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Max heart rate question

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Old 01-08-18, 11:41 PM
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Goliad
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Max heart rate question

Road biker with a new MTB. Age 63. On road, routinely ride 30-40 miles with 2000 feet of climbs, but at a max incline of 4 to 5 percent. Swim three days a week, walk a bunch, paddle hard 6 months a year. Right now about 10 lbs over weight in the gut, although my upper body is muscular big from swimming/padding.

On road climbs HR is at about 80 percent, but breathing is fine. Been riding a two mile climb on mtb once a week, incline 25 to 35 percent all the way. Heart is 162 to 165 once I get going. Out of breath but I can sustain the climb for the whole way, usually about 30 minutes (like I said it is steep). My max HR is apparently 165. Have done this four times, and it is getting easier, in small increments. Is it safe to red line the heart for this long? I anticipate that I will eventually do this and stay in a lower HR zone. Other than heavy breathing, no abnormal shortness of breath or any type of chest pain. Used to have treadmill test at work until I retired at 55, always normal.

Is my ticker going to explode, or just get fitter? The first time I did it, I couldnít figure out why my heart wouldnít go over 99, until I realized that was percent of max, not actual heart rate (DOH!).
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Old 01-09-18, 01:22 AM
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First, you don't explain what tests you did to determine your max HR. When I discovered mine, I was doing hill repeats as hard and fast as I could. My lungs felt like they were going to explode. My vision went red. I felt dizzy and disoriented. And my HR hit 194. I figured that was probably it.

Then I based all my further calculations on that.


Next, where is this 2 mile climb with 25-35% grades? And what gear are you in when you do it.


Finally, if you're hitting 165 on this climb, and if you're just "out of breath", then 165 is not your max.
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Old 01-09-18, 01:31 AM
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That's a question for your doctor.

220 - age , is the target max , normally , but many of us go over that.
HR of 157 is max, & then exercise ar 80% of that.

Over 160 HR , You did a self "stress test" , a few of them , & did OK.
those rates are ok probably at our age. for short periods , since we do it with no chest pain,
& have been exercising for years.

Rule of thumb I use :
if I can still carry on a conversation when I'm maxed , I hold on,
when I struggle to talk, breathing real hard, I back it down.

My suggestion, !!! Time for a doc visit, !!!!
Be a prudent move to get Annual physical

I just got put on a baby aspirin/day & a mild staton , slight high cholesterol
& because I push HR into the high 160s , & have some arterial build up
Doc said, a good idea :
Numbers say it will reduce the heart issues risk from something like 15 % to below 10% .
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Old 01-09-18, 03:59 AM
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(220 - age) is not a good metric to go by.

The Myth Of ?Maximum Heart Rate = 220-Age? | TRIMORE Fitness
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Old 01-09-18, 05:54 AM
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Are you saying you can maintain your HR at ~165 for 30-minutes? If so, then that's not your max HR.

Testing for max HR is painful and something you can't do for very long. Max HR is something that happens when you go all out and no one can sustain that for very long. Professional sprinters in the TdF do this for only about 200 yards from they finish line, if the started any earlier they'd "pop".

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Old 01-09-18, 05:58 AM
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Originally Posted by work4bike View Post
Are you saying you can maintain your HR at ~165 for 30-minutes? If so, then that's not your max HR.

Testing for max HR is painful and something you can't do for very long. Max HR is something that happens when you go all out and no one can sustain that for very long. Professional sprinters in the TdF do this for only about 200 yards from the finish line, if the started any earlier they'd "pop".
Yes. When I hit what I believe was my max, there was no way I could maintain that for more than about 30 seconds. I literally couldn't see.
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Old 01-09-18, 05:59 AM
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The part about this story I find "amazing" is the fact that this person apparently does a 2 mile climb with 25-35% grades ... and only hits 165 bpm.

We've actually, physically measured various hills. The hill in front of our place is 14%. I can easily soar over 175 bpm within about 20 seconds on it.
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Old 01-09-18, 07:42 AM
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@Goliad , your max heart rate is surely not what you think it is. Max heart rate is determined by testing, not casual observation and once known is pretty a pretty useless number.

