Accurate systems for monitoring heart rate during exercise have been around for many years, but to date have not been widely deployed and used for group athletic training or group personal training. Several systems exist to provide both the coach and participants access to individual and group heart rate data in real time during a workout and afterwards via access to the data which is recorded and stored on the web.
These systems are deployed with flat screen monitors so that the entire group and coach can constantly see their actual heart rate, percentage of maximum heart rate, calorie burn, and current training zone.
Participants wear chest strap or arm/leg band monitors which can accurately monitor heart rate and transmit it to a computer, cell phone, or Ipad which is then wired or wirelessly connected to the flat screens.
How accurate are these systems?
Chest strap style monitors measure the electric wave of depolarization of the heart muscle as it contracts in the same fashion as an electrocardiogram and are highly accurate. Arm/Leg band monitors measure blood flow to track heart rate using the same technology as the finger clamps used in hospitals used to measure pulse and oxygen levels. These are also highly accurate except in instances where the arm muscles are strongly contracting because strong muscle contractions can temporarily interrupt blood flow.
Participants’ age, sex, height and weight must be matched to the particular monitor they are using which is done via software platforms or apps that are integrated with the system and can be accessed by internet directly or through an app. This data is used to estimate maximum heart rate (can also directly enter maximum heart rate if this is known), create appropriate training zones for each individual and display percentage of maximum heart rate and caloric expenditure. Caloric expenditure is estimated using the strong relationship between heart rate – total work – oxygen consumption and calories.
Benefits of Group Heart Rate Monitoring
By allowing participants and coaches to see heart rates, training zones, and caloric expenditure coaches can ensure optimal training intensity and much better results. These systems let a coach lead a group yet provide specific coaching to each person to keep them at an appropriate intensity for their age and fitness level all while they are exercising together!
These systems send an email report to each person after each workout that shows their heart rate response and caloric expenditure. Trainers and clients can also access all workout data online from anywhere/anytime. In addition most systems have free apps so people can see everything on their phones! This serves as constant motivation and validation of program results and coaching!
Heart Rate and H.I.I.T. (High Intensity Interval Training) Programs
HIIT programs are highly effective for athletes and lay people and provide three key benefits:
Quick workout – half hour is PLENTY of time!
Large calorie burn during AND AFTER the workout!
Fast paced with no down-time so no boredom!
Challenges to HIIT workouts
If not using H.R. Monitors that coach and participant can see – correct intensity is doubtful so results not where they should be!
Cannot coach HIIT properly without knowing intensity – period!
Without H.R. data coaches can push too hard (dangerous) nor not hard enough – no results!
E.P.O.C. aka “Afterburn” from H.I.I.T
Afterburn from HIIT can mean significantly elevated metabolic rate and calorie burn for up to 36 hours AFTER a HIIT workout! By creating high levels of oxygen deficit using high intensity anaerobic intervals H.I.I.T. creates high levels of Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption or Oxygen Debt where Oxygen Consumption and caloric expenditure remains elevated to pay back the Oxygen Deficit incurred during the workout! The less fit the participant the higher EPOC/Afterburn tends to be!
Key Requirements for effective H.I.I.T. Training
Heart Rate needs to be between 85 – 100% of Maximum Heart Rate!
Should be in this range for 10 – 15 minutes (half the workout or longer).
Without H.R. Monitoring people will not achieve this and coaches have no way of knowing if they are getting there.
Rate of perceived exertion is NOT a reliable indicator of actual workout intensity for the person or the coach!
The workload necessary to get a person to 85 – 100% is different for each person!
Requirements for use of Group Heart Rate Monitoring Systems
Flat screen T.V.’s large enough for each person in a given space to see their “block” with H.R. Data easily!
Flat screens should ideally be hard-wired directly to the output device – this can be a PC (in case of Myzone) or ipad in case of Polar or Heart Zones
Chest straps with transmitters and/or armband monitors for participants to borrow and purchase.
Good Wi-Fi availability so that workouts can upload to internet from output device.
Coaches and staff must be thoroughly familiar with operation of the entire system.
Must promote and market the benefits of H.R. Monitoring.
Posters and Flyers
Demo classes and trials of monitors!!!!!
All staff should understand and be articulate in explaining:
How heart rate monitoring works AND
How it benefits the people who use it!
Have a 60 second elevator speech that they can deliver effectively to address these two key points!
Loaner Heart Rate Monitors
Essential to have loaner belts so people can experience benefits of H.R. System!
This means having LOTS of loaner straps – the straps need to be washed after each use so you need way more straps (which are inexpensive) than transmitters.
The transmitters unclip and just get wiped down with alcohol wipe.
Have to have procedures in place to assign monitor AND to insure people do not walk out with them!
Also want to have extra monitors on hand to sell people their own monitor once they see and understand the benefits!
Keys to Success
You MUST fully commit to H.R. monitoring in key classes and small group training if you want to use it to:
Differentiate your club from others to help drive sales – must be a solid part of your culture that is used by ALL coaches and required gear for participation in appropriate classes. It is NO different than requiring people in a yoga class to have barefeet and use a mat or requiring people to wear appropriate footwear when using the club!
Trainers should use it with ALL their clients! System is a game changer for producing results and accountability. Most importantly it provides a CONSTANT VALIDATION OF RESULTS BECAUSE CLIENTS GET A REPORT AFTER EVERY WORKOUT SHOWING WHAT THEY DID!
Instructors must be trained to deliver an enthusiastic and articulate explanation of the system and benefits for appropriate classes and highlight the results at the end of each class!
Group Heart Rate Systems
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As the Director of Education for Sproing Fitness he created the education platform and training systems. This includes training Master Trainers to train and certify other trainers in the use of the Sproing Trainer for personal training, athletic training, and physical therapy.
His hard work, leadership, passion, and extensive knowledge of health and fitness give him the tools to launch new technologies in the health and wellness industry.
Latest posts by Greg Maurer
- Using Group Heart Rate Monitoring to improve results and sales of group HIIT Training - January 27, 2015
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