Cycling power tests
Maximum Heart Rate testing for Cycling
Testing for your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) is a useful training tool.
There are a number of ways of testing for your Cycling Max HR (testing for maximum running HR is a separate article in my blog) –
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1. Cycling Max Heart Rate – Test 1
The most accurate is a Vo2Max test done in a lab. This is often too expensive.
2. Cycling Max Heart Rate – Test 2.
This test requires a Heart Rate Monitor and a turbo trainer and it may be helpful to have someone assist during the test, to encourage you when things get tough and to take the readings from your Heart Rate Monitor.
Test 2 protocol –
Warm up for 10 to 15 minutes and then ride as hard as possible intensive time trial effort for the next ten minutes.
Ride the last minute flat out (maximum effort), and sprint the last 20 to 30 seconds.
It should now be possible to read the MHR on the Heart Rate Monitor.
Do not stop immediately but keep pedalling and warm down gradually for the next ten minutes.
Repeat the test two or three more times, with a couple of days between each test, to establish your true maximum.
3. Cycling Max Heart Rate – Test 3.
This test requires a Heart Rate Monitor, turbo trainer and a computer (ideally with a cadence measurement). Your bike should have a close ratio rear block (e.g. 52 x 18/17/16/15/14/13). Have someone assist during the test, to encourage you when things get tough and to take the readings from your Heart Rate Monitor.
Test 3 protocol –
Warm up fully for 10 to 15 minutes.
Use your large chain ring and choose the lowest gear (e.g. 52 x 18). Pedal at a steady cadence of 90 rpm for 2 minutes.
Then change up to the next gear (52 x 17) without pausing.
Maintain the same cadence (90-rpm). Pedal this gear for 2 minutes and change up again still maintaining the 90-rpm cadence.
Continue changing up to the next cog every two minutes, constantly maintaining 90-rpm.
Your heart rate should rise constantly. It may level out at some point but carry on with the test.
Continue at 90 rpm, changing up a sprocket every two minutes, until you are no longer able to go on.
Do not stop immediately but keep pedalling and warm down gradually for the next ten minutes
4. Cycling Max Heart Rate – Test 4
A simple way, if you are racing, is to check your Heart Rate data on a regular basis for your Max Heart Rate.
You will usually reach your Max Heart Rate during the final sprint finish of most races where you end up sprinting at 100%.