heart rate queries!

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7 years 7 months ago #22687 by topswimmer
I have noticed whilst paddling with my garmin 310xt that i struggle to raise my heart rate to a similar level compared to riding my bike, let alone racing! Is this normal?
I'm 44 & have an endurance based background over the past 20yrs.
Paddling @ an average of 10-10.5 km/h i struggle to reach 115-120bpm! Whereas bike racing i can comfortably average 150 for 2hrs!
Is this a normal range or am i missing something?
Many thanks for any help in advance

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7 years 7 months ago #22688 by kevin brunette
Replied by kevin brunette on topic heart rate queries!
You might just be more comfortable on your bike. 65% is a low heart rate for the speed at which you are paddling, unless your distances are really short. What is your stroke rate? Perhaps lift your speed through an increased stroke rate to a sustained 11.0km/hr and then see what your heart rate is, doing this over a reasonable distance.
A good way to see what maximum heart rate you can achieve is by doing a downwind in strong wind conditions, where you continually have to accelerate to maximum speed, spiking your heart rate.

FENN Bluefin, XT, Swordfish S
Author and publisher at South Easter Communications of books in the SURFSKI series, aimed at recreational to advanced paddlers. Look at the Facebook page Surfski know-how and visit www.lulu.com/spotlight/southeastercommunications

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7 years 7 months ago #22689 by topswimmer
Replied by topswimmer on topic heart rate queries!
Hi kevin Thanks for the reply.
This is on a river with small flows over 16.5km?
My stroke rate is between 70-80/min (approx)If i put in short bursts upto 13km/hr max this is unsustainable for no more than approx 60-90secs but still HR only 140bpm?
Strong downwind probably not feasable at the moment due to the cold temperatures in the uk(currently 5-6degrees C.Not to keen on swimming in those temperatures.)No matter how hard/fast i paddle that seems to be my ceiling?

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7 years 7 months ago #22691 by kevin brunette
Replied by kevin brunette on topic heart rate queries!
Topswimmer. I am guessing, but it could be your stroke rate. You mention 70 to 80 strokes a minute, which might be double counting, left and right. Aim for 45 to 60 strokes a minute, on one side. Your maximum speed sounds good, but you say you cannot sustain it. Maybe your paddle is too long, or the blades are too big, and you are struggling to pull the blades through the water.
Make a radical change to your paddle length and see what happens. Heart rate only goes up at a higher stroke rate. I am sure that you are reaching a high cadence on your bike.

FENN Bluefin, XT, Swordfish S
Author and publisher at South Easter Communications of books in the SURFSKI series, aimed at recreational to advanced paddlers. Look at the Facebook page Surfski know-how and visit www.lulu.com/spotlight/southeastercommunications

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7 years 7 months ago #22692 by topswimmer
Replied by topswimmer on topic heart rate queries!
cheers kevin
I'm 6'2" 34" inseam i use an epic small mid wing 215cm!
I'll try to up he cadence & see what happens?
You could be right bike cadence normally 80 -90 rpm.

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7 years 7 months ago #22694 by jazzman
Replied by jazzman on topic heart rate queries!
I would wonder about your paddle length. Is your Epic adjustable? If so , try dropping the length to say 212 and see what happens. You may find that it becomes a lot easier to raise your cadence simply by doing that.Cheers.

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7 years 7 months ago - 7 years 7 months ago #22695 by AR_convert
Replied by AR_convert on topic heart rate queries!
How long have you been paddling?

What I have found over my 5 years or so in the sport is that as I have improved technique, rotation and strength my body has naturally been able to recruit more muscle to paddle.

If it makes you feel better I started at around 10.5km/hr and was seeing increases in speed of around .2-.3 over 4-6 months. I was stoked to see an improvement that took me over 11.

I came to paddling with lots of swimming and multisport behind me, so I had good base fitness but not a great deal of technique or strength.

I too struggled to get my heart rate high, mainly because I wasnt recruiting enough muscles to tax my well adapted heart.

Your legs are big slabs of muscle that (mostly) perform one cyclical motion so it's not too hard to recruit all that muscle and as they are BIG muscles your Cardio Vascular system has to do a fair bit of pumping to supply them.

In paddling there are dozens of much smaller muscles than may be used depending on your technique, poor technique = less muscle engaged.

I have seen my heart rate see saw as I have progressively gotten fitter and stronger.

So from the start

Low heart rate - poor technique, not much strength to get the muscles I am using working hard enough to warrant a higher heart rate.

Then learn some technique and gain some strength in those muscles.

Higher heart rate - small amount of fatigued muscles (not using a lot, mainly shoulders)

Then cardio adaptation occurs (the blood vessels and cells in those muscles improve function)

lower heart rate - small amount of fatigued muscles (not using a lot, mainly shoulders)

Then I learn more on technique....

Higher heart rate - slightly more fatigued muscles (maybe using half, still using shoulders and employing traps)

Then cardio adaptation occurs (the blood vessels and cells in those muscles improve function)

lower heart rate - slightly more fatigued muscles (maybe using half, still using shoulders and employing traps)

Then I learn more on technique....

