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Max heart rate?(13 posts)

Max heart rate?Trux
Jun 25, 2002 10:57 AM
Ever since I got my new HR monitor I've been wondering about max HR. I know your age, minus 220, is supposed to be your max rate but climbing Squaw Pass last weekend I was well above my supposed max HR. The quetions is, can you hurt yourself by exceeding your max HR or will your body shut you down before you do any real damage?
nope...220-age is notoriously inaccurateColnagoFE
Jun 25, 2002 11:07 AM
By definition your MHR is the maximum you can get your heart to beat. It is somewhat sport-specific (ie running will result in a slightly higher MHR), and mostly determined by genetics. The 220-age formula was designed for sedentary individuals. there is no reason you lose a beat a year if you remian active although it will decrease as you age somewhat. For example--I am 37 and have a MHR of around 200.
re: Max heart rate?PatC
Jun 25, 2002 11:15 AM
How much above your supposed maximum HR were you, anyway ?
Anyhow, you can't really exceed your max HR since by definition it is the maximum you can reach ! So don't worry..
Where 220- age came from.bikedodger
Jun 25, 2002 12:15 PM

Gabe Mirkin, M.D.

Many of the standard tests used to measure heart function are based on a nonsensical MAXIMUM HEART RATE formula, that predicts the fastest your heart can beat and still pump blood through your body. Although this formula is the golden standard used today, it is not based on science. In 1970, a good friend, Sam Fox, was the director of the United States Pubic Health Service Program to Prevent heart disease. He is one of the most respected heart specialists in the world. He and a young researcher named William Haskell were flying to a meeting. They put together several studies comparing maximum heart rate and age. Sam Fox took out a pencil and plotted a graph of age verses maximum heart rate and said it looks like maximum heart rate is equal to 220 minus a person's age. For the last 30 years, this formula has been taught in physical education and heart function course and has been used to test heart function and athletic fitness. In the 1960s, Sam Fox was very helpful to me when I was competing, planning and setting up running programs, but the whole concept of maximum heart rate and the formula that it is equal to 220 minus your age is ridiculous.

The formula is wrong because your legs drive your heart. Your heart does not drive your legs. Maximum heart rate depends on the strength of your legs, not the strength of your heart. When you contact your leg muscles, they squeeze against the blood vessels near them to pump blood from your leg veins toward your heart. When your leg muscle relax, your leg veins fill with blood. So your leg muscles pump increased amounts of blood toward your heart. This increased blood fills the heart and causes your heart to be faster and with more force. This is called the Bainbridge reflex that doctors are taught in their first year of medical school. The stronger your legs are, the more blood they can pump, which causes your heart to beat faster. Since I race at my maximum speed most weekends on my bicycle, my legs are very strong and can pump blood forcibly to my heart. The formula, 220 minus age, claims that I can get my heart rate only up to 220 minus 66 or 154. I am 66 years old and I can easily get my heart rate above 210 beats a minute because I am in shape. An out-of-shape 20 year may have maximum heart rate of only 120.

A pencil mark plotted on a graph during an airplane flight more than 30 years ago has been the accepted formula for maximum heart rate for more than 30 years and the medical community has accepted false dogma, based on no research, for more than 30 years.
So if 220- age is inaccurate...MXL02
Jun 25, 2002 12:46 PM
how does one determine what their max HR is?
stress test?Jekyll
Jun 25, 2002 1:00 PM
if the 220 minus your age was correct then all of us would walking (riding) hand grenades.......
So if 220- age is inaccurate...namir
Jun 25, 2002 1:00 PM
Ride until your heart rate can't go any higher, no matter what you do. that will be your max heart rate.

it's not rocket science. max HR is max HR...if it goes higher, the new high number is your max hr.

Thanks, but I found this site on the net...MXL02
Jun 25, 2002 1:27 PM
very informative about MHR.
Good site...theBreeze
Jun 25, 2002 1:49 PM
Interesting stuff. Impressive formula. Plugging my numbers in i get a max HR of 179 using the "old stand-by" formula, (oops, I've given it away now), 177 using the Miller formula, properly adjusted for bicycle training, and about 178 based on his table.

Now really, is adjusting my training range by 2 bpm going to make the difference in the next race? Are we even sure that heart rate monitors are that accurate?

In real life I've had it up around 182+ on a treadmill.

For anyone used to hard exercise, perceived exertion may be the way to train. Hey, if you feel like you are maxed out and going to barf, then you probably are. Experienced cyclists (or runners or whatever) can tell when they are aerobic or anaerobic; and for those LSD rides, do what someone here suggested and make yourself nose breath.
Jun 26, 2002 5:44 AM
the less fit you are the easier it is to reach you're max HR, and the higher your resting HR. But yes the 220-age is notoriously inaccurate. You'd have to be so out of shape as to be almost incapacitated if you couldn't sprint for 30s up stairs or something and get pretty damn close to your max-Hr. I've worked with highly deconditioned patients in hospitals and just walking them up a flight of stairs at a ridiculously slow pace will result in a very high HR for them because they are opperating at high % of their maximum effort.
Not possible to exceed your max HR ...Humma Hah
Jun 25, 2002 2:01 PM
... and still be typing on your computer.

The formula is bogus, probably invented by HR monitor company lawyers to underestimate your actual max.

We did a survey here a couple of years ago, and I compiled the data. Of the 39 respondents, the data were scattered all over heck and back (scattered +/- about 20 bpm from all formulae tried) with little correlation between max and age.

The only trend that seemed to mean anything was that young guys usually don't actually have a clue what their max really is, and tend to report a low number. Us old poots worry more about it, have had tests by a cardiologist, and seem to give a higher number.

If you really wanna know your max, and if its safe, get your regular doctor to recommend a cardiac treadmill stress test -- costs somewhere in the $500 range but if your dr. recommends it, insurance may pay, especially if you've got some years behind you. Anyway, if you do it, you're gonna huff and puff until you think you're gonna die -- probably harder than you've ever pushed on a bike, with this rascal watching the scope and saying "harder, harder."
This is what I thought...MXL02
Jun 26, 2002 3:47 AM
The prior posts claiming it was no biggie to determine your own MaxHr sounded rather naive and uninformed. I think it is very difficult to push yourself to the limit and determine your own Max HR, and since I am 47 yo, I am taking your advice and going to a pro.
Not possible to exceed your max HR ...schimanski
Jun 26, 2002 7:40 AM
"If you really wanna know your max, and if its safe.."

Safe? As in: it can kill you if it isn't? And why wouldn't it be safe? Surely the heart can't blow up, or can it?

I get a case of arrhythmia (mostly when spinning over 90rpm which I'm not used to) before I even reach my 220 minus age HR.

Been to ECG (rest only, no stress testing) and blood tests, these revealed nothing so my doc told me not to worry, that they're just 'extra' beats.
If I push even moderately I sometimes get a feeling of a blow to the chest causing some pain.
Could this be more serious than my doctor tells me or what?
I don't get dizzy or anything during these 'attacks' which was what my doc was asking me about before
he told me there's nothing to worry about.