Why is my heart rate lower on an indoor trainer?

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by juf2m, Oct 19, 2004.

  1. juf2m

    juf2m New Member

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    Now that it's getting cold and dark I have to start going to the gym and doing the horrifying, boring, torturous indoor cycles. :(

    What I don't understand is that even when I have a lot of resistance, and am slogging away, my heart rate is quite a bit lower than what seems like an easier ride on a real bike. Can anyone think of why that might be? :confused:
     
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  2. cydewaze

    cydewaze New Member

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    Maybe it's psychological. You hate the indoor trainer so it seems like more of a slog than it is, so while your brain says, "Ugh! This is awful", your body says, "Oh, this is cake".
     
  3. juf2m

    juf2m New Member

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    Hmmm, that's interesting!
     
  4. MaxPrime

    MaxPrime New Member

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    Ric was telling me your HR is a combination of a lot of things - exertion, body temp, etc. You are probably in a much nicer environment to start with (A/C beats outside temps) and your exertion level is probably much lower due to lack of hills and wind drag.
     
  5. superclimber

    superclimber New Member

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    AND you have no rolling resistance from TWO wheels on the road, gradient variables (which are a big factor) . also indorr trainers hold your bike up and you tighten the wheel onto the tyre whereas on the road your bodyweight combines with gravity and the two tyres to greatly increase rolling resistance again. also add wind into the equation as well as wind resistance (aerodynamics) if there's no wind around per se.

    anyone agree or can prove my theory???
     
  6. juf2m

    juf2m New Member

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    Wow, these are interesting comments! I never thought about the wind. Actually, I have discovered that I really MISS the wind...I am sweating like a piglet on that thing with no breeze, yet another reason I don't like it.

    I should mention this is a standard gym exercycle, not a real bike on a platform.
     
  7. Dom

    Dom New Member

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    My resting heartrate is 38. Walking around it is in the 50's. Driving, it goes up into the 80's. So just steering a bike could count for 30 bpm or so?
     
  8. CUCycler

    CUCycler New Member

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    ummm....I think you better measure again, then again, you might already be dead.
     
  9. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    normally, in an indoor environment you'd expect your HR to *increase* at a given workload, especially if you're overheating (which you appear to be).

    It's important to realise that if you are overheating and don't have any cooling going on, your HR will rapidly increase even though the effort may remain constant. thus you may appear to be working harder than you actually are.

    on the other hand, you are showing the opposite which would tend to suggest that either your fitness has increased or that you're not training as hard as you do on the road (even though it feels like a similar/same effort). many people report this due to the boredom of being indoors.

    additionally, if you're pedalling at a lower cadence than normal it's likely your HR will decrease at a given workload, as it's generally more efficient to pedal at slower rather than higher cadences.

    ric
     
  10. rob of the og

    rob of the og New Member

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    Ric, do you know of any studies on the %age increase in HR due to increased heat? I always find my HR on turbo's/spin bike much higher than on the road so I wondered if there was any data of how much higher I should let it go for the same physiological gains?
     
  11. mitosis

    mitosis New Member

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    Its down because you are not working much upper body on an indoor trainer. The small amount of effort needed for balance while you are riding outside accounts for the, on average, 10 less hearbeats for the same effort, inside.

    Wind is irrelevant if you are pedalling with the same power indoors and out, except in extreme heat where it will aid cooling outdoors. ;)
     
  12. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    i can't think of any that comes to mind, and i don't think there'd be a satifactory answer, as simply, it will depend on many issues (e.g., temperature, humidity, itensity, duration, fitness, body fat %, etc).

    ric
     
  13. superclimber

    superclimber New Member

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    got any proof that wind and/or wind resistance is an irrelevant factor. I know for a fact that riding outdoors and having to push my own way through the air takes up a hell of alot more energy than a still room with a fan on you. why do you think pursuit riders and team time triallists take turns in front, cos they are cutting a hole in the air. It's a bold statement. what you are suggesting is that one guy should be able to tow the whole team for 60km at 60kph and have the same heart rate as all the other guys. I beg to differ. proof please.
     
  14. superclimber

    superclimber New Member

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    just found this at

    theage.com.au. aussie newspaper. article by Justin Kemp. exercise physiologist at the Australian Catholic Univerity. thanks Justin.



