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A question regarding heart stress(5 posts)

A question regarding heart stressSD Hart
Nov 30, 2002 12:22 PM
Can you overtrain your heart?

I am a 34 year old male and have been cycling at a club/rec level for a few years. This past spring I became a father, and thus have far less time in which to train. My solution this past summer has been to substitute 2 shorter (30 min.), very intense workouts on a stationary trainer for my normal longer rides during the week, and then a long ride on the weekends.

I have been able to make gains using this method, maintaining a heartrate in the low to mid 180's, and feeling a steady burn in the legs. However, according to the guidelines listed on the machine for my age-group I should keep my heartrate below a maximum of 165. Well, I am barely breathing hard at 170, and feel no fatigue in my legs. I know these guidelines are made for safety reasons, but are they overly conservative for an intermediate level cyclist?

I have no aspirations to be a top level cyclist, but I do like to feel that I am making some small gains each year (i.e. maintaining a higher ave. spead over 60 miles). You hear stories about athletic guys in their mid 30's dropping dead of a heart attack while out jogging, and wonder if you are pushing yourself too hard.

Any comments or training suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you
For the record... not to say the machine is wronPODIUMBOUNDdotCA
Nov 30, 2002 6:19 PM
But it is. For the average person coming off the street and for the first time getting onto an excercise bike thats a guideline that they almost certainly will not hurt themselves unless they have something seriously wrong. You on the other hand have been riding for a fair ammount of time so you'll be fine. The 2 workout idea + long ride is a good way to stay in shape but to get into really good shape you need to ride more than 4 hours a week.

Either way as an idea of different workouts you can do in 30 mins do your regular warmup... then hard intervals... anywhere from 5 secs to 5 mins take some time to rest in between and repeat then do a regular cooldown. If you want I'd be more than happy to elaborate on this just ask on here or email me at nick at

Not to worryKerry
Nov 30, 2002 6:42 PM
First, those charts are meaningless. You cannot calculate your maximum heart rate except in a very coarse sense. Those charts are made to give an estimate to sedentary people when starting an exercise program, and mean nothing to someone who is fit. The stories you hear about young people having heart attacks during exercise almost always are caused by either known or unsuspected heart condition. As long as you remain fit and properly hydrated, you are in no danger from your training program unless you have underlying heart problems.
Agree w/other posts, but still...retro
Dec 1, 2002 4:50 PM
I agree those numbers are conservative, and you probably have nothing to worry about. Since you're concerned, though, and you have somebody depending on you now, why not have a physical with a treadmill test? It will show nothing, and you'll feel better. Or maybe it will find some small thing that will help your kid have a father in 15 years.
Good point (nm)Kerry
Dec 1, 2002 5:11 PM