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  1. #1
    Just Ride.
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    Heart rate while getting fitter

    Have wondered this for years, thought I might aswell ask.
    When I haven't been riding my max heart rate is high, I can easily reach over 200bpm with a max of 205. When I get fitter it goes down. I have been back on the bike (not in training) for 3 months or so now and I can only max at 198, the last week 197 so it is still going down. I have always been told the fitter you get the higher the max heart rate?
    I know it is a high heart rate but I have used three different monitors which all say the same figure. Currently using a Garmin Edge 500.

  2. #2
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    Maybe it means that you're tired?

  3. #3
    Just Ride.
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    Unlikely, sometimes I have upto a week between rides depending on the weather.

  4. #4
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    My heart rate depends of weather, when it's warm heart rate goes up, so I guess that max rate goes up too. I don't think that you have to worry about it, just ride That's my advice

  5. #5
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    From everything I've learned the last few years, the key is to focus on threshold, not max heart rate. Regardless, heart rate threshold changes depending on several factors: temperature, humidity, hydration, etc.

  6. #6
    Now, THAT'S gonna hurt!
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    Curious to know, how old are you that you have a Max HR of 205?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oh My Sack! View Post
    Curious to know, how old are you that you have a Max HR of 205?
    I thought the same thing when I saw that

  8. #8
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    My understanding is that max HR is pretty stable. LT heart rate is supposed to move around a bit more with changes in fitness.
    Personally, it's very hard for me to hit my max. 206, IIRC. Maybe sometimes in a race. I think maybe your body is just regulating a bit better.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  9. #9
    Just Ride.
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    Cheers guys. The temperature and humidity is going up so maybe that's it. I am 20 now but have used a HRM for about two or three years now.
    Not a real concern just wondering.
    Thanks guys

  10. #10
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    If it's harder to reach the top you are getting more fit. I'm in zone four on flat MUP pavement for most of an hour ride just doing 13.5 mph heh. Just push harder and you'll hit it, it's a good problem to have though.

  11. #11
    LMN
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    My experience is heart range is primarily affected by fatigue. Fitness seems to have little impact. Generally as fatigue builds both LT and max HR drop, and as I recover LT and HR increase.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  12. #12
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    Heart rate while getting fitter

    As you get fitter and do more training your heart's stroke volume increases, so that each beat pumps more blood around the body. A highly trained athlete will have a much larger heart than a non athlete, meaning that it doesn't have to beat as fast in order to do the same amount of work as the heart of a non athlete.



    "Comparison of the heart size in two 23 year olds – a non-athlete and a young professional cyclist. Note the 10cm marker as a reference. The non-athlete’s heart is approximately 15 x 12cm vs. 25 x 18cm for the athlete!" cyclingtips.com.au

    Exercise is good for the heart? but is there a limit? | Cycling Tips

    Relationship of left ventricular structure to maximal heart rate during exercise.

    "Because cardiac size and function are directly related to stroke volume and should influence HRmax, we studied 114 male subjects (aged 19 to 73 years) with two-dimensional and M-mode echocardiography who underwent maximal treadmill testing with respiratory gas analysis. Seventy-three were normotensive (diastolic BP < 95 mm Hg) and 41 were hypertensive. As in previous studies, HRmax was inversely related to age (HRmax = 199-0.63[age], r = -0.47, p < 0.001). M-mode left ventricular (LV) diastolic dimension (LVD) added significantly to the explanation of the variance in HRmax (r = -0.57, p < 0.001) (HRmax = 236 - 0.72 [age]-6.8 [LVD]). Thus, the larger the heart, the lower the HRmax." Graettinger WF, Smith DH, Neutel JM, Myers J, Froelicher VF, Weber MA.

    Relationship of left ventricular structure to maximal ... [Chest. 1995] - PubMed - NCBI

    An article about whether the famous 220 - your age formula is accurate.

    "Dr. Fritz Hagerman, an exercise physiologist at Ohio University, said he had learned from more than three decades of studying world class rowers that the whole idea of a formula to predict an individual's maximum heart rate was ludicrous. Even sillier, he said, is the common notion that the heart rate is an indication of fitness.

