Sunday, December 10, 2006

Max Heart Rate Test

So, today, I performed a max heart test on a (stationary) bike. What is a max heart rate test you ask? It is a predefined plan to get your body warmed up, and with increased workload over time, ideally, your heart rate monitor should yield your max heart rate. Your maximum heart rate is the most your heart can beat in a given minute.

Why would someone do something like this? Surprisingly, it doesn't even have to do with pain that I write about so much (Although, it did hurt!) From your maximum heart rate, you can calculate your heart rate zones: 1-5. Heart rate zones (zone 2 for example is approximately 65%-75% of MAX heart rate) are the foundation of endurance training plans. Most workouts are designed around working in certain zones for the specific workout.

Some workouts are strictly zone 1 and 2 base building/endurance workouts, which build slow twitch muscle fibers. These lower intensity workouts allow your body to adapt to burning fat as an energy source, rather than glycogen (carbohydrates in your muscles), but most importantly to build endurance. Higher intensity workouts are typically in zones 3 and 4, with an occasional 5 to help build strength and fast twitch muscles.

In any endurance event, the idea is keep your heart rate below a certain % of max so you don't burn out! That point is refered to as your anaerobic threshold is the point at which your body cannot remove lactic acid faster than it is creating it. Lactic acid build up in muscles in what you feel when you go to hard to fast, and your muscles just feel dead afterwards!

My max rate was 192 (beats per minute), which seemed a little low, maybe be about 3-5 beats. I can say that towards the latter part of the test, my legs certainly had nothing in them, and the reason is simply the pretty rude ride I did yesterday! Fatigue is a common reason for testing lower than one would expect, so stay tuned for another test in a month or two!

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