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Using a Computrainer to Determine Heart Rate Zones

If you are lucky enough to own a Computrainer system or have a friend that has one, here is a sample workout to determine your cycling anaerobic threshold and heart rate zones:

(minutes) Workload (watts/speed) Heart Rate(bpm) Perceived Exertion 7 to 20

0:00 to 5 ; 10:00 Warm Up
0:00 to 1:30 100 watts
1:30 to 3:00 120
3:00 to 4:30 140
4:30 to 6:00 160
6:00 to 7:30 180
7:30 to 9:00 200
9:00 to 10:30 220
10:30 to 12:00 240
12:00 to 13:30 260
13:30 to 15:00 280
15:00 to 16:30 300
16:30 to 18:00 320
18:00 to 19:30 340
19:30 to 21:00 360
21:00 to 22:30 380
22:30 to 24:00 400
24:00 to 25:30 420
25:30 to 27:00 440
27:00 to 28:30 460
28:30 to 30:00 480
30:00 to 31:30 500

Pre-Test Procedures: a) Make sure your bike has a standard width rear tire ; 23mm; (b) calibrate the computrainer so it should start around 1.95 to 2.10; (c) you must re-calibrate after each peron rides; (d) use your own heart rate monitor, not the one that comes with Computrainer.

Step #1: Take your resting heart rate sitting down ; manually count your heart beats for 60 seconds. Record it.

#2: Get on your bike and have it in an easy gear for your warm up. You should be on the small front ring and maybe three gears away from your easiest gear on the back. You must ride at 90rpms, so make sure that the Computrainer screen is showing rpms. You MUST hold 90 rpms throughout the test --- obviously, you can dip down to 87, 88 for a second or two because it is impossible to keep rpm's at exactly 90 the entire time, but if you cannot maintain 90 rpms for more than 10 seconds, then your test is done, and that's your last level.

#3: Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes at 90 rpms without any wattage, then after your warm up start the time and set it at 100 watts.

#4: This is a two person task, so one guy/girl is standing beside the guy on the bike, keeping time, writing things down and clicking up the wattage each time. So, the guy on the bike is just concentrating on riding and shouting out his perceived exertion level.

#5: At exactly 1:30, simultaneously check the riders heart rate (the guy beside the rider can wear the watch ; it should pick up the signal) and IMMEDIATELY click up the wattage to 120. The rider should also call out his exertion level from 7 to 20, with 7 being the easiest and 20 the hardest---you will all start at 7 during the first minute and half.

#6: Repeat for each block and NOTE, there is no rest period between each 90 second period, you just go right into the next interval and wattage interval. The guy beside the rider writes down the heart rate level and the Exertion level (based on what the rider says) after each interval.

#7: The test ends when you reach a 20 on the exertion scale OR cannot maintain the 90rpms any longer.

Remember, this is a personal test and what is MOST IMPORTANT is being accurate with your readings and honest with your exertion levels, then, you will be able to track your improvement as you go through the season.

For a little more information about this type of testing, click this link.

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