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Why Heart Rate Matters

Check out this these details that look at stress response in relation to heart rate:


Heart Rate and a Persons Response to Stress


60-80 beats per minute: Normal resting heart rate for most people


115-120 beats per minute: Fine motor skills deteriorate


120-145 bates per minute: Optimal for complex motor skills and reaction time


145-150 beats per minute: Complex motor skills deteriorate


170-175 beats per minute: Loss of peripheral vision, loss of near vision, cognitive perception deteriorates, loss of depth perception auditory


175-200 beats per minute: Loss of gross motor skills, irrational fleeing, fighting or submissive behavior.


Basically, what I want you to take from the above is there’s a relationship as the heart rate moves further away from a normal resting heart rate and the define of certain physical and cognitive qualities. 


I’ve definitely witnessed this decline at the gym! It starts with movement quality deterioration as people get deeper and deeper into the hole during a workout, and it goes further downhill from there… 


I couldnt see. I thought I went deaf during that workout.


I couldnt even think straight, I was so messed up!


The second thing I want you to take from the above is that the more cardiovascular fitness you have, the more you can prevent this physical and cognitive deterioration from happening, not to mention the better you will move and the better your decision-making will be while under duress. The point is conditioning the heart can help prevent detours into sloppy town, and help you produce a higher relative output for longer.


And, of course, the more fit your heart is, the better you will be at life. I know I’d trust a cardiovascularly-fit fireman, who runs up 10 flights up stairs to rescue someone from a burning building, to make a good decision than an unfit, and likely flustered, individual with a 200 beats-per-minute heart rate panting uncontrollably.




This brings me to the my next point: 


The importance of preserving the workouts intended stimulus during each training session.


The what, what? What stimulus? I thought we just did random stuff everyday?


Basically every workout has a specific intention. Sometimes we want you to work at a nearly max heart rate for 30 seconds, and then take a full recovery before repeating more 30-second high-intensity intervals. Other times, we want you conditioning for 8-10 minutes at a relatively high heart rate. And other times still, we want you to work continuously for 30-minutes at a functionally-feeling heart rate in the 120 range.


All of the above workouts train your cardiovascular system in different ways, and all have merit.


That being said, if you choose to ignore the workout’s intention resulting in, for example, you taking 20 minutes to complete a workout that’s supposed to take 5 minutes, then you’ve essentially missed the purpose of the day and won’t reap the benefits of the short, hard, fast workout of the week.


Usually this happens because someone wants to lift a heavier weight than they should—to keep up with the person next to them or to complete the workout as prescribed. But choosing to go heavier than you should just means you’ll slow down to the point that the workout becomes a strength working instead of an 8-minute conditioning workout and you miss the intention of the day. And because of it, your poor little heart won’t see the gains it should.


Though I see this most often with people putting too much weight on the bar, another common mis-step I see is people choosing the wrong gymnastics progression to preserve the intention of the day. 


For example, let’s say we give you the option to do 3 muscle-ups or 6 pull-ups in a 15-minute AMRAP conditioning workout with muscle-ups/pull-ups, rowing and KB swings. You can do a muscle-up so you decide to go for the muscle-ups. But you can only do about one muscle up every minute and need ample rest in between. In order to preserve the intended stimulus of the workout—15 minutes of conditioning——you should have chosen to do the pull-ups instead the muscle-ups as pull-ups will allow you to complete more work at a higher heart rate. Instead, the workout becomes a muscle-up skill workout for you sprinkled with some rowing and KB swings.


There’s a time for skill work, there’s a time for strength work, and there’s a time for conditioning. We’ll make sure you work on them all, but when it’s time to work the heart at a specific intensity in a specific time domain, do you best to select wisely so you preserve the workout’s intended stimulus.



If you’re unsure how much to lift or what gymnastics movement to select, ask the coach for advice. That’s what we’re here for.