heart rate (and hr monitors)

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics and Repairs' started by bonj2, 25 Sep 2007.

  1. bonj2

    bonj2 Guest

    following on from the 'how fit are you' thread in cafe, it's sort of occurred to me that your actual heart rate might be fairly important, and that I should probably be striving to get it as low as possible. Moreso, the fact that it can be measured digitally using a device effectively enables you to quantify fitness, making it a lot easier / more rewarding to get fitter as you can see how much fitter you've got.

    So, how important/significant is it, and is it all to easy to get too obsessed with heart rate when you should be thinking about other measures aswell? obviously your weight, and how fast/far you can go is an indicator, but any other little numerical physical things you can measure to go with heart rate?
  2. OP

    bonj2 Guest

    and heart rate monitors, I notice the cheapest ones start at about £20, and most seem to go round your wrist. Are they fairly reliable - i.e. do they keep misreading due to not being sensitive enough or anything?
    and is there much difference between the cheap ones and the expensive ones apart from memory functions/'fitness program' features, i.e. is the basic functionality just as good on a twenty quid one to a sixty?
  3. OP

    bonj2 Guest

    And what should your heart rate be in the sauna - higher or lower than what it is at work?
  4. Canrider

    Canrider Guru

    Given your triplepost, I'm going to say: Yes. xx(
    Like VO2max and any other measures, it's of interest, but not completely deterministic.
    And I've never used an HRM so ??? if £££ == !!!
  5. asterix

    asterix Comrade Member

    Limoges or York
    As someone said on the fitness thread, it's not just about the level but also the speed your active rate reverts to the resting rate. Some people just have faster heart rates, apparently. Nevertheless, being overweight and unfit naturally makes your heart work harder and therefore faster as does clogged arteries.

    I'm another non-HRM user though.
  6. Stwutter

    Stwutter New Member

    When I started cycling, my resting rate was 73. Now it's 50. But everyone's different, and as some else said, it's just as important how quickly you recover from exercise how low your rate goes. As you get fitter, your rate will drop, but don't get obbsesed by it. It's a bit like weight. Weighing yourself is OK, but you'll know when you lose weight from you clothes and how you feel, which is more important.

    With regards to price, you get what you pay for to an extent. £20 will get you going, but how accurate they are, i wouldn't like to guess. I paid £70, and it does me. After that, it's not so much accuracy, but extra features you pay for IMO.

    By the way, generally the monitor doesn't go round your wrist as you say. That's the watch. HR is usually measured by a chest strap that'll come with it. My first HRM was £25, and the strap was shite, which could be another reason to spend a few quid more.
  7. barq

    barq Senior Member

    Birmingham, UK
    I like using an HRM on hills because you get a sense of how hard you are working and how much more omph is left in your legs. There are times when an HRM helps me to slow down rather than take a hill too fast and blow up part way.

    IMHO they are genuinely interesting devices.
  8. gambatte

    gambatte Middle of the pack...

    S Yorks
    I have a HRM on the commuter.
    Basically use it on the long climbs to make sure I don't 'run out'

    One thing I have noticed is its a good indicator of potential illness. Suddenly you realise you're going no faster than normal, but you're 15-20bpm higher than usual
  9. Membrane

    Membrane New Member

    Afaik a HRM's main purpose is as an indicator of how hard you are working. I use mine mainly to make sure that I stay out of my VO2Max zone on longer difficult rides where I need to keep something in the tank to get home (working in your VO2Max zone can only be sustained for a limited time due to lactic acid build up in your muscles that your body can't get rid of easely). I like to alternate short and longer rides, on short rides I use my HRM to push myself into the VO2Max zone on a particular climb (including some VO2Max training is good for your cardivascular system). The way back to home from that climb is all flat terrain, so not much of an issue if I go bust before getting home.

    I don't think that a HRM says much about an absolute fitness level given that people's heart rates are quite individual, although it could reveal a trend for a given person over time.

    My Bikemate HRM is a handle bar mounted bicycle computer that also does the usual computer stuff (it uses a strap to measure the HR), I bought it from Aldi for very little (20Euro/~£14). It works very well.

    Another measuring gadget is a power meter, widely considered to be a more reliable indicator for measuring cycling prowess. But power meters are expensive.
  10. Blonde

    Blonde New Member

    Bury, Lancashire
    I agree with the above - if you want to measure 'fitness' a better method is by using a HR monitor coupled with a set of power cranks - because you'll need to know how much power you're generating for any given heart rate - so you need to use both of these measuring tools together. As you get fitter you can generate more power at a lower HR. Using a cycle computer and measuring your speed at any given heart rate is not as good - not fail-safe, because of varying weather conditions and gradient which effect your speed (and HR) and therefore will bugger up the results. Indoor training or a stationary bike might give you a better indication and make a better 'fit test' because not only are you not subject to varying conditions but they often have some sort of power measurement or power setting/resistance setting incorporated into the machine, so you can cycle at a constant effort and get a more meaningful result by using a more easily replicated and repeatable test.
  11. yorkshiregoth

    yorkshiregoth Master of all he surveys

    My rates are exactly the same as Stwutters but I have a watch (no chest strap) that one has to press ones thumb and finger onto the watch to get a reading. Not very practical whilst riding.
  12. rich22222

    rich22222 New Member

    The cheapest Polar Heart Rate Monitor's I found were on www.improveyourbody.co.uk/. I would definately recommend them. The cycling section has a great range of heart rate monitors and their service and advise was excellent.
  13. Will1985

    Will1985 Über Member

    South Norfolk
    There is an article in the C+ mag this month which talks about their use and importance as well as reviewing a few (all chest strap models) - there are 7 under £70, 2 of which get the highest marks.

    I use mine to give an indication of my developing fitness on the turbo when doing intervals and ramping, and 10 mile TTs for average and max HR. I occasionally check my resting HR too....decreasing HR figures is good to know IMO.
  14. Panter

    Panter Just call me Chris...

    I'm interested in reading this, can you get this mag in supermarkets? google didn't reveal very much and there are no newsagents with an easy cycle of where I work.
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