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Max Heart Rate & Polar Monitor(9 posts)

Max Heart Rate & Polar Monitormbologna
Aug 30, 2002 10:21 AM
What is the 'typical range' for a max heart rate? Anyone seen any really high rates?

I'm asking because I decided to try using a Polar heart rate monitor for the first time about two weeks ago. On my easy rides alone, everything seemed about right (150-165 bpm). Then last Saturday I did a group ride with the fastest group in our cycling club and several times I got readings over 200, but I figured it was interference from other monitors. (This ride was much faster and farther than I normally ride, so I was definitely working hard.)

Yesterday, I did a 30 minute hard ride alone to check some adjustments I made to the bike, and got several readings as high as 214, then I stayed between 195-200 for at least 10 minutes. Is this even possible or could there be a problem with the monitor? Could it signal some medical problem? I was definitely working hard, but I know you shouldn't be able to maintain your max rate for very long.

I'm new to riding (6 months), but was a runner for almost 20 years, and a lot of that at a pretty hard level. I was in physical therapy last year and did some water training ~ in that my max got up to 198 during a test, and the therapist said it could go 1-2 beats higher in a test on land.

I'm 31 years old, so according to the rule of thumb
220- age), I should be in the 190 ballpark.

Any ideas? Thanks!

re: Max Heart Rate & Polar Monitorfrankamo
Aug 30, 2002 10:40 AM
You don't mention which monitor you have, I used to use the A3 and would see readings periodically that I knew were way high. I wrote them off to interference, especially since they would occur on the same stretch of road repeatedly.

FWIW, I'm 33 and use 196 as my max. That's the highest I've seen when I'm about to fall over on uphill sprints.

The polor S710 that I use now estimates my max at 184, which is also where various formulae predict.
220-age is a general rule..270bullet
Aug 30, 2002 12:35 PM
it could be off by 15 bpm. I've posted Max HRs on the Polar s510 of 213-214, but beleive them to be anomolies because they were in group rides that passed under high tension wires. If your speedometer posts a max speed of 65, you know you have some interference. Same with max hr.

It is possible your max hr is 200 or higher. At 39, my measured Max HR is 197. When in my teens, I could get it up to 215. Doesn't mean that much other than setting training zones. I still get dropped. Best to test things out over a few rides of equal perceived exertion. If the HR is in the same high range, you will have an indication that the readings are accurate.

What I noticed with the S510 is that I'll do interval work where my HR is 180-185, maybe a bump higher. When I get home and look at the file, it will show that I spent 3 seconds above 197 with a max of 200 or the like. In these cases I just write it off as an anomoly.
Aug 30, 2002 1:09 PM
You may well have a problem with your HRM, but don't put much stock in that formula. My max rate is 19 over that formula. There is great individual variation.
Watch for Heart ArrythmiaBacco
Aug 30, 2002 1:13 PM
A few months ago, I started noticing excessively high, erratic readings on my heart monitor (even pedaling at low speed) and thought it was going bad. I replaced the batteries and then the chest strap. Guess what!? It was my heart that was the problem. I was really surprised since I am pretty lean and fit.

It took a month before I could get my arrythmia captured on an EKG. Then I learned that I have atrial fibrillation, which is apparently more likely to occur among those who do a lot of long distance running or biking than those who don't. I'm sure no one in this forum wants to hear that! Atrial fibrillation also frequently develops in people as they get into their 70s and 80s.

I recommend you try different heart monitors and ride away from any possible signal interference. If the high readings persist or if you get erratic readings, confirm them with a manual heart rate check and then see a doctor if necessary. If it turns out to be atrial fibrillaton, let me know and I can direct you to good info concerning treatment. I'm in touch with several other bikers and joggers with this condition.

There are many causes/types of heart arrythmia and high heart rate. Some are benign, some are mildly serious (like mine), and some are life threatening. Note, overtraining is one cause for higher than normal heart rates or arrythmia. You need to get your situation diagnosed to figure out if the problem is with your monitor, training habits or heart.

Here's hoping that your monitor is defective and not your heart. Best regards, Bacco
Watch for Heart Arrythmiaqp-rider
Aug 30, 2002 4:50 PM
I was diagnosed with a case of atrial fib about 20 months ago. It happened once, and has not returned. Each case is unique to that person...meaning some people see it happen only once, some will have it recur frequently and may require medication. My doctors didn't seem to know all that much about atrial fib, in fact in my discharge papers it simply says that it 'is most often associated with hear or lung disease. An overactive thyroid gland can also be the cause...'

it further stated the you 'should avoid stimulants such as caffeine, nicotice, alcohol, decongestants and diet pills'

When it occurred to me, it was in the middle of the night, after having been out w/ the boys at a bar, came home, woke my wife...eventually fell asleep only to be woken by my then 9 month old baby screaming from teething pains...when I got up to help him I fell to the ground, dizzy, sick to my stomach and in cold sweats...

anyway, when I finally realized I needed help (next morning) I went to the hospital and they put me on a drug or two to bring down the heart rate...

ALL THAT SAID...b/c it was not the rate that the Atrial Fib caused that was noticeable...i feel great at 190 bpm. it was the rhythem. even when the drug brought the rate to 70, the rhythem was very uncomfortable...I think most people will notice that first.

I'm 38...turned out a good number of my friends close in age to me have had a similar event.

re: Max Heart Rate timex ironman hrmstik__boy
Aug 30, 2002 3:13 PM
i have a timex "ironman" triathlon hrm. i believe it works pretty well. i ride in remote areas with virtually no (known) electrical interference and i peg out at 210. its not unusual for me to be in the high 180's or low 190's while giving it some...... 31, pretty fit. no "ironman" though..... 8)
re: Max Heart Rate & Polar Monitorqp-rider
Aug 30, 2002 4:18 PM
I noticed my polar monitor giving false readings (like 215-225 when just starting out) and initially thought it was the battery. After some testing it appears that it was related to the chest strap and moisture on the sensors. Once I re-wet the sensors, the numbers dropped back to normal.

In my case, being 38, the rule of thumb would say 182 +/-, but in hard group riding I have seen 196-200 on several occasions. Normally I ride at 145-174.

Good luck.

"Hidden Fence" (for dogs) = 223 bpm...TFerguson
Sep 1, 2002 6:46 AM
This does not sound like your problem at all, but it is something to watch for. Every time I go by a house with an underground dog fence, my monitor goes to 222 or 223 bpm. Scare me good the first time.