Max Heart Rate On The Bike

So things got a little crazy in spin class this morning. I usually do this class as part of my longer rides, only getting my heart rate slightly above zone 2 for a minute or two during the class. Today was different.

The instructor informed us that today we were going to find out what 100% effort felt like. He had a workout planned that would get us close to our max heart rate. My workout for the day called for 2h25m in zone 2, but I was excited to see what I felt like going completely anaerobic (max effort).

Bike HR zones that I’ve been using in my training (based on VO2 Max test done last October):

Zone 1 (recovery): 102-124
Zone 2 (extensive endurance): 125-137
Zone 3 (intensive endurance): 138-142
Zone 4 & 5a (threshold): 143-158
Zone 5b (anaerobic endurance): 159-162
Zone 5c (power): 163-170

So here’ what we did…

I had already been on the bike 40 minutes by the time class started, so I was good and warmed-up. Another 15 minutes of riding and then we started ramping things up. First it was 5 minutes of hills, then 1 minute of a fast flat. We repeated this process three times. My heart rate had climbed to the mid 140’s by this time. Then it was 2 minutes of all-out effort on a hill…heart rate was up to 160…then we finished with 30 seconds of literally pushing as hard as you could (sprint). Heart rate peaked at 174.

We did this cycle 3 times. My max hearts were 174, 173, and 168. So predictably, I couldn’t repeat this sort of effort more than twice.

The max my heart rate reached during my VO2 Max test back in October was 175. So I’m still reaching the same heart rate on the bike at max effort. The difference that I saw today was that my heart went back down to 124 after a two minute recovery. My heart rate after two minutes of recovery back in October was 132 (and we only ran the test once then, not three times like today).

So the fact that my heart rate recovered quicker means that I’m in better shape now than I was 5 months ago…which I knew. It was a fun test, but one that I don’t want to do again any time soon!

2h25m on the bike.
10 minute warm-up
30 minutes in zone 2
45 minutes of spin class (description above)
50 minutes in zone 2
10 minute cool-down
Avg HR – 134 bpm
Max HR – 174 bpm

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