Which HR Zones?



Stanners77

New Member
Aug 3, 2004
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Here's one for you...

Cyclists and triathletes tend to use the following zones (please forgive if I'm a little out):

1 - 60-65% - Recovery
2 - 65-70% - Endurance
3 - 70-80% - Aerobic
4 - 80-85% - Lactate Threshold
5 - 86+% - Max Aerobic, increasing VO2 Max

I have a rowing background and use the following:

U3 - Utilisation (Recovery) - 65-74%
U2 - Utilisation (Aerobic) - 75-82%
U1 - Utilisation (Higher Aerobic) - 83-88%
AT - Anaerobic Threshold - 89-92%
TR - Transport - 92+%
AN - Anaerobic - MAX

(Around 80% of training is done @ U2/U3)

They're quite similar in many respects but some noteable differences, particularly up either end of the spectrum. I would have thought there would be a univeral system. I can't rationalise a different set of zones for different sports - a heart is a heart, yes?

I have always used the 'rowing model' and find that for me, it correlates perfectly to the 'perceived exertion scale', i.e. how you feel, if you can speak, etc.

Can someone explain where numbers for the cyclist/triathlete zones came from? How can all the zones magically work out to round numbers? Surely the human body doesn't work in round figures for our benefit when calculating our training. For that reason I've always been sceptical but maybe I'm missing the punchline...

Discuss.

Cheers,

Stanners
 

ejglows

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Apr 3, 2004
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You are one of THOSE people that just orgasm at the mention of lactic acid, eh? Rowing invovles muh more muscle mass than cycling and or running. I would guess that this would drive the heart rate much higher than either of the aforementioned sports. Every individual has different heart rate maximums for each sport and should be tested to determine %`s. You should use each scale, for each sport, to determine your optimum heart rate zones.

Here is an example based on my own attrubutes:

Running 70-80% = 155-170bpm (max run is 202)
Cycling 70-80% = 145-160bpm (max bike is 188)
resting HR is the same for all of it 45
More muscle and weight bearing = more work =more O2 = higher BPM
I dont know my rowing % because I was a coxswain..he he he...POWER TEN IN TWO!

Hope this makes sense...
e
 

Stanners77

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Aug 3, 2004
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ejglows said:
You are one of THOSE people that just orgasm at the mention of lactic acid, eh? Rowing invovles muh more muscle mass than cycling and or running. I would guess that this would drive the heart rate much higher than either of the aforementioned sports. Every individual has different heart rate maximums for each sport and should be tested to determine %`s. You should use each scale, for each sport, to determine your optimum heart rate zones.

Here is an example based on my own attrubutes:

Running 70-80% = 155-170bpm (max run is 202)
Cycling 70-80% = 145-160bpm (max bike is 188)
resting HR is the same for all of it 45
More muscle and weight bearing = more work =more O2 = higher BPM
I dont know my rowing % because I was a coxswain..he he he...POWER TEN IN TWO!

Hope this makes sense...
e
Thanks for that e. Interestingly enough, 'power tens' are not used Australia... we row hard the whole way!!!

I'm not sure it answered my question though! Yes, MaxHR's are different between sports and this would alter the bpm figure. My conundrum is the difference in the zones. Forget bpm for a minute, whether I'm at 90% running, cycling, rowing or greco-roman wrestling, it's still 90%, right? Yes, the bpm may be different and running or rowing would be higher than cycling but the %ages don't change.

According to one system, 85% is working my lactate threshold but the other system would place me at the high end of aerobic work (U1). See my point?

It's always just made me curious and I think I'm more confused than ever now!

Cheers,

Stanners
 

ejglows

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Apr 3, 2004
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Let me venture another guess...Unless you are training for head races, then you will be competing for 2000 meters. This is a sprint unlike any other and creates lactic acid much faster than say a stage in the TDF (sans TT`s). If you train at, about, or around your LA threshold you will raise that threshold and increase performance. If your rowing guide claims certian percentage points, than it is probably pushing those limits. These convenient numbers that are used for most other endurance sports probably allow a certain amount of scientific drift where a % or two here and there does not statistically improve performance. However, if your training is focused on those one or two % points closer to LA threshold, then that may in fact make a statistically significant difference.

In the States (not where I am currently) a power 10 (ten stroke max effort) is a sprint piece thrown in as a tactical manuever...What do they call those in Australia?

interesting topic...
e
 

RowRunBike

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Jul 16, 2004
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Hi,

I also have a rowing background and recently started cycling (about 2.5 months ago). I was wondering the same thing. It doesnt seem to make sense to me either. The only thing I can think of is that my heartrate is always higher in rowing no matter which sort of excircise I'm doing. Several things i've observed are interesting.

