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Can't get my heart rate up

Old 04-09-08, 12:41 PM
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Can't get my heart rate up

Clydesdale here, 265lbs, 6'2" if any of that matters. I ride a Cannondale mtn bike ( M300 ) with smooth tires (town and country tires). I ride during lunch. I am up to right at 10 miles during the lunch rides. The problem is that I can't seem to get my heart rate up. I've tried upping my spin rate but then I end up bouncing on the seat and switch gears. On these rides I get a great leg workout which is nice but I don't feel much cardio benefit.

Is this common?
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Old 04-09-08, 12:44 PM
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What is up? Are you using a heart rate monitor?

It's very common that people don't push hard enough. It's uncomfortable, so the instinct is not to do it.

Otherwise, it might be best to head to the doc and get a stress test.

Az
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Old 04-09-08, 12:55 PM
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Try standing out of the saddle... takes way more effort, at least I think so.

If you really want to beat yourself up... find some hills. Or, if you live in a place w/o hills... may-haps a parking garage? A few fast laps up and down that thing should have you sweating bullets.

I used to be at 275, and when I discovered I couldn't get my heart-rate up, or seemed to plateau... I ramped it up a notch. Out of the saddle pedaling really gave me a beast of a workout.

Seemed to work out well. Good luck.
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Old 04-09-08, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by WonderMonkey View Post
Clydesdale here, 265lbs, 6'2" if any of that matters. I ride a Cannondale mtn bike ( M300 ) with smooth tires (town and country tires). I ride during lunch. I am up to right at 10 miles during the lunch rides. The problem is that I can't seem to get my heart rate up. I've tried upping my spin rate but then I end up bouncing on the seat and switch gears. On these rides I get a great leg workout which is nice but I don't feel much cardio benefit.

Is this common?
Switching gears is fine.

If you're not there already, try aiming for about a 80-90 rpm cadence. When you get there (or if you are there already) then try spinning faster while keeping yourself firmly rooted on the saddle. BTW - Are you using platform pedals?

You might try climbing hills too whenever possible. Hills bring my HR up!!
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Old 04-09-08, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Az B View Post
What is up? Are you using a heart rate monitor?

It's very common that people don't push hard enough. It's uncomfortable, so the instinct is not to do it.

Otherwise, it might be best to head to the doc and get a stress test.

Az
I'm not using a heart rate monitor but it doesn't *feel* up hardly at all. I don't breathe hard. All I can feel si the strain on my thighs when I push hard and that's where I like to keep it. When I go jogging I can feel my breath increasing, my heart rate going up, and so on. I don't expect it to be anywhere near what my jogging sessions are but I'd like to get SOME cardio out of the deal.
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Old 04-09-08, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Road_Rider_07 View Post
Try standing out of the saddle... takes way more effort, at least I think so.

If you really want to beat yourself up... find some hills. Or, if you live in a place w/o hills... may-haps a parking garage? A few fast laps up and down that thing should have you sweating bullets.

I used to be at 275, and when I discovered I couldn't get my heart-rate up, or seemed to plateau... I ramped it up a notch. Out of the saddle pedaling really gave me a beast of a workout.

Seemed to work out well. Good luck.
I'll try that. We have a parking garage. However I am pushing as hard as my legs allow. I get the nice deep burning going on and I try to maintain a certain amount of strain through my 10 miles. If it is too easy and I'm spinning so fast I'm bouncing I'll kick it up a gear. If my spin rate is too low I'll lower a gear, etc. I try to make it so that I really wipe myself out by the end of the ride.
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Old 04-09-08, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Switching gears is fine.

If you're not there already, try aiming for about a 80-90 rpm cadence. When you get there (or if you are there already) then try spinning faster while keeping yourself firmly rooted on the saddle. BTW - Are you using platform pedals?

You might try climbing hills too whenever possible. Hills bring my HR up!!
I don't really know what my cadence is but I go the gear above where I would bounce. Maybe I should find the highest gear I bounce at and back off just a tad to keep the cadence high. My MPH won't be as high as I could go but that's not my goal.

