Training with a heart rate monitor offers many benefits – it ensures your workouts are intense enough, that you’re taking adequate rest between exercises/circuits, helps you train in different zones of intensity, and enables you to track your fitness progress over time. Training with a heart rate monitor can help you take your fitness to a new level, but it can also be confusing territory to navigate. We answer your questions about heart rate training and more in this week’s Q&A Roundup.
I totally understand your question, which is a very good one. First, I think wearing a heart rate monitor while you exercise is a smart idea because it can be very motivating. I only require clients over 60 years old and beginners to wear them during training sessions, but they are equally as effective for those like yourself in great shape.
As I explained in detail in my article about Max Heart Rate, there are many different ranges of max heart rate. I had one client who couldn’t get his heart rate above 150 and he was an exceptional athlete in great shape – and only 23 years old! My heart rate can go up to the high 190’s to low 200’s when I’m pushing myself to the max, so it sounds like you are more like me. The current max heart rate formula is based on statistical averages, so there are deviations from that average. The article explains this concept in more detail.
Good luck and hope that’s helpful!
– Marc (Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT)
– John ( John Leyva, CSCS, CPT)
Through a combination of lack of stretching and improper hip mobility, I herniated a disk (L4-L5) in my lower back while deadlifting. I decided to get surgery. I had a microdiscectamy where they take a piece of the disk out. I was a 21 year old college athlete walking around with a cane for 2 weeks post-surgery. I wondered if I would ever be able to play sports competitively again.
To make a long story short, by focusing on correcting my weaknesses (stretching/foam rolling my quads, hips, calves etc.) and most importantly by exercising my legs with basic squat movements (exercise ball squats), lunges, and step up exercises, I was able to get my back to around 95%. For years, I had issues post surgery because I didn’t properly workout my legs, so my body was very out of balance.
First word of advice – don’t run, or stretch a certain way if it hurts your back. Secondly, if you can find a personal trainer, or physical therapist who can do a full body movement/postural assessment, that can be helpful. They can identify your areas of weakness and give you a few exercises that can help rid you of your weaknesses. Find compound leg and upper body exercises that don’t hurt your back and get stronger and better at them. In time, a combination of all the above should help you. Of course, be sure to check with your doctor before making any changes to your exercise regimen. I can write many pages on this topic, but hope that was helpful!
– Marc (Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT)
– Kwesi (Kwesi Peters, CPT, Community Manager)
– Kristin (Kristin, CPT, CHC)