HR zones - New to forum

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jRip48
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HR zones - New to forum

Post by jRip48 »

Hi all.

I've trained in fits and starts on an erg over the last 15+ years, often with several years' break in between! When it comes to exercise I've always been the 'anaerobic' guy - doing mostly short sprints on the erg (100 - 1000m). I'm now of an age (72) where I feel I should try to boost my aerobic fitness by introducing some longer erg pieces.

I see a lot of people make use of heart rate training and have some fairly tight tolerances on where they want their HR to be in a particular session. I have an HRM and would like to take advantage of that.

My RHR is about 60bpm and MHR about 160. However, I'm a bit confused over this business of HR training zones. For example I saw elsewhere on this site two ways of estimating the UT2 zone, viz.:
  1. 55%→70% of MHR which, for me, is 88→112
    (100 avg.)
  2. 55%→70% of reserve HR, which is 115→130
    (123 avg.)
I understand these are only estimates but for a guy like me who only has a 100bpm difference between resting HR and all-out maximum, training at an average of 100bpm is vastly different from training at 123bpm!

Would appreciate people's thoughts on which formula is more aligned with what actually does constitute UT2 and why there is such a discrepancy in the two definitions. Any general advice also welcomed.

Thanks!

John
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Re: HR zones - New to forum

Post by JonT »

Hello John,

Welcome to the forum and to Free Spirits. There are a lot of people on here who have some very deep experience of this kind of training. I’m not sure which I do you have seen on the site - there is a lot on here! But I always rely on our HR zone calculator which you can find here - https://www.freespiritsrowing.com/foru ... calculator

I checked, and that calculator gives you the second set of results.

I wouldn’t get too hung up on the exact zones, but I would be very focussed on making sure your HR doesn’t creep up and up during a session. This can be quite hard mentally because you may find yourself going extremely slow, especially if you are more focussed on anaerobic training normally, and find yourself asking if this is doing any good. Believe me, it is.

I would start with a 30 minute session at 115-120 at 18-22 strokes per minute and see how that feels.

I look forward to the views of some others and also to hearing how you are getting on.
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jRip48
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Re: HR zones - New to forum

Post by jRip48 »

Thanks for the welcome and advice Jon. The calculator link is exactly the one which led to my confusion. The calculator bases the zones on %ages of reserve HR, then immediately below that is a table based on the same %ages - but of MHR (which one assumes means maximum HR). This is my very point - it can't be both and in my case, as I said, the two calculations for UT2 are very different. I really want to get this clarified first. Which one of these (or some other?) do people who claim to do a piece at UT2 use?
Last edited by jRip48 on Sat Jan 09, 2021 10:34 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: HR zones - New to forum

Post by jRip48 »

One more question: Do we have to wait for every post to be approved before it's released? It said I would be advised when it was approved but that never happened.
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Re: HR zones - New to forum

Post by Grobi »

jRip48 wrote: Sat Jan 09, 2021 10:30 am One more question: Do we have to wait for every post to be approved before it's released? It said I would be advised when it was approved but that never happened.
Hi John,

welcome to Free Spirits! Only if you are new to the forum (e.g. your first two posts) your posts have to be approved (to avoid spam).

From now on you are good to go without any post approval.
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Re: HR zones - New to forum

Post by JonT »

jRip48 wrote:Thanks for the welcome and advice Jon. The calculator link is exactly the one which led to my confusion. The calculator bases the zones on %ages of reserve HR, then immediately below that is a table based on the same %ages - but of MHR (which one assumes means maximum HR). This is my very point - it can't be both and in my case, as I said, the two calculations for UT2 are very different. I really want to get this clarified first. Which one of these (or some other?) do people who claim to do a piece at UT2 use?
John,

You have spotted an error that must have been there since the calculator was built, many moons ago. The column heading is incorrect. The values generated by the tool are based or reserve HR not Max HR.

There are actually a few views on what UT2 should be defined as, but if I take the British Rowing definition of 65-75% max HR then I think your values look like the image below.

Image

There is still a difference, but there is also quite a bit of overlap, which is where I would be aiming.

I hope that helps. Fixing the column heading has now gone onto my “manage the website to-do list”. Image


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Re: HR zones - New to forum

Post by plummy »

Welcome to the team and to the forum John. I should do far far more heart rate restricted rows and there is a training scheme called the Maffetone Method (or plan). It's a bit of a big read I'm told and I've never had the dedication to want to try and decipher it but I know a couple who've used it and lauded its results.
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Re: HR zones - New to forum

Post by jRip48 »

Grobi wrote: Sat Jan 09, 2021 11:28 am...
From now on you are good to go without any post approval.
Sweet. Thanks!

