Workout for max HR test

Is there a TR workout that would be suitable for a max HR test.

And would indoor max HR and outdoor max HR be the same?

Id say the ramp test would be only one as you need to push yourself until you can’t turn the pedals anymore. In my experience inside and out are very similar.

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you’re pretty unlikely to hit your max hr on the ramp test because it’s so short. The sorts of situations where you’d hit your max HR would be race situations, which aren’t super useful to recreate indoors. You’re probably best looking at your hardest and longest rides with HR data and pulling that max number, and if you ever hit a higher number then that’s your new max hr.


Yeah that’s how I’m doing it now. My HR always seems to go straight into zone2 no matter how gently I’m pedalling. Using the default zones from Strava though so it could just be that they’re useless.

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The ramp test will get you pretty close.
If you opt to test it outside then a solid hill effort should get you close. Go hard and then just ramp the effort up over a couple of minutes. When you think you’re about to die, get out the saddle and sprint until you can go no harder.

When you finish either of those tests you should be breathing REALLY hard.


True for some, but not for all.

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Do you mean your maxHR cycling or maxHR per se?

I would suggest you need a different activity like running or xc skiing to see your true maxHR. I can’t recall ever getting above 180 on the bike and I’ve done a dozen ftp tests, where I hit over 200 running a several times per year in training.

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Also worth noting that everybody reacts differently. Whenever I ride outside, rolling out of my driveway and soft pedaling my HR is up in the 150’s, but riding endurance on the trainer I’m at 120’s. I wouldn’t put too much stock in your hr zones, your HR is pretty variable day to day!

In general though, close enough is good enough when it comes to this. A few beats here or there won’t make any difference.

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HRMax at 8 in the morning is different from HRMax at 5 pm, and HRMax fully hydrated is different from HRMax dehydrated, and…

The real question is - what do you want to use the result for?

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Only from personal experience, I find that I can hit a higher mHR cycling than most other efforts, except perhaps rowing, but even then it’s easier (i.e. more suffering) on a bike. If the person is less accustom to running or skiing (or whatever) then it may be harder to hit the higher end b/c other limiters of performance, like knee pain in running or perfection of skiing techniques. In order to really hit a mHR it seems to me that a high level of proficiency is rather critical.

I once read somewhere that for recovery and endurance rides it’s more useful to use HR zones than power zones (gcn I believe) so was just gonna try and get my HR zones set up just in case.

Since that’s a pretty broad zone, you don’t need a very precise number to base off. Taking the value at the end of a ramp test is a good start, you can buffer that up a bit if you want. But +/- 10% is probably good enough.

Mines about 10bpm short compared to my HR max.

More useful? Maybe, maybe not.

If you are going to use HR, then I suggest using Joe Friel’s protocol which looks the same as British Cycling protocol and both use the more reliable Lactate Threshold Heart Rate (LTHR) which is also called Functional Threshold Heart Rate (FTHR).

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Running I’ve hit 178-178
Rowing I’ve hit 182-183
Cycling I’ve hit 185-186 on a ramp test. Kept it there for 45s, so I suspect ceiling may be ever so slightly higher.

Every body behaves differently, and differently depends on how you’re feeling and fueling.

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A custom workout could be used if you felt the need.

10 min warmup, 20 mins at high SS then an increase of a few watts per minute to take you over threshold should do it. Once it levels off or you can’t do any more you should be about there.

Might be a bit horrible and how fresh / well / well fuelled you are etc. may make some slight variance in results though, which is sort of a case for just picking your highest HR in this season and work from that. Saves the stress of this sort of workout too.

My highest cycling heart rates have been when hillclimbing in either a TT situation or trying to beat a PB up a prolonged steep climb (15-20%) and properly burying myself until I’m seeing double/almost throwing up.

Not very scientific but possibly quite accurate!

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I would stick too power if you have the option, by all means monitor HR but it can change day to day and over the course of a ride so it’s not as reliable.

Got my all-time cycling HRmax (180) last October after a 30 sec sprint, at the closing stages of an already demanding Zwift ride. Of my TR workouts, I’ve got the highest (179) during a 20 min FTP test.