Is achieving near max heart rate dangerous?

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by NSM3, Dec 26, 2004.

  1. NSM3

    NSM3 New Member

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    I was on my mag trainer yesterday (I know - christmas day - sad or what?) and towards the end of the session of 50 mins, I pushed on really hard for a minute on the 42/12 and to my shock, got a heart rate of 179bpm.

    Before all you pro's start laughing - I'm 45, 196lbs, only been cycling for 1 year for fitness purposes and have only ever seen 165bpm maximum before.

    The thing is, I felt as if my chest was about to explode and for about 2 mins during the cooling down period, the centre of my chest had a dull ache in it.

    I have checked the heart rate chart and see I should be able to achieve 175bpm, so I must have been somewhere near my maximum?

    Point is, should I try to avoid this level of exertion or is it possible to "train" your heart to beat faster at my age?
     
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  2. palewin

    palewin New Member

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    A few of the "facts" as I understand them, and then the real experts can join in. Max HR is determined by genetics and age, it is not trainable. What is trainable (avoiding a long discussion about Lactate Threshold) is the highest HR you can maintain for a relatively long period of time - as you get fitter, that HR gets closer to your "fixed" maxHR. Your genetic maxHR drops about 1 beat/year as you age.
    Secondly, the formulas for maxHR have a lot of variability in them, and are rarely correct for an individual (they are group averages), so it is hard to say whether or not you were really close to or at maxHR. For most of us, it is very difficult to reach maxHR on our own, because it is very uncomfortable. In my case I only get close during races, where my level of exertion isn't set by me, it is set by the racer whose wheel I'm trying to hang onto. (I don't mean this as a joke, but to demonstrate that by ourselves, maxHR takes a lot of willpower to attain.)
    Lastly, for a healthy individual, there is no danger hitting maxHR, it is essentially self-limiting. But the catch is the "healthy individual." If you have undiagnosed problems, hitting max can be an issue. Personally, I'm uneasy about your comment concerning a 2-minute sore chest afterwards - that could merely be muscles from breathing hard, or something more serious, which is where doctors come into play.
     
  3. NSM3

    NSM3 New Member

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    Thanks Palewin. It's probably the difference between riding road/trainer that has bumped my HR up. What I mean by that is, when riding on the road (always alone) I never push myself to huge levels of exertion for fear that I may not complete the ride - on the trainer that problem doesn't exist as I can fall off the bike and crawl back into the house!!

    I think for a safety margin however, I will try to avoid going over 170bpm for the near future.
     
  4. spomanski

    spomanski New Member

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    You need to get to a doctor and have a full stress test. This will, in all likelyhood, show if you have any issues related to your heart that need to be addressed.
    I"ve been at max heart rate many times with no ill effects. I'm a 46 year old male and just started cycling seriously about 3 years ago. I hit my max any number of times before I had my stress test, but I don't recomend it. There is a certain fatalistic side to my personality that most sane individuals ought to avoid.
    Eric
     
  5. wiredued

    wiredued New Member

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    For what its worth I have been way over my max 181hr by accident I hit 192 and wouldn't have even known it if I didn't check. I believe 85% of max is optimal without hurting yourself so I try to stay at 160.

     
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