Lactate Threshold Heart Rate (LTHR) is a much more useful number and training zones should be based off LTHR. This can and should be tested. LTHR is highly trainable and raising this number is what makes you go fast.

https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/j...setting-zones/


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Old 01-09-18, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
@Golaid, your max heart rate is surely not what you think it is. Max heart rate is determined by testing, not casual observation and once known is pretty a pretty useless number.

Lactate Threshold Heart Rate (LTHR) is a much more useful number and training zones should be based off LTHR. This can and should be tested. LTHR is highly trainable and raising this number is what makes you go fast.

https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/j...setting-zones/


-Tim-
Well said. Just based on my experience Iím guessing the OPís actual Max HR is probably 180-190. No way to really know unless itís done in controlled testing/conditions.
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Old 01-10-18, 05:59 AM
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As an answer to the original question ("Is my ticker going to explode, or just get fitter?"), with the usual caveat about taking heart health advice from forums vs. a doctor: any exertion you can maintain, but just barely maintain, for 30 minutes is going to increase your aerobic fitness level not cause your heart to explode - unless your heart was going to explode soon anyway.

What you did was essentially a Functional Threshold Power est - the maximum power you can produce across 30 minutes and then de-rate by 5% of so. That's a commonly accepted measure of fitness. If you keep doing that, and the time to make that long climb goes down, your FTP is going up, a good thing. Or, if your time stays the same but the heart rate you observe goes down, your FTP is probably going up - as others said, heart rate isn't that reliable an indicator of actual power output or fitness gain, but is usually good enough.

If you get into it, you can buy a smart bike computer that will let you upload rides to sites like Strava and see some derived power numbers on your rides - not even close to as accurate as using real power sensors on your bike but way less expensive and still useful.
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Old 01-10-18, 07:56 AM
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I get off and walk the bike when it gets too high.. no technology needed.. I just say when..
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Old 01-10-18, 08:12 AM
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Has the OP ever thought about discussing this with a cardiologist?
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Old 01-10-18, 08:39 AM
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Over enough hard and varied rides I think that you can see close to your max heart rate eventually. You're supposed to get good and warmed up, gradually crank up the effort going up a hill and then hit it as hard as you can and check the HR just after you give out. The problem is if you get too tired before getting to that final effort and can't truly max out. I'll see it sometimes on rolling hills.

It's more logical to base everything on lactate threshold or anaerobic threshold, because those are actually meaningful and easier to come by.
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Old 01-10-18, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
Over enough hard and varied rides I think that you can see close to your max heart rate eventually. You're supposed to get good and warmed up, gradually crank up the effort going up a hill and then hit it as hard as you can and check the HR just after you give out. The problem is if you get too tired before getting to that final effort and can't truly max out. I'll see it sometimes on rolling hills.

It's more logical to base everything on lactate threshold or anaerobic threshold, because those are actually meaningful and easier to come by.

I'll add that it is important to be well rested and recovered when testing either max or LTHR.

The end of a recovery week is a good time.
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Old 01-10-18, 09:03 AM
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a two mile climb on mtb once a week, incline 25 to 35 percent all the way.
That would put most people in a coronary care unit.
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Old 01-10-18, 09:43 AM
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Where does the OP ride that he regularly encounters a two mile climb at 25% to 35% grades?

I don’t believe that any of the major Grand Tours have such climbs.

In any event a consultation with a cardiologist, with experience in sports medicine, may be a good idea.

I also recommend reading The Haywire Heart. May not be applicable to all, but the information there offers good guidelines.

Good luck.
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Old 01-10-18, 09:12 PM
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Unlike when we were in our 20s & 30s
In our 60s + the body does not make fast physical improvements.
What upgraded physical improvement used to take a month to achieve ,
May (safely) take a year or more now, "if" you are in reasonable condition with good cholesterol levels, not much over weight, + other variables.