I'm wondering if the fact that I have a mountain bike (although an ok one) plus I weight a ton if I get an anaerobic workout instead of an aerobic workout. I know my thighs are pumped when I am done and my legs are wasted for a day or so.
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Old 04-09-08, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by WonderMonkey View Post
I'm not using a heart rate monitor but it doesn't *feel* up hardly at all. I don't breathe hard. All I can feel si the strain on my thighs when I push hard and that's where I like to keep it. When I go jogging I can feel my breath increasing, my heart rate going up, and so on. I don't expect it to be anywhere near what my jogging sessions are but I'd like to get SOME cardio out of the deal.
There's your answer. You can get the rate up jogging, but not riding? You're simply not trying hard enough. Go faster. Put it in a high gear and then try to get your cadence up. If the cadence comes up, shift into a higher gear and run it up again. Keep going until you run out of gears. Hold it for at least three minutes in your highest gear at 90 rpm. You'll be breathing hard.

Az
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Old 04-09-08, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by WonderMonkey View Post
I don't really know what my cadence is but I go the gear above where I would bounce. Maybe I should find the highest gear I bounce at and back off just a tad to keep the cadence high. My MPH won't be as high as I could go but that's not my goal.

I'm wondering if the fact that I have a mountain bike (although an ok one) plus I weight a ton if I get an anaerobic workout instead of an aerobic workout. I know my thighs are pumped when I am done and my legs are wasted for a day or so.

Well, if you've got a timekeeping device of some sort, you can count your cadence per minute.
And with the same timekeeping device you can check your heart rate per minute.

Not bouncing at a higher cadence takes some practice. But as for speed, try finding a comfortable gear where you aren't bouncing, and riding all out, as fast as you can go for 30 seconds or a minute, then rest for a minute or so, then ride all out again ... and see if your heart rate increases.
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Old 04-10-08, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Az B View Post
There's your answer. You can get the rate up jogging, but not riding? You're simply not trying hard enough. Go faster. Put it in a high gear and then try to get your cadence up. If the cadence comes up, shift into a higher gear and run it up again. Keep going until you run out of gears. Hold it for at least three minutes in your highest gear at 90 rpm. You'll be breathing hard.

Az
I'm not sure this is revolving around effort. I work harder biking the 10 miles then I so with my slow, body friendly trot. When I run I just trot along and keep my effort level to where I can feel my heart working at the rate which feels right. I also trot to keep my still working knees .... still working. When I ride my bike I don't have to worry about impact so I push as hard as my muscle-burning pain will allow. Sure a person could always push harder but I'm up near the limit. I've only got a few gears left to what my bike has so I figure I'm cruising pretty good.
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Old 04-10-08, 07:25 AM
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What I may have to do is get a heart monitor. I am trying to associate breathing heard to working heard and maybe with biking I just can't do that. Maybe my heart rate is up and I just can't feel it because I'm also thinking I should be breathing hard.

Or maybe not. Hell I don't know.
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Old 04-10-08, 08:20 AM
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Sound like me. Im a lightweight, but my legs are just not up to par with my lungs. I can get my HR up to 198 on a group ride, and feel fine..steady breathing...but the legs are just screaming at me. So i believe my max HR is higher, but I can;t realize it because my legs arent strong enough to hold an hard enough effort that long...or at least thats what I think. I just started riding in january
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Old 04-10-08, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by RacerJRP View Post
Sound like me. Im a lightweight, but my legs are just not up to par with my lungs. I can get my HR up to 198 on a group ride, and feel fine..steady breathing...but the legs are just screaming at me. So i believe my max HR is higher, but I can;t realize it because my legs arent strong enough to hold an hard enough effort that long...or at least thats what I think. I just started riding in january
That could be me as well.
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Old 04-10-08, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by WonderMonkey View Post
I'm not sure this is revolving around effort. I work harder biking the 10 miles then I so with my slow, body friendly trot. When I run I just trot along and keep my effort level to where I can feel my heart working at the rate which feels right. I also trot to keep my still working knees .... still working. When I ride my bike I don't have to worry about impact so I push as hard as my muscle-burning pain will allow. Sure a person could always push harder but I'm up near the limit. I've only got a few gears left to what my bike has so I figure I'm cruising pretty good.
Originally Posted by WonderMonkey View Post
All I can feel si the strain on my thighs when I push hard and that's where I like to keep it. When I go jogging I can feel my breath increasing, my heart rate going up, and so on.

