Aug 31, 2018 at 6:34 pm #3554034
I’m looking into purchasing a heart rate monitor for training purposes. Any recommendations?Aug 31, 2018 at 6:54 pm #3554037Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
pulse oximeter CMS50D+ also measures oxygen level, you can get it on amazon, I use mine occasionally
you can put it on your finger and record many hours and then download to PC
probably not quite what you were thinking of but…Aug 31, 2018 at 7:13 pm #3554050
The ones I’m familiar with and use come in two styles: chest strap and wrist based. The chest strap are thought to be more accurate but the wrist based monitors are more convenient and are closing the gap on accuracy.
There are further at least three different categories of “watches” that the heart monitors are integrated with (in the case of wrist based) or paired with (Bluetooth, ANT+ etc – in the case of the chest strap).
The three categories are:
- consumer/recreational/lifestyle – “step counting” with HR monitor etc (e.g. Fitbit, Apple watch, various flavors of WearOS watches, etc)
- “serious” sports watches used for training and race tracking with GPS and navigation and “sport modes” (e.g. Suunto, Garmin, Polar etc). Typically long battery life and heavily customizable
- all day heart rate and sleep monitoring watches – a category that’s starting to emerge at the intersection of the above two categories and eventually many of these watches are converging into one category with all of the bells and whistles thrown in
The above is not even close to being comprehensive and many brands are emerging with tons of features practically every week.
Check out DC rainmaker (Google is your friend) for comprehensive reviews of everything related to these product categories – he’s super detailed and seems unbiased.
I personally use a Suunto Ambit3 Peak (chest strap) and I love the watch though now it’s starting to show it’s age; I also have some experience with the Garmin Vivoactive3 – wrist based HR monitor – also an excellent choice.
Also check out Andrew Skurka’s blog for customization and use of the Suunto Ambit3 Peak for activities ranging from marathon/ultra running training to backpacking. Very useful posts and you could adapt the same ideas to use with any other sports/GPS watch.
Clever training (on online store) sometimes has good deals on such gear.Aug 31, 2018 at 7:46 pm #3554055
Thank you very much! I used HRM’s when was in endurance (ha 15 years ago!) with the chest straps, so am somewhat familiar with use and all that. As I have aged, coming 60 soon I thought it would be good to monitor my outputs and recoveries better. I enjoy the science and experimentation and know that I was more than likely going above my age related “training zone” longer and harder this year on the PCT with no ill effects and my recoveries were better than ever in my life. But if I don’t have to push so hard and stay in the training zones more often ( I do like to push it occasionally for fun ) till next spring to maintain SOME semblance of fitness this will help. Getting older means maintaining the fitness more between long trails and it sure makes thing much better every spring to do so. And my recoveries in the Fall after 2,000 plus miles have been better also so I’m very happy with that and some data to play with might be interesting and fun. Thank you again for the information.Aug 31, 2018 at 9:27 pm #3554070
You’re very welcome. Please do check out Phil Maffetone’s website starting with:
I’ve got a lot out of reading and putting into practice some of his ideas for training. That’s when I first started to track my heart rate – both during runs/hikes and at rest. Eventually you learn to just run by feel but I find it useful to just wear the heart monitor to understand what’s going on.Aug 31, 2018 at 9:56 pm #3554073Greg MihalikBPL Member
Polar FT 60
Displays HR. Will display other minutia.
Records time spent in three user defined “zones”. Captures Average and Max. Does not show Average or Max while recording. Saves all data by “session” for future review.Sep 1, 2018 at 12:04 pm #3554143BCapBPL Member
I recently bought a Fitbit (wrist based). It has many good features, but if I am being honest the HR accuracy is terrible. I’m sure it is correlated with my HR, but the actual value is routinely way off. Just figured I mention it.Sep 1, 2018 at 10:32 pm #3554206Mark VerberBPL Member
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
If you have the money, Garmin Fenix is super. I have the somewhat cheaper 935 and love it. If I wasn’t using it for Tri & cycling with a power meter I would recommend the Garmin Vivoactive3. Suunto makes some good products, but I think Garmin price / performance is normally better. I have always been disappointed with data quality from Fitbit. The Amazfit Bip has a great price and battery life but it’s heart rate sensor is complete garbage.
The most complete and accurate reviews on sports electronics can be found at https://www.dcrainmaker.com If I am going to purchase a product type that Ray reviews, I only consider items that Ray has given a positive review to. He has never steered me wrong.
If you are using the heart rate monitoring for activities that have big sudden swings (like high intensity internal training – HIIT) that use a strap… even the best wrist worn optical detectors just aren’t up to the task. I generally recommend Wahoo Fitness Ticker line but pretty much any will work.
–markSep 3, 2018 at 7:48 pm #3554407
thank you!Sep 4, 2018 at 12:21 am #3554429
There’s a newer class of HR monitors beyond the classic chest strap and optical wrist worn: optical strap worn around the forearm. Wahoo Tickr FIT, Polar OH1 and the Scosche Rhythm 24 among many others seem like great choices and are well reviewed. The accuracy is much better than the wrist worn monitors (especially for HIIT) and not as uncomfortable as the chest straps.