Edit: Hmmm ... Seems not. Still getting the pending spproval message. Never mind.
Last edited by jRip48 on Sat Jan 09, 2021 11:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: HR zones - New to forum

Post by jRip48 »

JonT wrote: Sat Jan 09, 2021 12:29 pm... There are actually a few views on what UT2 should be ... if I take the British Rowing definition of 65-75% max HR ... there is also quite a bit of overlap, which is where I would be aiming.
Thanks again and I see what you did there :)

Yes, I realise these ranges can only be a general guide for the population. Nevertheless the Karvonen approach for measuring intensity always made more sense to me than %ages of HRₘₐₓ.
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Re: HR zones - New to forum

Post by jRip48 »

plummy wrote: Sat Jan 09, 2021 6:31 pm Welcome to the team and to the forum John. I should do far far more heart rate restricted rows and there is a training scheme called the Maffetone Method (or plan). It's a bit of a big read I'm told and I've never had the dedication to want to try and decipher it but I know a couple who've used it and lauded its results.
Thanks mate. Lots of questions after trying to limit my HR in a 5k piece. HR inevitability rises at least through the first part of a constant pace row. So should you aim for it to peak in the range you're supposedly aiming for, for the average over the piece to be in the range, or what? In my one experience of this it looked fine for the first half. Then as it approached the upper limit of the range I was aiming for I chose to slow the pace to keep it there. Consequently I found myself having to progressively peg my pace back from an initial pretty terrible 2:20 down to an embarrassingly pathetic 2:50 :(
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Re: HR zones - New to forum

Post by Iain »

Welcome to FS, bare with my long reply, but I don't think this is a question with a single answer.

I have historically really struggled with restricted HR training. I have only been moderately fit for about 1/4 of my life and only after 17 (hence my modest PBs despite serious training in my early 40's). Recently I have persevered on trying to find a pace I can maintain for long (60-105 min) without breaching 75% HRmax. This has been painfully slow, but over the last 4 months I have seen my HR drift slow, so while I needed an average HR of about 68% in August to keep below 75%, I can now manage an average of 70%. I hope that this isn't largely due to cooler conditions! Also this is at 2k pace +30S now (dropped about 2S since May in addition to 2S knocked off 2k pace). Initially I struggled to row slow enough without allowing my stroke to become sloppy (this is now 17SPM, was less than my initial 16SPM pace!). As a result, I am a long way from being able to follow Jon's suggested stroke rate. Some plans suggest ignoring HR and just go by rating. I used to do my "slow" sessions at 10k pace + 10S, but always had relatively weak threshold rows (5 & 6k), so I think that the HR directed rows are useful. In addition, as we get older, we either need more days of rest or to make the easier rows easier, UT1 rows no longer suffice for me.

Sorry for the long pre-amble. I have long sort a definition of Aerobic Threshold. Cyclists have defined it for fit cyclists as the pace you can maintain for about 8 hours! This does not convert to rowing. Anyone who has attempted a 100km row knows that this is not limited by theoretic physical fitness but by mental endurance and the limiting factor is enduring the pain in your glutes, hip flexors and quads. I have seen people advertising to measure aerobic threshold in a lab, I would really like to know what they measure and whether this is universally accepted. Joe Friel (author of the well respected "Fast After 50" as well as leading 70+ cyclist, coach and triathlete) defines it as 60% of the Watts of your anaerobic threshold (broadly 2k pace), but he goes on to use 30 BPM less than anaerobic threshold. Given the wide range of HRmax, this would mean it is proportionally much lower for those with a lower HRmax that is unlikely. Still others use the proportion of energy from fat rather than carbs (couldn't find a definitive definition, but probably where fat >50%). So I have assumed that this is a relatively vague divide. Personally I think the importance of the HRcap used is that it allows you to recover sufficiently from hard sessions to do the next hard session. Clearly the hardest sessions take full rest days to recover from, but regular sessions for those doing >4 sessions a week need to be possible after a day or 2 of slower rowing. As a result, I would monitor how well you feel you have recovered. I think this depends upon how often you wish to row and how long you are happy to leave between hard sessions. Call this UT2 if you wish, but it is only a label. The important point is that it is right for you.

Going back to the question, HR capacity is affected by BPM and stroke volume. Both increase as we increase exercise intensity and the way they do varies between individuals. As such "%HR zones" are only a guide. For example, Anaerobic Threshold is where the body starts to struggle to avoid acidosis and accepts a decrease in blood pH before starting to increase the rate of blood circulation. For most it is also where a larger increase is from stroke volume than HR so there is an inflection in the curve measuring how HR increases with workout intensity. I have not come across a clear physiological marker for the Aerobic threshold. Many fit endurance athletes can have an anaerobic threshold at >90% of HRmax, so the assumption of 80% often used is not universally applicable. I suspect the same would be true of any of the aerobic threshold limits. I believe the top of UT2 is the aerobic threshold as the top of At is the anaerobic threshold, so it is not worth getting worked up over the precise numbers of the zones. More important is that HR varies with stress, illness and tiredness so an HR limit is a better way to limit training than a particular pace.

Hope that helps. For any of the more knowledgeable, please let me know if I have misunderstood anything or they can help reduce my confusion.

As for how to use the zones, Joe Friel recommends training at a constant speed on slower sessions (or possibly speeding up), so you should aim to row at a pace at which you can row for the required duration to finish approaching but not exceeding the limit. I find my HR increases markedly at a point where I start to sweat freely (7-15 min in depend on temperature and intensity for slower sessions). I would think this should be within the band (ie above the minimum). I allow 2SPM for a few beats as this is transitory and allow a bit of leeway if a non-exercise factor causes it (eg being disturbed by something going on, sneezing, needing to go to the loo etc.) No idea whether this is the norm.

Let us know how you get on.

- Iain
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Re: HR zones - New to forum

Post by JonT »

Grobi wrote: Sat Jan 09, 2021 11:28 am
jRip48 wrote: Sat Jan 09, 2021 10:30 am One more question: Do we have to wait for every post to be approved before it's released? It said I would be advised when it was approved but that never happened.
Only if you are new to the forum (e.g. your first two posts) your posts have to be approved (to avoid spam).
I just checked, and the limit is three posts. So, fingers crossed, all should be good now.

Jon
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