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12-01-2012, 21:24   #1
Sodomojo
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Determining Max Heart Rate--Formula or Monitor?
Based on the mathematical formula Polar uses, my max heart rate should be 177. However, I wore my new Polar monitor on a bike ride the other day, and on some long, steep hills, I hit 186 bpm. I consider myself to be very fit. I ride around 400 miles a month and use a climber machine for cardio workouts on days I don't ride.

My question is, should I be using 177 as the basis for determining my training zones or 186? It would seem to me the formula is just a ballpark figure and what the monitor tells you is your true MHR, but I can't see anything in Polar's literature that suggests using the monitor to determine your MHR. If I should be using the monitor's number, I guess I'll need to tell my monitor that I'm younger than I really am in order to get the correct MHR. I used the monitor when training on the climber machine in the 60-70% zone (based on a 177 MHR), and it felt more like I was wasting my time than working out. Thoughts?
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12-01-2012, 21:35   #2
mikij
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No, 177 is not a correct value. Even 186 probably is not your max, but certainly closer. You should use some kind of established protocol or you can use the highest reasonable value (in your cas 186, because this IS very reasonable number) +5, which gives you 191. If some day you see even higher number, apply it, but you are already probably close to your real max. Anyway, there is no accurate formula, just some that are closer than others. And, yes, if you need to cheat your monitor concerning your age, do it without hesitation.
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13-01-2012, 02:57   #3
MusicLaw
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You didn't mention which Polar model you are using. All the Polar models I'm familiar with (and I'm not familiar with them all) allow direct entry of a MaxHR value via the User Settings Menu.

When first configuring the watch, this is not presented, as the watches default to using the formula: 220 minus Age = MaxHR.

For various methods of determining your MaxHR see: http://www.howtobefit.com/determine-...heart-rate.htm

You have already reached 186 during a workout so your actual MaxHR is going to be somewhat higher.

Take a look at your User Guide (or online PDF version of same via the SUPPORT NavBar link above) to see how to manually set the MaxHR in your model watch.
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13-01-2012, 05:15   #4
Sodomojo
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Thanks for your responses and the information you've provided. I have the Polar FT60. I'll have to see if I can manually set the MHR. I know I can the VO2 Max, but I'm not sure about the MHR.

Apparently, the classic formula (220 - age = MHR) can be way off. I'll use 186 as the basis for my zones until I see a higher number during my workouts. Sounds like the most accurate lab tests can be a little spendy, but I'll consider that. Thanks again.
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13-01-2012, 19:11   #5
MusicLaw
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The FT60 does permit you to set your MaxHR via the User Settings Menu.
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30-01-2012, 06:47   #6
Sodomojo
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Just wanted to follow up on this...

Last week, I saw 188 on my Polar monitor while riding my mountain bike up the same hill I saw 186 on earlier (I hadn't take that route again since that day). I was pushing it on the hill, but I didn't feel I was at my limit even at 188, so I decided to follow mikij's recommendation and manually set my monitor's max heart rate to 191. I think my true MHR might be even higher, but I'm using 191 for now.

Yesterday, I worked out for 130 minutes in Zone 1 (based on 191) on my climber machine. I didn't feel like I was wasting my time as I previously had based on Zone 1 from the classic (220 - age) formula, yet I didn't feel it was a pace that would lead to overtraining either. I think this new 191 estimate is the closest estimate yet--but it's 14 bpm faster than what the classic formula predicts.

I say this for the benefit of people with a new monitor who are also trying to find their true MHR for the purpose of determining their training zones. The classic formula seems to me to be a rather conservative estimate of one's true MHR. If you're not already in shape, however, it might be best if you stick with the classic formula until you've got at least several months of continuous cardio training under your belt. But for those people who are already in shape, don't feel that you have to accept the classic formula's MHR prediction without question.

