Heart rate variables
- Sex: In women the heart rate tends to be higher.
- Age: Heart rate is proportional to age.
- Health: the higher the general health of the body, the lower the beats per minute.
- Training status: the heart rate is inversely proportional to the training status.
- Hydration status
- Body temperature
- Recovery: understood both between the various training series and between one training and the next.
- Resting heart rate (HRrest): measured by a heart rate monitor in the morning before getting up. It should be measured for at least 3 mornings in a row and then averaged.
- Heart rate at the aerobic threshold: equal to 70-80% of HRmax, it represents the intensity at which there is a greater production of lactate compared to the basal values. Pre-, post- and during exercise heart rate, useful to quantify the work done.
- Heart rate at anaerobic threshold: fundamental because it is a reference point for calculating other heart rates, such as long background, short background, etc. It is the point of intensity corresponding to the maximum concentration of lactate that can still be disposed of by the body, creating a situation of balance between its production and removal. It is often classified as 4mmol/L concentration, since it should then be individualized but almost indicative.
Anaerobic threshold can be estimated quite reliably with the Conconi test, which compares the increase in work intensity (expressed in watts or in km/h) with the increase in BPM.
The data must be entered in a graph that will have the BPM on the X axis and the Km/h on the Y axis. In order to have reliable data, at least 10 pairs of speed/BPM values are necessary before arriving at the curve deflection that indicates the anaerobic threshold.
Estimating heart rate: Cooper's test, and all (more or less) reliable formulas
Cooper HRmax= 220 – age
Tanaka HRmax= 208 – (0.7 x age)
Both formulas consider only one of the parameters that can influence heart rate in the long term (age) while neglecting all the others.
HRmax Men= 214 – 0.8 x age
HRmax Women= 209 – 0.7 x age
The most accurate formula that considers certain subjective parameters is Karvonen's, also known as the Cardiac Reserve Frequency:
HRreserve = HRmax - HRrest
Training heart rate = % of HRmax to be achieved (HRmax - HRrest) + HRrest
There are dozens of such formulas, but none of them are completely reliable. Errors of even a few bpm off maximum heart rate can cause an anaerobic threshold training session to be performed beyond the required intensities, making all the work done ineffective.
HRmax does not vary over time
- Heart rate at rest: The lower the resting heart rate, the greater the range compared to the HRmax on which you can work, allowing you to use higher intensities for a longer time, or to train at the same intensity with less fatigue.
- Objectification of training data: It is necessary to have your own training program at hand in which to record the subjective sensations experienced during each session (a session rate of perceived exertion (RPE)), but also in the different exercises or phases of training. Then create a training diary in which your perception of fatigue on a scale of 1-10, for example, will be marked.
If the training has been structured and performed correctly, you will see the beats per minute drop in the post-exercise measurements, you will also see that with the same heartbeats detected during the training you will feel less fatigue perceived, or that the same fatigue will be felt at higher beats.
It doesn't matter if you train for a competition, for your health or to improve your state of wellness, what matters in any case is to train to the rhythm of your heart.
- Malik M. - Taskforce of European Society of Cardiology and the North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology: heart rate variability, standards of measurement, physiological interpretation and clinical use.
- All About Heart Rate (Pulse). American Heart Association. 22 Aug 2017. Retrieved 25 Jan 2018.