 minutes to an half an hour, move up about 6 beats and hold that for about 10 minutes. If you've timed it right, you'll be approaching the top of the climb at this point, and will be pretty well destroyed. Come out of the saddle about 200 meters from the summit and give it everything you've got. That oughta do it.
    My experience agrees. I'm 58 pretty fit, I base my MHR on climbing Mt. Diablo, it's about 12 miles of climbing takes more than an hour and the last 200 yards up to the parking lot at the summit is ~18% that and another steep long hill is where I've seen 180 on my HR monitor usually 176 is the highest I get.

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  24. #24
    Climbing is fun!
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwill911 View Post
    My experience agrees. I'm 58 pretty fit, I base my MHR on climbing Mt. Diablo, it's about 12 miles of climbing takes more than an hour and the last 200 yards up to the parking lot at the summit is ~18% that and another steep long hill is where I've seen 180 on my HR monitor usually 176 is the highest I get.

    jw

    I would not use that as a max, your zones will be too low. Max means just that, working to the point where you simply can not go any further. You might see that in an interval workout, but not on climbing Mt. Diablo. I am 48 and my max (tested on the rowing erg) is 198, but I think my cycling max is about 196. I can hold 180 on a steep long climb, like Sierra road.

    You are better off using those types of effort to estimate your lactate threshold and base the zones on that. I highly suggest the aforementioned Sally Edwards Heart Zones cycling for guidance.

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