High Maximum Hear Rate

I bought a hear rate monitor last fall after I started running again. The first time I strapped it on, I ran some hills and got my HR up to 207! I initially thought the reading was faulty, but whenever I have a tough workout (i.e. hills or 200m intervals with short recovery), I consistenly get my HR close to or above 200. Even when I do easy tempo, my HR averages around 180-185.

I’ve seen a cardiologist and been monitore. He said that there is no problem with my heart and that I just have a high maxHR.

I’ll be 39 this year and was wondering if any others out there have a similar experience regarding their maxHR. If so, I’d also be interested in knowing if it was ever discussed it with a physician and what the outcome was.


I have an opposite situation.My HR can’t go above 183 and I am 27 yo.I think that the whole confusion was caused with the 220-age equation. I talked to one of my professors (who wrote his PhD on aerobic conditioning) and he said that only about 20-30% of people fall into that category.

I never paid attention to the 220-age formula. My cardiologist said that same thing … that the “rule of thumb” doesn’t really apply. I have a friend who can’t get his HR above 175, but has no problem kicking my butt with some workouts.

You would think that the faster you heart beats, the quicker your muscles will be supplied with much needed oxygen during lactic sessions. I guess there are a lot of other variables which influences this.

Yeah, my guess is that ultimately what matters is the amount of blood the heart pumps in one minute.If volume of blood pumped in a single beat is greater less beats per minute are needed for pumping the same amount of blood.
Maybe I’m wrong.Anyone?

The 220-age formula, like most topics in training, is controversial. This is merely a guide to try and help determine cardiac zones while training. Many professionals swear by it, and many believe that it is extremely faulty. Regardless, the title is a bit misleading. It is not meant to refer to your heart’s maximum rate possible, but rather the maximum range, beyond which is detrimental to your health (cardiovascular wise). As you can see, there is some fault within the formula and you may be one of those that it does not apply to.

Do a quick search on this topic. I believe that this came up a while ago and the thread contained some good info.

But is this maximum range not based on a percentage of your max HR?

Obviously if you’re heart’s rythym becomes irregular after a or several hard sessions, you know at that point may have gone too far. How do you determine at what point your working HR becomes detrimental? Is there a threshold you shouldn’t cross?


I’d be careful of heart rate monitors. They won’t necessarily be that accurate.

When I designed a heart rate monitor a few years back in Uni I found that they can be upto 20%-30% out depending on the specification of the chip you use for the main program.

Much simplified:

Heart rate monitors take an analogue signal (imagine a line graph) and digitise it - break it down into chunks (imagine the same line graph but now represented as a bar graph: it won’t be as smooth depending on how wide the bars are). The higher the number of chunks the more accurate the output but the higher the cost.

For me to build a heart rate monitor accurate to about 1% i needed to spend about £40-50 on the chip for a single unit (this does not include all the other components). Costs per chip are far lower for bulk buying but even so i reckon you need to spend about £10 on the chip to have any accuracy. Since most electronic products sell for between 3 and 10 times what they cost to make in terms of raw components you probably won’t get a very accurate heart rate monitor for anything less than about £150 ($290).

Even in the lab recently my resting heart rate over 3 minutes monitored manually was 49bpm but with the Polar watch was reading 56-61 during the same intival.

In short - commercial heart rate monitors probably arn’t that accurate, so your 207 may not necessarily be correct.

Although this is true, the exact HRmax is also determined by where all start, i.e., SA node, I believe.

HRmax is irrelevant to age; measure it, it’s not that difficult… -if you need such a measure, that is.

Hope it helps!

I´m the same…27 and hard to get over 180bpm…

mcrepsac how conditioned are you ?
I mean, for how long are you doing exercises regularly?
I´m asking because, when i started to do sprints ( and a better conditioned life ) my Heart Hate relaxed was around 75, now, couple of years after mine is under 60.

I would tend to agree with you there. I’ve tried 3 different HRM (2 different Polar models and 1 Timex). I noticed a 5% variance between the Polar and Timex.

To be honest, I really don’t pay that much attention to what the absolute value is. As long as I’m within a certain range during my workouts, I know what my physical effort is compared to my perceived effort. What may be a physical effort of 75% one day, may be 80% the next due to other external factors (i.e. insufficient recovery, weather, etc).


I started running again last spring after 17 years of inactivity. I got my HRM last fall, so I’m not sure what my resting HR was at the start. My resting HR now is normally around 55-58. I’m sure had I monitored it at the beginning, it would have probably been like yours.

One thing I have noticed is that some workouts I did last year where my avgHR was around 190, I can now do twice the volume with my avgHR around 180. The amount of time it takes me to recover between sets has also decreased substantially. I guess that means my fitness is improving. I’m not where I want to be as far as conditioning, but I’m getting there. 2 more years of steady training should get me there :).


You folks may be interested in this:

The Surprising History of “HRmax = 220-age” Equation


That’s the article I was referring to and it’s true; just measure your HRmax! :wink:

Thanks for the link … it was an interesting read. I guess that confirms what I’ve been told by others that HRmax can’t be derived from a “magic” formula.

Any blanket formula meant to apply to a large population has to be suspect, especially one that uses relative and arguably trivial factors, like age.

Everyone knows there is a massive exception to every “rule” in exercise science and physiology - “everyone’s different” - so why should such a simplified formula like 220-age be even remotely accurate? A rough guidline maybe, but I wouldn’t worry about it if you fall well outside the guidline.

The 220-age HRmax formula is almost as worthless as the BMI (Body Mass Index). According to the BMI, I am one of those rare overweight people with a six-pack :rolleyes: . I imagine half the sprinters on this forum are “obese” according to the BMI, and so is anyone else with any significant amount of lean body mass.