High Heart Rate?

Afternoon, I’ve been noticing lately that my peak HR seems to exceed the 220-age rule that is generally given. I’m 37, and I’ve seen my HR leak into the mid 190s after heavy efforts, especially outdoors. This seems to trend my target heart rates upwards for my FTP compared to some I’ve seen. Is this normal, or typical? Is there any reason to worry as I start to near age 40 about this higher heart rate?

37yo male, 5’11, 180lb, ~276 FTP.

  • This is a BAD application for that info.

HR is super individual and you need to consider your own experience against your own data, as well as a physician if/when appropriate.

  • Again, don’t compare your results with that of others, especially charts like above.
  • Repeating above, see a local doc for best info here.

220-age rule is meaningless. I’m 40 years old and have a max HR of around 200bpm. Resting heart rate is a more important metric when it comes to health outcomes and even then there is a factor of individuality. There isn’t any specific reason you should be worried about having a high MaxHR from my discussions with doctors and sports scientists but I’m not a doctor so if you think there is an issue of some kind of course talk to yours.

Why 220-age is meaningless:

Important part: “Consequently, the formula HRmax=220-age has no
scientific merit for use in exercise physiology and related fields”


As said don’t be alarmed 220-age is only a general average. I’m 48 and have saw 190bpm + regularly in the last year and 197bpm a few times I go off that. My mate 47 regularly sees 202bpm. Yet when I was in my mid 30s I was torn apart by a lad in his mi 20s who would only see the mid 170bpm. The HR max distribution is massive and very individual.

1 Like

Not a doctor or physiologist…

But it’s totally normal. That formula might work on a very broad population average but definitely doesn’t hold for individuals.

Unless those HRs are coupled with chest pain, dizziness, etc I wouldn’t worry about it.


I’m in my 70’s. When racing my heart rate can hit 170.
The 220 - formula says I should be around 150


A sample population level correlation line should not be applied at an individual level.


Nope, and I’m lucky enough to have a full yearly physical inclusive of stress test as part of my benefits package.

1 Like

Population level averages are of minimal use in predicting individual results.

What they said.

Keep track of your own HR at various exertion levels (max or otherwise) and see if it’s changing over time.

Now, if you’re max was coming back at 220bpm or more, that might be concerning. I don’t know anybody with a max that high (but do know a few with max HR around 200).

My HR went well over 250bpm once (enough to cause my HR monitor to go —) but that was an arrhythmia (now fixed via cardiac ablation).

Likewise, and I’m 68.
150 is just below threshold for me.

On the ramp test yesterday it was at 168 for a while and I was hoping it would go to the magic 170 ,but the legs died before my HR, sadly. Not my best FTP result either.

1 Like

That formula might be an”rule of thumb” and is not good enough a measure if you’re even semi-serious about training.

Read here:

1 Like

I’ll just add mine too, for posterity :smiley:

43 YO
Max HR approx 192.

1 Like