Max heart rate Increase

rog4747

New Member
Hi all,

I am 59 years old and have a max heart around 190...I know this because I always wear a heart rate monitor and track my heart rate consistently via strava etc. My concern is that my heart rate used to be around 180 to 182 max until last year when I noticed it increased to around 188. This was measured during a very intense 10 minute climb most of which was out of the saddle. It topped out at 188 during the top of the climb.

I would say at the time my fitness level (Jan/Feb 2020) was very high having been training (pre-covid) 4/5 times per week for 20 weeks using road sessions/turbo and trainer road to prepare for a couple of weeks in Majorca. As we all know, travel was effectively banned and out the window went all my cycling arrangements. Since then I totally stopped training and have been cycling just a couple times a week to keep some level of fitness up. From August 2020 I had 3 complete months off the bike and only started riding again in mid October. Since then I have been riding socially around 100 per week but gradually taking on more intense climb and rides.

I went on a social ride last week with a couple of friends and on one particular climb we all went for it when I recorded for the first time a heart rate of 190. At nearly 60 years old this seems quite high to me having read in theory it should be approximately 220 minus your age, which puts me a long way from the norm.

I was just wondering from all you what your thoughts were and whether you have experienced something similar - or perhaps I should seek some professional advice?

Cheers all
 

Joffey

Veteran
Location
Yorkshire
See a doctor if you are worried about your heart :okay:
 

Ming the Merciless

There is no mercy
Location
Inside my skull
Max HR is genetically determined and varies quite a lot in the population. Don’t worry if yours isn’t equal to 220 minus age. That only works reasonably well at a population level but not an individual level. It’s just a statistical average, not an absolute.
 

cougie uk

Über Member
220 - age is bobbins.

Sounds to me that you're not as fit as you used to be hence why the HR is higher.

A MHR test would probably be higher still - if you do it properly. A ten minute climb probably wouldn't do it justice. Either a ramp test or a race would.
 

si_c

Veteran
Location
Wirral
Ignore the 220 - age thing, it's a a rough guide to average max HR for a large population not an individual estimate.
 

ColinJ

Puzzle game developer
A MHR test would probably be higher still - if you do it properly. A ten minute climb probably wouldn't do it justice. Either a ramp test or a race would.
I think that you can hit your MHR in a lot less than 10minutes!

My highest measured HR (198 bpm) was riding up this climb into a headwind...

562670


I reckon that I hit it in less than 1 minute! I was close to falling off my bike from the exertion so I would be very surprised if I could have gone harder than that. If I could then it would have been a couple of bpm only and I really would NOT liked to have done it...
 

Ajax Bay

Guru
Location
East Devon
Sounds to me that you're not as fit as you used to be hence why the HR is higher.
It doesn't work like that. Quite likely the fitter a rider is the harder they will be able to push themselves. The less fit rider will just not manage it. From the OP it sounds a reasonable check of current HRmax, and for a young chap (assumed 'rog') in their 50s, 190bpm is well within the + and - SD (range) with a mean of (208 - 0.7*age).
@rog4747 Don't worry about it. What's the OP's resting HR, I wonder?
 

matticus

Über Member
I think that you can hit your MHR in a lot less than 10minutes!

My highest measured HR (198 bpm) was riding up this climb into a headwind...

View attachment 562670

I reckon that I hit it in less than 1 minute! I was close to falling off my bike from the exertion so I would be very surprised if I could have gone harder than that. If I could then it would have been a couple of bpm only and I really would NOT liked to have done it...
I htink that just shows you need to be well warmed-up before the Big Effort. I doubt you started your ride at that photo-stop, and I doubt that it's at sea-level.

Nice pic though! Where is it? (there are many parts of Yorks/Lancs I have not yet ridden ... )
 
OP
R

rog4747

New Member
Thanks for your replay guys, much appreciated. My area for riding is in Hampshire no big climbs around me, just short and some sharp accents. Resting HR is around 50 - I've been riding for around 15 years and never got close to a 190 Max HR until recently hence my post. The biggest change to my riding has been in the last 3 years since I started to use a smart trainer and in particular trainer road. Prior to this any training was less structured and informal. I'm wondering whether adopting more structured approach may have increased my max HR. Is this possible? Can your HR increase by better training...or is Max HR is what it is..
 

PaulSB

Legendary Member
If you're worried see a doctor don't ask random people on the internet.

For what it's worth my resting HR is 48 and my max 176. I hit this max cresting Fleetmoss which is a Cat 3 climb. I'm 66.

I rarely get close to this under normal conditions.

Hard to see how you'd hit 190 on short sharp climbs?
 
OP
R

rog4747

New Member
If you're worried see a doctor don't ask random people on the internet.

For what it's worth my resting HR is 48 and my max 176. I hit this max cresting Fleetmoss which is a Cat 3 climb. I'm 66.

I rarely get close to this under normal conditions.

