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Is a 190 max heart rate too high?

Ever check out your heart rate during or after a workout to only be shocked by how high your max heart rate hit.

If so, maybe you have questioned whether that it is safe that your heart rate can get so high in a workout. 

So let’s talk about it! 

In short, yes, it is okay if your heart rate hits your max heart rate. Actually when it hits your max heart rate, it doesn’t stay there for long. 

Next, how can you find your max heart rate:

There are a few formulas, but keep in mind no formula is 100% accurate. Formulas do not take into consideration many import factors like genetics. So use the formulas as an estimated max heart rate. 

Formula 1:

The Tanaka (208 – 0.7 x age) and the Gulati (206 – 0.88 x age, for females).

Formula 2 (the most common and easiest, but slightly out of date):

220 – your age

You might be wondering: Am I fitter the higher my max heart rate is?

The answer is no. Once again genetics play a big role. To be honest you do not even want to hit your max heart rate every workout (more on that later).  

How to use your Max Heart Rate as a fitness marker:

Hitting your max heart rate isn’t a bad thing at all. But it shouldn’t be the goal of every workout. 

What you should aim for instead is that your heart rate over time decreases when doing the same type of workouts. 

For example: 

Track your heart rate during a benchmark workout like a mile run, Murph, Fran, etc. Let’s say your heart rate is 190. Ideally, what we would like to see is that the next time you do the same workout your heart rate is lower, but your score is the same if not better. 

This is a sign that your heart is getting stronger and pumping more blood aka fitter. 

A warning for my watch wearables:

If you are trying to get the most accurate heart rate reading during a workout, a chest or bicep strap heart rate monitor is the way to go. 

Wrists heart rate monitors are good for tracking HRV and RHR (we will chat about that in another blog), but not as great at tracking your max heart rate. There are many reasons why, but one is that wrist watches tend to move around more which skews the results. 

Here are some recommendations for chest and bicep strap heart rate monitors:

Polar H10


Best Wrist Option: Garmin Forerunner 265

So the next time you do a benchmark workout don’t worry too much about what it says your heart rate is but do record it in your Wodify app. That way the next time you do that workout or something similar you can compare your heart rates. 

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