How To Use Heart Rate In Swim Training | Swimming Smarter


– Using heart rate
during sports has become pretty commonplace, so much so that you’ll be
hard-pushed to find an athlete who doesn’t use it to monitor
their training at some point. – Yeah, after all it
is a way of monitoring so many valuable things, such are how hard your body’s working, how fatigued you are, and even how fit you are. – But swimming has been
stuck in the dark ages. Even though heart rate
has been used in training since the 1970s, it’s still rarely seen in the pool, and that’s not because it’s not going to be useful for swimming; athletes and coaches
have been asking for it, but it’s more the fact that the technology still struggles to record accurately while swimming in the pool. – However, thanks to optical
heart rate measurement, that barrier is now history. There are more and more
products now available on the market that are
utilizing this technology, and more crucially, in the water. But how do we use heart rate in swimming? Well, with thanks to our
channel partner, Polar, we are planning to
answer just that for you, and also helping you to swim smarter. (chill hip hop music) – The old school method
to measure your heart rate was just to simply use two fingers and place them on your
wrist or on your neck just to feel the change in pressure as the blood actually pumped
through your arteries but this is very much a rough guide, and you do still sometimes see athletes doing this if they
don’t have a heart rate monitor, but remember, it is just a guide. – Yeah, and when heart rate
monitors actually became really popular a couple of decades ago, we actually saw a number
of athletes and coaches actually using these heart rate monitors at the end of the swimming pool. An athlete would come in, grab the heart rate monitor, place it on, and then take their reading. But the issues we did
find with this is that, obviously a heart rate monitor or a few heart rate monitors
were being shared as a squad. When the athlete came in, it then had to allow
time for it to connect, take that reading, by which point, their heart rate may have dropped. Also, we have issues with
maybe getting a connectivity and picking up that
reading through a swimsuit. – Then the other option
was to have your own heart rate belt and actually
wear it while swimming, but however tight you made it as long ass it was still comfortable, I know especially for guys, every time you push off the wall, they would quite often roll down so, with a swimsuit it did stay
in place a little bit better, but still with the movement it did give slightly inaccurate readings. (upbeat hip hop music) – Well, as a result of the difficulties in getting an accurate heart rate reading, swimming training hasn’t
commonly used this metric as an aid to performance, which when we compare it
to cycling and running, it seems rather far behind. I mean, they’ve even
moved on to using power within their training and even racing. So until now, swimming
has pretty much just used perceived effort of exertion and times, which to be honest, only really paints half the picture, and actually leaves quite
a lot open to human error when we’re trying to work out things like how hard an athlete is actually working. So I think it’s about time
swimming did some catching up, and this is where some
new exciting developments in technology come in. (upbeat music) – It’s time to bring
in optical heart rate. Now this measures the change in pressure of your blood flow as a direct
result of each heartbeat as it pushes the blood
through your arteries, and around your body. Now, this can then be
measured using LED lights, which is displayed directly
as your heart rate. Now the heart rate strap, it actually uses the ECG
directly from your heart, but that has its limitations in the water as we discussed earlier. So these optical heart rate devices are actually becoming far more common, and if you don’t own one yourself, you might well have noticed the other athletes using watches with lights on the underside. While these LED lights are actually using the blood flow through your wrist to detect what your heart
rate is and displaying it, so it enables you to
use that device on land, but importantly, also while swimming. You do just have to make sure though, that the watch is tight
enough on your wrist to limit the water
flowing between your wrist and your watch, to make sure that the
readings are still accurate. (smooth jazz music) – Using the same optical
heart rate technology, Polar have actually come
up with an alternative to the wrist-based
measurement for heart rate, and that is the OH1+. Now this is a slightly smaller device that you can be attached to your arm, or to your leg for land-based activities, but for in the water and for swimming, you can actually detach
the unit from the clip, put it on a slightly different clip here, and that can then be
attached to your goggles. That’ll rest really nice and
snugly against your temple, for a slightly more accurate measurement. Now, as well as being
small and out of the way, it also benefits from you
not actually requiring a watch to record the
heart rate data from this. It actually records all
the data onto this device, that then can be downloaded post-activity and analysed then, but if you do want to see this
data live during your workout, you can connect it to your phone, via the Polar Beat app, and then, should you
have a coach on poolside, they can then benefit from
seeing that heart rate data live whilst you’re working out. (smooth hip hop music) – Well now you’ve got options in the pool, you can go by heart
rate, perceived effort, times, or even a combination of all boats to really make sure you
optimize your training. And say for example you’re in the middle of
a heavy training block and your training effort is really high, but you’re struggling to hit those times. Well, this is when heart
rate comes in handy ’cause you can actually have a look at how hard you’re working and you can adjust your
target times accordingly to make sure you stay in
the right training zone. – Yeah, and alternatively, if you have a coach actually tracking and monitoring
your heart rate on poolside, perhaps through the Polar Beats app, they can actually start
looking at your effort level and then maybe adjusting your
target times accordingly. Now, with swimming power
seemingly a little way off, we can certainly utilize
this heart rate data and start making our swimming training far more specific and accurate. – Heart rate in swimming is
still a fairly new metric, especially for coaches and they maybe aren’t yet used to integrating inter-training programs. Plus, at the moment you can’t actually see your heart rate whilst
you’re swimming, yet, but that said, it’s
still a very useful tool when it comes to analyzing your training and seeing how you’re progressing throughout the season. – Yeah, absolutely. Of course swimming does still have a little bit of catching up to do, but this is a really exciting breakthrough and a very useful training tool. And if you have enjoyed today’s video, please will you hit the thumbs up button and if you’d like to see
more videos from GTN, just click on the globe and
subscribe to the channel. If you’d like to see our open
water swim workouts video, you can see that by
clicking just down here. – And if you want to see a
video with numbers explained, it’s the triathlon training explain video and that is just down here.