Me , I went to my PC doc, who sent me to a cardiologist after some
chest discomfort.
Tread mill stress test, blood work, & other test recommended by the docs

Now on a staton & low dose aspirin.
Doc said the days of "no pain no gain " are over.
Work up to new fitness levels slower.

I set the 520 to alarm at 170 Heart rate,
(Hit it yesterday & backed off)
Garmin 520 algorithm said "71 hr recoup time for next ride"
I road today, but a short 20 ride. (What does Garmin know )

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Old 01-10-18, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Goliad View Post
Been riding a two mile climb on mtb once a week, incline 25 to 35 percent all the way. Heart is 162 to 165 once I get going. Out of breath but I can sustain the climb for the whole way, usually about 30 minutes (like I said it is steep). My max HR is apparently 165.
Two points:
1. Your MaxHR is not 165. More likely it's over 180. It's not possible to maintain MaxHR for more than a few seconds. Try sprinting all out for the final 1 min of the climb and your HR will go higher.
2. I suspect your grade figures are off. 2 miles @ 25% in 30 min is a VAM of 1600 which is world class on a road bike let alone a MTB.
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Old 01-11-18, 01:30 AM
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Originally Posted by eja_ bottecchia View Post
Where does the OP ride that he regularly encounters a two mile climb at 25% to 35% grades?

My question exactly. And how on earth is he keeping his heart down to 165 on climbs like that.
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Old 01-11-18, 09:29 AM
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It doesn't really matter if the actual grade is 25% or something lower. It's a long steep hill, I think most of us can relate.

I think that the remaining point is that a person's maximum heart rate is so individual that it doesn't mean anything in terms of fitness. Someone with 180 max may be equally fit as someone with 220 max or 170. The main difference is that a person's max declines with age. 165 heart rate isn't that unusual for a 50+ person on a threshold effort. Higher than most perhaps but not rare. I wouldn't be concerned about it unless there were some medical issue.
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Old 01-11-18, 11:37 AM
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I wouldn't concentrate too much on the 25-35% bit, but the more relevant discussion on max heart rate.

I often climb (or attempt to climb) hills which I think, while riding them, must be about 25/30% or more, but when I actually research them they are half that.
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Old 01-11-18, 12:05 PM
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@Goliad - Welcome to BF.
Glad you signed up.
50+ can always use healthy new members.
Keep it up.
What's your location?
Post pics of your bikes.
from your computer = Go Advanced, Manage Attachments, Browse, Upload, Submit Reply. Start with pics 1MB or less.


edit: visit the Pub51 'sticky' - we need more drinkers who are willing to come out of the closet.
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Old 01-21-18, 07:47 AM
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My body temperature is low, my resting pulse rate has been slow for decades, and my achievable maximum heart rate is low. I focus on only two things:

1. bogydave's rule (above): "If I can still carry on a conversation when I'm maxed, I hold on. When I struggle to talk, breathing real hard, I back it down." This is standard, time-honored, and evidently very prudent aerobic exercise advice.

2. my recovery rate -- how long does it take my pulse to drop below 90, then 80? This is another well-known measure of cardio fitness.
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Old 01-21-18, 08:46 AM
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I'm not sure why people talk about max HR. It's not really a useful number, first because it varies dramatically from person to person, secondly because it isn't trainable, and thirdly the difference between lactate threshold HR (which is a useful number) and max HR will change with one's fitness.

But anyway, getting to max HR isn't going to make your heart explode. It's just going to make you slow down pretty soon, or puke.

And I'm prepared to consider evidence to the contrary, but I don't believe anyone has ever ridden a bike up a 25%-30% incline for 30 minutes at a stretch.
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Old 01-21-18, 10:37 AM
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I'm coming at this from another perspective. I've "retired" to cycling as a primary form of exercise after almost 50 years of climbing rock, for about 40 years of that, an average of 60+ days a year. The joints won't take it any more.

It takes a full body anaerobic effort to get to maximum heart rate. (add in some altitude and it happens sooner) You are never going to get close to maximum on a bike unless you are a competitive racer in a final sprint.

It's not a useful number.

I do use an HRM sometimes when I ride, but it's to keep my HR down in the LSD training range.
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