Heart Rate monitor vs. RPE/Talk Test for testing exertion?
Which do you think is more effective?
There are so many factors that can influence heart rate. Medications, stress, fatigue, not to mention that the formulas they use to figure MHR are not considered accurate. Research has shown that RPE/Talk test to be just as effective as monitors although, I do feel that monitoring has a place in training.
To respond to your remark about monitoring not having a place, I must share these situations.
If you were testing for cardiovascular fitness, the best tool is a heart rate monitor, an ACSM recommendation. Naturally, if medications are involved, or other alterations to the client's normal heart response exists, such as caffeine, smoking, previous activity etc. then the test is skewed. In most situation monitors work as a good reference and you can screen for meds and educate prior to testing.
Second, there are some clients who's doctor recommends not exercising above a certain heart rate. In this case a monitor is also of value.
ACSM has a new more accurate formula for heart rate maximum =206.9-(0.67 X age). If you use an average of three different resting heart rates taken on different days, upon rising before coffee, and formulate a THR from there, this can be pretty accurate. Detail oriented clients find monitors motivating as it renders visable feedback.
I usually ask What did you have for breakfast or how did work go today and then count the words they say. That way they don't know your doing it.
So context determines which one is best.
Absent an agent that will effect the client's true heart rate (such as medication), I think that a heart rate monitor is a great tool.
Thank you for your detailed answer. I agree with you and if you look above you will see that I felt heart rate training is motivating for the serious athlete or determined client who wants to gage their progress.
If you follow the research of Dr. Wayne Westcott, he feels that for seniors and special populations (which we will be serving more each year in our industry) that the RPE and talk test are more effective.
In a clinical setting both are utilized. If it is straight up heart rate training then there is no clinical thresholds (as far as intensity is concerned) that one has to adhere. Heart rate and RPE has to be monitored if, let's say, the doctors order say the the client's heart rate has to remain 10-15 beats below the client's ischemic threshold.
I don't see the point of RPE if a well-conditioned client is wearing a heart rate monitor and the personal trainer has performed the right assessments on their client, knows their client's heart rate at the low and high ends and has designed a program specifically around those parameters.
In a nutshell both have a place depends upon the client and their health status.
On the client's end, it teaches them to get in tune with their body. When to push and when to back off.
I also find that HR, RPE and the talk test are very much consistent, especially as the client becomes more accustom to exercise.
Along with these I pay close attention to clients at all times. Learning to read a client's body language, facial experssions, etc. are great tools for not only safety, but also for clues to use in program design. This has been very effective for me and I get similar feedback from past students who use such methods for training their clients.
I teach this to new students looking to become Fitness Instructors and to Fitness Professionals in my CEC courses. Check out my website if you are interested. www.hawaiifitnessacademy.com I only teach in person as an instructor. I do not think that online or distance learning is as effective as an in-person presentation.