7 Steps to Using a Heart Rate Monitor
Heart Zones Training with your mind-body link – the heart rate monitor – may seem confusing at first. You’ll be learning and discovering new ways of looking at the effort you put out, new ways of understanding fitness that you were never taught in your physical education classes at school. A lot has happened in the world of fitness in just the last ten years, and with your heart rate monitor and heart zones training, you are ready to reap the benefits.
STEP 4. KNOW YOUR MAXIMUM HEART RATE
You may already have noticed the next key idea: your maximum heart rate. So what is it? Your maximum heart rate by definition is the greatest number of times your heart can make within a one-minute period. Your heart will only contract so fast and not one beat faster – that’s why it’s called your maximum heart rate. Your maximum heart rate is also a fixed number, and you should know that everyone’s maximum heart rate is different. Two individuals who are both fifty years old could have a difference as high as 40 beats between their maximum heart rates.
There are a couple of ways of testing to determine your true maximum heart rate. The one I use most often is just to find the highest number you ever observe on your monitor when exercising and call that number your maximum. Others like to use the “talk test,” which is to exercise until you find talking uncomfortable and then add 30-40 bpm to that number, resulting in a guesstimate of your maximum.
FORMULA TO CALCULATE MAXIMUM HEART RATE
There is no formula accurate enough to calculate your maximum heartrate. Period. For decades exercise scientists have attempted to find and have popularized different formulas to estimate maximum heart rate. The amount of error in each of these formula’s is too large to make them valid. Rather than attempting to use a short cut, a formula, to estimate your maximum heart rate simply do a few sub-max tests to determine this valuable heart rate number. According to Carl Foster, Ph. D. “The formula’s like 220 minus age is useless. There is no scientific validation for it – it was fabricated.” There are a half dozen sub-max tests that you can take that provide you with a more accurate assessment than a formula. Those tests are found in Chapter 5. Heart Rate Assessments. You can skip ahead and take them now if you choose. Each sub-max test last no longer than 10 minutes so they are short and easy. That’s why they are called “sub-max” tests because they are below, usually far below, your maximum heart rate number. (Robergs, Robert A. and Landwehr, Roberto. Prediction of Maximal Heart Rate. Journal of Exercise Physiology. Volume 5 Number 2 May 2002.)
Knowing your maximum heart rate is important, so try the method that is most comfortable for you and use that number to set your zones. As you gain more experience, you’ll get a more accurate estimation of your maximum, so be flexible and patient for now and allow that determining your maximum heart rate can be a challenge. Still, now that you have an approximate maximum, you are ready for the next step.
More to come ..
Keep your eyes peeled as we continue to release excerpts throughout upcoming weeks. If you want to learn more about zoning, make sure to swing by our online store and grab a copy of ZONING, Fitness in a Blink.