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Fitness Testing Newsletter: Heart Rate Monitors

Hi and welcome to the second fitness testing newsletter for 2012.  This month I discuss features of heart rate monitors and some of the uses for them in fitness testing.

These newsletters have been coming less often as I am now concentrating on using Facebook to update my readers of the latest in fitness testing and sport science. You can also join me by visiting the topendsports facebook page  and liking it! These newsletters will still come, but less regularly.

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Features of Heart Rate Monitors


Heart Rate Monitors in Fitness Testing

Many fitness tests require the measurement of heart rate during at test or during recovery. In maximal aerobic exercise tests such as beep and VO2max test, a heart rate monitor can be used to help determine if the athlete has actually reached their max. The maximum heart rate can be compared to the predicted max heart rate or amax heart rate measurement  from previous testing. In the VO2max test, the athlete is considered to have reached their true VO2max if several of the following occurred: a plateau or 'peaking over' in oxygen uptake, maximal heart rate was reached, attainment of a respiratory exchange ratio of 1.15 or greater, and volitional exhaustion. 

Another maximal exercise test, The Conconi  or Ramp test, is a simplified Lactate Threshold test, taking heart rate measures rather than blood lactate, and looking at a deflection point on the HR v workload graph.

The record and review function on heart rate monitors is useful for recalling the maximum heart rate value after maximal exercise, as it often only occurs transiently and at the peak of exercise when it is difficult to keep eye on the watch. 

Heart rate measurements are also used in many sub-maximal aerobic fitness tests, such as the Queens College Step Test  and the Astrand Cycle Test . 


Polar Fitness Test

Some heart rate monitors made by Polar include a fitness test function. The Polar Fitness Test is unique in that it determines your cardiovascular fitness level without you having to do any exercise. The test measurement is based on heart rate variability (the changes in your resting heart's beating). You need to have a Polar heart rate monitor with the Fitness Test function. For the calculation you will also need a measurement of your height and body weight, and also input your gender, age and level of physical activity. The test is conducted while relaxed in a laying or sitting position. During the five minute test, the progress is displayed graphically on the monitor. For more details: http://topendsports.com/testing/tests/polar.htm 


About this Newsletter

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Rob Wood

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