Sunday, September 1, 2013

Question from the Audience...

I want to start doing a better job of helping people work within their heart zone, But not everyone wears a heart monitor. What is an effective way of doing this? I somewhat know how to manage this if I were to do an endurance ride, much like one you have posted. But what about if to are doing intervals or something like tabatas?

My Approach...
Wow! If you're doing this with EEZ rides with people that don't have a HRM then you're doing better than most.

When doing an EEZ ride I generally go around ahead of class with a chart I made that shows them the BPM versus their age to stay in the zone we want, and then during random intervals (2 or 3 times in a ride), I'll have everyone check their pulse for 15 seconds.  This works okay during an EEZ ride because your rate should be pretty steady-state.

This approach is less practical during SEZ or IEZ rides.  During a SEZ ride I use the aerobic threshold (AT) for reference.  I will coach that IF they've lost their breath, IF they can't breath easily in thru the nose, out thru the mouth, then they are too high on their heart rate.  For the average participant that puts them somewhere between 83-85% MHR.  That doesn't help you to make sure they're above 75%, but at least it keeps them from going too high.  I remind them of this multiple times during class and put the responsibility on them to change something (resistance, cadence, etc...) if this happens.

During an IEZ ride you have the entire spectrum to play with so it's less of an issue but again I use AT as a reference point.  If you're climbing and they should be a high 4 or 5 heart rate zone, but they're not breathing hard, then they need to turn up their workout.

On the inverse of that, during a low portion of an IEZ ride, I simply use perceived exertions scale of 1 to 10 and tell them they should fell like a 3-4 with 10 being, "Dear God, why did I come to this class? Again?"

Other things to note, I always refer to heart rate zones in percentages of MHR.  Make sure that the participants understand you're talking about percentages not BPM or they may quickly decide they're too far out of shape to participate.  And since I do this in every, single class, they come to expect it and it gives them a perceived value in maybe investing in a heart rate monitor.  I have been to some gym's that offer loaner HRM, which may be a good alternative for those that don't want to invest.

Finally, loan someone (a regular to your class) that doesn't have one, and loan them yours so that they can experience it for themselves.  I find this works best when doing a SEZ ride because THEN they "Get it".  Bing! (the light comes on)  "I've not been pushing myself hard enough." or "I've been pushing too hard all this time."

You asked about Tabatas...Don't bother coaching zones here.  There isn't enough time.  The participants know if they're giving it their all or not, and THAT is what Tabata is all about.  Your coaching here should be helping them to time their intervals and to stay above the 80 rpm minimum.

During a Tabata, tell them to not take the time to drink. They can hold out for 4 minutes until the protocol is over.  It's more important to get oxygen during that brief 10 second span than water.

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