The Dean Website. AKA The Exploded Micro-Family
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What is it with my heart rate?

I have been wondering if I am setting heart rate goals too high for the spinning classes that I teach. I am finding that for the most part my HR is always above what is considered the “target”. Being 42, apparently my HR Max should be 178, but this is wrong as I can go to 185.
Taking a look at the following formula, this is what my hearts “age” would be:
Karvonen heart rate zones vs 'standard' ones

Karvonen heart rate zones vs

The resting heart rate is an estimate, but I go down to 55 when sitting, so 52 sounds plausible. So how can I work out what are my ideal rates, and how can I apply these calculations in a spinning class where the students have fitness levels that range from the poor to the “fitter than thou” (and 95% don’t have HRM’s, argh).
Does the fact that my HR (in relation to my age) during exercise goes so high mean that, in effect, I am unfit?
The tables provided by Johnny G are, in my opinion, rather low, and for many participants will make them feel like they are underperforming. I find increasing the values by 10% is more realistic, especially given the length of the classes, however this may offset the supposed ‘fat burning’ benefits of the programme, esp in endurance sessions.
What is realistic, however, are the Karvonen figures when taken into real life situations and using my real age, ie, I will find that I am running on a lower HR when actually on a real bike and that I will feel much more tired at 160BPM on a road bike than at 160 on a Spinner, or when running or most other things.
The rhetorical question is then, why is this so? What does using a Spinner bike change which affects HR so that it is higher at apparently equivalent output? What I find is missing on Spinner bikes is wattage. It would (should, you would need to change the resistance loader to a magnetic one) be very simple to add a wattage indicator to them and likely far more productive as you can see what you are outputting at particular HRs, cadence and types of exercise and measure the improvement over time, as well as be able to better include spinning as part of some training program.
Using this method you could then have a direct equivalent between what you output on a road bike and what you output on a Spinner and have a more realistic idea of what you should be using as target HRs in a Spinning program versus HR in normal situations.

3 comments

1 fitness trainers { 04.22.09 at 9:02 pm }

Physical fitness is used in two close meanings: general fitness (a state of health and well-being) and specific fitness (a task-oriented definition based on the ability to perform specific aspects of sports or occupations).

2 patrick { 05.03.09 at 4:36 pm }

hey man, your website is not bad, pity that it caters only to the US public, as it could be of use as an easy to use world-wide database of fitness trainers/partners.

3 Alex { 06.14.09 at 11:13 pm }

That is a really interesting post, thank you.