How to calculate maximal heart rate?
The most of heart rate measuring devices nowadays can calculate maximal heart rate. However, it’s good to know how to calculate it on your own and compare in with information provided by your sport tester. A lot of calculations is taken from maximal heart rate, which is the highest heart rhythm per minute, and resting heart rate, which is the amount of heart beats per minute while the person is completely calm, without any distracting elements.
Calculating the maximal heart rate is quite easy and it’s based on your age. You can use three simple formulas, but the numbers are not accurate. Therefore, you should participate in a professional laboratory test or personal stress test.
Examples of calculating your maximal heart rate:
Formula 1: Subtract your age from the number 220 (for men) or subtract your age from the number 226 (for women). This calculation is recommended for beginning runners who have almost no experience with sports.
Formula 2: Subtract half of your age from the number 205. This calculation is more suitable for active athletes.
Formula 3: Subtract 80% of your age from the number 214 (for men) or subtract 70% of your age from the number 209 (for women).
All three formulas calculate only approximate values based on standard MTF for certain age. A more-or-less precise calculation can be achieved by testing physical strain. You also have several options.
- Laboratory test – It’s suitable for medium and long-term observation of medical health and performance development. These tests are combined with complex medical inspection. In workplaces of performance and professional sports, a number of parameters are laboratory tested, for example measuring of oxygen consumption, heart rate or lactate levels. The most typical laboratory tests are cycloergonometry and testing on treadmill. When choosing a test, the specifics of the sport are taken into account. This means that the runners are not tested on cycloergonometer and the cyclists are not tested on treadmill, but with triathlon, for example, both forms of the test are needed. The treadmill test depends on the speed and the slope of the belt. Selecting the length of individual sections or load times during the test depends on the endurance abilities of athletes and the structure of performance.
- Personal graded load test – Get a sport tester which will record your heart rate during the testing and that will show you your maximal heart rate. Find a route where there’s no danger of injury and where you can move in a maximum speed for at least four or five minutes. About 15 minutes before the test, do a proper exercise to get your body moving. Use the actual test as a graded load test with a total of four load degrees. For the test itself, you need a stopwatch with larger numbers so it’s easier to read the time spent in different load degrees. Ideal is to bring someone to help you, for example someone riding a bike next to you and watching your time in different degrees. The test begins at a constant speed at which you should be able to run for about 30 minutes. Keep this pace for one minute and increase it every 30 seconds in order to reach the maximal speed in the fourth interval. You must remain in the last speed step as long as possible, until you start to feel completely exhausted. It’s optimal to undergo a slight incline in the last part, so there would be even greater cardiac activity stimulation. After such a heavy training load, never just suddenly stop; continue at a slower pace for at least ten minutes and in the end, stretch the most burdened muscles. After finishing the test, the sport tester can find out your maximal heart rate.
- Personal stress test – Choose a hill with a length of 200-300 meters. Take your heart rate monitor and stretch your body, then run up and down through your chosen route for about 5-6 times. The measured heart rate will be your maximal heart rate or it’s gonna be really close to it. If you can’t find any route with an incline, you can test yourself on a plane land as well, but extend the distance to 400 meters and run on it about 5-6 times. At the end, you should feel that this was your best performance possible. Of course, you should continue at a slower pace as well, after you finish testing, and then stretch the burdened muscles, which prevents nausea and fosters the regeneration phase.