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Max HR unusually low...(11 posts)

Max HR unusually low...ashleyrenfroe
Jan 24, 2002 11:58 AM
I have posted this question over on, and I got a variety of answers. But it has been bothering me a bit lately, and I feel a trip to the Dr. may be in order. And I don't like Doctors. Here goes...

I am a fit, 26 year old male, about 197 pounds, and 6' tall. I have been cycling for 5 years, with road biking becoming my main focus in the last 6 months.

I have a resting HR of about 43, so I know that is pretty low. But the max I have been able to attain is about 171. That is well below where I should be, based on the generalities of convention (says I should be at 188). Lately, when really working hard, I cannot exceed 164-165.

Could this be a sign of overtraining? Is there any other genetic or medical reason why my HR is so low?
no problemFormer Troll
Jan 24, 2002 12:09 PM
Max HR is mostly genetic. You're stuck with it. I don't think this is a problem though. Just train at the appropriate percentage of your max.
A non-doctor w/same condition agrees...cory
Jan 24, 2002 12:26 PM
Had the same condition when I was in my 20s through about 40--my resting pulse was 38-42, but I couldn't get it over ~160 no matter how hard I pushed. Couple of doctors told me not to think about it, and up to now (age 57) it's never caused me any trouble.
See a cardiologist just for peace of mind if you're concerned, but it's probably nothing to worry about.
How did you determine Max?Len J
Jan 24, 2002 12:29 PM
This is an easy one to underestimate.

Have you done any of the LT tests? If so what is your LT?, What is it as a % of YOur Max?

It seems like it makes more sense (To me) to train as a % of LT (as Freil suggests) for 2 reasons: 1)It is trainable, the fitter you get the higher the LT (assuming you are training to increase your LT)& 2) IMO it is easier (and safer) to test & get a real value. Therefor easier to set the appropriate training zones.

As the othefr poster said, Max HR is mostly genetic, LT is trainable. Measure your LT & set your training zones appropriatly and Go for it.

My .02

Thanks for the adviceashleyrenfroe
Jan 24, 2002 1:00 PM
But now I have to figure my LT. How is that done? Let me guess, I gotta pay somebody to do it for me, right??

I will give it a try. I am interested in seeing just how fit that I can be.
Freil's method.....Len J
Jan 24, 2002 1:13 PM
If you can get hold of Freil's book (I have it at home & I'm at work) he suggests a time trial approach.

Either do a 3 mile TT as hard as you can , note your average Haeart rate and assume that this is 102% of your LT. or do a 10 Mile TT as hard as you can, note your average heart rate and this should be your LT. I am doing this from memory so I hope I'm right (if not I'm sure someone will correct me). I use the 10 mile TT approach and it feels right to me. Remember that if you are going all out in a TT it hurts.

Another way he suggests, requires a helper. After a warmup, Pick a gear you can turn comfortably. Spin this gear for a minute, have your assistant note your avg speed, average heartrate and perceived effort. Up shift to the nest hardest gear, hold this at the same cadence for a minute with your helper noting your avg speed, avg heartrate & perceived effort, Up shift again & repeat with progressivly harder gears until you can't finish a minute. Since most people can only exert effort for 3 or 4 minutes above LT, you can use this to estimate your LT. (Again I'm doing this from memory.

Hope this helps

Freil's book is really worth the $29.00 if you are going to try to coach yourself.

Here is a link....Len J
Jan 24, 2002 1:14 PM
and it's only $19.00.
re: Max HR unusually low...guido
Jan 24, 2002 2:29 PM
Seems to me that if you have a resting heartrate in the low 40s, you're in great cardiovascular shape. I would also guess, that if you can do really hard efforts and your heart can skate along at 165 bpm, everything's working great. But I bet you haven't reached true max. yet. It's so hard that a great many of us never get up to that level. So go ahead and do a stress test, but don't worry about being out of shape. I regularly keep up (for a while!) with young blades, them working at 180 bpm, me along side them at 155 bpm, because I've been riding a whole lot longer than they have, and can do the same work they can with a lower heartrate.
Low max HR could be a sign of overtraining. If youbill
Jan 24, 2002 2:31 PM
are overtrained, your little legs can't move fast and hard enough for you to reach your max HR.
This is in addition to the other good advice you've received here. Max HR is individual and, I think, pretty difficult to determine without a fair amount of sophistication in knowing your body and when it is maxed out. I wouldn't worry about a low one as much as I would worry that there was a reason why I wasn't reaching the max when I was trying.
Low max HRJon Billheimer
Jan 24, 2002 8:40 PM
As mentioned by other posters, maximum heart rate is genetic. Some of us are born with fast tickers, some slow. In a recent issue of Performance Conditioning Cycling, Kevin Lippert, in his article on Understanding Heart Rate for Cycling, notes that while Miguel Indurain's MHR was 195 bpm, Eddy Merckx had a max of 162 bpm and Bernard Hinault a max of 170 bpm. Get the picture? So stop fretting. Len's advice is sound. Determine your LT by TTing and set up your training zones based on that. BTW, a 10 mi. TT avg. heart rate, done as a workout, equates to 101% of LT, done as a race equates to 105% LT.
All authorities agree -- max HR, unlike resting HR, is genetic.bill
Jan 25, 2002 6:52 AM
You have one like you have a hair color. But there may be a lot more going on here. Has our hero really measured his max HR? I think that it's quite difficult to measure, and it's even more difficult for us to determine whether our hero has measured correctly. And, one of the hallmarks of chronic overtraining is the inability to push your HR up towards its max. So, when our hero asked whether his low apparent max HR could be the result of overtraining, the answer is, yes. He didn't insert "apparent;" I did, but that's what I got out of his question.
If the question is should he be worried about a low max HR. The answer is no.
If the question is, should I be worried that I've overtrained to the point of being unable to register my true max HR, the answer is, yes. That is a legitimate concern.