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Video: How to Use a Heart Rate Monitor

Using a heart rate monitor is one of the most effective ways to get more out of your training, but too many people don’t really know how to use one properly. In this episode, you’ll see just how easy it is to use a heart rate monitor and we’ll show you step by step how to improve your conditioning and fitness and get better results by incorporating one into your training

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Read the transcript of this video

Howie: Hi. I'm Howie Clark.

Joel: I'm Joel Jamieson.

Howie: This week's episode of 8 Weeks Out TV, we are going to show you how to get the most out of your training using a heart rate monitor.

Joel: All right. The first step in getting the most out of your heart rate monitor is in the setup. As you can see, Howie, pull your shirt up for us; you can see he's got the new Polar transmitters on here, which are great, because these straps are extremely comfortable compared to the older plastic ones. They have great signal, they work very well. This is also the Polar transmitter which snaps in and out. It's very thin, it's comfortable to wear. These came out a few months ago, they're great. Go ahead put it back on there.
You want to make sure you have good skin contact, so you want to have it tight enough that it's not sliding around, and you don't want to have it so tight that you are feeling constricted. You want to play around with it, making sure it's the right tension. Go ahead and turn around for us. OK. Of course, tension can be adjusted there. You can just play around with that until you find the right combination of tension.

Then the watch is the second component. You want to make sure that you have the watch on, of course, during the entire session. You want to make sure you do set in your age, your weight, your height, and some of the stuff it asks you when you first set it up. This is the Polar RS100, it's a great watch. It's what I use myself, with all my athletes, and what I sell on the side because it's a great value and gives you all the functions that 99% of the people are going to need out there. As long as you've got the heart rate monitor strap on correctly, you've got the watch, you've got that all setup, you should be good to go.
All right. Once you've got heart rate monitor setup properly and you're ready to begin your workout, you just want to hit the red Lap button on the RS100, or whatever heart rate monitor you're using; that's going to start the heart rate reading with the transmitter. You want to make sure that it's reading and that it's giving you an accurate number. Sometimes, you can actually press the wrong button and it'll be displaying the percent of your max heart rate, so it'll look like your heart rate's 30 or 40, and that's obviously wrong. You want to make sure that it's displaying your heart rate during your work out because that's usually what you want to measure.

