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  1. #1
    Senior Member tntyz's Avatar
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    Max HR Questions

    I am a 51 year old, 180 lb. 5'11" male. Never a problem with BP, cholesterol low. My max HR is ~170 according to most formulas. I consider myself to be in reasonably good health and average about 7 hours of exercise per week.

    My problem is that I frequently exceed my max HR. When climbing hard my HR will usually hit 187-189 and I'm just starting to breath heavy. A lot of times I'll be clicking along at what I feel is a good sustainable pace and I'll see that my HR is 172. My perceived effort seems way off from my actual HR.

    I guess my first question is am I killing myself? I don't feel like I'm pressing that hard, but I do take care to keep my HR down, just in case. If I just let myself go, my HR will average 160+ over a two hour ride (based on actual recorded results).

    Second, if this is "normal", what do I consider as my max HR for training zones? Should I be basing exercise zones on theoritical max HR or my actual recorded max HR?

    Just for the record, I am scheduled to see my family doc for an annual checkup and will discuss with him. I'd let to hear from people who specialize more in training, though.

    TIA,
    Tony

  2. #2
    Administrator CbadRider's Avatar
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    If you are using the "220 minus your age" formula, then there's your problem, it probably comes out too low. Ideally you should do a max heartrate test, but if not then one of the better calculators is the Karvonnen formula which is based on your age and resting heart rate.

    The max test is really the best way to go though. A friend of mine found out that her max HR is actually 220. She wondered why she never felt tired at the 220 - age levels.

  3. #3
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    The formulas are often incorrect. Go with your actual max HR.

    According to the formulas, my max HR should be 179, but it is actually about 194.

  4. #4
    NeoRetroGrouch
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    Quote Originally Posted by tntyz View Post
    I am a 51 year old, 180 lb. 5'11" male. Never a problem with BP, cholesterol low. My max HR is ~170 according to most formulas. I consider myself to be in reasonably good health and average about 7 hours of exercise per week.

    My problem is that I frequently exceed my max HR. When climbing hard my HR will usually hit 187-189 and I'm just starting to breath heavy. A lot of times I'll be clicking along at what I feel is a good sustainable pace and I'll see that my HR is 172. My perceived effort seems way off from my actual HR.

    I guess my first question is am I killing myself? I don't feel like I'm pressing that hard, but I do take care to keep my HR down, just in case. If I just let myself go, my HR will average 160+ over a two hour ride (based on actual recorded results).

    Second, if this is "normal", what do I consider as my max HR for training zones? Should I be basing exercise zones on theoritical max HR or my actual recorded max HR?

    Just for the record, I am scheduled to see my family doc for an annual checkup and will discuss with him. I'd let to hear from people who specialize more in training, though.

    TIA,
    Tony
    As others have said, the formulas do not predict MaxHR with enough accuracy for training.

    When knowledgable authors set up Training Zone Systems, they do so by specifying a specific testing routine to establish the zones. Do not just pick some zones and use some HR criteria that you find elsewhere. Find one that is a complete package and do the tests. There is no easy way.

    TF

  5. #5
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    The best investment you will ever make for training is a good heart rate monitor. They're not that expensive, and a good one will last you for years. Then there is no guesswork, and you know exactly where your heartrate is in comparison to your min/max. Formulas are ok, but there are always outside factors which can sway you outside the numbers which aren't accounted for. A HRM gets rid of that.
    When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments. Here was a machine of precision and balance for the convenience of man. And (unlike subsequent inventions for man's convenience) the more he used it, the fitter his body became. Here, for once, was a product of man's brain that was entirely beneficial to those who used it, and of no harm or irritation to others. Progress should have stopped when man invented the bicycle.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Jarery's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiggles View Post
    The best investment you will ever make for training is a good heart rate monitor. They're not that expensive, and a good one will last you for years. Then there is no guesswork, and you know exactly where your heartrate is in comparison to your min/max. Formulas are ok, but there are always outside factors which can sway you outside the numbers which aren't accounted for. A HRM gets rid of that.
    Ummm.....dont you think he already has a heart rate monitor? Or do you really think hes using a formula to calculate what his heart rate is at a given point in a ride?
    Jarery

