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WONGERCHI's Photo WONGERCHI Posts: 3,889
11/10/10 12:14 P

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You cannot use MHR based on a formula as a reliable guide to HR zones. Furthermore, if you have done a "proper" MHR test you'll know it's VERY, VERY painful indeed. And any zones that you get from a formula are garbage.

You should all be setting your zones off your Threshold HR. Not only is it measurable, but it is EASILY measurable. If you do this you will have your correct zones FOR YOU, not some zones that you have arbitrarily derived from a formula.

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If God invented marathons to keep people from doing anything more stupid, the triathlon must have taken Him completely by surprise.
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Specificity, specificity, specificity.
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The plural of "anecdote" is not "data".
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11/7/10 9:03 A

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There is no formula that will give you your max heart rate with 100% accuracy. The only way to get your exact Max HR is to go out and actually test. There are lots of places online with instructions on how to do this. However, I suggest following the guidelines by Chris Carmichael or Joe Friel.

If your really interested in getting the most out of your training I'd suggest you train using your lactate threshold though. It's much more useful but most people just don't want to deal with having to learn about it.

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LIV2RIDE's Photo LIV2RIDE Posts: 6,230
10/31/10 5:22 P

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My ride was much better after adjusting the HRM. I stayed within 60-85%. Thanks for all of the information. It's going to take me a while to digest it all. emoticon


A man who wants something will find a way; a man who doesn't will find an excuse.
- Stephen Dolley Jr.

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10/31/10 3:55 P

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I always used the literal maximum heart rate measured during my hardest efforts like a killer climb or an all-out sprint. My MHR has always been higher than my formula predicted MHR. Now that I'm 50 I'm not sure if it is entirely safe to push myself to 100% MHR without a crash cart nearby. 'Suppose I could ask my doctor to prescribe a stress test so I could determine my MHR under medical supervision.

As far as cycling vs running MHR, most people are the other way around; they can not reach as high a heart rate cycling as they can running. I was told by an exercise physiologist is that the problem most people have is since they are using mainly the lower body that the they never need all the blood the heart can pump. Well trained cyclists through conditioning develop the ability to supply more blood to their lower body than most people can supply to their entire body so cyclists can reach their MHR cycling but other people generally can't.

ACTIVE_AT_60's Photo ACTIVE_AT_60 Posts: 3,068
10/31/10 11:18 A

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Perry - that is one of the reasons why the Karvonen formula is a better formula. There is not a linear relationship with the actual heart rate and the max heart rate. Another part of the equation is the fitter we are the more it influence the heart rate. The only true number is to go to an exercise physiologist and do your heart rate, VO2 max, and lactic acid numbers.

PERRYR's Photo PERRYR Posts: 682
10/31/10 11:15 A

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Great responses here!
The advice actual max HR and desired target percentages for activities is great.

You really need to determine your ACTUAL maximum before relying on the percentages. As shown in the responses, formulas are often/usually off.
The maximum heart rate is just that, your maximum heart rate.

Being another example.... I'm 61. The 220 - age would give me a max of 159 BPM. I recently ran a 5K with an average heart rate of 185 BPM. My actual max was 193 for years, but during that race I hit 194 BPM.

Seems pretty obvious that training based on the formula would have me walking very slowly and never improving. Then again I wouldn't sweat as much!

For what it's worth, I can't get my heart rate as high on the bike as when I run.

Good article:

Edited by: PERRYR at: 10/31/2010 (11:16)
MATRIX49's Photo MATRIX49 SparkPoints: (0)
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10/31/10 8:07 A

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Be sure that you are not riding at that level all the time. Some slower and easier pedaling will actually help to build your base, with occasional rides or sprints that go to 90%. My max HR is about 170 bpm(I am 61 and 184 pounds at this time). Most of my reading tells me that I should ride long and low at around 115-135 with an easy warmup and cooldown. Interval training, which crosses me over into the Performance Zones(see below), has helped me improve my stamina and ability to recover more quickly from a sprint or hill climb. The best thing I did after I bought my HRM was to buy a book..."The Heart Rate Monitor Book for Cyclists" by Edwards & Reed.

