Gel for HRM- spikes in HR max

Hi all. I’m having an issue with spikes in my HRM plot. My max HR run is circa 195 and in the bike is 186. However I get spikes occasionally showing 240/250. I did get this years ago with an old Cateye Cycle computer, but can’t remember how I solved it.

Garmin Edge/Garmin 235/TrainerRoad app using with a Tickr HRM strap or a Garmin HRM sensor with Polar strap combo.

Has anyone used the gel you get get for this purpose? I did wash the HRM strap after every use, as this caused problems in the past. I’m assuming that it’s not a cardio issue, as I’m pretty conscious of my HR after years of HRM use and I think I’d know if my hears was doing something scary.

Any ideas?


Are you getting the spikes up to 240/250 bpm on all three of these heart rate monitors??
Usually, I’d recommend replacing the battery, “resetting” the device (put in the battery backwards for 15 seconds), or replacing the device.
My other question is whether you’re getting these spikes indoors or only on the road? I’ve had a loose-fitting jersey flapping in the wind affect a chest strap HRM and make my HR numbers go up into that range before.

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I’ve actually had this issue before personally. Larry is absolutely right, if resetting the device and repacing the battery doesn’t work, there is an issue with the Heart Rate monitor itself. That being said, if you don’t want to fork out the money for a new one, the gel fixed the issue for me.

It’s definitely a “band-aid” fix, and it has downsides like the gel accumulating on the strap over time, but as long as you wipe it after each use it’s not too bad :+1:


Hi both. HRM strap is a brand new TICKR. So I assume that should be ok? I’ll do the reset on it though. Another possiblity is that it is defective. I’ve always used Garmin straps in the past - but they were not the best and also has spikes on and off.

Spikes do seemingly tend to happen more outdoors. Although saying that I’ve not been doing any hard indoor efforts since I’ve had the TICKR.

A run yesterday. A series of run/walk - average HR 144 but a spike of 224, and two other spikes in the same ballpark. See image.


I would definitely recommend giving the gel a try then, especially since this issue has happened for you across multiple heart rate monitors :+1:

As an alternative you could also move to an optical HRM like the scosche rhythm armband.

These spikes are normally caused by the HRM sensor picking up stray static electricity currents rather than the real electrical signals of your heart rate. It is more common when:

  • your skin is dry at the start of a workout (once you are sweating, there is better contact between skin and sensor).
  • low temperature and low humidity conditions (your skin is more likely to be dry)
  • an older belt (the accumulated salts from sweat in the fabric of the belt create an alternate electrical pathway).
  • the technical fabrics of some jerseys can make static electricity more likely.

Because of the mess factor, before reaching for the gel, I’d suggest just moistening the sensor pads and/or the skin on your chest with water (some people lick them). Giving your chest belt a regular wash can help, although if you live in an area with a hard (ie. highly mineralized) water supply, this may be of limited use. A belt beyond 12-18 months old may need replacement (keep the sensor, just replace the fabric part). Using an anti-static spray on problematic jerseys can help too.

But in extreme cases, the electro-conductive gel may be better and more persistent than moistening with water alone.

Interesting. The Garmin running watch has an optical sensor. I’ll give it a try. Not thought of seeing if that would give strange readings.

Fyi. Optical hr sensors on watches are not very good for measuring hr while biking. Not sure the reasoning but DC Rainmaker has noted this a number of times in his reviews.

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Hi. I ended up getting some gel and it has sorted the issue out. Many thanks to all…

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Back on this issue. Tickr (new - few months)year, using on either a wahoo strap or an older Polar strap. Still getting occasional spikes. Since my original post I got paranoid a year or so ago and had my cycling GP have a look at the issue. ECG came up with no issues, and the GP and his cardio Specialist Nurse mate thinks that the issue is that generally the HRM we get to buy as athletes are pretty crappy and very much prone to errors.

So, what to do? Plan at the mo is to get another polar soft strap to run with the Tickr (as this appears to be the ‘least worst’ option), or to look at one of the arm straps - but no experience and they seem pricey. I did get Wahoo to replace the soft strap recently but the replacement was just as bad. I never has this issue back in the day with Cardiosport kit or the old Polar stuff from 10 years ago.

Or do I just give up and not bother with a strap, as it seems to be a pain in the ass :frowning: