HR Training

HR Training or Heart Rate Training in Bend, Oregon. The questions concerning heart rate training are plentiful.  As franchise gyms promote heart rate training and having a high heart rate while training – the conclusion to the unaware is that a higher heart rate is “better” for your training. Or higher heart rate yields better results.  

High intensity anaerobic training has a place in your training program – but that is it – a place – not the end all be all.  

HR monitor – Apple Watch
Great Example

I read a story by a conditioning specialist (Joel Jamieson)  – the author of Ultimate MMA Conditioning and a top trainer to a lot of professional athletes including UFC athletes.  

The story:

Joel goes to China to work with the National Judo Team and he notices they are using heart rate monitors. Which he and thinks is great.  Joel talks to the coach and tells her how to use the HR monitor most effectively. The Judo Team will need to get max heart rates for all of the athletes – to set up the training program.  

Joel and the Judo coach establish the max heart rate for all of the athletes.  Joel would use this information to build higher and low intensity training so that the athletes know what they are training.  

The Judo coach however used the max heart rate as a way to ensure each session was as intense as possible.  Something was lost in the translation.  Obviously right?

This is crazy! 

The athletes were training 12-14x a week and are professional athletes.  The Judokas get paid to train and have very little to no stress outside of training.  But because of the translation issue the coach is thinking that each session has to achieve a max heart rate for that training session.  Needless to say the athletes hated the training and didn’t see results. 

Does this sound like a training system you know of?

Lots of franchise gyms sell memberships to their gyms by encouraging participants to “achieve a high heart rate” in the training session as some kind of reward producing product.  This is crazy. And will do more to keep people from reaching their goals than helping them.  Continuous high heart rate training leads to increased cortisol, poor sleep habits, amongst many other negative effects.  

There are really only three ways to use a heart rate monitor in the first place:
  • Gauge training intensity
  • Measure and track conditioning
  • Improve pacing and energy management
Learn to do it better

At OC – on Wednesdays we do a lot of low impact training such as dragging sled, or biking at a conversational pace. This work is done for 30+ minutes to train the aerobic base, commonly written or seen as Zone 2 training. 

This training is easy to recover from. Being monitored by a HR monitor would be between 135-150 beats per minute for most people.  Or another way to measure is 180 – your age. *Please note that the correct rate would change slightly for those who are more or less trained, age, training history, etc.  Hence the suggestion, from the author to use conversational pace as an indicator for those with little training background.

Don’t get trapped

Do not get trapped into thinking that you must max your heart rate out everyday. If you are wearing an apple watch and you check it during a workout sometimes less is more.  In fact, if you read this article the strength days burn fat more effectively cardio.

Zone 2 training

Building your aerobic base, will improve your life, help you recover from lifting weights.  Will help you sleep better, and help reduce your stress levels.  Don’t skip such an easy way to see and feel results. 

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