How to determine your maximum heart rate? The maximum pulse rate is the best measure to steer and control the intensity of your endurance training. But the highest pulse rate cannot be figured or calculated. You have to do a test to find out your max heart rate.
How to determine your maximum heart rate? – preparation
How to determine your maximum heart rate? It is not possible to figure, guess or calculate this value. There are too many individual factors like physical conditions, the genes, etc. that need to be considered as described in optimal exercise heart rate and heart rate calculation. Determining your highest pulse rate requires a short maximum exertion at least once. For such a high strain you should be of complete health. Not everyone can perform a max heart rate test. If you have any doubts about your physical conditions better see a doctor before performing the test.
Your determined maximum heart rate is the best individual value to steer and control your training intensity. The article how to measure heart rate tells you about the different ways to find out your current pulse rate. To avoid mistakes in the determination you should use an electronic monitor like a watch. Please note that the max heart rate varies between the different kinds of sport. So for the test itself you should choose an endurance kind of sport that you like and intend to practise long term, e.g. cycling if you like to cycle or running if you like to run.
How to determine your maximum heart rate? – the test
If you are of good physical health and have chosen the right kind of sport you can determine your maximum heart rate. If running is your desired sport then it would be a good way to pick a track outside. Give yourself a calm warm-up of around 10 minutes and start increasing the intensity via the pace step by step every 2 to 3 minutes. When you have reached a high level give it another 400 to 500 meters (around 1 to 2 minutes) at maximum intensity until you have to abort the test. Check on your heart rate frequently during the entire test (at least each minute) and one last time the moment you abort the test. This helps you to get a feeling for your perceived exertion and to not miss the maximum value. Please don’t perform the test on a treadmill at the gym. Here we have the high risk of falling.
If cycling is your desired sport then you could either choose to determine your maximum heart rate indoor on an ergometer, an indoor cycling (or spinning) bike, or similar, or outside on a bike. Recommendable would be indoors because you can better control your motions on a fixed machine. After a warm-up of around 10 minutes you can start increasing the intensity every 2 to 3 minutes. When you have reached a high level put maximum intensity that allows you to go for another 2 to 3 minutes (not longer) until you have to abort the test. Check your pulse rate frequently during the test and one last time right before your have to abort. If you would like to perform the test outside then you should pick a steep hill climb to reach maximum intensity.
How to determine your maximum heart rate? – training
After determining your maximum heart rate you can use that value to steer and control your training intensity according to your objectives. If you are preparing for a competition or would like to increase your endurance to a high level you would have to work out on higher intensities. If you would rather like to go for a moderate endurance level or just like to be working out outside then lower intensities would be enough.
For easy and moderate intensities you would choose a pulse of 65 to 75% of your determined maximum heart rate. For medium and slightly tougher intensities you would go with 75 to 85% of your highest pulse rate. And for high intensities you would work out at 85 to 90% of your max heart rate. An optimal way to control and steer your workout would be to combine this method with the rate of perceived exertion.
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