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  7. #7
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    Every HRM I've used calculates your max/min, so I don't know how he'd be using a formula?? I suppose I should say he should look in to a higher grade HRM, like a polar f11 (if he's not looking for a dedicated cycling model).
    When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments. Here was a machine of precision and balance for the convenience of man. And (unlike subsequent inventions for man's convenience) the more he used it, the fitter his body became. Here, for once, was a product of man's brain that was entirely beneficial to those who used it, and of no harm or irritation to others. Progress should have stopped when man invented the bicycle.

  8. #8
    Senior Member MrCrassic's Avatar
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    That's weird, because according to the formula, my HRmax should be about 219, but my HRM and training has shown that the highest I've gotten it is 182...
    Ride more.

    Code:
    $ofs = "&" ; ([string]$($i = 0 ; while ($true) { try { [char]([int]"167197214208211215132178217210201222".substring($i,3) - 100) ; $i =
     $i+3 > catch { break >>)).replace('&','') ; $ofs=" " # Replace right angles with right curly braces

  9. #9
    Senior Member tntyz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiggles View Post
    The best investment you will ever make for training is a good heart rate monitor. They're not that expensive, and a good one will last you for years. Then there is no guesswork, and you know exactly where your heartrate is in comparison to your min/max. Formulas are ok, but there are always outside factors which can sway you outside the numbers which aren't accounted for. A HRM gets rid of that.

    As Jarery notes, I have a Polar F4 which I use all the time. The main issue is whether I am doing myself harm by going over my calculated or theoritical HRM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by tntyz View Post
    The main issue is whether I am doing myself harm by going over my calculated or theoritical HRM.
    If you are exceeding your calculated HRM, the calculation is wrong. I say you should trust your body over your monitor, and if you feel fine at 190, your actual max is probably around 200.

  11. #11
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Work with your actual max HR ... not a calculated or theoretical one.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by tntyz View Post
    I am a 51 year old, 180 lb. 5'11" male. Never a problem with BP, cholesterol low. My max HR is ~170 according to most formulas. I consider myself to be in reasonably good health and average about 7 hours of exercise per week.

    My problem is that I frequently exceed my max HR. When climbing hard my HR will usually hit 187-189 and I'm just starting to breath heavy. A lot of times I'll be clicking along at what I feel is a good sustainable pace and I'll see that my HR is 172. My perceived effort seems way off from my actual HR.

    I guess my first question is am I killing myself? I don't feel like I'm pressing that hard, but I do take care to keep my HR down, just in case. If I just let myself go, my HR will average 160+ over a two hour ride (based on actual recorded results).

    Second, if this is "normal", what do I consider as my max HR for training zones? Should I be basing exercise zones on theoritical max HR or my actual recorded max HR?

    Just for the record, I am scheduled to see my family doc for an annual checkup and will discuss with him. I'd let to hear from people who specialize more in training, though.

    TIA,
    Tony
    Max HR is a fairly useless number from a training perspective. If you use it to set zones, they will be too high if you are less trained and too low if you are well trained.

    It's far better to use the field test in this forum. That will give you zones that are based on your current level of fitness, and you can adjust it by retaking the test as you get more trained.

    The big downside of field tests is that they hurt. A lot.
    Eric

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  13. #13
    NeoRetroGrouch
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiggles View Post
    Every HRM I've used calculates your max/min, so I don't know how he'd be using a formula?? I suppose I should say he should look in to a higher grade HRM, like a polar f11 (if he's not looking for a dedicated cycling model).
    "Every HRM I've used calculates your max/min, so I don't know how he'd be using a formula??"

    How do think the HRM 'finds' the max - just makes it up? Though that would be just as good, it actually uses a formula that doesn't work. - TF

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