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heart rate monitors???(5 posts)

heart rate monitors???DKD17
May 13, 2001 10:32 AM
I have had some people (cyclists and runners) say these are beneficial for maxing out workouts, especially when trianing alone. Is it hype or are they worth spending $100+ on these gadgets? If so can you recommend one?

I love my PolarDrPete
May 13, 2001 7:02 PM
I use a Polar ProTrainer XT Cycle that I got on sale for $139 a few months ago. It's nice in that it functions both as a cyclecomputer and an HRM. It's very cool to see your elapsed time, speed, and heart rate on the display while riding (get the handlebar mount--makes life easy). I'm sure if you look for one now you might be able to find one even cheaper.

As far as using it during a ride, I like it to pace myself on long rides and to set the intensity of my shorter, faster rides. In that sense it's a good motivator, and I've been able to ride longer on long rides (50+ miles) because I don't burn out as quickly. All that aside, it's kind of a cool toy for developing a sort of awareness of what your body is doing when you feel a certain way. There are a number of HRM books out there, and Sally Edwards' "Heart Rate Monitor Book" comes to mind. It's a good reference for getting started with HRMs. I'm not a racer, so this is the opinion of a hard-core recreational rider. Hope this helps.
re: the theory goes...Akirasho
May 13, 2001 7:12 PM
your heart rate (both resting and during exercises at varied intensities) can be a measure of your overall fitness (or lack thereof).

While heart rate alone cannot tell the whole story, using one to meter your performance and progress CAN enhance your training.

Proper use of an HRM require an ok from your doc to start an exercise program... a determination of your max heart rate (several methods can be used, both formula and actual measurment) and a program of training (intensity of exercise over given periods of time) to be used successfully. There are good text available to assist you in this endeavour ("The Heart Rate Monitor Book" by Sally Edwards, and "Precision Heart Rate Training" edited by Edmund R. Burke PhD)

If you're consistent with it's use, and have no other abnormal predelictions... you'll see positive results from such a program... so to answer your question... yup... they're worth it for enhancing and monitoring your physical aerobic conditioning.

As to which one, I use a Polar Accurex Plus, but there are many more players in the market today than when I bought mine. I like memory that can be downloaded for later analysis... but it's not critical. One thing I do like are multiple (2) target zones... that way, you don't have to watch the monitor nearly as much... merely listen for alarms (too low or too high a rate). Pro riders often use zones to monitor their race performance... Armstrong (and others) has been known to "slow down" during TT's when he exceeds his upper limits.

Be the bike.
re: the theory goes...must_pedal_harder
May 13, 2001 7:39 PM
I use my HRM to monitor the intensity of my workout as well as progress, and I don't think you need a book to really take advantage of your HRM.

For the first few rides go on wear your HRM and look at the numbers when you're done. Did the workout feel hard? Record that number and you're max. Easy ride? Record that number as well. Soon you'll get a general idea of your LT and you'll be able to pace your self pretty well.

As for target zone alarms - I find them pretty much useless. You don't hear a little beep from a watch on your H-Bars when you're paced with the wind across your ears at 22mph. When you get used to it, a quick look to the computer numbers, and how you feel will tell you where you're at.


BTW - I use a P-Brain, great computer/HRM.
re: heart rate monitors???MDS
May 13, 2001 8:44 PM
I bought the Sports Instruments ECG 1 for about $65 at my LBS. See for info. A very well built unit, it works great, no problems at all. I use it on every workout ride. Well worth the money.