Data Driven Performance testing is no new thing in fitness. From High School weight rooms to the Olympic Fields, we look to measure performance. As a Sports Science Student there are a number of variables that I can point to; from blood markers, muscle biopsies, and the most prevalent... Heart Rate Variability. Monitoring your heart rate has always been the gold standard for cardiovascular fitness assessment and training programs.
With the incredible leaps we have made in technology there is no need to spend 3 hours in the doctor's office on an Electrocardiogram (ECG) anymore. We have a host of wearable technology that links straight to our phones which can give us a wide variety of readings. But Just how accurate are these numbers? How much should you rely on these numbers to help guide your training?
We need to ask these questions because in my years of experience, I have found 2 prominent issues with the wearable Heart Rate Monitors;
1) Athletes are lured into the ‘gamification’ of the data which can lead to improperly training.
2) The Data is not consistent across all devices or training methods.
So Before I put a bad taste in your mouth about the use of wearable H.R. Monitors, let me throw this caveat at you. Understanding what is going on in your body is always a good thing to know! Your Heart Rate at peak levels during exercise is a wonderful thing to look at and this is what most companies build their business on. They strategically give you color coded levels; Blue, Yellow, Orange, and Red. But the real value in the wearable Tech is in what they don't often tell you about… That is your recovery time.
Recovery Time is the variable most closely associated with your level of fitness. Heart Rate Monitors are good at measuring this, across the board. How long it takes you to get back to a tracking Heart Rate where you are able to either perform another bout of exercise, talk coherently, and maintain oxygen perfusion is what recovery time tells us. This data is measured and can easily show you how fast your body is able to establish homeostasis.
The Problem that I see in general consumer Heart Rate Monitors is that the data is gamified and not consistent across devices and types of exercise. Simplification is the name of the game in selling products. I think of the classic example of Calorie burn.
Consumers know calories, they have a love/hate relationship with them and by in large most know that burning more calories during exercise is good. The problem is that certain types of exercise burn more calories than others. Heart Rate Monitors are not smart enough to know this and can be misleading.
Treadmills provide the clearest view into your heart rate variability. You run fast, your heart rate goes up. You slow down, your heart rate recovers. The Algorithm built into the software can calculate your height, weight and age to make an educated guess on calorie burn. But what about resistance Training? The energy expenditure during a max effort lift has been documented to burn more calories than a 5 minute jog. The heart rate might spike slightly but quickly come back to recovery. The software built into the Wearable device does not know your muscle density, the amount of energy expenditure and your resting calorie burn… all factors that translate into a real insight of how well you are training.
Aside from the inconsistency in data, the consumer should also know; Not all devices are created equal. Just like in most consumer products, you get what you pay for. I am not saying your should buy an ECG and put it in your home gym but when you are hunting on AMAZON, just know that the sleeker that the product looks for the value price; you are most likely paying for the look and not the data. But, as I said, if you are looking for Heart Rate Recovery timing and a tool to help in mainly cardiovascular training, then you can pretty much go off the reviews. My choice, the Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor Strap. I prefer the strap over the wrist worn options because it's sensors are closer to your ticker which is what is going to give you the most accurate measure of heart rate variability.
Data is Objective. Objectivity is what can help you see where you are going and the progress you are making. This is an important piece of training. Data is used across the professional sports spectrum for this exact reason. Irregardless of your goals in training, Heart Rate Monitors allow us a glimpse inside of ourselves. This view can help you shift lifestyle habits and boost your mental state when you see progression. So get out there and train. Watch your heart and especially your recovery. Your inner athlete is waiting for you to let it out!
Programming Notes 10/7-10/11 **This week I have placed some grinders int the programming with a respite on Wednesday. This is week 2 of the Tempo Front Squat with another heavy set of 3 to test consistency and strength at the end. Also, Week 5 of the Variable metabolic output workouts on Friday . All with a Weight Vest.
25 banded Air Squats
8 Divebomber Push ups W/ Calf March
:10 Chin Over the bar Hold
12 Deadbug Ipsalateral Reach
-Ankle Roll OUTs!!
-Elbow TO Instep W/ Reach
22 minute AMRAP
8 Box Jumps 24/20
10 Double Kettlebell Thrusters
12 Chin Ups
-Rest :20 Between Intervals-
10 Cal Bike
8 Eccentric (tempo)Bulgarian Split Squats (Foot On Plate)
10 banded Good Mornings
Deficit Romanian Deadlift 135/95
20 Deadlift 255/175
20 Cal Bike
20 Overhead Dumbbell Walking Lunges 50/35
20 Cals on Air Runner
15 Cal Bike
15 Overhead Walking Lunges
15 Cals on Runner
10 Cal Bike
10 Overhead Walking Lunges
10 Cals on Runner
250 m Row
20’ Duck Walk
20’ Bear Crawl
20’ Crab Walk
20’ Lateral Single Leg Bounding
Squat Flow: Squat Flow: Kang Squat, Internal Rotation, Ankle Roll Out, Bootstraps, PNF Stretch, Squat W/ T Spine Stretch
Tempo Front Squat
3X8 * Across Sets + 10-15# from Previous
rest 5 Mins.
1X3 @ free tempo HEAVY
Jog 5 Miles
Seated hamstring Stretch
Calf MarchSquat PNF
-Banded Press And Rip
-Banded Bench Press
-Slam Ball Up and Overs
Shoulder Prep W/ 5# Plates:
-Bent Scarecrow + External Rotation
-Bent Reverse Flys
-Bent Scarecrow + Press
-standing front Raises
-Standing Lateral Raises
-Standing Y Press
-Standing Cross Over Presses
200’ Handstand Walk
or Wall Climbs for 2:30
10 Double Unders/ 5 Burpee/ 5 Strict HSPU
20 Double Unders/ 6 Burpee/ 6 Strict HSPU
30 Double Unders/ 7 Burpee/ 7 Strict HSPU
40 Double Unders/ 8 Burpee/ 8 Strict HSPU
50 Double Unders/ 9 Burpee/ 9 Strict HSPU
*If these sets will take you over 1:30 to complete, rest :30 before beginning next one. Otherwise its straight through.
10 Elbow To instep Walking Lunges
10 Air Squats
:10 Ring Support Bottom
10 Fire Hydrants
10 Side Plank Knee to Elbow
Varied Metabolic Output #5
-ALL 3 PIECES TO BE DONE WITH WEIGHT VEST-
A) For Time
100 Step Ups 20/18”
B) Not for Time
6 Rounds ;
50’ Sandbag Carry
8 Ring Dips
12 Toes To bar
C) For Time AFAP
40 Air Squats
30 Plate Ground to Overhead 25/15
20 Cal Row