57 year old with max hr of 202, is it wrong?

My heart rate recently hit 190 in a max effort sprint, it’s never been this high before (max of 178) so I backed off, a couple of weeks later it hit 202 in a max effort sprint without backing off. Could this be an issue with the Garmin chest strap as it seems crazy high for a 57 and I’m considering buying a hr monitoring watch for 2 points of reference.

Did it climb to that value or just suddenly jump to it?

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Climbed quickly.

I had a few of these ‘never seen before’ heart rates when my last Garmin chest strap went bad after many years.


I also saw similar goofy numbers when wearing a specific jersey where the floppy zipper pull would tap the Garmin transponder unit. Like 228 or something, just starting out and riding downhill.

It doesn’t look a one off micro second burst to me which would suggest its more likely to be a true max. My friend is a bit younger (46 year old) and he regularly hits 202bpm + . My self (also 46) Ive hit 204bpm this season in a tt sprint but I have my max hr set to 197bpm which is a more repeatable max. Under 90 % of that I can recover quite quickly; 90-95% of that I can recover reasonably as long as it isnt too often; and 95% + is an all out sprint which I’ll need time over the line to recover from.

When you get sudden spikes in heart rate, which then plateau (i. e. remain approximately constant), this is a surefire sign that your heartrate strap is going the way of the dodo. I have the same issue with my Wahoo Tickr.

If I were you, I’d get either a smartwatch with heart rate capability or a Polar heart rate strap. They seem to be the best out there.

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I’m 55 and tap out around 168-170 (although I don’t routinely train w/ HR). Stick with chest straps for accuracy. The wrist based sensors can be wildly inaccurate (especially if you have “delicate, fine-boned wrists” like me. ok, I wear a woman’s Timex watch, the men’s version looks like a dinner plate on me). I’ve had wrist based sensors give me 170’s while walking.

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keep an eye on it, if you get regular bumps up above 200 I’d get your heart checked out, once you’ve replaced batteries, tried a new strap etc etc

I had similiar that became more and more frequent and eventually was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation,


It could also be an episode of svt.

That pic shows the spike was during a max effort sprint? About 3.5 hours into a ride? What was temp? Can you add power to the graph? How long was the sprint?

I’m beginning to think that the “220 - your age” maxim was just pulled out of someone’s ass and has no basis in reality. I’m 55, so that would put my max at 165 bpm. My heart rate at threshold is about 174 and my max is upwards of 190. I don’t know if this is good or bad, but it’s definitely not in line with the formula.

From what I can gather max and threshold heart rates vary wildly between people and having a high one isn’t really something to worry too much about. Resting heart rate (~52 for me), and blood pressure are much more important. That said, I’m not a doctor or a cycling coach, so you should probably ask a pro.


Like what was said above, I’ve seen those sort of spikes from a faulty heart rate strap, but also 1) when the battery is about to run out of juice and 2) when I’m starting to fight off some bug and am about to get sick.

@Mazza do you have a pretty extensive training history tracking your heart rate? If you have been tracking it for various years and have done similar type efforts before, I would certainly try to find out what is behind it (faulty strap or something physical) as that sort of jump for someone that is in shape and used to those efforts seems a bit unusual.

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Thing is though it didn’t platue and dropped straight down, if it was a faulty strap or battery surely it would spike instantly rather than climb in a linear fashion, will keep an eye on it.

Not this again. That formula was never intended to predict max heart rate at individual level. It’s a formula for a linear trend line , based on a study of max HR many moons ago. Like any trend line and a sample of data there is standard deviation involved. You may be on the line, you may be within 1 SD, 2 SD etc.

The person who should be shot who said use this to work out your max HR.


Do you know how long it registered that value, and did you feel weird at the time? I occasionally got weird spike not when working maximally and it turned out that synthetic shirts and a particular chest strap did the trick. Replaced the chest strap and no longer wear the shirts that caused problem.

If you felt weird at time I’d talk to your doctor, but if you felt normal I’d just watch out to see if you get a repeat.

I had a spike like that when I took off my strap before stopping my edge 830, with a Garmin HM Run strap.

Nah didn’t feel weird, I was buzzing cos I won the sprint back to the shop :joy:

Same for me. Side note, I had an ablation (2017) and things have been working just fine since then. So if you do have a-fib don’t fear, all is not lost.

Take a stopwatch. Start it.

Get your heart up that high again.

Take your pulse.

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