Heart Rate Differences on and off the trainer



jitteringjr

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I've noticed a 15 bpm difference between the trainer and the road. The trainer being the lessor. I can't get my max HR above 175 on the trainer, but on the road I can get to 189. I also noticed that the same intesity that will give me 162bpm on the road is less than 150bpm on the trainer.

When training on the trainer, should I use the different max HRs as a standard or what?

Has anyone else experienced this?
 

Aztec

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Jul 8, 2003
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I've noticed a similar difference on stationary bikes. 160 bpm seems like a LOT of work indoors, where outdoors it's easy. Don't know why.
 

Feanor

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Originally posted by jitteringjr
I've noticed a 15 bpm difference between the trainer and the road. The trainer being the lessor. I can't get my max HR above 175 on the trainer, but on the road I can get to 189. I also noticed that the same intesity that will give me 162bpm on the road is less than 150bpm on the trainer.

When training on the trainer, should I use the different max HRs as a standard or what?

Has anyone else experienced this?

I'm in the same boat as you and heart rate outdoors is always significantly higher than indoor on the rollers...

I need to clarify this... Indoors I ride the rollers at a cadence and gearing that gets my heart rate to about 150-155... and it "feels" a certain way as in it hurts at acertain level.

I get out on the road and the speeds are lower of course as rollers are very easy to ride at high speeds and cadences, but at the same "perceived" level of suffering I look down and my heart rate is 160-165... and this is consistent training day after training day...

Maybe the exhiliration and distraction of the road reduces the apparent suffering you feel... or maybe the onrush of cooling air on the road has a much more positive effect than the big fan I have blowing on me indoors...

Feanor
 

2LAP

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Lots of people get the opposite effect (i.e. higher indoors) due to higher temperatures and the heart having to work harder to cool the body down.
 

tonyzackery

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Dec 23, 2006
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Funny, looking at some old posts and came across this. Appears obvious to me that this person knows nothing about overcoming the resistance of the air while riding outdoors. Riding indoors - no air resistance...
 

BullGod

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tonyzackery said:
Funny, looking at some old posts and came across this. Appears obvious to me that this person knows nothing about overcoming the resistance of the air while riding outdoors. Riding indoors - no air resistance...
riding indoors you would probably set the trainer at a higher resistance to compensate for the lack of air resistance.

I can get my HR higher on the trainer than outdoors, with the exception of racing.

Outside it's possible to freewheel from time to time and still maintain speed, coasting around corners, waiting for traffic etc - all adds up to less work done, and lower intensity. Plus where I live it's totally flat. On the trainer it's not possible to freewheel, and you can force yourself to hold a certain intensity got a desired duration - this is not always posible on the road. I also find the heat pushes my HR up.
 

tonyzackery

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Dec 23, 2006
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BullGod said:
riding indoors you would probably set the trainer at a higher resistance to compensate for the lack of air resistance.

I can get my HR higher on the trainer than outdoors, with the exception of racing.

Outside it's possible to freewheel from time to time and still maintain speed, coasting around corners, waiting for traffic etc - all adds up to less work done, and lower intensity. Plus where I live it's totally flat. On the trainer it's not possible to freewheel, and you can force yourself to hold a certain intensity got a desired duration - this is not always posible on the road. I also find the heat pushes my HR up.
All things being equal (including temperature), you will do more work (greater effort) outdoors where most of your power required to propel your bike forward will be used to overcome drag imposed by the air. Indoors on a trainer you do not have that issue, hence, your heart rate will be lower.
 

ric_stern/RST

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tonyzackery said:
All things being equal (including temperature), you will do more work (greater effort) outdoors where most of your power required to propel your bike forward will be used to overcome drag imposed by the air. Indoors on a trainer you do not have that issue, hence, your heart rate will be lower.

Afraid not. While some people can't generate the same amount of power indoors due to e.g., small flywheel on the trainer, many can produce the same power indoors (or greater). The resistance on many trainers can go up to ~1 KW

Ric
 

tonyzackery

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ric_stern/RST said:
Afraid not. While some people can't generate the same amount of power indoors due to e.g., small flywheel on the trainer, many can produce the same power indoors (or greater). The resistance on many trainers can go up to ~1 KW

Ric
As I said, ALL variables being equal, you will expend more energy (and therefore experience a higher heart rate) riding outdoors than indoors where there is no air resistance. I am not a scientist, but I know this is a fact.

I know someone is going to try and come up with some one-off scenario to dispute what I'm saying but those are risks you take when you make a statement on these on-line forums...
 

blkhotrod

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tonyzackery said:
As I said, ALL variables being equal, you will expend more energy (and therefore experience a higher heart rate) riding outdoors than indoors where there is no air resistance. I am not a scientist, but I know this is a fact.

