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97% of max heart rate(13 posts)

97% of max heart rateCRM
Nov 16, 2001 6:34 AM
I just started using a heart rate monitor about a month or so ago and while I've done some reading on the subject, I still don't know much about it. Prior to last night, I had never topped more than 94% of my maximum heart rate during my hardest efforts. Last night, it hit 97%.

My question is what, if any, is the significance of this? Is there any particular advantage to coming closer to your maximum heart rate? Does it indicate any fitness gain? Is it dangerous or harmful in any way? Any explanation of the topic is greatly appreciated. Thanks.
re: 97% of max heart rateLone Gunman
Nov 16, 2001 7:24 AM
The monitor is nothing more than a tool, a gauge that tells you how hard the heart is working. Using the "tool" in conjuction with a fundamentally sound training program is where you can gain the most benefit from using the monitor and then some of the #'s you describe will make sense. An example is zone training, where you have a set of 4 or 5 zones based upon a % of max HR where you train for a specified length of time in each zone. If your training now is just trying to push yourself to max out, you probably will not get alot of gain from the training. Tool in conjuction with a plan = fitness gain.
Need more info.......Len J
Nov 16, 2001 7:36 AM
How did you calculate Max Heart rate?
How long did you stay at 97%?


Need more info.......CRM
Nov 16, 2001 7:56 AM
My max heart rate was calculated automatically by the HR monitor (Polar A5). I assume it used the 220 minus your age (33) formula. I was only at that rate for about 15 seconds but I was between 94 and 97% for about 45 seconds.

Here's a little additional information in case it helps. I haven't been doing a heart rate training program. I just got the monitor and have been using it during spin classes primarily just to get used to operating it and because it provides an interesting distraction. I understand that the monitor itself has no training application in the context of the spin class because I'm just doing what the instructor tells me to do regardless of its effect on my heart rate. I plan to start a HR program at home with my bike on a trainer once I understand what the heck I'm doing. I was just curious about the theory behind maximum heart rate and whether or not there is any significance to being so close to your (calculated) maximum HR. Thanks again.
Need more info.......Jon
Nov 16, 2001 8:34 AM
The standard age-related heart rate formulas are largely meaningless. Sorry! Approximately
40% of the population will deviate by up to 20 beats per minute from any age-based formula.
What you need to do is pick up a good book on heartrate based training, do some on-bike testing
to determine your max HR and then go from there. A good source is Precision Heartrate Training
by Ed Burke, or any number of cycling training books, e.g. Cyclists Training Bible by Joe Friel,
Smart Cycling by Arnie Baker, Serious Cycling by Ed Burke. There are a number of others. Also,
go to your search engine and look for some articles on heart rate training. There is an excellent
one by Sally Edwards, but I don't recall the URL.

By any measurement, what your reading at spin class indicates is that you were working real hard!
Need more info.......CHRoadie
Nov 16, 2001 9:18 AM
Agreed! Calculated max HRs are just a rule of thumb. My max is 196, but I was at 198 during a training session last night. I've hit 200 on hill sprints. But it is a good tool to get a ballpark figure for your training zones.
then your max is 200--not 196ColnagoFE
Nov 16, 2001 12:07 PM
by definition...assuming your HRM reading of 200 is correct.
Max heart rate....Len J
Nov 19, 2001 4:37 AM
calculation of 220 - age is meaningless, (IMO) I am 46 yrs old. By this calc my Max is 174. I can maintain 181bpm for 1.5 hours on the bike. My actual max is closer to 198 (Observed during hill climb sprint test).

There are several on bike tests for max heart rate that you cn find in several heart rate monitor training books.

How do you know what your MHR is?ColnagoFE
Nov 16, 2001 12:04 PM
If you are using that stale 220-age formula you are probably WAY off. The only real way to know is through a dr. administered stress test, but a sub max test can usually get you in the ballpark. A 90+% effort should have you puking or close to puking. It's really painful. I dount you could hold this intensity for more than 15-20 seconds if you were truly at this percentage of MAX.
training by heartrateguido
Nov 16, 2001 2:01 PM
What we're talking about is training the heart muscles to work efficiently pumping the blood. We do it by placing a demand on the circulatory system, the lungs, the aerobic system, in efforts that go for long periods of time, which is what cycling is all about. To make the heart muscles fitter, you make them work harder. How hard? This is measured by heart rate, but there are only theoretical maximums, as has been suggested.

