Switched HR monitor from Garmin and 4iiii to Polar and now my max appears higher

For a looong time - 12 years? I considered my max heart rate to be 181. On some very very rare instances it might hit 182 but that was so rare that it wasn’t worth thinking about.

I got a Polar H10 HR monitor which has been wonderfully reliable but here’s the weird thing - now it appears my max heart rate is 189. I’m definitely at the stage of life where that number should recede a bit.

I’ve also found some more difficult ride to do which I treat a lot like races. Point is, I’m pushing myself harder.

Whats my real max heart rate?

This seems on par with the situation where someone changes from one power meter to another. You are still the same person with the same “Max HR” that you were before buying the new monitor. It’s just he “tape measure” you are using is now showing results with some delta to the prior device.

  • Are you using HR in a way to alter your effort? If so, the fact that your devices were likely telling you different stories means you need to reconsider that to some degree, at least until you understand the new story as told by the new monitor.
  • To paraphrase from a movie, “The truth is what I say it is.

  • In the case of a power meter, the common recommendation would be to do a new FTP test to establish your zones with that new meter.

  • In your case, this sort of means that your Max HR likely varied as displayed by either device. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to do a new “Max HR” test in similar fashion, but I am not sure that is the best idea in this case.

  • One short term hack could be to use both devices together (paired to different devices) and see how different they are at different HR’s. Baring that, you may just need to work on resetting your understanding of your HR with the new monitor in use (and avoid using the other data since it may not apply).

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