In this week’s Ask Me Anything sneak peek, James FitzGerald, answers the question of whether a coach should use a heart rate monitor with their clients and tackles the concept of zone training.
Heart rate monitors are small computers that are used to display in real time the user’s current heart rate. This data is then used to compare against the user’s max heart rate in order to gauge the current level of effort.
Heart rate monitors are best used for tracking cyclical modalities, these are any exercises that occur in cycles such as the AirBike, ski erg, running, and rowing. The reason heart rate monitors work the best for these types of exercises is because heart rate is directly dependent on the type of contraction that is occurring. In cyclical modalities, the contraction types stays the same for the duration of the effort which is the ideal scenario for a heart rate monitor.
Zone training is one popular way to use heart rate monitors. This refers to using the monitor to determine where your current efforts falls in relation to your maximum heart rate. Zones are calculated by testing two-minute intervals on cyclical modalities until a maximal effort is reached. However, if you are not performing a cyclical modality using zone training will not be as effective. Zones are not the only way to measure effort, learn other ways in this free guide.
Later in the AMA James FitzGerald addresses the question of whether a coach can use a heart rate monitor for mixed modal training. The short answer is no. By definition mixed modal training is training that involves different modalities in a relatively short amount of time. As explained earlier the type of contraction that takes place during the workout directly affects the heart rate. Thus if you want to utilize a heart rate monitor effectively you would have to measure the exact workout that you were going to use the heart rate to monitor in order to get a baseline and then repeat that process for any change you might make. Learn the science of heart rate and mixed modal training with James’ latest course here.
“I know what my heart rate is for thrusters, pull-ups and running, well what happens when the test is power cleans, ring dips, and rowing?”James FitzGerald
In conclusion, using a heart rate monitor to measure effort in mixed modal training is not the most efficient method. However, there are other tools you can use to measure effort such as intra and interset repeatability. Learn how to measure effort and ensure repeatability in your client’s program by downloading the free guide to Designing MetCons for Health.
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