    Some people get blood to their muscles by pushing out large amounts every time their hearts contract, he said. Others accomplish the same thing by contracting their hearts at fast rates. As a result, Dr. Hagerman said, he has seen Olympic rowers in their 20's with maximum heart rates of 220. And he has seen others on the same team and with the same ability, but who get blood to their tissues by pumping hard, with maximum rates of just 160.

    ''The heart rate is probably the least important variable in comparing athletes,'' Dr. Hagerman said."
    nytimes.com

    'Maximum' Heart Rate Theory Is Challenged - New York Times

    Heart rate is really just a measure of how fast your heart is beating. There's also a lot of individuality to it, different people react differently and a low heart rate doesn't necessarily mean that you're unable to ride strongly. A good example would be this Training Peaks data from Chris Froome in the 2011 Vuelta d'Espana time trial, where he finished second, averaging 405 watts for almost an hour despite having an average heart rate of just 147bpm and a maximum heart rate of just 169bpm (he was aged 26 at the time).



    TrainingPeaks | Free Training Log, Training Plans and Food Diary
    Last edited by WR304; 08-25-2013 at 01:49 PM.

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    That just about sums it up WR304 quite possibly the most well researched forum post on all of the internet.

  14. #14
    Just Ride.
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    Awesome post. Much appreciated everyone!

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    Less fit, higher heart rate

    OK, but can we get back to the OP question...

    I understand that the fitter you are, the lower the heart rate for the same amount of power developed.

    The question is:
    -I did not ride for 2 months
    -I then climbed my usual 10 min climb at a fast pace
    -My level of exertion was the same as when I was fitter (2 months ago)
    -My heart rate was in the 178-182 range
    -Whereas 2 months ago I literally could not have it go above 175
    Q:If my physiology allows me to exercise at 178-182 (when I am de-trained) why can't I, when am trained ride any faster at a higher heart rate ?

    When I am over-trained (tired), it's actually scary: my heart rate just doesn't go up (maybe 163 ish max)

  16. #16
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    I'm with Joel: exactly the same experience with higher HR readings early in the season never to be seen again later in the season.
    Scott Addict, sub 5.6kg

    WTB: Enve 34.9 seatpost

  17. #17
    I Tried Them ALL... Moderator
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    Fitness is also measured at how FAST the HR drops, after exertion. I often see a 40-point drop after peaking @170bpm within one minute.
    "The mind will quit....well before the body does"

  18. #18
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    The heart is a responder to demand, not the controller (though it can be a limiter). The heart can and does change depending on the types of exercise it is exposed to (google: cardiac eccentric and concentric growth). Also see the above ultra-sound for a visual comparison.

    However the heart responds to a lot of things, not just physical exertion. Dehydration, temperature (internal and external), fatigue, arousal, caffeine etc can all effect the HR - all without a pedal even being turned.

    It's a reason that HR is, at best, a guide for training and at worst horribly misleading. It can be used to monitor fatigue levels by keeping track of the waking HR - elevated is possibly an indicator of residual fatigue. But then it might not be.

    So for those wondering, "Why was my HR xxxBPM then, and xxxBPM now?" the answer is:- it doesn't really matter.

    "What was you corresponding power?" is the real question.

  19. #19
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    I'm still trying to wrap my head around a 400+W FTP....I mean, I know the top guys are around there but it's still just amazes me...

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by TapewormWW View Post
    The heart is a responder to demand, not the controller (though it can be a limiter). The heart can and does change depending on the types of exercise it is exposed to (google: cardiac eccentric and concentric growth). Also see the above ultra-sound for a visual comparison.

    However the heart responds to a lot of things, not just physical exertion. Dehydration, temperature (internal and external), fatigue, arousal, caffeine etc can all effect the HR - all without a pedal even being turned.

    It's a reason that HR is, at best, a guide for training and at worst horribly misleading. It can be used to monitor fatigue levels by keeping track of the waking HR - elevated is possibly an indicator of residual fatigue. But then it might not be.

    So for those wondering, "Why was my HR xxxBPM then, and xxxBPM now?" the answer is:- it doesn't really matter.

    "What was you corresponding power?" is the real question.
    Well said. I moved to power based training but continued to wear my HR monitor - out of habit I guess. However I have recently pretty much stopped wearing it all together. The data just doesn't mean much IMO...

  21. #21
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    Joe Friel and max heart rate for fit and unfit
    Joe Friel - Interesting Info

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