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Max Heart Rate Tests

Afternoon all,

I was just wondering if anyone could help me. I'm looking to do some heart rate training both for the Birmingham Indoor Rowing 2k Challenge (for a bit of cross training) in Oct and then for the UK Ironman next Sept. The training programmes I am going to use are both purely done on heart rate, one from the concept2 website and one from Don Finks Ironfit book (a great read by the way - going to attempt the competitive programme in there).

I wanted to do it all as scientifically as possible, so wanted to work out all my max heart rates, as I know that they differ for all different sports.

If anyone knows how I can do them on an ergo, running, cycling and swimming I would be most appreciative.

I am going to do a 2k test some time next week to set my split benchmarks for the ergo - could I just record my max heart rate for that as it normally leaves my faint/throwing up/passed out?!?!



  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    In a word..yes! As you correctly point out your max will vary between sports, but testing is much the same..a solid thorough warm up..at least 15 mins with some high paced (short) efforts thrown in, then begin the test..which will basically involve a hard effort, short recovery, harder effort, short recovery..& so on until you are working as hard as possible for one maximum effort (the dizzy/throw up point to scientifically label it), that will be as good as you are going to get without expensive lab rat testing. So for example if I was run testing I would find a steepish hill, a couple of minutes long, run up, jog down until aforementioned point. Similarly on the erg, possibly 50 - 100m sprints, row rec for similar distance, & repeat.
  • legalbeaglelegalbeagle Posts: 208
    Hi A-J

    I agree with Britspin on the tests - make sure you have someone with you though as it's possible you'll faint! BUT - try not to throw up on them - it's poor etiquette!
  • its not very complex, but i have been suprised to see that the old

    220 minus your age = max HR

    works for me.

    By the way, I too am using the don fink's competitive program. its very good you are right. have needed to mix the sessions up with some club training to avoid boredom but can really see the sense in his approach.

    Will see how much sense on Sept 7th !!

  • blaiseblaise Posts: 23
    I managed to get my max heart rate tested in a lab (as part of some research performed by sports science students). How they test you can be replicated as they basically break you and then measure the max heart rate- basically just before you tail off and your performance drops off as you have reached your peak. I own a concept 2, possibly the best fitness tool to have in a house!) and would suggest you do a very gentle 6- 8 min warm up, rest for 60-90 secs and then go for it on 1k distance. I wouldnt recommend 2k, simply because 1k is far more of an explosive effort than 2k and you can give it your all pretty much from the off.

    FYI my tested max heart rate was bang on the formula (220 - age). The key thing with any heart rate based training is comparability. Test or calculate your number once and then stick with it, thats the best way to monitor performance over a number of months.
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    So we have two takers for the 220-age calculation...but in what activity, there is bound to be a difference between modalities..it may only be 1,2 or 3 beats, but at the maximum 1 or 2 beats is huge.
  • legalbeaglelegalbeagle Posts: 208
    If I do the 220-age that gives me a max of 178bpm - it doesn't work for me -I can get to 183 on the bike and run (on an uphill slog) quite easily. If I worked at 70 -80% of 178 ie 124 - 142 bpm I wouldn't get much of a workout. I don't know about the swim cos my cheapo HRM isn't waterproof!

    I never know if my results are good or bad - does this make me really unfit or a bit of a freak?
  • BrunoBruno Posts: 7
    Having just started using a heart monitor I find it much tougher to get my heart rate up on a bike than a run. At times I am flying along the road still not being able to get the heart rate to the 60% zone. Should i have a different heart zone for the bike than the run (which I find very easy to get into the 70% zone!)
  • BoycieBoycie Posts: 189
    I back up the guys who don't recommend 220-age, I was tested recently and had a HR max of 193 bpm, whereas my age related is 186 bpm.

    As far as a protocol goes I would recommend a treadmill. It is generally reckoned that running will attain the highest HR max because your using a large amount of muscle groups and your having to support your own body weight, although I would be suprised if rowing doesn't reach about the same. Having warmed up, gradually ramp the speed up until you are running at the maximum speed you can run at safely (a bit subjective I know). When you reach this speed start to increase the gradient, 1% at a time. When you can't go any more, record your HR. If you can download your profile you ought to see a plateau in HR at max.

    It's not abad idea to have someone to do this for you as a) you need motivation, b) it's hard to change intensities when your working so hard and c) you may need someone to call the ambulance or hold the sick bucket.

  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Bruno..as mentioned HR will change with activity type, but you could still be a freak! (kidding)
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Oooops sorry..Legal is the freak.
  • legalbeaglelegalbeagle Posts: 208
    Hey - what happened to the "(kidding)" bit that Bruna got?

  • legalbeaglelegalbeagle Posts: 208
    oh dear - too early and the typing fingers are not working..,. that'll be Bruno obviously! Perhaps I am a freak!
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    I rest my case....kidding...oops see what I did there.

    Legal..my fingers too must have slipped, that & the fact I was at work & the roof fell in..no really it did.
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