Check out reviews and comparisons at http://www.dcrainmaker.com and clevertraining.comSep 5, 2018 at 9:30 pm #3554686Jake JBPL Member
I’ve got a polar OH1 that I’ve been using with my Ambit 3 Peak for the past 6 months or so. Works really well, only complaint I have is the short battery life. Prior to the OH1 I was using the Polar H7 with my A3P. Really good results with that, awesome battery life, but I kept getting chafing from the chest strap, and usually my sternum strap on a couple of my running packs would be close to the H7 and would exasperate the chafing. For stuff up to about 5-6 hours I only use the OH1, but if it’s something where I’m going to be out for longer than that I revert back to the H7 and just lube the hell out of my chest with body glide or squirrels nut butter.
I compared the data from the OH1 and the H7 when I first got it. I set the oh1 to record internally and used the A3P to record the H7 data and the OH1 seemed to be more accurate, with less drop outs and wonky recording than the H7.Sep 6, 2018 at 12:04 am #3554718
Thanks much for posting about the OH1 and the Ambit3 Peak. I’ve been seriously considering the Polar OH1, the Wahoo Tickr FIT and the Scosche Rhythm24.
From all the reviews at DCrainmaker the Rhythm24 doesn’t seem ready yet for prime time: no Android app, cracked case, etc. The Wahoo Tickr FIT seems well reviewed but has issues with the strap. But the Tickr FIT and Rhythm24 have long battery lives (around 24 hours) which is much better than the OH1.
The one knock on the OH1 seems to be that the sensor flips during a run or ride. Is that your experience?Sep 7, 2018 at 11:53 pm #3554979Jake JBPL Member
The only time I’ve ever had an issue with the OH1 flipping is when I first put it on. I wear it on my upper left arm basically right between the bicep and tricep on the outside and it’s been rock solid. I dont ride so I cant comment there, but no problem while out on trail runs. I could see it getting flipped if you were bushwhacking or something like that in a short sleeve shirt, but other than that in my experience it just doesnt happen.
Other than the battery life I have no complaints. I looked to see if there was an updated firmware yesterday in the hopes they’d figured out some way to stretch the battery life a little bit in software, to no avail. Oh well, still like it a lot for anything under 6 hours..Sep 8, 2018 at 12:11 am #3554983David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
If you’re checking it constantly, you probably want one of the chest-strap / wrist-watch combos.
But if you only check it occasionally and want more info, those pulse oximeters that used to go for $400 at REI (the ones that clip on your fingertip and shine IR light though your nail bed to determine blood saturation) are now $10 to $13 on eBay with free shipping. I find the data more interesting if I’m at 14,000 feet (although I can notice a difference at the 7500-foot-density air pressure in an airplane cabin) or assessing an elderly relative’s perfusion.Sep 8, 2018 at 3:08 am #3554996Jim ColtenBPL Member
I’ll echo BCap’s experience with FitBit’s pulse rate inaccuracy.
My impressions were formed during 36 30-40 minute treadmill sessions during which I was connected to an <span class=”ILfuVd”>electrocardiogram. The fitbit always reported a pulse that was a LOT lower than the EKG was reporting. This was during activity when the EKD was reporting a pulse about 225% of my resting pulse. Oddly, the fitbit usually matched the EKG when measuring my resting pulse rate before and after activity.</span>
This was with a fitbit charge 2 model.Sep 8, 2018 at 9:20 pm #3555104Roger CaffinModerator
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Any good review sites for the pulse oximeters?
CheersSep 8, 2018 at 9:52 pm #3555107
Re: Pulse oximeters
From uphillathlete.com – run by Steve House and others – all of them highly experienced alpinists and coaches:
“72-74% at the Chimborazo hut (I have been there many times) is not so unusual when you arrive quickly from sea level. Especially if you have a low resting heart and respiration rate due to your good cardiovascular fitness.
This, number, on it’s own, is not a diagnosis of Acute Mountain Sickness, High-Altitude Pulmonary Edema, or High-Altitude Cerebral Edema. These are serious medical conditions that require separate attention and diagnosis and while a low-O2 sat number in conjunction with other medical symptoms can corroborate a diagnosis of the above medical problems, such a O2 sat number alone does not constitute a diagnosis. But I would be watching for trends.”
Much more from both Steve House and a physician who has served on several high altitude expeditions at:
In a nutshell, they discourage the use of pulse oximeters as a sole diagnostic tool.
Further, using a pulse oximeter for endurance training is nowhere near as useful as a quality heart rate monitor. Currently most of the “consumer grade” monitors are not at all accurate: e.g. Apple watch, Samsung watch, Fitbit etc.
The “gold standard” are the chest straps that use ECG like technology to get an accurate heart rate reading. A close second are the optical monitors that are worn on the upper arm or forearm as noted in my previous posts above.
For those interested in gaining a better understanding of the current state of the art in products I suggest dcrainmaker.com. Ray (the guy behind dcrainmaker) is obsessive about testing and reviewing products in that space.
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