A guest article from Paddy Clarke – Professional Cyclist & TeamFF Spin Instructor.
I am writing this blog on my usage of a heart rate monitor and its
benefits during spinning classes.
In order for anyone to consider the
usage of a heart rate monitor they first must be aware of how it
The human body is complex and difficult to measure,
this leaves people’s only gauge to how hard they are working been
there perceived effort (How hard you feel you are working). But in
fact the level of effort can also be measured through one’s heart
rate, and can be presented to that person through a Heart Rate Monitor
which Measures the Rate at which you heart is beating and gives it to
you in a figure Called BPM (this is short for how many beats you heart
takes in 1 minute AkA Beats Per Minute).
A heart rate monitor is quite
a simple device, in most cases it involves a simple sensor strap on
the persons chest which transmits the hearts beat to a wrist watch
device which in turn calculates the BPM Figure and displays it to you.
Some more basic Heart Rate monitors function directly off the Wrist
pulse and have no need for a Strap on the chest.
When you first sit on a spin bike your heart rate will be low as you
are not yet exerting your body but as you begin to pedal and as you
begin to increase the Intensity/Resistance your heart rate will begin
to rise, If one is capable of keeping an eye on their heart rate
during the class they will find that as they push their body harder
the BPM figure will rise significantly and in turn they can use this
figure to see if they are at the correct level of intensity or if they
In order to know the level that your heart rate should be at you must
first be aware of your Heart Rate Zones which is very straight forward
and simple. In order to know your zones you first must know your
Maximum Heart rate, a rule of thumb is to subtract your age from 220
and that figure is the maximum that your heart can beat. Once you have
this figure you can use the graph below to calculate where you should
When I am in the spin class working out I always wear my heart rate
monitor, I feel that I can greatly increase the productivity of the
class by been able to see how hard I am going. I use my heart rate
monitor to gauge my warm up level which is about 140Bpm, I steadily
increase my pedal speed and intensity until I am cycling at this
level. During the class when we are doing very intense climbs I keep
my heart rate around 170-180bpm this is a very high level and when I
am seeing these figures I know I am not wasting any time on the bike.
On the faster speed sessions i.e. Jumps/Running with resistance I keep
my heart rate 160/170 and the resistance is lower but with the high
pace the bpm is still high. Upon completing the class I can again use
the heart rate monitor to warm down, usually at a level of 110-120bpm,
This allows me to function in the correct zones and been able to see
how hard I am going allows me to make the most of every second on the
Heart Rate monitors can also be used in other ways, they can be used
to see how fatigued your body is and weather it is due a rest and they
can also be used to see if your level of fitness is increasing. This
can be done by measuring your resting heart rate and seeing how low it
is, as when the body gets fitter it demands less blood flow to keep it
functioning so the lower the heart rate the better (Resting heart rate
is the level your heart rate is at while in a rested state i.e. laying
on the sofa or in bed). But the biggest signs of fitness increase can
be seen on the bike, when ones heart rate can hit high numbers close
to their maximum and be maintained for long periods of time.
Here are some useful chart indicating correct heart rates for Spinning.
We will have some exciting news coming very soon on Heart Rate monitor and how you can buy yours at FFHQ.
TeamFF Spin Instructor