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I can't get my heart rate up

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi,

I've started cycling after a while of not doing anything at all. Before that I was rowing at least once per day.

I can still get my heart rate up to 180 relatively easily on a concept II rowing machine. I hold 162bmp, which I assume is about my aerobic threshold, for the first 6 minutes of a 2000m piece (after that I push it up to nearly 200bpm to complete in 6:30).

Now I've purchased a racing bike and a Polar F55. It tells me that I should be training at about 149-159bpm depending on the ownzone for the day. No matter what I do on the bike, I can't get my heart rate up and keep it up.

It is like my legs are tired even when I've rested for a couple of days. My heart and lungs can do much more but my legs just won't. I can increase the rate for a short time with a few sprints or a mountain climb but then I'm back at 130bpm.

So what could be wrong? Technique, leg strength... Why is the effect limited to the bike when I can push so 'easily' on the rower?
post #2 of 8

Re: I can't get my heart rate up

You will always achieve a higher heart rate for the sport where you are best trained. Probably your cycling muscles don't yet have the capacity to stress your heart. That is the most probable reason.
post #3 of 8

Re: I can't get my heart rate up

Quote:
Originally Posted by jstock
You will always achieve a higher heart rate for the sport where you are best trained. Probably your cycling muscles don't yet have the capacity to stress your heart. That is the most probable reason.
Not only that, but even as a well-trained athlete you will achieve different maximum heart rates in different sports. As an on-and-off well-trained amateur triathlete, my maximum heart rates (and therefore averages over sustained duration) are different between cycling and running. If anything, I'm better trained at cycling, yet I can (typically) achieve higher heart rates in running.

Berend
post #4 of 8

Re: I can't get my heart rate up

Quote:
Originally Posted by squidwranglr
Not only that, but even as a well-trained athlete you will achieve different maximum heart rates in different sports. As an on-and-off well-trained amateur triathlete, my maximum heart rates (and therefore averages over sustained duration) are different between cycling and running. If anything, I'm better trained at cycling, yet I can (typically) achieve higher heart rates in running.

Berend
I'm not entirely sure about this but I think that two rules apply. Sports that make use of bigger muscle groups may drive your heart rate higher and as I stated before you will achieve higher heartrate for your best sport(s). This would mean that if you are about equally good at running as cycling your running heartrate will be higher. For a period of my life I was pretty untrained. It was hard for me to run at lower than 160 bpm and over 180 was easily doable. Now I ride pretty much but rarely run. Cycling at 170 bpm is pretty easy but running at over 140 bpm is really hard.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Re: I can't get my heart rate up

Thanks!

So if I continue to cycle regularly then I should see my max heart rate on the bike increase?

Is there any particular training (intervals, specific pulse/cadence range, technique) that is going to help this transition? I am hoping to use a 2 hour cycle to work for CV training.
post #6 of 8

Re: I can't get my heart rate up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich8P
Thanks!

So if I continue to cycle regularly then I should see my max heart rate on the bike increase?
Yes, but maybe not to your rowing level.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich8P
Is there any particular training (intervals, specific pulse/cadence range, technique) that is going to help this transition? I am hoping to use a 2 hour cycle to work for CV training.
I'm no guru, but I do have some advice. Don't mind cadence and technique to much. A cadence of 50 is probably not good, but maybe between 80 and 110 would be quite normal. What feels best is probably what is best.

As for specific intervals a good start might be to establish your cycling threshold HR. There are different ways to do this but most will arrive at similar numbers and since the training zones are continious and your HR will fluctuate I don't think it is important to nail it exactly. One way that Friel suggests is to do an all out 30 minutes tt. Your avarege HR for the last 20 minutes will be close to your threshold. Friel then establish different zones. the more interesting are: tempo 89-93% of LTHR, subthreshold 94-100% of LTHR, and 101-102% of LTHR. Basically you want to spend a lot of time around LTHR to improve it.

If you are new to cycling it may take some time to adjust to be able to spend longer times at LTHR, so in the beginning you might want to do shorter or less intensive intervals, but eventually you would want to spend maybe 2x20 (5 minutes of rest) minutes around LTHR, or 3x20 or 1x30 or 1x40 or whatever feels best for you. Somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes of work withouth cutting the intervals to short. You can also do longer rides in the tempo level ( >60 min.).

You don't even have to do the initial TT-test. After a few runs you will learn how hard you can go to survive the intervals. When they become to easy you go harder. You should not trust your HRM to much, also rely on perceived extortion. Rember that your heart rate will lag quite a bit and it may also vary from day to day. Once your hooked you can buy a power meter.

Of course there are better sources for information than me, but the above will at least send you off in the right direction.
Good luck!
post #7 of 8

Re: I can't get my heart rate up

it makes perfect sense, your aerobic system is highly trained/conditioned from rowing... but your legs are weak. You simply can't generate enough power to require your aerobic system to be stressed to the point of raising your HR to your usual levels.

continue training on the bike and you will see those numbers creep up as you are starting to generate more power for longer periods of time.
post #8 of 8

Re: I can't get my heart rate up

Yeah, for the time being the legs simply do not have the power to stress your CV system. Ride more and regularly and eventually things will come into line.

If you have not been riding that long it may not make sense to go after specific training regimens until you have had enough time to ensure that you would not be overstressing tendons/ligaments, etc.
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