New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Heart Rate Zone training

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I've been trying to use a HRM during mtn biking more out of curiosity than anything. I know I'm out of shape, but is it physically harmful to excercise above your "max heart rate" for sustained amounts of time?

I was out riding just a bit ago and found I was in the 190-195 range for a majority of the ride (1.25hr ride). According to charts I've seen, 187 is my max with 168-112 being target zone. I was tired toward the end, but not particularly winded. I was taking it easy since I hadn't ridden in a while and did 10.1 miles at just over a 8mph pace. Several climbs, general fun trails.

Any thoughts opinions if this is still an acceptable rate or am I pushing something I shouldn't?
post #2 of 29
Do you have life insurance and a good health policy?

Seriousley - Fitness is not an on/off switch, build it up and then push it after months (min 3 months) of training.
post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 
If it was harmful wouldn't/shouldn't I feel the effects? This was actually a fairly easy ride today with cooler temps due to the rain that was coming down. Granted I haven't been on the bike on a regular basis, but I did tone the ride down trying to concentrate on doing the miles not how fast I could ride them. Should I seek a physician??
post #4 of 29
Very tricky subject. The standard formula for calculating max heart rate is 220-your age.
BUT, for some people, their max is actually higher than that. Also, some heart monitors can be totally off.
post #5 of 29
DaMtnRider,
Some people have a naturally high / low pulse, might be worth getting yours checked out just to be sure. See if somebody else you know has a heart monitor and try theirs just to make sure the heart monitor isn't way off.
Electrical interference can also be a problem, power lines send my heart monitor above 220 - railway paths are typically a problem with heart monitors.

The books I've read on bike fitness training have recommended a low training pulse to start with and only pushing it once a good basic level of fitness has been achieved.

http://www.brianmac.demon.co.uk/maxhr.htm

http://home.hia.no/~stephens/hrchngs.htm
post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaMtnRider
I've been trying to use a HRM during mtn biking more out of curiosity than anything. I know I'm out of shape, but is it physically harmful to excercise above your "max heart rate" for sustained amounts of time?

Any thoughts opinions if this is still an acceptable rate or am I pushing something I shouldn't?
Just in case this is not a troll, this is not acceptable for two main reasons:

1) You can die.
2) Your training effort is sub-optimal.

As Lisamarie suggests, you may have a higher than standard max, so you won't die. Or you may need to overstress a few more times before you die. You can figure that one out yourself.

If there was a decent reason to over-extend yourself like that, it may be worth the risk, but there is no benefit in training like that. When your heart exceeds max rate, the beats get extremely shallow. Each beat is not "really pumping" huge volumes, it's pumping very small volumes.

The heart is a muscle, and will respond to training similarly to other muscles.

Most resistance training exercises are best if you use the full range of motion in the lift -- you will get max training effect used for strengthening that muscle. So, for your heart to get max training effect, you will want each beat to be close to maximum volume. You will NOT get this happening when beating over max rate.

In short, training like that is very dangerous and a real waste of effort. As your level of fitness improves, the ride will become easier, and you will be able to complete the same ride faster. It's not about how fast your heart beats -- it's about your body's efficiency.

Hope you don't kill yourself.
post #7 of 29
Thanks BigE, that has cleared out some confusion I had in my mind...
post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 
BigE, This is definately not a troll thread. What I find curious about what you wrote is that I wasn't really pushing myself. In reality, I was taking it easy since I hadn't ridden in a while. I may have been going harder than I thought, but I wasn't really that winded or overly tired after the ride.

Now in reading some of the other posts, I was under/near major power lines for the ride, but not sure how much it would affect the HRM once I was deeper in the woods. The HRM is several years old and was/is one of the lower Polar models. I do appreciate any and all information on this. I need to get back into shape, but until this HR thing, I didn't consider myself that out of shape. I did pack the fruit and soup for lunch today instead of heading out...
post #9 of 29
OK, funny story. I was once taking the Winterfit Instructor Training Program, sponsored by Reebok and Tubbs. It took place at the cross country ski track in Weston Ma. Some of the young cross country ski instructors participated.

Every time one of these guys passed me, my heart rate monitor indicated a ridiculously high heart rate.

But I did not feel as if I was exerting myself at all.

Finally, I turned to the instructor trainer in exasperation and said;
"Every time one of these guys go past me my heart rate monitor shoots off the charts, and I am a happily married woman!"

What made it even funnier was at the time, I was one of the few straight instructors working at an all women's gym, but I digress..

