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heartrate monitor, max HR accuracy ?

hucking_fellhucking_fell Posts: 1,056
Hi, I'm male, 38 years old and weigh 148 pounds.

I recently bought a heartrate monitor to help get fitter on my bike. I calculated my max HR to be 188bpm.

Today on a flat stretch of road my max HR was recorded as being 222bpm. I noticed while riding that it was above 212bpm for a good 2 min or so. I often work as hard as I was today. Can my actual max HR really be so much higher than all the online formulae and calculators say it should be ?

Thanks in advance.
More freerange chicken than Freeride God
Bighit , 5 , BFe

Posts

  • Dave_P1Dave_P1 Posts: 565
    Don't go by the online formulas as it's pointless for the majority of people. It is quite likely that your heart rate is higher than what you think it is.
  • voodoomanvoodooman Posts: 183
    I posted something similar last week after getting a worryingly high reading in a spinning class. As a result of advice on here I went to see my doctor unofficially when our kids were at the same club.

    She advised me that it was nothing to worry about as long as your heart rapidly recovers after stopping / backing off. However she also told me the following:

    As you get older your arteries get a bit clogged with stuff (however fit you are / good your diet is). There is the potential when your heart is hammering the blood around that a bit gets "knocked off" the wall and this could cause a heart attack if you're really unlucky. She did also say that the same could happen getting up to make a cup of tea so...

    Secondly that once you working at such high levels of intensity for extended periods of time, you are more likely to overtrain. Better to stick within training bands (difficult when overtaken by a pensioner in lycra) and keep your heart rate in them.

    She advised a mix of long slow distance at low intensity (2 hours plus at 50 to 60%) and more shorter / quicker sessions based around intervals.
  • t.m.h.n.e.tt.m.h.n.e.t Posts: 2,265
    220 -age and all that is a load of balls. Ride hard enough (assuming you have no underlying conditions/ailments) to induce it and go from there.
  • hucking_fellhucking_fell Posts: 1,056
    Thanks for the replies. I've adjusted my training zones according to my actual max heartrate of 222bpm. More importantly i'm no longer worried :D
    More freerange chicken than Freeride God
    Bighit , 5 , BFe
  • RanklesRankles Posts: 144
    Thanks for the replies. I've adjusted my training zones according to my actual max heartrate of 222bpm. More importantly i'm no longer worried :D

    Whilst that's an unusually high heart rate, and reiterating what everyone else has said, I would say it is very difficult to reach your max heart rate whilst cycling let alone it be something you'd want to attempt twice so quickly!

    I would imagine that your actual max is 10bpm or so higher. What were you doing when you reached that number and for what length of time?
  • hucking_fellhucking_fell Posts: 1,056
    Rankles wrote:
    What were you doing when you reached that number and for what length of time?

    I'd been on a flat stretch of road, having to pedal quickly due to riding a single speed bike, for about 15 min or so. I'd gradually increased the speed during that time. My heartrate would only have been about 222bpm for a minute or two as after that I had to stand on the pedals to slowly get up a really steep hill. While doing that my heartrate was about 170bpm.

    I'm just about to go on a ride up a hill, off road, on a geared mountain bike. I'll report back tonight on what the heartrate monitor says.
    More freerange chicken than Freeride God
    Bighit , 5 , BFe
  • RanklesRankles Posts: 144
  • hucking_fellhucking_fell Posts: 1,056
    My heart rate monitor is a Polar FS2C : http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=60949

    What it says about today's ride is: time 1 hour 15 min, Avg HR 154, max HR 183

    I think that's OK as my new zone 3 is 144bpm to 167bpm. I stopped briefly 3 times for gates and once to put on a windproof jacket. I usually complete the ride in about 1 hour 30 min but trying to stay in zone 3 had me going slightly quicker.
    More freerange chicken than Freeride God
    Bighit , 5 , BFe
  • hucking_fellhucking_fell Posts: 1,056
    voodooman, I've read your spinning class thread and the link that Sonic posted in it. Thanks.

    voodooman's thread: viewtopic.php?f=20024&t=12846650&p=17546119#p17546119
    More freerange chicken than Freeride God
    Bighit , 5 , BFe
  • RanklesRankles Posts: 144
    Hmm. I can only really speak from my own experience but my general fast pace is about 160 bpm avg peaking at 175-180 for hill sprints. I can't physically do this for more than maybe a minute so it'll be almost peaking.

    With you getting similar readings on sprints and actually slowing down on climbs might suggest an inaccurate reading on that occasion - it just seems unlikely to me that you can avg 154 yet peak at 150% of that amount.
  • hucking_fellhucking_fell Posts: 1,056
    Rankles wrote:
    it just seems unlikely to me that you can avg 154 yet peak at 150% of that amount.

    Yeah, I'm starting to think that I should disregard the readings from that ride. I'll take a note of my max HR over the next few weeks, making sure I include some hill sprints in my rides. I'll then take an average. Thanks.
    More freerange chicken than Freeride God
    Bighit , 5 , BFe
  • guityguity Posts: 113
    by Hucking Fell » 16 Apr 2012, 17:39
    What it says about today's ride is: time 1 hour 15 min, Avg HR 154, max HR 183

    I think that's OK as my new zone 3 is 144bpm to 167bpm. I stopped briefly 3 times for gates and once to put on a windproof jacket. I usually complete the ride in about 1 hour 30 min but trying to stay in zone 3 had me going slightly quicker.

