Heart rate...what is "max"?


New Member
May 10, 2016
So how do you guys determine your max heart rate?? Like for instance, when in Strava Premium it asks for your Max heart rate what number goes there?

Is Max Heart rate the highest heart rate you have peaked at ever? Is it just the standard 220- Your age number or is it the heart rate you can sustain for a certain period of time?

I had a race the other day where I averaged 171 BPM for over 20 minutes and I averaged 171 but peaked at 178 but I often actually peak at 190-192. The 178 though is the same number I come up with using the 220- Age..So, 192 is what I plug into Strava but now I get very weird and very low estimated power readings...As in, going 24mph on a flat and it says I am generating 60 watts...At 170 lbs, not possible. It could be the unit as it is new as well as the heart rate monitor...But, the question remains, should I use 178 as my max heart rate or the sustainable 171 or my actual peaks (1-2 seconds maybe) of 192?
If lately you have been peaking at 178 then you should propably put that value on instead of 192. A heart's response to exersise can change over a period of time, so I would put the most frequent max heart rate value that I get and not values that are higher but less frequent.

Perhaps there's a difference in your routine that has you reaching a lower max heart rate...which includes energy drinks as well.
I often measure my max heart rate during intervals. But you don't have to do it that way. Whenever you "go all in"( for instance in a race situation) and produce a higher heart rate than your previous max, it will then be your new max heart rate. Your max heart rate is the pulse you have peaked.

However, there are many people confusing threshold pulse with max. Threshold is the highest pulse you measured during an hour of riding. It's the threshold heart rate you want to be in during a time trail for instance.
I use the highest heart rate I've achieved in a race sprint finish. This is usually after the final km has been ridden hard and I'm getting a further 5 - 6 bpm. For me at 55 years old that's 173 bpm.