Max heart rate confusion

Discussion in 'Training, Fitness and Health' started by bobg, 9 Apr 2008.

  1. bobg

    bobg Über Member

    Crosby Merseyside
    I'm sorry to pursue you all relentlessly but I really want to get a complete understanding of this subject!! I'd be grateful for anybody who regularly uses an HRM in their training and has established a max without the use of a "table" therefore presumably by pushing themselves to their extreme on a bike, to have a quick look at the calculator at the bottom if this page and let me know what you think.
    In my third attempt today using a HRM with chest belt I got to 167.. pretty puffed, but heart not exploding. I dont want to set an unreasonable/unrealistically high aerobic range when all the studies on the above site suggest that 167 to be my top whack given my age?? Any comments most welcome - even if you say I'm being to picky and it doesnt really matter:biggrin:
  2. gavintc

    gavintc Guru

    Complete bollocks. I am 51, ride to a reasonable standard and have recently seen 180 on my HRM. Indeed, on one of the bergs on the Tour of Flanders, I saw 175. Yet, the web site you have listed puts my max between 170-174.
  3. Panter

    Panter Just call me Chris...

    Apparently it is pretty variable and depends on lots of factors.

    As far as I'm aware the only true way to assess it is by testing it yourself over 2-3 days and finding an average.

    There are lots of methods on the internet but they all involve a thorough warm-up, then a hard sprint, then increasing the intensity at the point you don't think you can go on :biggrin:

    Incidentally, the chart worked out pretty well for me but I would imagine it would be a fair bit out for some individuals.

    Good luck :thumbsup:
  4. Crackle

    Crackle Pah

    I've done a self-test Bobg.

    I did a steady 8 or 9 miles and headed for a slight incline at the end. I absolutely hammered it up the incline, ending up out the seat with my head over the bars and my legs burning and lungs exploding. Every time I thought I couldn't go any faster, I tried too.

    If you don't feel dizzy/sick/see stars you haven't hammered it enough.


    My Max was 191, though theoretically it should have been 178. I have never seen 191 again, closest I've been is 187 recently on a short hill, so even though I did it 2 years ago, I think it's probably still right maybe 1 or 2 beats out now, I just have no wish to repeat the test :biggrin:
  5. piedwagtail91

    piedwagtail91 Über Member

    I'm 50 and got about 205 max up a hill out of Kendal, which means that I've got the heart of a 15 year old or the tables are out!. the only way to find your max is to push yourself.
    i gave up using it shortly after and went off feel.( how out of breath i was!)
  6. OP

    bobg Über Member

    Crosby Merseyside
    :biggrin: Sounds to me that "a bit puffed and sweaty" at 167 isnt quite enough then!! although it's my max on the web site charts. Not sure I can reach the "dizzy" heights of you guys but I'll have some more tries over the next few days and see what happens. If I don't post again I've either exploded or taken up darts. Oddly enough I can get far more knackered and therefore presumably will have a higher max when running intervals - I'll test that too just for the sake of comparison.
    Thanks to all so far, as all my contemporaries only seem to reach a fast shuffle round to the pub at noon I'm branded the town loonie!! Maybe they're right......
  7. Crackle

    Crackle Pah

    You know, while it's useful to know, you only really need to know it if you intend to train in zones or need to know how hard your working and want to push yourself more, otherwise just wearing a HRM you rapidly get to know where your HR is on certain rides. If it's above or below where you would expect then you're working harder into a wind or you're getting fitter.

    I really only use the average and Max on mine now and just generally to monitor things on a ride. So if I'm feeling lousy on a ride and my HR is either high or low, there's a good chance I'm brewing on something and so that tells me to cool it/turn around/abandon the ride.
  8. OP

    bobg Über Member

    Crosby Merseyside
    Thanks Crackle, much appreciated.
    I expect I'll get more sensible about it after a while, I'm just of a bit of an obsessive compulsive over my hobbies .. riding, golf, swimming tennis running, squash,fishing etc etc rtc ... got the kit and "visit" then all at invervals:biggrin: It keeps me sane and hey, thats what retirement's for...
  9. I'm a bit of a newb too when it comes to HR, I just got an edge 305HR on Tue. I tested it out on the commute today, I peaked at 191 (Top of Broughton St at York Place, if you know Edinburgh). That site suggests a max of 184-190 for me. If I was 191 this morning, when I felt not bad and the heart didn't feel like it was racing, I've certainly been higher than the suggested max.
  10. dmoan

