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A Journal on Applied Physiology, Biomechanics, Preventive Medicine,
Sports Medicine and Traumatology, Sports Psychology


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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 1998 September;38(3):181-7

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Use of ­heart ­rate mon­i­tors by endu­rance ath­letes: les­sons ­from tri­ath­letes

O'Toole M. L., ouglas P. S., Hiller W. D. B

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Tennessee-Campbell Clinic, Memphis, TN, USA Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston and the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Hawaii, USA

Heart ­rate mon­i­tors are com­mon­ly ­used but lit­tle is doc­u­ment­ed ­about ­their use. We ­have ­reviewed the avail­able lit­er­a­ture and sup­ple­ment­ed it ­with ­data regard­ing ­heart ­rate respons­es of a ­large num­ber of high­ly ­trained ath­letes dur­ing ­cycle ergom­e­ter and tread­mill exer­cise ­tests as ­well as dur­ing and fol­low­ing pro­longed exer­cise. The ­main find­ings per­ti­nent to the use of ­heart ­rate mon­i­tors are 1) esti­mat­ed max­i­mal ­heart ­rates are too var­i­able to be of use to pre­cise­ly ­guide train­ing ­pace dur­ing ­cycling or run­ning, 2) dur­ing pro­longed (>6 h) ­cycling or run­ning, a high­ly ­trained ath­lete may ­expect to exer­cise at an aver­age inten­sity ­close 80% HRmax, but ­should ­also ­expect inten­sity to ­decline by 6-7% dur­ing the ­cycle ­ride or run, and 3) sub­max­i­mal exer­cise ­heart ­rates fol­low­ing pro­longed exer­cise are not use­ful for judg­ing com­plete­ness of recov­ery. This infor­ma­tion ­holds the fol­low­ing impli­ca­tions for ath­letes wish­ing to opti­mize use of ­their ­heart ­rate mon­i­tors in train­ing and rac­ing: 1) for­mal max­i­mal exer­cise ­tests ­should be per­formed to deter­mine ­true HRmax in ­each exer­cise ­mode, 2) ath­letes ­should ­expect ­their ­heart ­rates to ­decrease ­over the ­course of a ­long ­race, and 3) ath­letes ­should not ­assume ­they com­plete­ly recov­ered ­from a stren­u­ous work­out if sub­max­i­mal exer­cise ­heart ­rates are ­unchanged. Much ­remains to be clar­i­fied ­about the ­heart ­rate respons­es of ultra­en­du­rance ath­letes, par­tic­u­lar­ly in rela­tion to per­for­mance and the attain­ment of indi­vid­u­al max­i­mal poten­tial.

language: English


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