Apparantly, the older models of the Polar Monitors have a way of "picking up" the heart rate of someone near by, and adding it to yours.

One of the many reasons I usually rely on the Borg Perceived Exertion Scale!
post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 
Looking at the Borg scale <insert Star Trek jokes here>, I would have only rated my ride yesterday as a 13-14. I was getting tired after going for over an hour straight, but I could have continued if time had allowed (and prob would have).

I guess I'll take yesterday's HRM readings in stride and maybe try a different/newer model and see what I get. Again, I don't feel that out of shape. Yesterday was a moderate ride of just over 10 miles with an avg of 8.4mph. For comparison, the last time I was on my road bike I went just over 24 miles with an avg of about 18.5mph and was a little more ftigued than yesterday, but not much. If I was that out of shape, shouldn't I have been completely spent after that?
post #11 of 29
I haven't seen any distributions of max heart rate, but I read somewhere that up to 5% of population has a MHR 20 bpm above the 220-age estimate. Perhaps you're in that category.

I have seen a bunch of charts of heart rate charts for pro cyclists during Tour De France individual time trials. My recollection is that some of them averaged in the low 190's during the duration of the time trial, but none higher than that, many lower. So it seems strange that your heart rate would be around the same level yet your perceived level of effort was so much lower. Why not get tested and get some customized training guidance just to be safe?
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaMtnRider
BigE, This is definately not a troll thread. What I find curious about what you wrote is that I wasn't really pushing myself. In reality, I was taking it easy since I hadn't ridden in a while. I may have been going harder than I thought, but I wasn't really that winded or overly tired after the ride.

Now in reading some of the other posts, I was under/near major power lines for the ride, but not sure how much it would affect the HRM once I was deeper in the woods. The HRM is several years old and was/is one of the lower Polar models. I do appreciate any and all information on this. I need to get back into shape, but until this HR thing, I didn't consider myself that out of shape. I did pack the fruit and soup for lunch today instead of heading out...
OK! Just becareful, 'cuz it does not take a lot of exertion to get the heart-rate up when you start exercising again. And it can be deadly!

This is especially true amongst middle aged hockey players. One year I started to play very out of shape and almost blacked out on the ice -- not even skating hard.

Quite a few suffer heart attacks precisely because they exceed max heart rate. It does not take long, as a shift usually does not last more than 2 minutes. Considering you lasted over an hour would make you superman, or the polars reading highly suspect.

It's very easy to verify the monitor just by stopping and testing your own pulse rate for 10 secs and multiplying by six.
post #13 of 29
Da, Your workouts and mine sound fairly similar (except I'm guessing I'm older than you). My heart rate is typically in the 190-195 range when I'm really working out. (My resting rate is in the low 60s). I had the same concern you did. Recently, I had a physical and a stress test and I asked both my regular doc and cardioloigist whether I should be concerned. Both said not to worry about it. It doesn't mean its right for everyone, but some people simply have higher max heart rates than the typical heart rate scale provides. So, ask your doc, but you're probably in the right range.
post #14 of 29
For those looking for info on Mountain Bike fitness/training I can recommend this book ....

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/...923435-9341235
post #15 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the info. I'm going to check out some newer HRM's ad see if the results are the same. I like the idea behind the Borg scale and will continue using that. Thanks again, and feel free to post any recommendations on HRM's.
post #16 of 29
All,

This talk of heart rates up in the 190+ range is amazing to me, and its even more amazing that you can get these rates at exertion levels you say aren't that high. Seems to me that your heart is working way hard for the amount of work your body is putting out

My resting heartrate is around 50. Riding a road bike on flat or rolling terrain I can maintain a 20 mph average and my pulse will be about 130. This is a moderately hard exertion level but I can keep it up for as long as I want. Pushing my heart rate up to 140 to 145 will put me into an exertion level that I would have to back off from after a half-hour or so. Over 155 is a very hard level and I can only maintain that for a short time say five to ten minuets. I don't think I could go long enough and hard enough to get my fat old man's body up to a rate of 170 (my max in theory) and to tell you the truth I don't think I would want to go that hard.

Guess it just shows how much our bodies and the way they function vary,

yd
post #17 of 29
I agree with Big E - your heart is a muscle.

