What max HR decline is normal with age? In my mid-20s, my max HR ranged from 195-198bpm. Now that I’ve aged to my mid 40s it has declined to 160-165bpm. This seems quite a sharp drop.
The classic formula is 220 minus your age, which was never accurate for me.
How’s your overall condition? I don’t think I can hit what I used to when I was younger but I think it might be more because I have other limiters that keep me from getting there.
I can not personally speak to the reasons why this occurs but Joe Friel has a great article on this topic with references to specific scientific studies behind it. Rather than make a feeble attempt to answer this, I will leave the link here.
Max Heart Rate and Performance
I received a couple of interesting questions about max heart rate (HRmax) this week…
Question: Does declining max HR with age affect max performance?
Never cared for the 220 minus age figure either. Good fitness and weight. Have been cycling for 30 yrs+ but just don’t have that top end HR any longer. That said I can hold 90-95% of my max HR for extended periods.
Thanks for the link!
Anytime! I hope it clears things up!
How are you defining & measuring “max HR” ? I used to think it was simply the highest HR recorded over the last N months, but for training purposes, I like Stephen Seiler’s comment about the highest rate you have for 3 or 4 minutes.
Your drop does seem quite sharp. I didn’t train seriously when I was young, so I can’t comment on my drop, but currently at 55 w/ 2 years of training, my current max HR for 3 minutes is 185 bpm (1-second peak is 188 bpm) w/ a morning resting HR of 50.
Max HR does decline with age. Everyone is different. Knowing your own body is the key factor. Five yrs ago, I could remember seeing HR at 174. Now, I top out at 168. I’m 45. Sadly, as does power. We’re only going to get slower guys!!
I’m 50 and my max is right around 170 and resting at 45. Really only started looking at it about 5 years ago but max seems to have dropped somewhere around 5 beats in 5 years. I think a lot of it has to do with genetics plus consistent training plus starting training early in life.
Max HR, resting HR and any decline in age is going to be subjective.
Knocking on the door of 30 and I’ve never seen more than 186 (crit sprint ) with my lowest RHR being 34. (Yes I’ve seen a cardiologist and no I’m not dead…yet)
Presumably you’re querying assuming that year on year training stays on par and doesn’t decline, become interrupted etc, so that the only variable is age?
Other sports/activities will yield different max HR’s.
Defining the max HR over 1-5 minute efforts. I’ve seen it steadily drop over the last 10 years. Was curious to see what others have seen in their own training. I assumed an age related drop but was curious to see what type of drops others have seen. The Friel article brought up an interesting point in that I no longer race and focus less on VO2 Max efforts.
Year over year training volume has declined as has intensity. I’ve transitioned to training to stay race fit to drop in the occasional Masters race rather than my former Cat II events in my 20s/30s. A previous post included this helpful link from Joe Friel and hadn’t thought about how my training includes less VO2 Max efforts.
FWIW as a point of comparison, I’ve been following a polarized plan, so mostly VO2max intervals (w/ occasional Anaerobic intervals) or endurance rides plus a very hard (for me) Saturday group ride. I’ve never raced formally, but that Saturday ride has large sections that seem extremely race-like to me given the fitness difference between the hitters and me
Mine hasn’t, but I’m an outlier in general when it comes to HR. At almost 51 my max is still 200+ and I can average 175-180bpm all day long. I see a cardiologist regularly for stress tests ad imaging because of family history and he says it’s not an issue, just they way I am.
I think more recent studies have put the “line of best fit” for age related decline at about 208 - (0.7 x age).
But there is still a wide distrubition of MaxHR’s even amongst people of the same age.
I’m 60, so 220-age = 160. Using 208-.7age gives 166: not a big difference in my opinion, given that all ‘research’ in this area is heavily caveated with everyone’s body is different and other disclaimers
I am 47 and on the ramp test i topped out at 198 bpm. I have no clue what my max hearth rate was when i was younger.
I’ve been cycling for 3 years, no clue what my HR was when I was younger. I hit 201 at the end of a crit. Had 182 for 60 minutes and 180 for 90 minutes during State Champs RR.
I just run a fast HR, it’s certainly meaningless as to how fast you are. Because I’m slow as shit. Not even close to 3.0 w/kg. Hope my heart doesn’t explode.
47 here, HR maxes out at just under 200.
last CX race I did, around a month ago my 50 min av HR was 187 with a max of 196.
So my conclusion is when you are 47 HR is pretty high for some unknown reason!