FWIW, I'm starting to think Polar's recommended training durations for each zone are on the conservative side, too (I'm using Polar's hardest training program). When I factor in training I do while not wearing the monitor, I've been training several hours a week longer than my FT60 recommends, yet I don't feel like I'm overtraining. You have to learn to listen to your body and make sure you get enough rest/recovery between workouts.

I guess the moral of all of this is that Polar's monitor is a great training tool, but their training/setting recommendations are just a starting point until you learn how to use the tool and adapt it to your unique situation.

Last edited by Sodomojo : 30-01-2012 at 07:14.
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30-01-2012, 09:02   #7
testera5091
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ALL FORMULAS are WRONG.

If you train by HR zones, you should measure your max HR or do a submax test to get a good estimation. In any case, do not use formula. You will end up in wrong HR zone.

On the other hand, if you do not use HR zones, the HR max itself is not such an important number.


Take care.
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30-01-2012, 17:32   #8
MusicLaw
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Originally Posted by Sodomojo View Post
Just wanted to follow up on this...

Last week, I saw 188 on my Polar monitor while riding my mountain bike up the same hill I saw 186 on earlier (I hadn't take that route again since that day). I was pushing it on the hill, but I didn't feel I was at my limit even at 188, so I decided to follow mikij's recommendation and manually set my monitor's max heart rate to 191. I think my true MHR might be even higher, but I'm using 191 for now.

Yesterday, I worked out for 130 minutes in Zone 1 (based on 191) on my climber machine. I didn't feel like I was wasting my time as I previously had based on Zone 1 from the classic (220 - age) formula, yet I didn't feel it was a pace that would lead to overtraining either. I think this new 191 estimate is the closest estimate yet--but it's 14 bpm faster than what the classic formula predicts.

I say this for the benefit of people with a new monitor who are also trying to find their true MHR for the purpose of determining their training zones. The classic formula seems to me to be a rather conservative estimate of one's true MHR. If you're not already in shape, however, it might be best if you stick with the classic formula until you've got at least several months of continuous cardio training under your belt. But for those people who are already in shape, don't feel that you have to accept the classic formula's MHR prediction without question.

FWIW, I'm starting to think Polar's recommended training durations for each zone are on the conservative side, too (I'm using Polar's hardest training program). When I factor in training I do while not wearing the monitor, I've been training several hours a week longer than my FT60 recommends, yet I don't feel like I'm overtraining. You have to learn to listen to your body and make sure you get enough rest/recovery between workouts.

I guess the moral of all of this is that Polar's monitor is a great training tool, but their training/setting recommendations are just a starting point until you learn how to use the tool and adapt it to your unique situation.
You should also explore using the OwnZone feature of your FT60 as a warmup. It will read your Heart Rate Varibility to determine if you are rested vs. stressed and, based on your daily condition, it may shift your HRZs up or down.
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P90X®, GoFit® PowerTube, Weights
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LUMINA 650 & MARS3 Lights
K2® BOA MACH100 Skates
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11-04-2012, 04:28   #9
icellular01
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I say this for the advantage of individuals with a new observe who are also trying to discover their real MHR for the objective of identifying their exercising areas. The traditional system seems to me to be a rather traditional calculate of the real MHR. If you're not already in appearance, however, it might be best if you keep with the traditional system until you've got at least several several weeks of ongoing cardiovascular exercise exercising under your buckle. But for those individuals who are already in appearance, don't think you have to take the traditional formula's MHR forecast without concern.

Last edited by moderator : 11-04-2012 at 08:13.
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12-04-2012, 20:06   #10
sonic2000gr
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It seems the formulas (there are more than one) are just a quick and dirty way to estimate MHR based mostly on age. It also seems they are kind of conservative - not necessarily a bad thing either as it may save few beginners from overtraining and overstressing themselves.

According to the popular 220-age, my MHR is 178. I've quickly passed that in my training and for a number of months I've had Polar set to the max I've seen, 186. Then I saw 188, 194 and finally 198. This is what I've set it now, I doubt it will get any higher but still way off from the formula prediction. At 178 I can keep on pounding for quite some time, it is definitely not close to my MHR.
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