    It sounds like inaccuracy to me. You shouldn't have to push hard to stay in Z3. It should take a concerted effort to stay below Z3 on the road, let alone on an mtb. At a guess I would say your actual max is probably around the 200 mark from the above stats.
  • voodoomanvoodooman Posts: 183
    I'll second that about the difficulty of staying in the zones - I can only do it when at the gym and wired in to either a bike or treadmill. Weirdly I know when I'm in zone 2, as after about 20 / 25 minutes of light effort, I feel goosebumps all over, get an odd taste in my mouth and slightly sick. It lasts a couple of minutes and then speed drops about 10%. That's the point at which my body has started metabolising fat.

    I did quite a bit of research (I'm not a medical doctor) on this and it can be relatively common. As long as you stay in the zone 2 from that point on, you are burning fat stores as your body can release the energy quickly enough to supply the muscles. Be warned through - it's pretty slow and if you're under the air con, wear another layer.
  • ollie51ollie51 Posts: 517
    guity wrote:
    by Hucking Fell » 16 Apr 2012, 17:39
    What it says about today's ride is: time 1 hour 15 min, Avg HR 154, max HR 183

    I think that's OK as my new zone 3 is 144bpm to 167bpm. I stopped briefly 3 times for gates and once to put on a windproof jacket. I usually complete the ride in about 1 hour 30 min but trying to stay in zone 3 had me going slightly quicker.

    It sounds like inaccuracy to me. You shouldn't have to push hard to stay in Z3. It should take a concerted effort to stay below Z3 on the road, let alone on an mtb. At a guess I would say your actual max is probably around the 200 mark from the above stats.

    It depends on what you define as Z3, and on your fitness. For myself, getting into zone 3 involves effort, generally zone 3 is a 'tempo' zone and should be just below your HR at FTP (the maximum power/Hr you can sustain for 1 hour). For example, when I do races of around 2 hours in duration, I expect to see an average heart rate in the middle/higher levels of zone 3.

    Back to the OP...

    Your max hr at 222 is almost 100% wrong, my polar hrm shows 222, or 232 when it's being interfered with by Bluetooth devices. A max hr of 212 is plausible, but given your age, and the fact your hit on the flat makes it almost refutable, it's very likely to be wrong and your monitor is being interfered with.

    Not to worry though, MHR is becoming less and less relevant, it's all about your LTHR, your training zones should be based upon that. Give 'Joe Friel heart rate training zones' a google, that should explain things a bit.
  • Max heart rates are hard to find without doing the proper tests.

    One test which is good to do is finding your heart rate reserve,
    here is a good artical on heart rates
    http://runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?Ar ... &PageNum=2

    and
    http://runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=6627

    But the basic sum up is, dont use formulas to work out max HR as they just dont work well enough.
    London2Brighton Challange 100k!
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  • jezandujezandu Posts: 10
    Yes 220 minus your age is a total myth and only 10% of the population fall within that bracket. However, a maximum heart rate of 222 is not as irregular as you might think. I have a high maximum heart rate and someone I've ridden with recently also has one. I'm 34 and I still see my max heart rate reach 212. In my twenties I did numerous VO2 max test which are going to be as close as you can go with pushing your heart rate, and mine was 225bpm.

    Be aware though, that heart rate monitors can pick up interference and can show an error number. I was told not to worry about the high heart rate. It's nothing alarming and nither is it a sign of good or bad fitness. However, it does mean that you can't use other people guidelines for training. If like me my minimum heart rate is 47 which leaves a huge range to try and work out. As it is I would try and get a rough working out for your Lactate threshold and go from there. i.e a 25mile at full pace then take your average heart rate. 10beats below that is ideal for temp work and a further 10 beats below that will see you in your endurance zone. These are rough guess for you but are probably close. I know that on a 50 mile ride when pushed with someone faster my average was 181bpm. Thats around my tempo pace.

    Jez

    www.followingthechainline.blogspot.com
  • pilchpilch Posts: 1,136
    I did the conconi test http://web.inter.nl.net/hcc/j.vd.bosch/congeneral.html I found it to be the most accurate way of working out my MHR/threshold and plotting my zones
    A berm? were you expecting one?

    29er race

    29er bouncer
  • jezandujezandu Posts: 10
    This test is similar to doing a lab based VO2 Max test. It hurts like hell and take a big commitment to pull it off right, but will give you a closer idea. Good luck!

    www.followingthechainline.blogspot.com
  • bails87bails87 Posts: 12,998
    I was out on the road bike yesterday, coming down a steep hill at 40mph-ish my jersey was 'flapping' on my chest, all of a sudden my heart rate was 220+. I put my hand across my chest to hold the fabric still, it went back down to ~150. Took my hand off and it was all over the place again.
    MTB/CX

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
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