Max Heart Rate Measurement

10 messages
06/02/2008 at 15:39

What's the best way to get to my max heart rate please?

I know the formula  220-age = MHR    220-34 = 186

My polar RS200SD HRM gives me an estimated  MHR of 174.

But when I'm running, usually 5km my heart rate can reach 182 and has when I'm pushing it reached 189.  Give that I seem to be doing work for 30mins in the 90%+ zone it seems likely my maxHR is higher than suggested (else I would keel over I guess!)

 What's the best way to get to my MaxHR then - is it just to shove myself on a rowing machine and just attack 1000m till I can give no more?  A treadmill would risk me flying off the back.  How long does it take to get to MHR?

 Be grateful for any help.

Edited: 06/02/2008 at 15:47
kittenkat    pirate
06/02/2008 at 16:35

Studies have shown that MHR on a treadmill is consistently 5 to 6 beats higher than on a bicycle ergometer and 2 to 3 beats higher on a rowing ergometer.

Another equation for MHR

  • Male athletes - MHR = 202 - (0.55 x age)
  • Female athletes - MHR = 216 - (1.09 x age)

Personally I would just run really hard until you think you're at maximum. Record HR

If you do this on the same route a number of times over a period, take the highest rate. You'll be close

kittenkat    pirate
06/02/2008 at 16:40
You can also do any of the VO2 max tests and there is an equation to convert this to MHR
kittenkat    pirate
06/02/2008 at 16:50

There are plenty of MHR tests on the internet too, just pick the one least likely to kill you

Calculating Maximum Heart Rate (MHR)
The test to find your maximums for running and cycling are going to hurt! There's no other way to do it. In fact, the harder you work the more accurate the measure is. The MHR test for running and cycling both consist of the same protocol except one is performed on the bike and the other is done while running. Before completing these maximal tests on your own, please, please, (please!) get a thorough physical and a doctor’s clearance. The level of exertion is significantly higher than just going out for a healthy jog around the block. Even better would be to do the test for the first time at a medical center where health professionals can do a complete physical, blood work up, and the performance test (at least for running) all together. Check your local hospital or university athletic department for a contact for these centers.

The test consists of a short warm up, a gradual increase of intensity over time, a final push to get a maximum, then a complete cool down. The reason for the gradual build up is that brain doesn't signal the heart to work at its true maximum for that activity instantaneously. So if you warm up for 5 minutes, then sprint your hardest for another minute, the heart still will not have achieved a true maximum for that activity. Slow, steady increases are needed to coax the heart to a true maximum.

kittenkat    pirate
06/02/2008 at 16:51
Here is the actual test which works well for both running and cycling:

              5 min. warm up slowly to a pace at the end where you are beginning to breathe a little hard
              5 min. maintain the pace, increasing a bit at the end
              5 min. increase pace again to labored breathing.
              5 min. on a gradual incline increase the pace from just breathing hard to
                         breathing very hard. Transition directly into…
              2 min. all out sprint on a steep hill to maximum speed!
              1 min. push this max speed while still going up and hold for a minute or
                         as long as possible!! Record MHR.
              10 min. cool down at a very easy pace and stretch.
             33 min. total ( 18 minutes hard, 15 minutes warm up/down)

Why include the hill climbing in addition to already killing yourself? I found quite by accident that I could push a higher heart rate climbing hills than standard flat running tests. I had an treadmill test performed in a laboratory and another sprinting test around a track and both had registered a running MHR of 179. A couple years later after moving here to Switzerland I did basically the same test time with the final minutes on a very steep incline and recorded a new MHR of 184. I felt the same level of complete exhaustion in all tests, but with a new high value.

If you happen to have nothing resembling an incline in your area, you can do the same test on flat ground, but keep in mind that it will probably not be a true maximum for the activity, but a "level ground maximum."

I used to do a MHR test about twice a year, but now that I think I’ve determined an accurate max, I only do it once a year. Your MHR for each activity does not change with fitness level but may however, decline slightly with advancing age.
06/02/2008 at 16:58


Take the rule as 220 - your age as ok.= but there are other criterias to consider

 Be careful with your running as if you go over your MHR  over a 5 k distance, you need to take it a bit easier maybe.

 How long have you been running for?

06/02/2008 at 17:25

Thanks guys - I won't go crazy honest.

 I've been running for 4 months now.  I have managed to shed 3 stone and reckon another 2-3 to get to my 'fighting weight'.  I usually run 5k but have done up to 10k and usually these are at 10kph.  The issue is that I want to push on the fitness side of things now that I'm getting to a reasonable weight.  The thing is I seem to have a high heart rate when I'm working, at the fat burning rate of 60-70% doesn't feel like I'm tiring out, so then I push on and the heart starts working - it's just I seem to have an average of about 85-95% which puts me firmly in the anaerobic zone but yet I still do 30 minutes.  I don't want to hurt myself and I'm certainly not pushing the limits, just the average rate seems too high.  I'm rambling now 

 I would hope over time that I will get fitter and the rates will drop for the same level of performance.

06/02/2008 at 21:11

Well - went to Preston Harriers running club tonight.

The exercise was to run for 3, 4, 5, 5, 4, 3 minutes with 1'20" recovery between each set - total running time 24 mins of 30.

Max heart rate achieved 192, average 174. Still a little off max I think but not a great deal. Max 14.0kph, 5.6km. Resting heart 53 earlier on.

I'll monitor it over time and see how it goes. Not worried just interested.

Edited: 06/02/2008 at 21:12
Dustboy    pirate
06/02/2008 at 23:52
Age 47, MHR 210 ish, everyone is different. The formulas just dont seem to make sense.
ImRio    pirate
07/02/2008 at 10:50

Mine is also higher than average

Age 43   MHR 220ish

We'd love you to add a comment! Please login or take half a minute to register as a free member
10 messages
Previously bookmarked threads are now visible in "Followed Threads". You can also manage notifications on these threads from the "Forum Settings" section of your profile settings page to prevent being sent an email when a reply is made.
Forum Jump  

RW Forums