Heart Zone breakdown:
Zone 1 50% max HR Healthy Heart
Zone 2 60% max HR Temperate
Zone 3 70% max HR Aerobic
Zone 4 80% max HR Threshold
Zone 5 90% max HR Red Line
Zone 6 100% max HR Max

Zones 1-3 Health Zones add little improvement...Total Calories burned is very few
Zones 2-4 Fitness zones...increased blood flow, heart function, oxygen consumption
Zones 3-5 Performance Zones...optimum athletic performance, improved muscle strength, tolerance to lactate(which reduces soreness and cramping, enlargement of fat burning range.
The most dangerous thing is spending too much time in the threshold and red line ranges, getting there too quickly in the ride, and not taking time to cool down.
Happy, safe cycling

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LIV2RIDE's Photo LIV2RIDE Posts: 6,230
10/31/10 6:44 A

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Thank you all for your comments. Here I thought I was really out of shape and I've worked out every day for many years.

I use the 220-age as my guide. The watch I have sets it automatically based on your personal information (weight, age, height). I just went in and looked at the settings and it had my max as 165. That's a bit low for me. I'm 41. So I adjusted it and will see how it goes on my ride today.

Thanks again and happy riding!


A man who wants something will find a way; a man who doesn't will find an excuse.
- Stephen Dolley Jr.

ACTIVE_AT_60's Photo ACTIVE_AT_60 Posts: 3,068
10/30/10 6:56 P

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GLADGAD pretty much nailed it.

Short of actually measuring it - most exercise physiologists use the Karvonen method to calculate max heart rate. I found a website where you can calculate it - it is based on your age and resting heart rate (your heart rate after lying still for 20 min).

Edited by: ACTIVE_AT_60 at: 10/30/2010 (18:56)
10/30/10 4:26 P

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Good advice, GLADGAD.
If I used the routine formula, 220 - my age (62), my maximum heart rate should be 158. In reality, my average HR for "just cruising" on the bike is 146 and my maximum is 185+ ???
So, that being said, work-out numbers can be very different and very individual.
Have fun training! emoticon

“The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not.”
Mark Twain

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GLADGAD's Photo GLADGAD Posts: 5,690
10/30/10 3:16 P

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I have heard that if your heart rate jumps up fast when you start exercising AND slows down fast when you are done, that means you are fit for that exercise. If you're heart rate comes back down to normal pretty fast after your ride (within 10-15 minutes), then I wouldn't worry.

Also, what are you using to base your high end heart rate? Many people use a formula (220 minus your age) or table to find their maximum heart rate. The problem with that is that everyone's heart rate is different, regardless of weight and age. For example I am 50 years old and when I am running my 5K / 10K race pace, my HR is in the low to mid 180s. If I used the 220-50 as my max heart rate, and then took 90% of that, my max HR would be 163. According to the formula, I should be passed out! At a slow, comfortable jog my HR is in the mid-160s. So I wouldn't put too much stock in keeping your heart rate at a certain level. You're better off going by feel.

Also, you said that you're breathing hard. As you continue to cycle, that will get easier as your body adapts to what you're putting it through. The same goes for other exercises. I have seen good runners completely out of breath and unable to swim a lap in a pool, and vice versa. It's all a matter of conditioning, and just because you're conditioned in one sport doesn't mean you will be in condition for another.

Good luck with your training. Do you have a metric century ride picked out yet?


"God gave you your body as a gift, so you should take care of it." - My Mom
BRTRAINS's Photo BRTRAINS Posts: 500
10/30/10 2:03 P

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I have been riding since May of 2009 and ride as much as I can throughout the Spring through Fall. I wear a hart rate monitor to monitor my calories burned and often look down to see what it is while riding.
It usually stays between 150 -165 throughout my ride. I do hills and keep a good speed up throughout my ride.
Any other workout I do throughout the week or Winter involves elliptical machines most of the time.. I have a very hard time getting my heart rate up that high durning those workouts.
I also do spinning which gives a great workout and really keeps the heart rate up.
Breathing hard is good, It means you are working yourself hard, I love that feeling.
I also bought a trainer for my basement so I can keep cycling muscles in shape for biking.
It just goes to show me that biking is a great sport to get in shape.

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LIV2RIDE's Photo LIV2RIDE Posts: 6,230
10/30/10 1:14 P

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I wear a heart rate monitor when I ride. I used to do it for calories burned. Now I'm watching my heart rate during rides. I've noticed that within 10 minutes my HRM shows I'm at 90% or higher and pretty much stays there throughout the ride. Today I noticed that I'm breathing pretty hard too. Any advice for working to get this better. I went for a short ride today (10.8 mile trail). Tomorrow I ride my long trail (25.5 miles with hills). I'd like to work to be a better cyclist through the winter. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I've very new into this activity (August) and have put on about 240 miles only riding on th weekends. I'd like to train for a metric century in 2011.



A man who wants something will find a way; a man who doesn't will find an excuse.
- Stephen Dolley Jr.

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