heart rate monitors

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by k-d-wharton, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. k-d-wharton

    k-d-wharton New Member

    May 13, 2011
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    I got a HRM with my new computer, but i don't know how to use it in regards to training (mainly for climbing). Or what the benefits of it are. I've checked out a few websites, and they stress alot that heart rate zones are key. But apart from that it kind of went over my head. Can anybody help break it down?...

  2. Jade Zhenzy

    Jade Zhenzy New Member

    Aug 24, 2011
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    It is a long conversation that could be a book but I'll shoot for a few

    There are various phases to training. The base building phase, which can
    amount to several hundred miles of running and 1,500 to 2,000 miles of
    cycling done at moderate intensity to build capillaries. This should be
    completed between 70% and 80% of your max heart rate. Brings up the question
    what is max heart rate? The equation 220 minus your age which always seems
    to be low. Use the InBar formula which has proven to be the most accurate
    predictor of heart rate. That formula is (205.8 - 0.685 * Age) * % of Max
    If I am 50 years old then I go (205.8-(0.685 * 50) = maximum predicted heart
    rate and the answer is 171.55.

    You can then multiply this number, the 171.55 times the desired zone. So,
    for instance, if I am doing a base building ride in my aerobic zones then I
    multiply 171.55 * .70 (or 70 percent) and then .80 (or 80 percent). This
    gives me my workout zone for the day and I enter these two numbers into my
    heart rate monitor as lower and upper alerts. So for me an aerobic workout
    is conducted between 120 beats per minute and 137 beats. This would be early
    season base building type intensity.

    The various heart rate zones are:
    50% - 60% = Beginner or Recovery Zone.
    Maintaining a heart rate in this zone is ideal for comfortable exercise to
    improve overall health. Start here if you are new to exercise or are in need
    of a recovery day between intense workouts. It is also a good zone for
    overweight people to begin burning fat. The effort level is low and allows
    time for the muscles and joints to wake up and prepare for a more active

    60%-70% = Heart Health and Weight Loss Zone.
    If you get “winded” walking up a single flight of stairs, start training in
    this zone. With your heart beating between 60% and 70% of your max you are
    conditioning it to pump more blood. Better circulation efficiency is the key
    to delivering more oxygen to your muscles. Stored body fat is the primary
    fuel in this zone. Your long, slow, distance workouts are in this level –
    with emphasis on slow.

    70%-80% = Aerobic Zone.
    If you can’t run the soccer field like you used to, it is probably because
    you are not spending enough time in this zone. Training in the aerobic zone
    will improve cardiovascular fitness. Your body will more effectively
    transport oxygen-rich blood to your muscles. Your 30-mile road ride will
    begin to take less time. Your 10k’s will improve, etc.

    80%-90% = Anaerobic Threshold Zone.
    When your heart is beating in this range, your body is producing lactic acid
    at levels it cannot effectively remove. Sprint workouts are designed to push
    your anaerobic threshold. Training in this zone conditions your body to
    tolerate lactic acid for longer periods of time. This will lead to muscle
    growth and significant improvements in athletic performance.

    90%-100% = VO2 Max Zone
    VO2 Max is your body’s maximum oxygen consumption level. It is measured in
    volume/time units. You may reach this zone only for very short bursts of
    time. When you go into oxygen debt by racing your buddy to the finish line
    you have reached your VO2 max. Your lungs can’t keep up your body’s demand
    for oxygen and lactic acid floods into your muscles. Training in this zone
    increases enzymes in your muscles responsible for anaerobic metabolism.

    I hope this helps you get the picture.

    Rusty Squire, President, Heart Rate Watch Company
  3. k-d-wharton

    k-d-wharton New Member

    May 13, 2011
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    that helps me alot, thanks very much!
  4. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

    Feb 12, 2011
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    The most useful part of a heart rate monitor is an indicator of how much longer you can ride. It should take only a bit of experimenting to determine how high you want your rate to get. Just go out and do a hard climb. When you are hurting as much as you want, look at your monitor.

    Next time you go out adjust your effort to keep your heart rate a bit bellow the number you saw on your monitor. That might not be a good way to train, but it will get you up a hill.

    If you have a stop watch, you can time yourself on the hill both now and after training for some time and see if your training has gotten you up with hill faster or with a lower heart rate. Both are reasonable goals.


    There are a lot of problems with using heart rate for training. (People have been successful for decades using heart rate.) Heart rate takes some time to react to your training efforts so it is best used on longer steadier efforts. Heart rates have a great deal of day to day variation. Just don't take the numbers to seriously.
  5. vspa

    vspa Active Member

    Jan 11, 2009
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    set it to display as a " % " rather than " beats per minute "
    then you can follow the complete advice given here to you

    i would also add that heart rate is not a definitive or fix parameter for you to follow blindly but it can be a very good companion in training