Heart Rate Question:
I've been wanting to hit the right "zone" lately, but I'm not quite sure how it might apply to my numbers. After reading the Primal Blueprint, I'm making an effort not to exercise with too much effort. Knowing which numbers to go by is a little confusing: Max heart rate is supposed to be 220 minus age. In my case, 220-36 = 184. However, my resting heart rate is 40-42 BPM. If I'm ripping up the side of a single track on my mountain bike? I've seen it top out over 215 BPM without loss of breath, nausea or dizziness. As an experiment, today I forced my heart rate to be about 170 BPM for 45 minutes, and when I stopped my breathing was as if I had been resting the entire time. I feel like I can't even break a sweat until I get over at least 150 BPM for over 30 minutes. Am I doing something wrong? I want to make sure I'm not going too easy or hard on myself.
The 220 - age thing is a population estimate. Not at all guaranteed to work for a person to actually determine his/her max. Outside of a lab the best thing you can do is some maximal testing to measure your max HR.
I just copied this from a google search.
Option 1: Personal Test
Perhaps the best way for most people to find their MHR is to calculate it themselves. The most effective method is to do interval training, preferably on a hill. A hill of at least 200 or 300 meters will suffice. Sprint up the hill and jog back down, using only the jog as a resting period. Repeat this cycle five or six times, and you will likely attain a heart rate that is at least very near your MHR (your MHR being simply the highest number of beats per minute that you were able to provoke). In the absence of a hill, you may wish to extend the length of your intervals to 400 meters.
When I use to do VO2 max testing our usual protocol was using a treadmill (or a cycle ergometer with Watt settings - if you happen to have access to one). On a TM we would usually do the following: start at 2 min/mile slower than a race pace - so for me who races at 7:30 that was about a 9:30 min mile. Every 2 minutes we would increase the % grade by 1-2%. Basically you go until you feel like you can't anymore. If you are able to increase workload (grade or speed) but your HR stays the same you should be at your max - and you should not be able to hold it for long.