Heart Rate Monitors

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I’m currently training with Under Armour’s new Armour39 Heart rate monitor which is part of their new innovative technology launch that provides a variety of features ranging from calorie and heart rate tracking to intensity and will power meaurement.  As I am training more and more with mine I noticed a lot of people have either never used one before or do not really understand how to train correctly using one so thought I would make it today’s topic of discussion.  A few years ago I never used a HR monitor as I thought it was kind of a waste of money and since I was just exercising for health and fitness and fun I saw it as more of an accessory geared towards professional athletes.  The truth is a HR monitor is a very useful training tool for athletes of all levels and goals whether your training plan consists of a 30minute moderate session on the elliptical for cardiovascular health a couple of days a week or if you are training for an ironman or are a serious athlete training 6+ days a week.

Many of you are probably familiar with the equation that 220- your age is your max heart rate however there are a few different ways to calculate it.  The most efficient way is to know your resting heart rate.  Leave your HR monitor next to your night table and each morning when you wake up check your resting HR for a series of 5-7 days and check the pattern.  This will give you an idea of your resting heart rate.  For a decent assessment of your maximum heart rate perform a couple of Intense Interval Training Sessions and watch how your HR levels change when you change the Intensity.  Two greats ways to test this are on the stair master and the treadmill.  On the stair master start out at level 8 for a couple of minutes check your HR, change to level 10 for a couple of minutes, followed by 13 for a couple of minutes and then level 15 for a couple of minutes and make note of the change in your HR.  On the treadmill use the same technique start off with your warm up pace for a few minutes, then your marathon or long distance pace, then switch to your 5k pace, and finally finish off with a 100 meter sprint.  After completing the two sessions above for your resting HR and the way your HR fluctuates on the stair master and the treadmill, you can shoot me an email at CLC4JHS@AOL.COM with your stats.  I have a great chart that maps out where you should be for each level for example: Recovery 50-65%, Endurance 65-75%, Strength 75-85%, Intense Interval 85-92%, and Maximum Heart Rate 100%.  This will help you understand your HR zones and where you should be for maximum performance from your daily workouts based on your resting and Max HR.


The HR monitor is also a great tool to assess your general health every morning.  If you check your HR first thing when you wake up and notice higher than usual or lower than usual HR rates are warning indicators that you might be getting sick or might have overdone it the day before and need a rest day.  In addition a HR monitor is a useful tool in helping you to maximize each and every workout.  If you are training for a figure or body building show then you want to be careful when training that your HR doesn’t go too high or you might burn too much fat.  If you occasionally get distracted at the gym…. you are on the arc trainer or stationary bike and you start getting deep into a favorite magazine or book and your HR level might drop to your recovery zone while you want to be in your fat burning zone.

A HR monitor is a great tool for maximizing your workouts.  Incorporate a HR monitor into your training today and you will soon see the increased benefits.   😉

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