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Scuba+

Anyone clued up on Max heart rate and zones?

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Scuba+

One formula to use to calculate MHR is 220-Age, in my case I'm 49 so MHR is 171. Which is a bit low as i frequently go in the 170s and occasionally in the 180s.

 

I previously updated my bike computer with a MHR of 182 but recently changed it to 174.

 

So the question is how do the guys who do a lot of exercise work out their MHR?3df4919e17478b68c858420ddec437f8.jpg

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petehoax

max heart rate is mostly genetic and has (nearly) nothing to do with how fit you are. there are professional endurance athletes that have a MHR of 155 and fat fucks that have a MHR of 210. 

yes, it normally slowly reduces with age. 
no, the formula 220-Age is completely useless. it really doesn't help you anything.

The only way to find out your MHR is to do a MHR test. Assuming you're already somewhat fit, use a heart rate monitor WITH chest strap. Make sure you're recovered and feeling good (no hangover, no illness, no out-of-the-ordinary coffeine consumption etc).
Do a good solid warm-up including some hard efforts and sprints. Recover a little. Then do a very hard effort (getting continously harder). For cycling: Ideally you have around a 20min mountain where you start out very fast (so that you can hold that effort maybe 10minutes) and if you're already nearly dead you try to give it one last absolute all-out effort before you completely collapse on the ground and feel like dying & puking. Whatever your max heart rate was is very close to your absolute MHR. 
It's much easier to do on a mountain than on the flat. It's also even better to test it with a friend because that makes it easier to REALLY push yourself. 

do NOT do an all-out MHR testing effort if you're really unfit or having heart problems. If you're unsure, ask a doctor. You can also do these tests indoor on an ergometer. There are different protocols you can use. 

fyi: running MHR and cycling MHR is not identical (but obviously quite close together). 

but: it really doesn't matter if your MHR is 188 or 186, it has no influence on your zones or your training. If you regularly are in the 170s and occasionally in the 180s, then your MHR is obviously not 174... If during normal cycling (with a very hard effort) you reach for example 183, your MHR is probably somewhere around 186-187. It's nearly impossible to hit your true MHR during a normal training ride. 

Also: Don't overthink the zones. They are really just a very broad guide to try to understand some training effects. If you're cycling, you're normally automatically in a broad mix of zones and that's completely fine. Unless you have very specific training targets (and a good coach or a very solid training knowledge), just go out and ride and have fun. It's not like any physiological results are strictly based on these zones. The "fat burn" zone is also somewhat of a myth and not really true, but i won't expand on that unless you're really interested. 

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Scuba+

 

 

 

The "fat burn" zone is also somewhat of a myth and not really true, but i won't expand on that unless you're really interested. 

 

Good post, i was hoping there was someone with good knowledge. Maybe expand on the fat burn zone?

 

 

The formula did seem daft, it treats everyone the same age the same but one could be very fit and another one obese and unfit

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olic

I'm also a very keen cyclist and triathlete, and I think PeteHoax has hit the nail on the head. I'm 46 and can't get my heartrate much about 170. But my resting heart rate is low 40's.

And much of your training should be based around what your training for. Remember the old saying, train slow and you'll race slow.

The only reason it's called the fat burning zone is because you can sustain that for hours upon end, and that's when you start burning fat. If you could sustain Anaerobic for hours you'd burn more fat but that's impossible.

I had a training plan once for a bike race and it really covered all aspects of riding. Fun, intervals, long/low intensity and recovery. It was based on about 17 hours a week and I'd say 12 of them were in the recovery zone. Intervals were the hard part... I was doing 6 x 20mins and I was shattered. The first few times I couldn't complete them.

My training now is much less, about 12 hours a week and all based around group rides. I don't even use a heartrate monitor anymore. One ride a week is with a very fast group and I struggle to hang on. So I know I'm getting up to max heartrate when I want to vomit!

However having said all that, understanding zones does help you train efficiently. Mix it up but do ensure that each week you're doing a bit of everything.

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Gaztop08

What are you using to measure your heart rate?.I got my heart rate monitor about 12 years ago a Polar Coach and still works.That uses a chest strap.I see most of the new Heart rate measurements are done with wrist strap pulse monitors.They claim to be ECG accurate from manufacturers?.If I was to buy a new HRM would try and get another chest strap one.

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Scuba+
What are you using to measure your heart rate?.I got my heart rate monitor about 12 years ago a Polar Coach and still works.That uses a chest strap.I see most of the new Heart rate measurements are done with wrist strap pulse monitors.They claim to be ECG accurate from manufacturers?.If I was to buy a new HRM would try and get another chest strap one.
I have a chest heart rate monitor and cycle computer. I've got a good handle on my heart rate but i was interested in the theoretical side of MHR. My Bryton computer has 7 zones, i usually touch all 7 during the group rides. I do about 200km a week over 4 rides. Some friends do very long 200km rides but I'm not interested in that

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JackinHK
23 hours ago, petehoax said:

max heart rate is mostly genetic and has (nearly) nothing to do with how fit you are. there are professional endurance athletes that have a MHR of 155 and fat fucks that have a MHR of 210. 

Hit the nail on the head! Check out the Karvonen method for training intensities, but ultimately for burning fat, just burn more overall calories. 

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petehoax
15 hours ago, Scuba+ said:

Good post, i was hoping there was someone with good knowledge. Maybe expand on the fat burn zone?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/the-fat-burning-heart-rate-zone-is-a-myth-how-exercise-and-weight-loss-really-work/2018/12/17/548ea93a-fc8e-11e8-83c0-b06139e540e5_story.html 

this explains everything very nicely and much more eloquently than i could :)
(you can read the article in an incognito window if you hit the paywall otherwise)

best way to train as a cyclist is certainly if you treat yourself to a powermeter. but unless you have very specific goals and really want to improve as much as possible, it's most of the time the best idea just to ride a lot and try to push yourself if you feel good. (and of course as a cyclist, weight management is very important and sleep is the most underrated aspect for recovery & progress)

@gaztop08: (good) modern sport watches have quite exact HRM directly in the watch, assuming you wear them correctly. especially during normal somewhat steady-state exercises, they track your HR very closely. the exception is short interval repeats, where they often have problems. Check dcrainmaker.com for very in-depth-reviews if you're interested. 

 

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