Why should you train with a heart rate monitor?

To reach your fitness goals and maintain them, you need to train smarter, not harder and this can be achieved by understanding your heart. Your “maximum heart rate” is the maximum number of times your heart beats in one minute. To calculate an average reading of your max heart rate, take the number 220 for men or 226 for women and minus your age. For Example 226 – 30 = 196; a 30 year old woman’s max heart rate is 196 beats per minute.
Once you have your max heart rate, you can calculate your unique heart rate zones. These will help you determine where you need to keep your heart rate while training. The graph below shows you the different heart rate zones labelled 1 to 5.

If you don’t have access to a table indicating your zones, you can calculate them by working out the different percentages using your max heart rate. This will give you a range in which you need to keep your heart rate in. For Instance Zone 3 is 70% to 80% of your max heart rate. So 70% = 137 and 80% = 157. This means that in order to stay in zone 3 your heart rate needs to be between 137 and 157 beats per minute.

Heart Rate.jpg

Once you understand zones, you need to understand what they mean to you so you can train within them. This is important because each person is exercising for a different goal, some want to lose weight and others may want to increase their fitness level. You need to train in the correct zone in order to achieve your goals and keep motivated.

Zone 1 (heart rate is between 50 to 60% of your max heart rate) is a beginner’s level of aerobic training and consists of moderate activity or a warm up. You should be feeling relaxed, warming up at an easy pace and your breathing should be rhythmic. If your goal is to lose weight, you won’t achieve it in zone 1. You need to be exercising more vigorously to increase your heart rate.

Zone 2 (60-70%) is your weight control zone. You should be working out in a comfortable pace where you have slightly deeper breaths but can still have a conversation. If you are looking to lose weight, you should make sure your heart rate is in zone 2.

Zone 3 (70-80%) is your aerobic zone for those whose goals are to increase their fitness or cardio ability. You should be working out at a moderate pace and it should be more difficult to hold conversation. This will increase your cardio ability and improve your aerobic capacity.

Zone 4 (80-90%) is your anaerobic zone for hard core training. You will be working out at a fast pace and feel a bit uncomfortable. Your breathing will begin to feel a bit forceful but you will develop improved anaerobic capacity, increased strength and improved speed.

Zone 5 (90-100%) is your maximum effort zone. You should be sprinting as fast as you can but you won’t be able to sustain your pace and effort for too long. Your breathing will be laboured but you will develop muscular endurance and increased power when reaching this zone in your work outs.

If you aren’t wearing a heart rate monitor while you train you won’t know what your heart is doing and in which zone you are training in. Garmin’s range of heart rate monitors have 2 electrodes on the inside of the strap and these electrodes press against your skin and pick up the pulses made by your heart beating. This information is then transmitter to your Garmin fitness watch using ANT+ technology.

Garmin has a range of fitness watches, ranging from entry level to advanced. Visit the http://www.garmin.co...nto-fitness.php to find a fitness watch that suites your needs.




33 Comments

SwissVan, Feb 23 2015 12:13

To reach your fitness goals and maintain them, you need to train smarter, not harder and this can be achieved by understanding your heart. Your “maximum heart rate” is the maximum number of times your heart beats in one minute. To calculate an average reading of your max heart rate, take the number 220 for men or 226 for women and minus your age. For Example 226 – 30 = 196; a 30 year old woman’s max heart rate is 196 beats per minute.

Click here to view the article

 

Oh no, did the author of this article really say that?

Skubarra, Feb 23 2015 12:28

Oh no, did the author of this article really say that?

 

No wonder I ended up in the hospital last year, I was racing at 110% of my max heart rate!

fanievb, Feb 23 2015 12:31

that formula has been proved to be completely wrong.

if you want PROPER advice on how to train with a HR monitor head over to 

 

http://home.training...tegoryfilter=0;

Long Wheel Base, Feb 23 2015 12:41

That theory adds 18 years onto my life compared to what my actual max is. I prefer to do a proper fitness test.

Oxter, Feb 23 2015 12:53

This is just a lazy report with a formula that's been proven wrong

SwissVan, Feb 23 2015 12:56

That theory adds 18 years onto my life compared to what my actual max is. I prefer to do a proper fitness test.

 

That is the problem with the article, it does discuss that the age based calculation method could very well be inaccurate and that if you are going to train with HR that it is better to do a proper practical test, either a max HR or LTHR test.

wolver, Feb 23 2015 01:10

220 minus your age  :'(

 

This is a pretty good article on HR training:

http://www.racerxvt....cardio-training

Slowbee, Feb 23 2015 01:13

so you dont have the money, nor the time to go for a proper fitness test, surely there must be a way of then getting your max HR ?

fanievb, Feb 23 2015 01:16

so you dont have the money, nor the time to go for a proper fitness test, surely there must be a way of then getting your max HR ?

this maybe? http://cyclingtips.c...ctic-threshold/

Barker, Feb 23 2015 01:19

Well, i was pushing hard during the PPA this weekend. I was starting to feel a but fatiqued and when i looked at my garmin it was reporting a heart rate of 218bpm my max is suppose to be 185. I stopped for 5min and the groups past me by (very sad) while i rested a bit. Can this be geniune or is this a bug? Sounds a bit high to me.

SwissVan, Feb 23 2015 01:20

so you dont have the money, nor the time to go for a proper fitness test, surely there must be a way of then getting your max HR ?

