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Old 12-22-08, 10:39 PM   #1
MAK
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Maximum heart rate percentage question

Hello,

I just got a HR monitor and will be using it to train over the winter (and beyond). It had me put in height, weight and age and calculates three pre-set zones. I know that it's using 220-age in its calculations of the maximum HR. There is a fourth user profile that I can custom set.

Here is my question: If I have a resting HR of 55 and another person has a resting HR of say 70, shouldn't our numbers and zone percentages be different?

I'm 58 yo so 85% of my max is 138 (220-58=162*.85=137.7). That means that at 85% of my max I'm working at approximately 251% (138/55=250.9) of my resting rate. The other person of the same age with a 70 resting HR would have the same 85% of 138 but is working at 197%.

I know that 220-age is a generalized formula but is there another formula that more accurately uses resting heart rate as a basis, or am I overthinking my new toy?
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Old 12-23-08, 01:25 AM   #2
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you're really over thinking your new toy

the 220- age is a guess at best, it's as likely to be wrong as it is right, but i don't think you can use resting HR to figure out heart rate zones as it's a pretty dynamic number whereas max is a bit more static, there is a sticky thread at the top of this section that will help determine your lactate threshold heart rate; which is more useful (and accurate) for determining your zones than using your max heart rate. I know there is a table in Joe Friel's Training bible that will give you your zones from your LTHR, you may be abe to find it online

hope that helps
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Old 12-23-08, 07:28 AM   #3
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If there was a formula that worked, it would be more accurate to use the resting HR also - but there isn't. - TF
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Old 12-23-08, 09:14 AM   #4
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Google : Karvonen aka heart rate reserve
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Old 12-23-08, 09:54 AM   #5
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If you are healthy and generally fit you can self-test for your recorded max heart rate. I used the 220 minus age and Karvonen formula for 2-3 months. Kept bumping up against my upper limit and was afraid to go beyond it. After discussions here and with a nurse, decided to go with the recorded max to set my HR zones. During my annual checkup the doc concurred. In the absence of other risk factors (poor fitness, family history, cholesterol numbers, blood pressure) he felt it was fine to used max recorded HR instead of some formula.

Summary: Start with a formula for safety and see how that works for you. If you feel that your actual max HR is higher then work your way up to it. Have fun while getting there.
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Old 12-23-08, 10:05 AM   #6
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Find a long hill, you can use the flats and just go fast. Won't take half as long on a steep hill. Every 2 minutes go up a gear. When your are at your limit and you are about to stop go up another gear, and stand on the pedals for a few seconds. That should do it.
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Old 12-24-08, 09:14 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by pcates View Post
you're really over thinking your new toy

the 220- age is a guess at best, it's as likely to be wrong as it is right, but i don't think you can use resting HR to figure out heart rate zones as it's a pretty dynamic number whereas max is a bit more static, there is a sticky thread at the top of this section that will help determine your lactate threshold heart rate; which is more useful (and accurate) for determining your zones than using your max heart rate. I know there is a table in Joe Friel's Training bible that will give you your zones from your LTHR, you may be abe to find it online

hope that helps
+10

Any other way of coming up with zones is a waste of time.
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Old 12-24-08, 11:11 PM   #8
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This is not directly answering the question, but it is related. The attached graph is my max HR for all the gym exercises (weights and spin) that I've done for the past 2 years. I'm 54, so the 220-54 predicts a 166 max, and my max is in the low 180's, while my resting HR is about 55. Some points:

Anything on this graph over 180 occurred when I was pushing really, really hard. Sometimes that just gets to 180, sometimes it has been as high as 188. I think max HR has daily variability. I don't feel equally good every day, so the idea that there is a uniform Max HR that never changes day-to-day is an approximation. I usually say that my max HR is about 182.

Max HR does not appear to be trainable. The average of all these sessions is essentially constant, and if anything, I've seen a very slight DECREASE (3-4 bpm) in max HR while going from untrained to capable (just barely) of a 5 hour century ride.

I have similar data, but less of it, from road rides with a Garmin; the gym data are from a Polar HRM.
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Old 12-28-08, 08:19 PM   #9
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I always throught the 220-Age thing for max heart rate was wrong since I'm 48 and have seen my heart rate go as high as 205 briefly, in an all out, run for your life, sprint. But when I did a TT test for threshold power, guess what? My maximum sustainable heart rate turned out to be 169, darn close to 220-48. So here I am my ranges using 220-Age after all.

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Old 12-29-08, 08:31 AM   #10
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I always throught the 220-Age thing for max heart rate was wrong since I'm 48 and have seen my heart rate go as high as 205 briefly, in an all out, run for your life, sprint. But when I did a TT test for threshold power, guess what? My maximum sustainable heart rate turned out to be 169, darn close to 220-48. So here I am my ranges using 220-Age after all.
No, it's not maximum sustainable, it's absolute maximum. And most people will never see their absolute max. If you ever "see" a specific HR and it's not a measurement error (i.e. interference), then your max has to be at least that HR.
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Old 12-29-08, 04:13 PM   #11
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If I have a resting HR of 55 and another person has a resting HR of say 70, shouldn't our numbers and zone percentages be different?
Probably yes, but remember, that would be true even if you were actually talking about people of different age or gender as well.

But zones are zones and their purpose is to broadly define exertion levels where differing balances of metabolic processes contribute to resulting heart rates. Other factors like rest, drugs and diet as well as the "training status" affect heart rate as well.

Resting heart rate, like maximum heart rate neither proves nor disproves the validity of anyone "zone selections." For most athletes its a trial and error learning process.
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