Max Rowing HR 195
Max Cycling HR 184

In an hour of all out rowing I'd be at about 145 HR and gradually rise to about 182 and hit about 190 on the final sprint. Average would be about 170

For an hour of all out cycling I'd start off around 130 and gradually rise to about 171 and peak at 179 for the sprint. Average would be about 161

Riding on the flats I'm about the same or a little slower than the cyclists. cat 2, 3 and 4's

However I havent met anyone who can touch me on the hills. I mean not even close. (havn't rode with any cat 1's yet though)

Overall I think rowers are used to operating in a higher heart rate range and are more used to tolerating pain than cyclists. (rowing is like sprinting up a 6 minute hill and it aint just your legs and lungs that burn)

Still not sure why the percentages would be different you'd think that the percentages would adjust the numbers according to the change in HR max.
 

Stanners77

New Member
Aug 3, 2004
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ejglows said:
Let me venture another guess...Unless you are training for head races, then you will be competing for 2000 meters. This is a sprint unlike any other and creates lactic acid much faster than say a stage in the TDF (sans TT`s). If you train at, about, or around your LA threshold you will raise that threshold and increase performance. If your rowing guide claims certian percentage points, than it is probably pushing those limits. These convenient numbers that are used for most other endurance sports probably allow a certain amount of scientific drift where a % or two here and there does not statistically improve performance. However, if your training is focused on those one or two % points closer to LA threshold, then that may in fact make a statistically significant difference.

In the States (not where I am currently) a power 10 (ten stroke max effort) is a sprint piece thrown in as a tactical manuever...What do they call those in Australia?

interesting topic...
e
Yeah mate, 2K racing indeed. 'Head of the Yarra' is 8.6K of fun early in the season but it's a 'one off' (thankfully)!

Most crews here would bang in 10 good ones @ each 500m just to push through that point in the race. Apart from that, Australians really frown 'power tens', especially club and school crews, basically because strokes 11, 12, 13 etc always seem noticably less pressure! The widsom here it to maintain steady, constant output for reasons I can go into if you're bored...

It is interesting. I coach schoolboys here. I downloaded some recordings from UK and US coxswains last season so my cox could have a listen and hopefully pick up some good race calls. He never heard them b/c after one listen to nothing but 25 x power tens, I deleted them!

I believe you're spot on in saying rowers do more work (in racing) at the higher end of the scale. Drew Ginn ('96 Oarsome Foursome and pair with James Tomkins for Athens) is a mate of mine and he reckons that the 2K rowing race has become an all out sprint - SCARY!!! Some crews to try and neg split but when medals are on offer, I'd say that it's become too risky!

Stanners
 

Stanners77

New Member
Aug 3, 2004
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RowRunBike said:
Hi,

I also have a rowing background and recently started cycling (about 2.5 months ago). I was wondering the same thing. It doesnt seem to make sense to me either. The only thing I can think of is that my heartrate is always higher in rowing no matter which sort of excircise I'm doing. Several things i've observed are interesting.

Max Rowing HR 195
Max Cycling HR 184

In an hour of all out rowing I'd be at about 145 HR and gradually rise to about 182 and hit about 190 on the final sprint. Average would be about 170

For an hour of all out cycling I'd start off around 130 and gradually rise to about 171 and peak at 179 for the sprint. Average would be about 161
It's taken me a few years to get the ticker right up there on the bike. My cycling max is now 195 (eg sprinting). Running/Rowing would be about 200. I haven't checked in a while - too much coaching, not enough rowing - need to jump on and erg and flog myself to see how high I can get these days!

RowRunBike said:
However I havent met anyone who can touch me on the hills. I mean not even close. (havn't rode with any cat 1's yet though)
Are you a lightweight? I you row HW and can flog everyone up the hills, I'd be impressed!

RowRunBike said:
Overall I think rowers are used to operating in a higher heart rate range and are more used to tolerating pain than cyclists. (rowing is like sprinting up a 6 minute hill and it aint just your legs and lungs that burn)
Yes, cyclists are for the most part - SOFT. Before you all jump down my thoat here: a mate of mine just competed in the LW2x at the U23 WC in Poland and he's also bloody handy on the bike. He destroys most cyclists he comes up against and swears it's b/c rowing gets you used to enduring more pain and discomfort.

RowRunBike said:
Still not sure why the percentages would be different you'd think that the percentages would adjust the numbers according to the change in HR max.
Yes, my original question still remains unanswered, despite e's best efforts!

Ciao,