If you have a Polar-compatible piece of equipment, or whatever monitor you're using, you want to make sure it's reading properly with the equipment. Then when you're actually ready to start training or doing some sort of work, the nice thing about the RS100 and that series is that you have this little Lap feature. The Lap feature is going to keep track of heart rate information over each segment. For example, let's say you want to do some sprint work with Howie here, or some jogging, whatever. You're going to hit the Lap button to get it started. OK. He's going to go ahead and start doing some work. Let's say he's going to do 30 seconds, 60 seconds, 5 minutes, whatever it is you're going to do, we're going to be able to use the Lap feature to keep track of this heart rate and different information about his heart rate during that period.
Let's say that's Interval 1. OK. He hops off. He hits the button again, there. Now that's going to mark off that segment within the watch, and then we can go back after the work out and look at his average heart rate, his max heart rate, his calories, and different information about each of those segments.
OK. Let's say that he's going to get ready to do the next one. He's going to hit the button again. He's going to go for Round 2. Again, now it's able to track the second segment. The nice thing is that we can also look at the rest intervals and you get information from there, as well. OK. Let's say that was Round 2. He hops off, hits the Lap button again. OK. I think you get the idea.
The real benefit to doing this is we're able to track information about each of those segments. We are able to see his heart rate information during the work interval; we're able to see his heart rate information during the rest interval. That's going to give us a lot of information when we go back and see what kind of shape he's in, because we can see what his power output was for a give heart rate, we can look at how quickly his heart rate came down, and measure his heart rate recovery. We can go ahead and keep that as a measuring stick and we start to improve his condition, his aerobic fitness, anaerobic, or whatever it is we are trying to do. It's a great way to use the heart rate monitor and get feedback from it, and use it as a conditioning tool. It's a real simple way to gauge that. That's one of really key components to using a heart rate monitor, is using the Lap feature and keeping track of your heart rates during different segments of your workout.
All right. The next way we use the heart rate monitor is to train within specific heart rate zones. Let's say for example, we've tested Howie's anaerobic threshold. Let's say it's 170, and we want to train within that range, we can use the RS100 to set different limits, and those limits are going to go in the watch. It's going to give us a beeping signal for outside of those limits and give us a good feedback tool to make sure we are training in the right zone. Let's say that we've set his watch to keep him within 165 to 175 beats per minute, we can have him go ahead and get started on Jacobs Ladder.
As he goes, of course, we can see his heart rate in real-time and we can gauge whether or not he needs to go harder, easier, faster, or slower. OK. As he starts to get in that range, we're going to be able to get a gauge of where he's at. If he goes too high, it's going to give us a beeping signal to let us know that his heart rate is above his threshold, or above that zone we've set. If he's going too slow, it's going to tell us that his heart rate is below that, because we can see it's that. We won't make him work too hard. Go ahead and hop down, Howie. OK. It's a real simple and easy way to gauge what heart rate zone he's training in, because we can program that into the watch and it's going to tell us when he goes outside of that.
The other nice thing, the other way that we'll use this, is really as a heart rate recovery assessment. Let's say we wanted to make sure this heart rate was 120 or 130 before he begins again. Of course we can see that. As we talked about in the last segment, we can set the different segments to record those so we can see how quickly his heart rate comes down in between intervals. That's one of the biggest tools to measure conditioning, is how quickly your heart rate comes down, because that tells us about the aerobic and the anaerobic contribution. We'll go ahead and say we've set each segment. We're just going to look for that particular heart rate that we're looking for in recovery, then we're going to send him back to work in a particular zone.
The other nice thing is, let's say we want to see how long he can say within that anaerobic threshold. We can track that as well, because as soon as he goes above that threshold . . . let's say we want to cut the rep short there and that's where we want to stop. Let's say now he's above that threshold, above that range. Go ahead and stop. OK. We can track how long he was in that different range, the different range of heart rates before he was going too high; that's, again, another way to measure progress. If you're able to stay within a particular range and cover more distance for a longer period of time, it's a clear indication that you're in better shape. If his heart rate comes down faster from a given level of work, again, that's another indication that he's in better condition and his fitness and endurance is improving. By using the monitor to keep track of what zones he's in and to set that standard, we get a lot of information out of that and get feedback about where his condition's at and whether or not it's improving.
All right. There are some simple ways that people can use a heart rate monitor to get more out of their training.

Howie: Before I met you, I never used a heart rate monitor for my training. I think a lot of people just don't know how many ways to can use it. I was lucky enough to learn from you. Reading your book, I learned a few methods, but I think those are a few simple tips that people can apply right away.

Joel: I think it's crazy, I think people are almost intimidated by heart rate monitors, they've got a few buttons and they look complicated, but realistically it doesn't have to be complicated. We showed them some very simple and easy ways, literally just pressing one button, or a couple buttons, on the heart rate monitor that they can use it and get better results in less time, and they can have literally at the cheapest coach out there. It's $100, and you could get better results. Why not do it?

Joel: That's what it's all about.

Howie: Absolutely. Next week's episode, we'll talk a little bit more about using a heart rate monitor, show you some different methods. In the meantime, make sure to visit us at Facebook.com/8WeeksOut. You can Like our page and get entered to win a free BioForce HRV Pro system. Also, you can join me there, at Facebook.com/JoelJamieson; you can send me a Friend Request. You can't send him one because he's not on Facebook.

Joel: Nope. No Twitter. Joel Jamieson at Twitter.

Howie: No, it's Twitter.com/JoelJamieson. You don't even know. Do you even know what Twitter is?

Joel: That's exactly why.

Howie: Do you know what Twitter is?

Joel: Yeah.

Howie: What is it?

Joel: It's social media, man.

One Response to Video: How to Use a Heart Rate Monitor

  1. AndreyRUS says:

    it is very interesting channel! subtitlings in English would be cool! language barrier…. great request make eng subtitlings :)the translator works at YouTube, for the Russian person, or any foreigner, it would be the chance to understand about what you speak, instead of it is simple to look))

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