Comments 13

  • How do you measure heart rate when swimming? Let us know!

  • Very Good

  • Polar v800 works with h7/h10 cheststrap underwater and produces better results than optical heart rate. Big thumbs down for Polar to not include 5khz in vantage series.

  • pretty much the same as the garmin hrm swim…?

  • 00:42 I wouldn't rest goggles on a ladder of a pool. Athletes foot is transferable.

  • This channel is far too commercialized for me now. I'm watching less and less of the videos. Such a shame.

  • For swimming with power, maybe we could just glue some pressure sensitive pads (those are very small and light these days) to those stretchy veterinarian's gloves (because we would want to measure the entire lowerarm instead of just the hand)
    Then have some tiny sportswatch-like computer strapped to an arm or something to do the measuring and computing of data.
    Should be fairly straight forward tbh :d
    I'm not thát handy in terms of designing custom hardware, but I'll volunteer to do the coding part, haha

    (Actually, I think Gary Hall senior has some setup where swimmers are attached via a rope to some pully-system on the pooldeck that measures resistance. That will work too I guess 😉 )

  • What about the garmin watches?

  • I got Polar M600 smart watch this spring. It has similar 6 LEDs optical heart rate sensor. Watch is somewhat thick at a first site, but doesn't interfear with swimming stroke when worn tight on the wrist. I barely notice them in the pool. Post training data upload provides HR graphics. I see that in 3 months my HR on the same distance went down with technic improvement I hope.
    Watch advertised to discern swimming style on its own, but doesn't see a difference between butterfly and breaststroke yet, although crawl is rarely accurate :). It does the open water GPS tracking, but without a fine details IMO.

  • Did you actually explain how to use it? I only understood about how to measure it through your sponsor's devices. Should we follow the same training plan as on land such as long durations in zone2, medium in zone 3 with warm up & cool down in zone 2 and interval trainings? how can you estimate your progression wit these data?

  • I bought it, but unfortunately was a DOA. Never even started charging. Sent back. Hopefully new one will work

  • You are so right swim training is in the dark ages that is why HRM in swim training is just as important as when biking and running . Garmin 920

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *