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Why I don't use 220-age for HRmax

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Why I don't use 220-age for HRmax

Old 04-21-21, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I think the math worked out because they were using 220-age as an estimate. I don't think they know what your actual HRMax is, they just said stop at 90% of predicted HRMax. If you haven't tested to exhaustion, you still don't know if 155 is your actual maximum.
This is true but my purpose of the post was to say that THEY used the 220-age to get me to the 91% mark. I didn't ask them about it nor indicated I thought I knew what it was. I simply found it interesting that their number matched what I have been using.

I should also say that at the 141 mark I would have had to start running to stay on the the treadmill since the angle and speed it was moving was at my limit for just walking. Anyway, not sure what my max truly is but seeing my cardiologist says 141 is 90%, I will go with that.

I posted quite some time at my frustration in trying to find a Cardiologist that understands athletes, especially runners or cyclists. My orthopedic is in fact a cyclist so when I have had some issues we can talk apples to apples. Cardiologist is another matter as they typically don't see athletes. I walk in to the waiting area and it is filled mostly with really overweight people and a lot are on oxygen. These people have real cardio issues so when I walk in, I was asked if I was a salesman and I said, no, I'm here to see the Doc. Why? They asked. You look healthy. I tell you that is a tough wait. But I still have concerns if my cardio is really tuned in to issues with athletes. Looking online is not much help either since most cardiologists don't advertise their practice as working with athletes.

We will see what the future brings but at this point, I am not really interested in blowing myself up just to finally see what my max heart rate is.

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Old 04-22-21, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
When I had my stress echo, it was only coincidence I saw a doctor -- in the hall on my way in. It was just techs and aides in the room with me. I suspect the formulaic approach is something that's reasonable for some slice of the population, as long as you've got an experienced tech (as mine was) watching the pace, climb, and heart rate. If I'd leveled off earlier and been turning red in the face, I suspect she would have terminated the stress part early. Since my HR was still climbing she stopped when I hit that magic pulse.

If you were on the medical team, would you believe an old man coming in and telling you his maximum pulse was 20 bpm higher than the formula? It could be me (trained cyclist), or it could be macho man still hung over from last night!
I've had that same test several times - staffed by staffed by 3 mds and later on staffed by a cardiac technician in training supervised by a senior cardiac technician. All used 220-age. It's only used to set a norm for the patient. The point is to elevate the heart rate with stress, collect imaging of the stressed heart, and measure again at rest. For my result to be correlated with the population body of knowledge, the stress and rest levels have to be according to a standard. From my point of view that's the only value for that formula. It's just not for exercise purposes. It doesn't say that your heart can never beat faster than 220-age, it doesn't say your heart should be beating at 220-age, and it doesn't say that your observable fitness stress markers, like LT, have anything to do with 220-age, for any particular person.

But there is a piece of medical research, by a gent named Robergs, who describes having made physical observations on a wide range of adults and fit the data with a curve and expressed the deviation from the curve. That curve is maximum_HR [beats/minute] = 220 - age [years]. Other research has suggested other equations which have "better" correlation, but guess what? They don't give values much different from Robergs.

I'm sure we can find two members of C&V who are the same age and can claim what their maximum_HRs are (I think there's a protocol for testing at the Training forum), and what if their two values differ beyond the error claimed in the Robergs paper? That means nothing for those two members! And each of our personal HR limits have no useful relationship to the Robergs formula unless we are seeing "cardiac technicians" to have heart health data taken to be reported to a doctor. For me in resulted in needing a very weak statin daily - nothing to do with my fitness!

The discussion has been going on the same way here for all the years I've participated.

To return to the original topic, I also don't use 220-age to know maximum HR, because I see no need to know my maximum HR, it is really hard to do the test and it does not feel good to do so.
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Old 04-23-21, 10:30 AM
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During my last physical they of course took my pulse. The doc came in and looked at my BP and resting rate and said, either you are an athlete or have something very wrong, but by judging by your appearance it must be the former.

At 66, I watch my rate after reading the other thread about possible cardiac events and mostly for grins. I find that I can comfortably ride between 150-160 for majority of my ride and seem to be topping out at about 176. For some reason on hard climbs the monitor starts flashing 203 which means entering the death zone, but think it is just some anomaly with the software. In my 30s and 40s I could hit 110 during hard runs/sprints.

It’s no secret that all of have individual thresholds and training or non-training regimes but the 220-age has never even come close to target ranges or maxes for as long as I have trained. I usually am in the zone rated for someone supposedly 20-30 years younger, so I just ignored the charts and did what my body told me felt right.
Immoderate Cyclist “No regerts”

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