    dmoan Veteran

    I am 36 and can hit 194 bpm when sprinting out of the saddle on a gym spin bike (same as yours - Schwinn Spinner) during the 'mountain' track of my gyms RPM class. Needless to say, I only hit this during the last 30 seconds of the class!

    During the 45 minute class, I usually average 161 bpm - sitting between 175-180 when 'working hard'. To me, 194 bpm is utterly unsustainable and I feel as if I am about to pass out. My vision narrows and breathing seems to become pointless - it is entirely anerobic effort. Typically, I will be slumped over the handlebars for 1-2 minutes afterwards as my heartrate slows and my breathing returns toward normal.

    If you really want to find your maximum, I think you need to feel that your heart has actually exploded!
  11. andygates

    andygates New Member

    189's my top - and that was a total lungbuster after plenty of cardiac drift. I'm 37, fairly fit - the Miller formula was closest.
  12. Steve Austin

    Steve Austin The Marmalade Kid

    Highest for me was 199, i was seeing stars at that point!!

    Hit 190 quite regularly, but rarely get above 190 anymore. Was riding at 190 at the weekend and felt very comfortable, so thats not my MHR.

    age 36 btw
  13. OP

    bobg Über Member

    Crosby Merseyside
    Blood hell Steve et al.... I feel like a right whimp:blush: mind you I get my bus pass in 10 months:blush:

    Had to take Mrs BG out for an airing yesterday ... but I'll throw a leg over the spinner today and see what I can manage. I've not used the HRM with it yet.
  14. OP

    bobg Über Member

    Crosby Merseyside
    Rode fit to drop yesterday and my legs give out before my HR gets above 170:blush:
    Just wondered whether resting heart rate is a factor ? ie if your resting heart rate is 70 and you get to 210 ie 300% then should you presume that you're unlikely to get anywhere near that with a much lower RHR?? Seems logical but probably not medically accurate?
    Just a thought /excuse.....:smile:
    Anyway its been a very interesting experiment of late and I've certainly been riding much faster but regrettably not enjoying the scenery so much. I begin to realise that these things should be used with caution and I think I'll leave it attached to the spinner in future.
  15. Tim Bennet.

    Tim Bennet. Entirely Average Member

    S of Kendal
    The formulae and tables are all based on conservative averages of a load of people from all walks of life. Therefore, statistically speaking, there will also be loads of people who are significantly different from the average.

    YOUR max HR can indeed only be found from testing and as has been said, it's a progressive resistance test after a proper warm up. But the warm up must be at least an hour (on a bike) including several short bursts to 'race pace'.

    Then (and only if your doctor has said it's okay) you need to either find a long, gradual but increasingly steep hill, and ride it hard until you can not go a yard further. At this point you are likely to projectile vomit, get diced carrots in your brakes, fail to stop, pass out and topple over under an on coming truck.

    Therefore the actual test part is best done on a turbo, with someone else around and also done later in the summer when you are fitter. Doing it now is just a form of self abuse.

    Low resting HR has no effect on max HR, nor does max heart rate have any bearing on fitness or ability. You are just using the divisions within the 'range' between min and max HR to establish your training zones.

    But don't become a slave to your monitor. The reading must always be correlated with how you are feeling and your perception of how well you are doing. One of the greatest uses of a HR monitor is to prevent over training. If you feel you are riding 'harder' than your HR would suggest, then there is something wrong and you should go home and rest.

    Adrenaline will also elevate the HR independent of exertion. It's better to rely on how you feel and your breathing rate during the first hour of say the Etape du Tour when trying not to 'over cook it', as your HR will probably be adrenaline elevated with nerves and excitement. But on the first major climb, you monitor will become meaningful as the exertion HR will become higher than the adrenaline HR.
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