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Determining Percentages of Max Heart Rate | Boddicker Performance

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Determining Percentages of Max Heart Rate

by on Aug 29th, 2009

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Lately I’ve mentioned several times about using heart rate to guide your training sessions, so today I’ll attempt to elucidate the benefits of doing so as well as teach you how to make the appropriate calculations.

To effectively determine intensities based upon heart rates, it is first critical to establish a few things:

1.  An average resting heart rate, by taking it upon waking daily.  My athletes enter the data into a spreadsheet that spits out an average, which is beneficial to both training as well as determining an athlete’s training status or preparedness for continued loading.

2.  A maximum heart rate.  We determine this with a graded treadmill test using the iMett, when available, or within workouts.  Athletes are always monitoring and recording new maximum heart rates with the help of GPS watches that save data.  You can use the figurative MHR of 220 minus your age in a pinch, but I find it to be less than superior due to individual variation.

With data in hand, let’s determine averages.  Our example athlete has a MHR of 200 and a resting heart rate of 45 and wants to determine 75% of MHR.

1.  Determine heart rate reserve.

Subtract your resting HR from your maximum HR.

200 bpm – 45 bpm = 155 bpm HRR

2.  Multiply HRR by desired percentage of intensity.

155 bpm X 75% = 116.25 bpm % HRR

3.  Add resting heart rate on top of % HRR figure.

116.25 bpm + 45 bpm = 161.25 bpm

The last figure is then 75% of maximum heart rate.

Best regards,
Carson Boddicker

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Leave a Comment »2 Comments
  • Patrick Ward August 29, 2009

    I sometimes have people chart the resting heart rate upon waking just as a potential marker for overtraining as well.

    Another way I try and get the max heart rate, is to have them run 800m at the track and make sure that the final 200m they really try and sprint it all out and leave everything on the track. Between that and the 220 – age, I can get a general idea of their max heart rate and training intensities can also be planned off of that.

    Patrick

  • Carson Boddicker August 29, 2009

    Patrick,

    Thanks for the smart words. As the iMett is relatively new to me and generally less accessible, I have toyed around with similar protocols to your suggested 800. A few off hand that we really see new MHRs are a 3k time trial with a 200 final sprint (I use it to determine vVO2max as well) and also in sessions where we are doing relatively intense hill running.

    Carson

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