Heart Rate Monitor Accuracy



nodor

New Member
Feb 11, 2010
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I recently picked up a simple heart rate monitor and used it today for the first time. My heart rate was at a constant 160-170 the entire ride. In the last few miles I sprinted to see how high I could push it. It hit 232 and lingered in the upper 220s until I let off. This was really surprising to me so I wanted to see how accurate you guys think this might be. I didn't even think it was possible to get that high. It measures my resting heart rate correctly at 50-60. This is the heart rate monitor I used New Balance Watches N2 Heart Rate Monitor from Backcountry.com

If it helps I'm 21 years old, 6ft tall, and weigh 135 lbs and have only been riding since March of this year. It wasn't until recently that I've started to ride 20-30 miles every day and one 50-60 mile ride a week.
 

Sid Nitzerglobi

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Jun 15, 2010
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nodor said:
I recently picked up a simple heart rate monitor and used it today for the first time. My heart rate was at a constant 160-170 the entire ride. In the last few miles I sprinted to see how high I could push it. It hit 232 and lingered in the upper 220s until I let off. This was really surprising to me so I wanted to see how accurate you guys think this might be. I didn't even think it was possible to get that high. It measures my resting heart rate correctly at 50-60. This is the heart rate monitor I used New Balance Watches N2 Heart Rate Monitor from Backcountry.com

If it helps I'm 21 years old, 6ft tall, and weigh 135 lbs and have only been riding since March of this year. It wasn't until recently that I've started to ride 20-30 miles every day and one 50-60 mile ride a week.

The constant 160-175 BPM isn't all that crazy if you were doing a semi aggressive ride, should be right on the border of zone 4 for you I'd imagine.

The 220+ for the sprint sounds like either an issue w/ the monitor or tachycardia of some sort. Was your heart actually beating this fast? If it was you would know.

6' and 135lbs sounds a bit dangerous to me, make sure you're eating enough as you ramp up the total calories burned.

.02
 

dhk2

Active Member
Aug 8, 2006
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I'd assume the HRM is accurate. We all have different max HRs, and at your age, height and weight, 232 doesn't sound impossible to me, just on the high side of normal.

If you haven't had a doctor listen to your heart recently or take an EKG baseline, would suggest that you go in for a check up and tell him about your heart rate on the bike. On the small chance that you could have a medical problem, it's worth getting checked out before you do too much more max HR training.
 

dingobabiesm8

New Member
Aug 4, 2010
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Although you may just have a heart rate, it is also possible that there were electromagnetic sources (power lines, traffic lights, etc.) interfering with the monitor. This will often cause your monitor to display abnormally high readings. I have personally experienced this; riding along certain parts of a route, my heart rate monitor will read 240.
As others have said, you will definitely know if your heart was beating as high as 230.
 

TKOS

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Oct 6, 2004
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My heart rate monitor read 40bpm the other day. I wasn't wearing the chest strap though. So yeah, sometimes they just mess up.
 

anonimo

New Member
Dec 19, 2009
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nodor said:
I recently picked up a simple heart rate monitor and used it today for the first time. My heart rate was at a constant 160-170 the entire ride. In the last few miles I sprinted to see how high I could push it. It hit 232 and lingered in the upper 220s until I let off. This was really surprising to me so I wanted to see how accurate you guys think this might be. I didn't even think it was possible to get that high. It measures my resting heart rate correctly at 50-60. This is the heart rate monitor I used New Balance Watches N2 Heart Rate Monitor from Backcountry.com

If it helps I'm 21 years old, 6ft tall, and weigh 135 lbs and have only been riding since March of this year. It wasn't until recently that I've started to ride 20-30 miles every day and one 50-60 mile ride a week.
Next time, take a reading with your finger on you neck for 6 sec., then multiply by ten to check it. I found my Polar HRM seems to read about 10 bpm lower than it really is. (Part of the reason I stopped using the thing.)
 

JuneHawk

New Member
Aug 15, 2010
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I don't know if this can happen while riding but I usually leave my chest strap on while I drive home and as the car makes the HRM go crazy. While seated, driving my car after cooldown, stretching, etc, it reads 230 - 240bpm. I KNOW that is just not right so I assume it has something to do with the car vibrations or some other sort of interference.
 

valvan

New Member
Jul 21, 2009
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i noticed today when i was ridding around power lines my heart rate monitor shot up to 260bpm when i was doing a zone 2 ride so always look at your surroundings. also make sure your shirt does not get underneath the sensors for this can cause errors also.
 

Dutchw

New Member
Aug 26, 2010
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230+ seems unlikely but not impossible. An MHR of 200 is normal for your age group.
A HR monitor also captures an " extrasystole", which could be happening in your case.

I would go for an ECG just to be sure. Good idea anyway when you start cycling seriously