And, there are a few truths to exercise and cardiovascular conditioning:
- when your heart is weak (out of shape) you will find that your heart rate is elevated quickly and easily
- when your heart is weak you will find that your "recovery periods" (the time it takes for your heart rate to slow down) are longer
- as your heart strengthens it will take much more time and require significantly more exertion to build your heart rate up
- as your heart strengthens you will find that your recovery periods will become much shorter in duration

I am 35 and in moderately good shape. 220-35= 185. My resting heart rate is high 50s-low 60s. Just moving around before exercising my heart rate is in the 80s. Walking on the treadmill at a quick rate will raise it to the 125-145 range. Running and spinning classes get my heart rate up to the 160s. I am comfortable maintaining a heart rate in the 160s for a prolonged period of time. When I sprint and get my heart rate into the 170-180 zone, I REALLY feel it and cannot maintain it for too long.

As was previously mentioned, there is little exercise value in maintaining a high heart rate.

I honestly can't believe that you worked for an hour with a heart rate at 190+ and didn't pass out/fall over. I'd get your monitor checked.

Good luck,
kiersten
post #18 of 29
DaMtnRider,

Seems like you're quoting some pretty specific mileages for your ride - 10.1 miles. I suspect that you have a computer on your bike for mileage? These can often effect your HRM, particularly the older HRMs and especially so if it's a wireless computer. Were you riding with someone else that had a HRM? Anyway, pretty easy to check ...stop and move away from the bike and see if there's a substantial change. Likewise, you can check the accuracy of the HRM by simply taking your pulse!

I have a Polar 720I, and I would not recommend it - unless you need all the features it can provide for biking.
post #19 of 29
Chris........Mountain Biking in Ohio! That's a contradiction.

In the past two years I have switched from running (averaged 30-35 miles per week) to three or four mb rides per week. When I ran I was a slave to the HRM. I don't use one on a bike very often.

What's really wild is a HRM in the pool. Being horizontal truely fouls up the numbers.

IMHO there is no point in having a HRM UNLESS you test your AT annually. the only way to test is on a treadmill or bike with blood sampling.

I guess I have found a HRM to be a self effacing truth. If you cannot finish a sentence you're at AT. If the sentence is broken as you exercise you're close. If you can hold a conversation you're well below.

If you're trying to loose weight, exercise at a rate where you can talk. Once a week go out and do fartleks (Sweedish word for play running or interval sprints) or intervals.

The testing I did in years past varied greatly based upon my fitness level.
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty Guy
Chris........Mountain Biking in Ohio! That's a contradiction.
Damn Rusty, that's just plain cold ...no need to rub it in

Shin splints pushed me more towards my bike two years ago as well. I wish I was getting out as regularly as you are! Mostly road biking recently, but we're planning some mb trips for this fall ...or should I say small rolling hill bike trips:

I agree you have to have the testing to get the maximum benefit out of a HRM. Nonetheless, I think they're still useful without it as evidence of progress. For the most part, I head out same as you and rely on perceived exertion.

Check off some good family rides with great scenary you can share with me, as we're hoping to make a summer trip out that way soon!

Best regards,

Chris
post #21 of 29
if my asthma is playing up I can get a resting heart rate of somewhere around 120bpm.... small thing called salbutamol..... & you want to see what happens if I try to do any exercise (no I will not be wheezing so you can't tell that is the problem)
post #22 of 29
DaMtnRider,
I have one of the more complex polar watches (Polar S510) and agree with Cgeib in not recommending a complex heart monitor. The red start/stop buttoin has fallen off mine, the speed sensor stopped working just after the guarantee ran out, haven't used all the functionality, it was a pain switching from one bike to another (multiple expensive senosors are required) - better to buy a cheap bike monitor for each bike and a separate simple heart monitor.

http://sportsmedicine.about.com/libr...hrmonitors.htm

http://www.howtobefit.com/polar-prod...mmendation.htm
post #23 of 29
Nature persuaded me to begin an exercise program about 10 years ago. I would walk 30 minutes on a treadmill at 3.6 mph and at a 6° slope. My HRM read 145 bpm. Now after 10 years, my HRM reads 120 bpm for the same exercise. I'm not claiming to be in good shape, but it's nice to have a baseline. I check it every few months.

I have a nuclear stress test every year. My cardiologist takes me up to my max: 220-60 = 160 bpm and has me hold it for 2 minutes. He wants me to exercise in the range of 70-80% of 160. It takes longer to get up to 160 every year.
post #24 of 29
Chris,

We just spent a week riding in Winter Park. It would be perfect for you, your wife, and daughter. P.M. me and I'll give you a url for two houses that we have rented.

