Very unproductive lower HR Zones

Hi all,

First off, a little background;

38 years old, been on and off the bikes for 7-8 years, also ran for sometime but i was never and athletic person. Actually was always on the overweight side of the things. For 4 months doing SSMV plan and i am currently in the build phase, lost 12-13 kgs (>15% of body weight and most of it was fat in last 4 months.

My question is, why my lower heart rates are so unproductive? Let’s say i jump on my bike and my heart rate is around 80-90 bpm and i start the simplest effort, it immediately jumps over 120.
If i am really well breathing and lucky that day, i can stay below 120 for a minute or two.
Probably one of the reasons is, i do not train at these lower heart rates i.e long walks or having slightly more active lifestyle. I wonder if anybody else experience this, is this an indicator of something or just normal?

And my heart rate is/was generally high, i am not worried to go around 180 and stay there some minutes.

If you think that it really boils down to training on Zone 1-2, what is the most effective way to train your heart for below zone 3 works?

An additional note, my resting hr is dropping ~2 bpm every month since April. It was 60 bpm initially and July average is 51.

You are getting fitter and yes, this is normal. 4 months is a long enough time to see some gains! Lower HR does not mean training is unproductive as HR can be influenced by many factors…

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I’m similar, my warmups at 50% are usually around 120bpm, although that’s been a bit lower as of late, in the low 110s, possibly because my threshold is getting higher. This is indoors, outdoors I had a z2 ride where I averaged 116bpm, but indoors my floor for HR is generally 115-120, land I’d have to be really chill to get lower. My threshold Hr is maybe 167, ftp 290, possibly 295

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Hi there!
HR is a really individual thing so unless you’re experiencing any other unusual symptoms I wouldn’t worry about it. I have a max HR of 205 so anything under 150 is technically z2 for me- but I have friends at a similar level of fitness who’d be working pretty damn hard at 150. If your heart rate is going down at rest and at a given wattage you’re on the right track- basically your cardiovascular system is getting more efficient, so you’re not working as hard for the same output.

In regards to training in z1/2, it’s the same as with power or RPE- you just want to be spending a substantial amount of time in that zone, regardless of which metric you choose to define it by.


I am curious why this is, it happens to me as well some days, just turning my legs putting out no power (downhill for instance) can get my heart rate to 120 bpm.

I see the local semi-pros in my area at 120 bpm average heart rate for a ride already output very high wattage so maybe is just a matter of having very high ftp…

I pretty much have to stop pedaling for my HR to drop below 110, but have a resting HR of 45-50 and can hold 200W at 130, max HR is 200… I think it’s natural to have a jump once you start doing work. What’s your HR walking up stairs? When you first stand up?

Power at lower HR is pure aerobic fitness and is obviously trainable, but I’ve never seen much change in that min HR once I jump on the bike (~110 for me)


I’m curious why you think this is a problem, or unproductive? Moving your body requires fuel, oxygen and therefore bloodflow, even for the most basic movements.

Turning your legs, even under minimal power, is still more effort than not moving at all. Your heart has to provide the fuel to do this. You can’t expect to maintain resting heart rate whilst moving.

Comparing your HR with others is a waste of time, its too personal and variable. But yes, as you get stronger, you can do the same power with lower HR


But even after 5-6 mins, my HR remains high at same power output. if it was high at the adaptation phase and comes down later on I would accept that :slight_smile:
Also my HR during hikes or ladder climbing is not low. wasn’t monitoring this particularly but will keep an eye on it.

I don’t think it is a problem, i am just a little bit annoyed. I believe having an effective Zone 1-2 would be useful. I simply struggle to keep a recovery ride as recovery ride, 120W is being delivered above 120 bpm or also endurance rides, not always but there are times i deliver 60% of my FTP at 145 bpm.

I know everybody is different, HR is not an easy topic but i cannot quit my engineering habits easily :man_shrugging:. Simply your heart is a pump and i want to extend the asset life by avoiding it running more than needed. So was wondering if there is a way to be better at this as well as is it worth to focus on this or just forget it and focus more on important power delivery zones.

A few years ago I remember my HR tracking watts pretty closely until I got over 150 (i.e. 130 bpm at 130W, 140 bpm at 140W, etc). Now I can do 200w at 130bpm and 225W at 150.

It’s trainable… one of the basic adaptations of endurance training. Sweet spot and FTP work helps for sure, but so does lots of low intensity / pure aerobic riding

@Oner_Tuyluoglu although I’m not 100% clear on what exactly you’re getting at, I had a friend who had incredibly high HR for even the slightest pressure on the pedals. We have no idea why but, bro science came up with a very low stroke volume. Meaning the heart had to beat more rapidly to compensate.

All that didn’t really matter, however, as when he finally did a good threshold test and applied the results to define his zones, he realized he had an incredibly high HR to power compared to most others.

As @onemanpeloton alluded your HR is like a fingerprint. A one of kind and only for you.

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I would say it’s normal, I rarely see less than 120bpm even when doing something like Taku. Two years ago I had a physiology test done at a local sports university and they gave me my HR zones based on a blood lactate test, this showed my zone 1 ran right upto 153bpm, and my max was about 194.

Resting HR sits between 50 and 60 and as soon as I get on the bike I see 110+.

One thing I do notice is that my HR zone is usually one zone below my power zone for a given ride, not sure if this is the same for everyone though.

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wow. interesting information, zone 1 goes up to 153.,
I operate at around 120 bpm until 50% of my FTP then I go to 135-150 zone where the magic happens. if it is a good they i go up to 95 % of my FTP there. 110% FTP starts above 160 bpm and goes up.
One thing i know is i can operate pretty well between 160-180 range. I could complete a 5 hours effort there without complaining, especially riding outside.

I have max hr on the bike 190 bpm and resting HR around 54-60 bpm. During Z2 I can hold 230W around 134-144 bpm (depends of the temperature mostly) but when I SIT on the bike my HR goes into 90-100 bpm no matter what, first and when pedaling (even something like Lazy Mountain) I cannot go lower than 110 bpm so I do not see what the problem is:)

I find that my HR fluctuates wildly if I start ‘thinking’ about the work ahead. If I start counting the intervals, working out the TiZ for this session, etc… my HR starts rising, rapidly! This is one of the reasons I don’t study the workouts in my calendar. If I knew what was coming, I’d never get on the trainer :laughing:

It sounds daft I know but, I put my music on and simply try to empty my mind.

I’m the other end of the spectrum. At 50% of FTP I’d be in the 90s, might occasionally break 100. At Z2 power I’m solidly in Z1 HR - I’ll stay below 120 for hours.