The main idea is to increase the heart's ability to supply the legs with energy, but once you go into anaerobic your heart beats faster and faster trying to overcome an oxygen deficit that builds up in the working muscles. Depending on how fit you are, within minutes you have to back off effort, in order for your heart to supply the muscles with adequate oxygen, and carry away CO2 and lactic acid. At this point you are aerobic. Now the muscles will go for a long time, because they are continually being supplied with enough, sometimes just enough, oxygen to sustain the work.

I read once that the point at which the heart can no longer supply adequate energy for the muscles to do the work demanded of them, is the "lactate threshold." This heartrate number is a little below the "anaerobic threshold" number, the point at which the muscles are working beyond the capacity of the heart to supply adequate oxygen.

Let's say you're going up a long hill, cranking a moderate gear at a fixed rpm. Your heartrate rises steadily as the hill becomes more and more difficult to sustain the fixed rpm. Either you slow, or bonk, but stubborn as you are, you just keep going at the same intensity, bonk be damned. So you go through your anaerobic threshold: your heart can no longer sustain the effort. Now you have to rely on the strength--whatever's left of it--of the muscle fibers to crank out more turns. Relatively quickly, usually within one minute, your muscles "give out." Your heart is frantically beating up a storm, lungs sucking oxygen, legs full of lactic acid and hurting like hell, and you feel like you're going to throw up--or die. That's where your maximum heartrate is.

According to the doctor, Ferrari, I believe (yes that Dr. Ferrari), your aerobic capacity is reached when your heart is beating at 96% of this maximum. And that's if you're really fit, apparently so with you being stuck at 94% for awhile and then being able to go to 97%. You're playing with your lactate threshold, and the upper limits of your aerobic capacity. This will get better the more you train. Typically, if you're out of shape, your heartrate will go way up during a given exercise intensity, that on another day your heart could handle with less beats-per-minute. So in the long term, as you become fitter, heart rate will be lower for the same perceived effort. You may feel you're working harder than your heartrate monitor says.
not really...Red Z
Nov 16, 2001 2:51 PM
I'm not going to pick apart everything you said here, but there is definately a lot of misinformation. Pick up a good book on heart rate training. Ed Burke wrote a good one.
training by heartrateAngus
Nov 17, 2001 12:43 PM
Couple of points -

It was Conconi who devised the non invasive threshold test. Gradual increase in effort until a heart rate deflection occurs in the graph. Now disputed by many exercise physiologists as to its accuracy. Preference to blood sampling for lactate build up.

An untrained person is not going to have a 90-97% of MHR AT level (last I heard was the maximum obtainable was 95% of MHR). It can be as low as 50%.

The basic objectives of training is to increase aerobic efficiency at AT (heart/lung efficiency, more muscle capillarization, higher blood volume) and push your AT level up by training just below your AT level. Once held to be within 5 beats and now 10-12. A well trained person can increase AT from 90% to 92-95% by AT training.

220 minus age as a theoretical MHR is misleading to any athlete serious about training. Have a proper MHR test.
Not Even Closegrzy
Nov 16, 2001 4:18 PM
You're not even close to hitting your maximum HR. You probably just use the 220 minus your ager formula, but a significant part of the population has a HR that can be 10 or 20 beats above or below the ideal. I can go pretty much all day at 175 and can venture up into 180 - 185, and I'm 40 so max is supposed to be 180 bpm for me. Don't put too much stock in having a high or low HR - it varies greatly by individual. I've seen 204 while racing (I blew).

You need to determine your max HR either with a doc and a stress test (safe) or just set up a tread mill for 6 min. miles and let it throw in random hills with full slope (not safe, but cheap). Run your buns off until you blow up - you will fail and be unable to continue - it's not just being uncomfortable. You'll be cashed and your workout will be over. Potential problem is all the EM waves put out by the generator messing up your HR receiver. And the ladies getting all grossed out by your sweat pouring all over the equipment. just smile and wipe it down.