It sounds like you need a point of reference. Get a HR monitor, take a stress test. Then you'll know exactly what perceived exertion means in terms of heart rate.

Az
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Old 04-10-08, 11:16 AM
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I have a hard time getting my HR up as well, especially in just 10 miles, unless I'm climbing HARD (in which case, you'll want about a 5-10 mile warmup first anyways). I'm in great shape, a strong cyclist, at my ideal weight, and workout daily...still hard to really get the heart going or getting out of breath on the bike. When I run or swim, however, my heart rate picks right up. I've read quite a bit on this matter and have come to the conclusion that physiology allows some of us to get a better cardio workout doing different things.

Try riding longer (maybe after work) since it's staying light till 8:00 now. If I can get in two hours, I may still not get my HR as high as running, but this long between zone 2 & zone 3 leaves me feeling sufficiently worked. I'd recommend getting your breathing rhythm down perfectly, then ramping up the workout, and find some hills. An HR monitor can be useful, but if you've ever used one before, it's pretty easy to tell by how you feel what zone you're in without one.
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Old 04-10-08, 12:15 PM
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Thanks for the advice and words of experience everybody. I think it's clear the first thing I need to do is get a heart monitor. I'm going to be surprised if it tells me anything different then what I think I feel already but I'm ok with being wrong.

As for riding after work, that won't pan out consistently. I coach, kids are involved, blah blah blah and going during lunch is working out great. If it turns out that I can't get my heart rate up in the time I have at an extended lunch then I'll have to be happy with the calories burned and jog on my off days.
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Old 04-10-08, 03:29 PM
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A HRM is great, but do you know how to take your pulse? Ride for 30 minutes or so, and then, on a quiet stretch of road where you can concentrate, take your pulse. That'll give you some idea what you heart is doing.
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Old 04-10-08, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
A HRM is great, but do you know how to take your pulse? Ride for 30 minutes or so, and then, on a quiet stretch of road where you can concentrate, take your pulse. That'll give you some idea what you heart is doing.

That's true, I could take my pulse just like the pioneers did when riding their bikes!
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Old 04-10-08, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by WonderMonkey View Post
That's true, I could take my pulse just like the pioneers did when riding their bikes!

Pioneers nothing!! I still take my pulse when I ride, and I have a HRM somewhere. It's just a pain to use it all the time.

Like I said before, get a basic timekeeping device of some sort and with it you can calculate your cadence and heart rate.
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Old 04-11-08, 03:12 PM
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bouncing in the seat? is this a mountain bike with suspension?

perhaps you need to ride harder and longer. 10 miles is what- 30 minutes? do an hour.

ride some hills!

Last edited by redmist; 04-11-08 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 04-11-08, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Pioneers nothing!! I still take my pulse when I ride, and I have a HRM somewhere. It's just a pain to use it all the time.

Like I said before, get a basic timekeeping device of some sort and with it you can calculate your cadence and heart rate.
I'll do that. It should be interesting.
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Old 04-11-08, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by redmist View Post
bouncing in the seat? is this a mountain bike with suspension?

perhaps you need to ride harder and longer. 10 miles is what- 30 minutes? do an hour.

ride some hills!
When I am in the wrong gear and spinning too fast I bounce a bit. When I feel this starting I switch gears.
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Old 04-11-08, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by WonderMonkey View Post
When I am in the wrong gear and spinning too fast I bounce a bit. When I feel this starting I switch gears.
Which is what you are supposed to do.
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Old 04-11-08, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Which is what you are supposed to do.
OK, good. I thought by the other guy's post I was doing something wrong. I'm fairly new so I could be convinced of anything. Tell me I should be sitting backwards and pedaling with my hands? I'll do it!
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Old 04-16-08, 04:55 PM
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Maybe your seat is too low so you're basically doing something like an anaerobic weightlifting squat. That could explain why your legs are shaky, why you are uncomfortable at high cadence, and why you can't raise your heart rate.
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