Higher heart rate - even more fatigued muscles (maybe using 3/4 available, still using shoulders and employing traps and now abs)

Then cardio adaptation occurs (the blood vessels and cells in those muscles improve function)

lower heart rate - even more fatigued muscles (maybe using 3/4 available, still using shoulders and employing traps and now abs)


Do you see the pattern here, it's very simplified but I believe the theory is sound. As I have gotten fitter and stronger I havent found training and racing any easier, maybe easier at the same speed I was doing last year, but I am constantly pushing and adapting.

I started at 10.5 or so 5 years ago and can now hold over 13. Am I happy, no, there are still lots of guys faster and stronger than me so it's train and adapt, train and adapt, no shortcuts I'm afraid, although technique will help you recruit more muscles earlier in your journey.

Always looking for the next boat :)
Last edit: 7 years 7 months ago by AR_convert.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Ric

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7 years 7 months ago #22698 by topswimmer
Replied by topswimmer on topic heart rate queries!
cheers ARconvert. i've been paddling for just over a year after 20+ years of triathlon. Could it just be that i have got used to slower cadences as most of my training was for ironman eg long steady state efforts & i just need to break the habit!!

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7 years 7 months ago #22702 by 1xsculler
Replied by 1xsculler on topic heart rate queries!
While rowing I have little trouble getting my HR to 160, or higher, but I struggle to see over 140 while paddling.

current skis: SES Ultra. sculling boats: Fluidesign Lwt, Wintech, Empacher.

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7 years 7 months ago - 7 years 7 months ago #22703 by AR_convert
Replied by AR_convert on topic heart rate queries!

1xsculler wrote: While rowing I have little trouble getting my HR to 160, or higher, but I struggle to see over 140 while paddling.


Lots more leg power (big muscles) used in that sport too.

Interestingly my brother took up competitive paddling last year and improved very quickly ( paddling 12km/hr+ within a few months). He had a rowing background and was a keen kitesurfer so I think he had the better base on which to build power wise.

Always looking for the next boat :)
Last edit: 7 years 7 months ago by AR_convert.

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7 years 7 months ago #22709 by hulihead
Replied by hulihead on topic heart rate queries!
I agree with AR convert on this. I too came into the sport from a cycling background and initially (first 2-3 years) found it much easier to keep a higher HR during bike events. Now a couple of years later and with a shift to more paddling than biking during the summer months, my HR is higher paddling and now rivals some of my best efforts on the bike for back when I was younger (10-12 years ago - I'm 55 yrs old now). So with more technique work and time into the sport, I would expect to see your HR climb to levels very near, if not the same as what you see on your bike. Also, the heat of competition is usually good for several extra BPM as well!

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7 years 7 months ago #22711 by red_pepper
Replied by red_pepper on topic heart rate queries!
It's interesting to me that several of you who cycle can run your heart rate up more easily cycling than paddling; I'm just the opposite. I've been a long-time road cyclist and it's rare for my heart rate to climb all that high (typically 130's to 140's); on the other hand, it's relatively easy for me to run a high heart rate while paddling. I typically run around 150 in practice, in the low 170's when racing flatwater marathon events, and sometimes if I'm really pushing hard I'll get over 180 (though at age 54 I tend to feel it when I get over 180...).

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7 years 7 months ago #22715 by topswimmer
Replied by topswimmer on topic heart rate queries!
Hi red pepper. It does seem [email protected] BPM I'd be in the morgue could never reach that high even in my 30's!Even running 5K (17:30) I would Max out @175.I seem to have a low resting HR as low as 40bpm when I was in Ironman training, could that have an effect on my HR? Is it possible to create the same speed with a slightly larger paddle but with lower cadence?

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7 years 7 months ago #22716 by jagter
Replied by jagter on topic heart rate queries!
I have the same issue.

When running or Biking I'll hit and maintain 180 during a time trial.

While paddling I seldom exceed 150.

For me long slow distance in running or biking is 150. Paddling it's more like 130 when I'm cruising.

I seem to have a high heart rate though. For many others 150 is high. When running I hit 150 the moment I exceed a slow jog.

(my resting rate varies between 45 and about 55, depending on fitness level)

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7 years 7 months ago #22721 by red_pepper
Replied by red_pepper on topic heart rate queries!
What boat and paddle are you using? Are you making good use of your legs and core muscles in your paddle stroke?

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7 years 7 months ago #22729 by topswimmer
Replied by topswimmer on topic heart rate queries!
Hi red pepper
I paddle an NK squall & use an epic small mid wing(215)
I'm 6'2" tall 34" inseam.Im still quite new to this game but still working on my technique.

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7 years 7 months ago #22733 by red_pepper
Replied by red_pepper on topic heart rate queries!
Looking at the boat specs and your paddle, I wonder if you're simply unable to get your cadence and/or sustained power output high enough at the current time to bump your heart rate up. The Squall appears to be a competitor to the Epic V10 Sport/Think Evo/Stellar SR type of boats. Looks like fun!

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7 years 6 months ago #22741 by red_pepper
Replied by red_pepper on topic heart rate queries!
I should probably clarify my earlier comments about my biking heart rate. On flat ground I rarely seem to exceed 145 - 150 bpm; but on days like today when it's cold and windy, I'm heavily attired, and I'm hitting lots of hills, I will easily run my heart rate into the 170's while climbing hills (with gusto, of course! :) ).

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