Understanding Maximum Heart Rate | Breaking Muscle

The modern-day physical fitness age has actually brought a host of wearable innovations that can track amazing quantities of biological and physiological information. Possibly the most frequently determined variable we see today is one’s heart rate.


Understanding Maximum Heart Rate - Fitness, fitness, VO2 Max, aerobic exercise, obesity, weight loss, heart rate, aerobic fitness, heart health, wearables, fitness technology, obesity crisis, heart rate variability



This is definitely absolutely nothing brand-new, as brand names like Polar and Garmin have actually been around for years supplying wearable chest straps and expect their users. We have actually constantly taken 2 fingers to find our carotid (our neck) or radial (our wrist) pulses with ease.  


Today, almost everyone uses some Apple watch or Fitbit around their wrist to track modifications in their pulse whether they are exercising, sitting at their desk, or simply asleep.


Heart Rate Impacts Health and Efficiency

Comprehending one’s heart rate can be rather helpful, both from a health and efficiency perspective.


  • Resting heart rate can offer doctor insight into one’s health status for age and gender.
  • On the other hand, increases or reduces in workout reaction offer physical fitness experts feedback on one’s basic physical fitness levels.
  • Additionally, we can utilize heart rate to set training zones and recommend programs for increased physical fitness.
  • Possibly the most tough part of the whole formula is comprehending the optimal heart rate (MHR).


Even when using innovation, MHR should typically be by hand gone into to set appropriate training zones progressing. It will track your heart rate and inform you if you’ve developed a brand-new MHR through training. 


However it is very laborious to train at or near MHR, and you can never ever make sure that the numbers supplied aren’t some abnormality.


Source:  The Redline: Getting Comfy With Being Unpleasant


Discover Your Optimum Heart Rate?

The most frequently utilized approach to figure out MHR is by taking 220 and deducting your age.


If you are 40 years of ages, then your approximated MHR would in theory be 180 bpm.



Although some innovations are carrying out advanced approaches for identifying this variable, numerous still count on this basic formula to forecast.


While it works in the sense that it offers a fast and no-cost approach to forecast MHR, it does have some concerns.


It does not represent one’s:



Individuals typically get annoyed with this quote due to the fact that it does not line up with their training or expectations of how their bodies need to be reacting when working out.


Still, in truth, they need to utilize it as a directing compass. It is not completion all be all. In truth, there are other methods to approximate MHR


Measuring Tools for  MHR 

The most accurate way to determine MHR is through a VO2 peak treadmill test, but unfortunately, it is rather time-consuming, and not everybody has access to that technology.


Fortunately, some other methods and equations appear more accurate than 220 minus age for the MHR approximate.


A 2012 research study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research1 compared the relative accuracy of three equations against a VO2 peak treadmill test in overweight or obese adults, including three equations:


  1. 220 – age 
  2. 208 – 0.7 x age 
  3. 200 – 0.48 x age 


The researchers found that the 220 – age equation overestimated MHR by an average of 5 bpm, while the 200 – 0.48 x age equation estimated MHR within 2 bpm, and the 208 – 0.7 x age equation proved most precise.


We must understand that although the research I’ve discussed used a relatively large sample size (n = 132), it is only one study and did not look at athletic populations, therefore it is still difficult to say which equation is the best one of all.


There are methods to figure out training heart rate (THR), such as the Karvonen method, and we know that a VO2 treadmill test will provide us with the best results of all, however we must accept the fact again that these are all estimates.


MHR and Response to Physical Training 

My suggestion to anybody struggling to nail down their MHR truly is to use multiple approaches and monitor your training results.


One formula may prove to be more precise than another in your case, but how you respond to training will give you the greatest insights into your aerobic capacity and unique heart rate.


Lastly, if you are still truly interested in being as accurate as possible, research nearby exercise physiology laboratories and see if you can schedule an appointment to do a treadmill test.


It could be worth the investment.



1. Franckowiak, Shawn C., Dobrosielski, Devon A., Reilley, Suzanne M., Walston, Jeremy D., Andersen, Ross E., “Maximal heart rate prediction in adults that are overweight or obese,” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research Study: May 2011, Volume 25, Problem 5, p1407-1412.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.