Frontier Movement, Health and Healing in Action

Heart Rate Monitoring

In 1983 and 1984, I became part of a small group of athletes and coaches who pioneered the use of heart rate monitors as tools in quantifying fitness. Formerly they were developed for and used for cardiac monitoring and post surgical rehabilitation. We quickly saw the potential of this tool to change the way people train. To my surprise, few people know how to use them 30 years later.

For instance, I hired a trainer fresh out of USC’s Human Physiology department who informed me that your maximum heart rate (HR) can be computed by subtracting your age from 220. I immediately introduced her to a 50-year-old client who had posted a 204 beats per minute (bpm) heart rate just five minutes before she spoke. According to her formula this is a HR for a 16-year-old! Her response was that it was a good starting point.

No, it is not a good starting point. It is useless and could be dangerous! This same gibberish is gospel to the fitness industry and a chart to support it is on every piece of cardio equipment in every gym in America. In fact, the same chart comes with every HR monitor on the market.

The nugget of truth in that formula is that the AVERAGE HR of all humans somewhat follows the formula. Beware any trainer who espouses this dogma, as it is not possible for them to have worked with heart rate training and not know better.

If you want to know someone’s maximum heart rate you have to send them to it. Period. The medical stress test purports to do this as part of a comprehensive physical but we have exceeded their max HR numbers 100% of the time and frequently by large margins.

As I have said, all clients of Frontier Movement are asked to wear a HR monitor at all times and the majority do so. All of our workouts were painstakingly designed to have a particular HR profile and evolved until we arrived there. From the movements we quickly see the client’s max HR and we then use it as the training guideline for that client. We know when they are burning fat. We know when they are aerobic. We know when they exceed that and go anaerobic and we also see how quickly they recover from the effort.

In the development of Frontier Movement we charted HRs for 50 clients for six months. Immediately after each “round” we recorded their max. Everyone was then seated, and recovery HRs were recorded at one-, two-, and three-minute intervals. This was done to measure increases in recovery HR which is a truly important component of fitness and the single best measure of overall cardiovascular health.

We simply subtracted their three-minute recovery HR from their high HR to quantify recovery. This number is called HR Reserve or Recovery Heart Rate. Athletes and those with great cardiovascular genetics will have a HR Reserve of approximately100 beats. This indicates a strong ability to perform well AND recover well.

As you improve your HR Reserve (HRR), it will be reflected in your ability to handle stress, with the high number reflecting high stress and the low number reflecting your ability to deal with it more effectively and calm yourself. In fact, those who choose to meditate during our three-minute recovery time can increase HRR more rapidly.

The difference between this and traditional meditation is that here we begin the meditation from a place of maximal stress. While many do well with yoga and meditation, I believe that training yourself to be calm DIRECTLY AFTER maximal stress may have better day-to-day implications. It has for me and many of my clients.

Sedentary people and those with bad genetics and poor training will be closer to 50 beats HRR. After only six months of Frontier Movement those clients averaged a 20 bpm increase in Recovery HR! This is without precedent.

In our six month clinical trial, the two clients with big family histories of heart problems increased their Recovery HR by 15 and 18 bpm despite the limiting action of their prescription heart drugs. It would be prudent to assume that they may live longer as a result.

As the Heart Rate Reserve increases you have more energy. This is a direct correlation

Athletes with great HRR do not even need to go the sidelines and sit on the bench. They can actually recover from sprinting by slowing to a trot! We train many athletes and weekend warriors and every soccer, tennis, baseball, or basketball (you name it) coach will know it when somebody on their team joins Frontier Movement. We hear strong positive feedback almost 100% of the time.

Of course, the same will be true for non-athletes. In fact, due to their lack of proper training, improvements may seem even more miraculous. Just imagine how it will work for you!

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