I know someone is going to try and come up with some one-off scenario to dispute what I'm saying but those are risks you take when you make a statement on this on-line forums...

if anyone says white, RST says black. if anyone says black, RST says white. just have to ignore his posts.
 

ric_stern/RST

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tonyzackery said:
As I said, ALL variables being equal, you will expend more energy (and therefore experience a higher heart rate) riding outdoors than indoors where there is no air resistance. I am not a scientist, but I know this is a fact.

Likely, you will expend more energy outdoors, but that's simply because you can (generally) ride for longer outdoors, as indoors is about as much fun as having your teeth pulled!

However, in terms of power output (i.e., work done per unit time) you're wrong. Many people with the appropriate period of practice riding indoors can generate the same power indoors as outdoors (although you can generally generate more power - for short periods of time - when standing, which is difficult to do indoors). Some people can generate *more* power indoors versus outdoors (for e.g., when i'm habituated to the trainer i can generate about 10% *more* power indoors compared to outdoors).

ric
 

ric_stern/RST

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blkhotrod said:
if anyone says white, RST says black. if anyone says black, RST says white. just have to ignore his posts.

****, at least your name suits your intelligence (or complete lack of).

Anyway, there was a thread in the power forum not too long ago, where this was mentioned (power indoors versus outdoors) and others stated the same (as i mentioned above)

Ric
 

ecandl

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I have wondered about my lower heart rate on my trainer. I can't measure power, but at perceived effort my trainer HR is about 10-15 beats lower. My max HR is also lower. I do have trouble motivating myself on the trainer without actual obstacles such as hills. I also attributed part of the lower rate to not being able to get off the saddle.
 

frenchyge

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tonyzackery said:
Appears obvious to me that this person knows nothing about overcoming the resistance of the air while riding outdoors. Riding indoors - no air resistance...
The resistance built into the trainer's wind/magnetic/fluid resistance unit takes the place of the air resistance on the road.
 

tonyzackery

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frenchyge said:
The resistance built into the trainer's wind/magnetic/fluid resistance unit takes the place of the air resistance on the road.
Oh really?! I never knew what that resistance was designed to replicate!:D
Jokes aside, you really think that built-in resistance is accurate for all riders, on all terrain, at all speeds, at all wind conditions, etc, etc...?
 

ric_stern/RST

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tonyzackery said:
Oh really?! I never knew what that resistance was designed to replicate!:D
Jokes aside, you really think that built-in resistance is accurate for all riders, on all terrain, at all speeds, at all wind conditions, etc, etc...?

resistance is provided by the roller system that presses against the tyre. many trainers can provide resistance up to ~1KW. This is significantly greater than the power that anyone can produce for any substantial period of time.

ric
 

jstock

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tonyzackery said:
Oh really?! I never knew what that resistance was designed to replicate!:D
Jokes aside, you really think that built-in resistance is accurate for all riders, on all terrain, at all speeds, at all wind conditions, etc, etc...?
I may be feeding a troll, but since it's christmas I guess it's ok
smile.gif

Accurate compared to what?? No two runs one the road are exactly the same. Are you saying that it is impossible to get a good workout on the trainer just because the resistance is not exactly the same as for riding on the road. But which road ride is the correct one to replicate?
confused.gif


I used to produce lower power and higher heart rate on the trainer. Now power is about the same indoors and outdoors. Heartrate I don't know about since my chest strap is long gone. I think the reason for my indoor improvement is that I got me a Fortius. I used to be ready to commit suicide after 20 minutes of riding, now 2 hours is sometimes even fun. This has in turn lead to much more trainer time and I guess I'm adapting. Also the feel of the Fortius is really close to riding on the road (at least compared to my Flow), so I don't have to change my riding style as much as when riding on the Flow.

/J
 

ives

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I have the same problem on the turbo.

Getting my HR up to near threshold is a massive effort, unlike on the road, and keeping it there for longer than 5 mins is near impossible.

I would agree with the other poster ,that perceived exertion is about 10 or 15 bpm out on the TT compared to the road.

I'm struggling to find a reason why this would be.
Surely there must be a reason?
 

frenchyge

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ives said:
I'm struggling to find a reason why this would be.
Surely there must be a reason?
There is. The reason is that the trainer loads the muscles differently than they are used to from road riding, making the perceived exertion higher for the same output (edit: for many people, at first). Since the trainer speeds don't match outdoor speeds, it's difficult to objectively measure output directly without a power meter.

When people aren't able to get their indoor HR up to the level of their outdoor HR, it's because they're matching perceived exertion and riding at a lower output indoors.

For more information and a much more current thread, see: http://www.cyclingforums.com/t343971.html