W.P. bills itself as a mountain biking mecca claiming hundreds of miles of trails. There is everything from mild fireroads to more technical single-track to stuff I could barely walk much less bike.

Summer is about over in Grand County. Three weeks ago highs were in the low seventies and lows in the mid forties. I'm sure they'll be having frost in a week or two. Friday the outlook was for snow above 10k feet.
post #25 of 29
From what I understand the 220-age formula for max heartrate is pretty useless, and there are several modified versions based on studies that indicate max hr is impacted by age, but that it is not the only factor and the relationship is not linear.

What I'm trying to say is that if you feel good and your in decent shape (ie. your doctor isn't concerned about you over-exerting yourself) then I wouldn't worry. My max hr is around 200 (I can spike to 195-197 for short periods while sprinting) and my resting rate is 48-49 bpm. On a typical 2-3 hour training ride (roadbike) I'll average 165-170 and spike to the high 180's if I push myself on climbs.

Your HRM is probably reading correctly, interference induced readings will be obvious...I'll see readings like 230 or more near certain power lines. Do a couple of checks yourself, as others have recommended, by taking your hr manually (pulse and timer) to confirm that your hrm is giving good readings. Then base your training on your measured max hr rather than a generic formula. I've found HR training to be a useful tool (especially in combination with percieved exertion) for breaking things up and adding some variety to workouts, but I wouldn't focus too heavily on it.

Of course, as I mentioned earlier, this assumes that your doc is OK with you exercising.
post #26 of 29
If you can form complete sentences......aerobic

If you can't get a full sentence out.....anaerobic
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaMtnRider
is it physically harmful to excercise above your "max heart rate" for sustained amounts of time?
I'm not qualified to answer this question but I can offer you my own experience. I wasn't feeling too hot after coming in from an evening canoeing and I had a difficult time sleeping. The next morning I felt lousy at work and so reluctantly went into the clinic. They tried to take my pulse and at first were unable to find one. "Its a miracle" I cried but they didn't seem amused. They wired me up and discovered a shallow beat of 185, rushed me into the emergency room where they sedated me and alledgedly tried to convert my heart rythmn with those electric paddle things (I was under so I don't remember the experience. Eventually they were able to get my heart rate down to about 50 or so using some drugs which, I'm told, essentially poison the heart. As best we can figure, my heart was going at about 185, albeit shallowly, for 18 hours or so. I was told there doesn't appear to have been any damage. I've been told that my heart is/was quite strong (diagnosis was an arrythmia induced by some kind of electrical malfunction). I suppose the lesson my be that exceeding your theoretical max may not necessarily be harmful.
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaMtnRider
I've been trying to use a HRM during mtn biking more out of curiosity than anything. I know I'm out of shape, but is it physically harmful to excercise above your "max heart rate" for sustained amounts of time?

I was out riding just a bit ago and found I was in the 190-195 range for a majority of the ride (1.25hr ride). According to charts I've seen, 187 is my max with 168-112 being target zone. I was tired toward the end, but not particularly winded. I was taking it easy since I hadn't ridden in a while and did 10.1 miles at just over a 8mph pace. Several climbs, general fun trails.

Any thoughts opinions if this is still an acceptable rate or am I pushing something I shouldn't?
I'm no physiologist, but from my undrestanding of heart rate training (gleaned from reading the bike-specific forums), your max heart rate (MHR) is your max. It is the fastest your heart is genetically capable of beating; it will slow down as you age. There is nothing you can do to change it; what is possible is that you can change your training threshholds. i.e., your lactate threshhold and aerobic threshhold percentages can be increased through training. You can not go past your max -- your heart just won't do it!

There is no way you -- or anyone else -- can sustain max heart rate for more then a few seconds. Unless you have a cardiac condition, it is very unlikely that you'll actually hurt yourself, although you're sure going to feel like you are.

That "220 - age" formula is wildly inaccurate in my opinion. I'm 34; theoretically, my max should be 186, but if I'm doing a hard uphill effort, I can keep the heart rate in the 180s for 20 or 30 minutes. I've been able to get my heart rate up to 207, and I'm not sure that that's the max either.

Edit: left one sentence half-completed!
post #29 of 29
I was under the impression that the theoretical max referred to a recommended safe maximum for you age and not how fast you heart can actually be made to beat. Most charts go a bit further and indicate a somewhat lower rate as an optimum rate for beneficial training.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav: