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Help me get my head around heart rate zones (again)

so a couple of months into doing these spin classes with a heart-rate monitor, and I'm suddenly finding it dificult to get up into the red zone

now I'm thinking either 1) my legs are tired, specially through running or 2) I'm getting aerobically fitter so pushing out the same power is not demanding such high heart rates.

If you're targetting your threshold and that gets higher, I suppose it must mean you then have to try harder to operate above that threshold?

I'm just not altogether sure whether aerobic training raises your thresholds and zones, or allows you to push out more power within those zones, which remain static?

Posts

  • SBezzaSBezza Posts: 2,173
    Well first of all spin classes are unlikely to help with raising threshold power, they are generally too stop start for that sort of adaption IME.

    If you can't get up to the higher HR's then there is a good chance you are tired, but as you say as you get fitter, pushing the same power will likely lead to a lower HR, though this isn't true in all cases, again you could push out the power yet still be tired and your HR will be lower. This is one of the limitations with HR.

    If you do sessions targetting FTP, and your FTP goes up, yes you will have to up the level you are training up, but in terms of RPE this should feel the same as when you were targetting the lower FTP first of all.

    Aerobic training does raise your threshold, but aerobic training covers training at endurance level all the way through to Vo2Max and probably beyond. There will be a point in which adaptions are best, and against this you have to weigh up the damage done to the body and how you recover personally

    I am quite a bit faster this year, and since the middle of last year I have predominantly done endurance and tempo work, so it must work. No doubt greater gains can be got from dedicated threshold work, but again that is very tiring on the body, and you just can't get as much work done by just doing threshold work alone.

    Getting gains aerobically takes time, and you can't really shortcut the process, I have steadily improved for the last 3 years, and I would hope to improve for another couple, albeit at a slower pace now.

    Make sure your training is structured and progressive, and you will see gains, though they might not be as quick as you would like, you will see them.
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,038
    Time to jump off the spin bike and find yourself a chain gang, now the evening hours are extended
  • JGSI wrote:
    Time to jump off the spin bike and find yourself a chain gang, now the evening hours are extended

    yep you're right but to be fair, these are very good cyclist-orientated spin classes - the instructors are road cyclists and know what they're doing

    SBezza, thanks for a great explanation.

    Some classes do approximate to threshold targetting - i.e., maintaining a steady effort just below threshold for 30-40mins. Or 2x20. Anyway, I do those sometimes just by ignoring the intervals.
  • SBezza wrote:
    Getting gains aerobically takes time, and you can't really shortcut the process, I have steadily improved for the last 3 years, and I would hope to improve for another couple, albeit at a slower pace now.

    Make sure your training is structured and progressive, and you will see gains, though they might not be as quick as you would like, you will see them.

    to be honest, I'm really pleased how these spin classes have improved my running fitness over the last three months

    I've not committed to cycling as a sport yet (it will come) as my time is taken up with fellrunning

    but it is certainly great cross training, and I feel like my threshold is higher - or at least that some adaptations have taken place where I can run at a higher pace over long distances at a lower RPE.
  • SBezzaSBezza Posts: 2,173
    Spin is great for general fitness, but for cycling power improvement you need to target this specifically, and spin classes don't really do this, (or at least the one's I used to do, where what I would call a proper threshold effort would be about one song long if that)

    Again the general fitness will help in any aerobic sport, but gains in running may not translate to anything on the bike.
  • yes, I suspected this largely to be the case

    but I 'feel' like my power output has improved - the instructors do focus on power in their instructions. There's very little low-resistance, high tempo spinning, it's more about sustaining cadence at higher resistances.

    When I get on my bike I feel stronger, but I mainly ride on Sundays for recovery from Saturday running efforts, so not a great test.

    I do have a set ride over which I can make a comparison with my times before started these classes, so I'll get back to you when I get round to doing it again!
  • PS: does anyone know if any spin bike manufacturer makes ones with inbuilt power meters?
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    Cycleops PT300 is what you want, but I wouldn't class it a "spin bike"

    http://www.turbotrainerreviews.com/bike ... e-version/
  • mmm, OK thanks - probably considerable more expensive than a standard spin bike?

    How do exercise bikes measure power for their 'watt-meters'? Is it a real power meter or just some sort of mathematical estimate?

    I was just wondering whether it was feasible for a gym to have spin bikes with a power readout.
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    Think they retail around £2,000 so yes, an expensive bit of kit, but if you want strain-gauge accurate power output then that's the sort of level you are looking at for a dedicated indoor trainer (see also Wattbikes).

    I believe most gym bikes approximate power from flywheel speed, so no way of knowing how accurate they are. Measuring with a strain gauge is the only accurate way of calculating power, which is why the technology is still relatively expensive.

    There are places that offer spin classes on Wattbikes, but few and far between at the minute:
    http://www.bikestudio.co.uk/about_the_wattbikes/
  • interesting stuff thanks bronzie
    Bronzie wrote:
    There are places that offer spin classes on Wattbikes, but few and far between at the minute:
    http://www.bikestudio.co.uk/about_the_wattbikes/

    do you think this is because of the cost, or because the sort of people who are interested in power output will be out on their bikes most months outside winter, not doing indoors cycling?

    Interesting at that place that they have v few 'supervised classes' - mostly the bikes are just there for people to go and use, like gym exercise bikes.
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