    "In 1997, researchers used laboratory data as an indicator of the work intensities of tour riders during the three-week event. Intensities were divided into three zones. Zone one was termed "light intensity", where heart-rate values stayed below those observed at an exercise intensity of 70 per cent of the cyclist's maximal aerobic power (also known as VO2max). Zone two was termed "moderate intensity", where heart-rate responses hovered between those occurring at work-rates of 70 per cent to 90 per cent VO2max. And zone three referred to "high intensity" cycling, where heart-rates neared levels produced at near-maximal efforts (i.e., work-rates above 90 per cent VO2max).

    When this technique was applied to the race itself, the relative time spent in zones one, two and three was 70, 23 and 7 per cent, respectively. These results suggested that riders were coasting most of the time. In flat stages, where the 200-strong peloton remains largely intact, much of a rider's time is spent within the massive rolling group, thereby being shielded from the greatest impairment to forward motion - air resistance. This can reduce energy requirements (and hence, exercise intensity) for a given speed by as much as 40 per cent.

    But in time trials, where riders approach and exceed average speeds of 50 km/h on the open road, air resistance accounts for more than 90 per cent of the overall slowing force. This combination of high speed and high resistance demands that cyclists spend a great proportion of their time in zone three. The winner of the 65-kilometre time trial in 1997 spent 75 consecutive minutes at intensities above 90 per cent VO2max. It is little wonder that time trial specialists such as LeMond, Miguel Indurain, Jan Ullrich and Lance Armstrong have accepted the yellow jersey in Paris on 13 of the past 15 occasions."

    such statistics tell me that riding on your own, against the wind will cause you heart rate to increase more than on a stationary bike with no wind. up to 40% decrease in energy requirement from less wind (compared to none inside on a trainer. where increases in energy use correlate directly to increases in heart rate).
     
  15. rob of the og

    rob of the og New Member

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    read the quote - mitosis said 'with the same power' ie keeping all variables (except indoor/outdoor) the same. Wind resistance is irrevelant here, because the turbo or gym bike is simulating the total resistance you encounter on the road. You can't make any comparison of heart rates if one is simply harder than the other... :rolleyes:

    I expect the reason for the lower heart rate reading is simply because you are only comparing perceived excertion (subjective) to heart rate, rather than power (objective) to hr. Your perception of effort is being affected in some way by the fact that you are riding indoors.
     
  16. superclimber

    superclimber New Member

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    mmm my bad. long week and 4 beers to finish it off. very tired. sorry mitosis.
    Intersesting stuff tho from the TDF stats tho on wind resistance at given speeds. It's funny, some people say its harder outside riding on the road and others inside on a trainer. I guess that your point in a nutshell, its what you think and feel as exertion is not necessarily what you heart is actually doing as a response, in real time.
     
  17. juf2m

    juf2m New Member

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    Wow what interesting comments! Thanks!

    It must therefore be a combination of lack of wind, lack of upper body usage, and total boredom/percieved effort! LOL! Oh, that and the fact that I am in much better shape than I was in the spring. :D
     
  18. mitosis

    mitosis New Member

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    That's why I said with the same power. ;)

    Another point to consider is perceived effort. There is no one to race against when you are indoors. If someone is getting away from you in a race, or it is your turn on the front and you don't want to slow the pace, you can often summon a little more effort than would be possible in the non-competitive situation of the trainer.
     
  19. hotlipsmc

    hotlipsmc New Member

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    I experience the same "problem". I discussed it with two exersice physiologists, and we came to the conclusion that it had to be related to number of muscle groups you are using on the trainer vs road.

    We assumed that your heart rate relfects total body power output, from all muscle groups. We also assumed that the more you extert a specific muscle group, the more it hurts.

    Looking at the trainer, it isolates many of your muscle groups, and concentrates the effort into your thighs, specifically the quads. So for a given power output (heart rate), you are going to hurt more and fatigue quicker because the load is being disproportionately carried. By contast on the road, you will utilise your hamstrings, calves, occasionally upper body as well as adjust positions, all of which push your heart rate up and spread out the total work load.
     
  20. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    i've no idea how you would alter your muscle group usage between the road and indoors (except when e.g., standing which occurs less frequently indoors) and have no idea how the EPs could have come to such a conclusion. At a given power output my HR is generally lower indoors, or i can produce a significantly greater power indoors compared to outdoors at the same HR (not that i train by prescribing a HR).

    We can't say why the original posters HR is different, and there are so many confounding issues without any good data (power output).

    ric
     
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