 

Yes, conduct your own test following a max HR test protocol or probably better do a LTHR (Lactic threshold heart rate) test as per the linked articles from Fanievb.

 

It would have been great if the article had explained these options, so sick n tired of seeing "lazy" articles wrt to max HR....

Kranswurm, Feb 23 2015 01:25

To reach your fitness goals and maintain them, you need to train smarter, not harder and this can be achieved by understanding your heart. Your “maximum heart rate” is the maximum number of times your heart beats in one minute. To calculate an average reading of your max heart rate, take the number 220 for men or 226 for women and minus your age. For Example 226 – 30 = 196; a 30 year old woman’s max heart rate is 196 beats per minute.

Click here to view the article

If I followed that I should be theoretically dead

Barker, Feb 23 2015 01:35

My heart is always in the 80% of my max during training...but then again i find it kinda pointless just peddling about on my road bike. Road bike is meant to be cycled hard and fast. 

 

Find it so difficult to cycle with friends that are just happy doing the slow 22-24kph.

EmptyB, Feb 23 2015 02:25

Age old story!! That formula is a very vague guideline that may work for some.....

 

Do a proper fitness test to avoid wasting your time!!

SAGecko, Feb 23 2015 03:02

I was starting to feel a but fatiqued and when i looked at my garmin it was reporting a heart rate of 218bpm my max is suppose to be 185. 

 

Have you had a touch of flu recently?

T-Bob, Feb 23 2015 03:12

so you dont have the money, nor the time to go for a proper fitness test, surely there must be a way of then getting your max HR ?

 

You find a lot of people extolling the virtue of either soft sand running with sprints until you're ready to die / vomit or hard climbing with repeated sprints until you're ready to die / vomit. 

 

Obviously the actual method is far more scientific but essentially you need to want to die, be about to die, pass out or vomit with your ticker hammering like wood pecker on new wood. ;) 

 

Might get sports science to do a test rather! 

SwissVan, Feb 23 2015 03:50

You find a lot of people extolling the virtue of either soft sand running with sprints until you're ready to die / vomit or hard climbing with repeated sprints until you're ready to die / vomit. 

 

Obviously the actual method is far more scientific but essentially you need to want to die, be about to die, pass out or vomit with your ticker hammering like wood pecker on new wood. ;)

 

Might get sports science to do a test rather! 

 

 

Jaa its not as simple as going balls to the wall until you cant anymore, heart rate does not work like a rev counter and its best to gradually move up to a final max effort. Its actually very stressful if done properly and imo its not worth doing to often, in fact once is more than enough. 

 

I'd rather do the LTHR test, even that's a bit stressful but a lot less than a max HR test

 

Polar have a good example of a Max HR test protocol (see below), its for running but the principal would remain the same for cycling. For cycling purposes its easier and safer to do on an indoor trainer using the resistance to simulate a climb.

 

2015-02-23_1437.png

HappyMartin, Feb 23 2015 04:32

I train using a HR monitor. Have done so for years. It can get a bit complicated and I still don't understand it all

When training base I was told to keep my HR below 150 and to aim for 140 most of the time. Then I move onto speed endurance training and push my HR to just below my threshold. This is around 174. One thing I have never used in any way while training is my maximum HR. I think it's aroung 195 to 200, well I have seen numbers like that on occasion when racing but so what? Never had anyone tell me to push to my Maximum HR. Most important number is my threshold and that was determined by testing. Not as an arb percentage of my max.

milky4130, Feb 23 2015 08:56

220-34=186 pretty accurate for me.

milky4130, Feb 23 2015 08:59

Well, i was pushing hard during the PPA this weekend. I was starting to feel a but fatiqued and when i looked at my garmin it was reporting a heart rate of 218bpm my max is suppose to be 185. I stopped for 5min and the groups past me by (very sad) while i rested a bit. Can this be geniune or is this a bug? Sounds a bit high to me.

Definitely a spike, usually caused by overhead powerlines. i hope you never stopped because you saw that number, probably why some people don't ride with a HRM.

BMWGSADV, Feb 23 2015 09:03

A much more accurate 'rule of thumb' to estimate Max HR .... If you cannot afford a scientific test.... Is 220-(n*0.64) where n= your age. This method lowered my max HR to a much more realistic level that I could actually get to. Read it in a local bike Sept 2014...

Guy with the Ritchey, Feb 23 2015 09:35

My heart is always in the 80% of my max during training...but then again i find it kinda pointless just peddling about on my road bike. Road bike is meant to be cycled hard and fast.

Find it so difficult to cycle with friends that are just happy doing the slow 22-24kph.


Not always so smart. Ride slow, but long, to get even faster.

But do what you like, just do some more research on that theory.

TALUS, Feb 23 2015 09:56

Really a weak article.

CrankShaft, Feb 23 2015 10:03

Heart rate is over rated .:: get a power meter ;)

milky4130, Feb 23 2015 10:14

A much more accurate 'rule of thumb' to estimate Max HR .... If you cannot afford a scientific test.... Is 220-(n*0.64) where n= your age. This method lowered my max HR to a much more realistic level that I could actually get to. Read it in a local bike Sept 2014...

this formula doesn't correspond to the scientific test, more than 10 beats higher. Whereas the articles formula is spot on with the scientific test.