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  1. #1
    Member roaner's Avatar
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    Abnormally high heart rate???

    Here's my situation:
    I'm 25 years old and 5'10" 160lbs. I started riding in August, averaging 200 miles/week. In an effort to attempt to finish some cat 5 road races next spring/summer, I've decided to add some structure to my riding. I purchased a heart rate monitor (polar) and will be starting the Carmichael/Lance 7 week program this week.
    My concern:
    I completed the Max Sustainable HR test provided in the book, and determined my MSHR to be 198 (avg over course of 3 mile tt) and my monitor showed my max during the effort to be 214 bpm. I've seen it spike this high during the course of intervals and some longer hill sprints, as well. I "believe" I'm at a reasonable level of fitness (certainly not outstanding), as I've always been physically active, I ride a lot, and I'm capable of hanging on during most hammerfests. However, the numbers scare me a bit. I'm completely new to the HR Monitor world, and would love to receive any explanation/cause for such high numbers. Please help me to understand. Thank you!

  2. #2
    ..... Jynx's Avatar
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    There are two things:

    1. This could be your actual numbers. You may have hit 214bpm and can hold 198bpm for a long time

    or

    2. There were errors in the readings. You said you did a 3 mile TT. How long was the ride overall? A lot of times for the first 10 or 15 minutes my HRM will be all over the place untill I start sweating and it gets a good reading. Also the possibility of a flapping jersey will throw off the readings.

    Was this the first time you were using a heart rate monitor? If this was the first test you did it may be innaccurate. Do a bunch of riding with a heart rate monitor and get a feel for what your body does. I can tell if my HRM is picking up the right signal or is getting messed up by a jersey or something else.

  3. #3
    Triathlon in my future??? flip18436572's Avatar
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    Why is flapping jersey causing a heart rate monitor problem? It is my understanding that the heart rate is picked up from the electrical impulse of the heart itself. I don't remember where or what the electrical pulse is called.

    I agree that you need to do mulitple tests to see where you are. I think the only changes in my heart rate from the beginning of use until now, is that I have a much lower resting heart rate.
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  4. #4
    ..... Jynx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flip18436572 View Post
    Why is flapping jersey causing a heart rate monitor problem? It is my understanding that the heart rate is picked up from the electrical impulse of the heart itself. I don't remember where or what the electrical pulse is called.

    found this on motion based

    "people riding bikes using jerseys made of synthetic material, especially under low humidity conditions. the two pads on each end of the strap are attempting to record a few millivolt signal off of your chest. the wind rushing against the jersey causes a huge voltage gradient that confuses the HR sensors. I've found that using water/spit/gel doesn't fix this problem. A common scenario is that the HR looks reasonable, then I get up to speed and my HR goes through the roof, often up to 240 bpm. Then I sweat, and the humidity reduces the tendency of the material to create static fields. but then I'll glide down a long hill, and the HR zooms up again, defying all logic as I'm not working hard at all at that point.

    In confirmation of #2, I once tried this experiment. Earlier this year when I had the problem a lot, I got ready as normal, but before I got on my bike I looked at my HR, which was something like 72. I lifted my jersey way from my chest with one hand, and rubbed the jersey with my other hand, vigorously, but no so much that my HR would climb much. My HR very quickly hit 240 according to the monitor.
    "

  5. #5
    Triathlon in my future??? flip18436572's Avatar
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    I guess I have never had the problem, but I live in Iowa and sweat a LOT. Maybe our humidity is always high enough to make it work properly.
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  6. #6
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    That is pretty high, but 3 miles is pretty short, and you're riding a lot, which is good. The flapping jersey thing is pretty easy to pick out: your HR will go to like 220-240 and stick there. It's obvious. I don't think there's anything to worry about. My cardiologist friend told me that you can't hurt yourself by working hard. If that weren't true, it would have been quickly eliminated by evolution. HRs are all over the place. Some people's are just much higher/lower than others'.

  7. #7
    Member roaner's Avatar
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    thank you for the input, everyone. While on the trainer (bib shorts only), I was performed a few intervals and maxed it out at 217 bpm. I don't feel close to death, and I'm certainly able to recover, so I'll chalk it up to just a naturally high HR. Maybe it will drop with increased fitness? I guess we'll see. Thanks again!

  8. #8
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    A high heart rate is just a high heart rate. Don't stress. Now what you can stress about is your recovery heart rate. After a max effort, how long does it take to drop your heart rate back to pre-effort? What is your heart rate while at rest?

    Those are the heart rates I pay attention to when training people. If there's a change, or if they are abnormally high, or if it takes an abnormally long time to decrease heart rate during a recovery in an interval ride, I start to worry.

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