Hard to see how you'd hit 190 on short sharp climbs?
Sorry, but im not that worried, I actually feel great. Just thought it was a good topic of conversation, that's what forums are for, just interested it what others have to say.
 

cougie uk

Über Member
I think that you can hit your MHR in a lot less than 10minutes!

My highest measured HR (198 bpm) was riding up this climb into a headwind...

View attachment 562670

I reckon that I hit it in less than 1 minute! I was close to falling off my bike from the exertion so I would be very surprised if I could have gone harder than that. If I could then it would have been a couple of bpm only and I really would NOT liked to have done it...
Yes but you couldn't get on a bike and hit your max in one minute could you ? You need a decent warm up first.
 

ColinJ

Puzzle game developer
I htink that just shows you need to be well warmed-up before the Big Effort. I doubt you started your ride at that photo-stop, and I doubt that it's at sea-level.
Yes but you couldn't get on a bike and hit your max in one minute could you ? You need a decent warm up first.
Warmed up first, yes. I would prefer 30 minutes or so but I think I could warm up in the first 9 minutes of a 10 minute climb and then do the final minute really hard.

Nice pic though! Where is it? (there are many parts of Yorks/Lancs I have not yet ridden ... )
It is on this scenic road between Nelson and Hebden Bridge. Nelson, Colne and Burnley are off to the right. After the crest in the distance to the left, the road descends past Widdop reservoir and continues to Slack, Heptonstall and Hebden Bridge.
 

Ajax Bay

Guru
Location
East Devon
A rider will be unable to achieve their max HR at the crux of a long climb (eg Fleet Moss) as they'll be significantly fatigued. A 'short sharp (?Hampshire) climb' is a much 'better' option. Take the day before off (cycling/physical exercise). Warm up properly aiming to be at 3/4 HRmax (estimated) when you get to the bottom of a 5 minute climb, ideally one which steepens as you get towards the top. Steadily and consciously accelerate as you climb and finish off with a 20 second all out sprint. Take care to keep a morsel of energy to unclip at the top, and stay astride the bike till your head's cleared. Clear up any mess. Recover safely at the top. Warm down. Examine data when sensible.
The protocol I've described seems quite close to the OP's a social ride (warmed up) and bonus peer pressure "on one particular climb we all went for it".
If you think it might be worth worrying about, ask random people on the internet (which is exactly what the OP has done). If they're worried, see a doctor.
"Doctor, I beasted myself up a climb last weekend and my HR went higher than it's been before - 190 and I'm nearly 60. Should I be concerned?"
"Next"
 
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PaulSB

Legendary Member
A rider will be unable to achieve their max HR at the crux of a long climb (eg Fleet Moss) as they'll be significantly fatigued. A 'short sharp (?Hampshire) climb' is a much 'better' option. Take the day before off (cycling/physical exercise). Warm up properly aiming to be at 3/4 HRmax (estimated) when you get to the bottom of a 5 minute climb, ideally one which steepens as you get towards the top. Steadily and consciously accelerate as you climb and finish off with a 20 second all out sprint. Take care to keep a morsel of energy to unclip at the top, and stay astride the bike till your head's cleared. Clear up any mess. Recover safely at the top. Warm down. Examine data when sensible.
The protocol I've described seems quite close to the OP's a social ride (warmed up) and bonus peer pressure "on one particular climb we all went for it".
If you think it might be worth worrying about, ask random people on the internet (which is exactly what the OP has done). If they're worried, see a doctor.
"Doctor, I beasted myself up a climb last weekend and my HR went higher than it's been before - 190 and I'm nearly 60. Should I be concerned?"
"Next"
Could I ask you to expand on this because after checking the ride on which I hit my maximum of 177 I would disagree. I'll give you the scenario in case it helps. We started to climb Fleet Moss at approximately 32 miles in to a 90 mile ride, 8500 feet of climbing, 14.3avg. We had earlier ridden Lamps Moss and Buttertubs. All three climbs are Cat 3. The lower half of Fleet Moss I rode at 140-150bpm and the upper half 150-160 hitting 165 for a short spell and a max of 176 around 100-200 yards from the summit. I was not tired at this point. I did become fatigued at 71 miles when a little 4% incline hit me hard and it took me 2-3 miles to get back up to steam.

A "short sharp climb" is very difficult to define. Thinking about our local roads one I consider short and sharp is about 2-300 yards, kicks in from flat to immediately 5% and tops out at 10%. I usually arrive at this 5 miles in to a ride and would expect my HR to be around 135/140 on this section. I'm not sure it qualifies as a climb, we all think differently about these things.

This post makes me sound obsessed with HR, I'm not. I watch the numbers during a ride because I know what to expect under most circumstances. If I was getting an unexplained increased HR I would want to know. I've had both a heart attack and brain haemorrhage in recent years - it helps to keep an eye on these things!! :laugh:
 
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