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Will Maximum HR increase with fitness?(13 posts)

Will Maximum HR increase with fitness?CDC
Jul 10, 2001 12:10 PM
I noticed recently after a MTB race that my HR was 4 beats over my previously measured MAX. Will max rate increase with increased fitness? Or did I just calculate wrong the 1st time. Or was there some sort of glitch in my HRM? I'm wondering if i should go by this new number when training against HR.
I understand that fitness is not involved. From what I'vebill
Jul 10, 2001 1:52 PM
read, your max HR is constant (although it changes over time -- decreasing with age). That said, measuring it is prone to error. Very interesting NY Times article discussed in post below, with some interesting perspectives on the relative accuracy of HR monitor and counting by feel. Look at it this way, if your max HR is around 200, give or take, 4 beats is 2% variation, which has got to be within the margin for error in measuring something as squirrelly as a heartbeat.
fitness and max hrDog
Jul 10, 2001 3:06 PM
The only glitch is that you might have to be in pretty good shape to even have the ability to max out your heart. If you are a total couch potato, or a wimpy weakling, you may give out or not have enough strength to work the muscles hard enough, long enough, to max the hr. However, once you reach the threshhold of sufficient fitness, from what I understand max is not raised from further fitness.

re: Will Maximum HR increase with fitness?rollo tommassi
Jul 10, 2001 3:38 PM
Maximum heart rate is generally measured from the "220 minus age" formula, but the only accurate way to measure your max is to test yourself (either in competition or on a trainer). The "220" math can be off by as much as 5-8 bpm.

For example, if your are 20 years of age, your max HR is somewhere in the 200bps range - however, it is not at all unusual for an actual attained HR of 215 for that age. So, it's not a big problem if you discover that you peaked four beats higher than you've ever recorded. But continue to record yourself, and given the variables when riding (heat, personal tiredness, etc) you will be better able to determine what your 'real' max is.

On the other hand, there are people who do not fit in any kind of HR mold, and great variances exist. Some are as efficient at one HR as others are at a greater HR; Not everyone can be Lance Armstrong, and race yesterdays' stage at a mere 145pbm. I believe he's 28yrs old? That would make his max HR 192 - and I bet it isn't!

Unfortunately, you max HR is genetically determined, and is not increased by fitness. What is increased is your capacity to excercise at at higher HR for a longer period of time, and to recover from that effort in a nominal amount of time (and then do that strenous effort again!). What you need to consider about your highest recorded max is not the speed of your heart but the number of minutes that you can maintain that effort. That is the true measure of your fitness.
re: Thanks for the my question is.......CDC
Jul 10, 2001 3:55 PM
...should I now train by the new MAX HR i reached, or consider it a freak occourance and stick with the one I tested myself at originally.
re: Thanks for the my question is.......Jon Billheimer
Jul 10, 2001 4:25 PM
Use your new higher recorded HR for calculating zones. Much more important from a training perspective, however, is your lactate threshold heart rate.
re: Thanks for the my question is.......FrenchPress
Jul 10, 2001 5:34 PM
How did you come to the MAX you were using? Is it 220 minus age? Did you get tested? Did you just guess? That's the important part. If it was from a threshold test, then keep the old MAX. If it was a guess or age minus, then get tested. That's really the only way to know for certain. I've known a lot of people (myself included) that trained on a MAX that was too high or low. Either way is bad. Best bet is get the test. How? Find a physical trainer in your area and have them do it. If you train by HR religiously, that's what you need to do and it's worth the expense.
Well. . .voodoo-1
Jul 10, 2001 11:28 PM
Like everyone else has said. . .your Max decreases with age. At age 23, I think my Max was at 200. What can increase with training is your VO2 max, and that's what you need to worry about. The more long steady state workouts you do, the more your VO2 Max increases (to a point). That's what you need to worry about since that's what allows you to go longer harder without the lactic acid taking over and killing your body.

voodoo-1 (you probably just weren't going hard enough for the first test)
it does decrese...BUTColnagoFE
Jul 11, 2001 9:51 AM
that 220-age formula was based on sedentary individuals. no reason a person that keeps in shape should lose a beat a year. much less than that. i'm 36 and still have a 200 MHR (stress test at dr. office). I tend to hit my AT around 175-80. Highest HR I've seen on my HRM is 196 though and that's only for a few seconds ot I'd blow for sure.
use "new" MHR as a guidfeColnagoFE
Jul 11, 2001 9:48 AM
though it really isn't new. you just never went that hard before.
Jul 10, 2001 4:44 PM
The 220 minus age formula can be off by well more than 5-8 bpm. My formula calculation is low by 17.
Max HR varies.PingPong
Jul 11, 2001 4:48 AM
Use the most recent result as max HR varies. Search Chris Carmichael's 's articles on HR and MHR testing. Also be aware that to reach your peak true HR you need to be well rested mentally and physically.
Jul 11, 2001 9:47 AM
MHR is mostly genetic. Your AT will increase though and your RHR may drop.