There is a big difference between the bike and the stair climber as you can see. You would be the best person to determine the levels that are safe for your client. It is good to use both heart rate and RPE as you are doing. It is easy get winded on the stair climber as you are carrying your body upright against gravity.
You would need to consider your reasons for putting your client on the stairclimber, as well as making sure balance is good for that client. Taking everything into consideration and looking at the big picture of what you wish to accomplish will help guide you.
Just out of curiosity, is she using the same tool to measure her heart rate? IE, is she wearing a heart rate monitor on her own body, or is she using the heart rate monitors on each piece of equipment? That might also contribute to the variability.
Heart rate is a useful indicator. That said, it can vary day to day, based on hydration, sleep, medications, stress, etc. So I like to use RPE as well. Does your client have good body sense in general? If your client is feeling like she is working “easy” on a piece of equipment, she’s probably right!
The above comments have a lot of great points. As Nancy stated, each piece of equipment might measure differently. One thing I didn’t see, might have missed it, is if she takes any medications, or if she drinks caffeinated beverages, and/or if she was tired.
All of those can increase HR.
The other comments about the stair-climber taking more energy is true too. A recumbent bicycle is quite easier then the stair-climber.
Also, the more familiar someone is, from a motor memory standpoint, the more likely it is to be easier. Of course that varies based on the intensity…
Hope that helps,
That is an unusually high heart rate for someone experiencing an “easy” feel to the exercise. And it is very high for someone over 70. So my first thought is not to use the stepper. I am not too fond of them anyway. If I knew this was her real HR reaction, I would not keep using the stepper and I would have her consult her doctor. It is very odd that she is not feeling the 160 bpm.
First, are you using a chest strap heart rate monitor or the hand held HR monitor on the equipment or are you taking her pulse to get heart rate?
If I planned on using the stepper, I would verify the heart rate. The handle HR monitor on the equipment (any equipment) is notorious for being inaccurate. And there is the chance of other interference with a chest strap. If someone with the same maker HR monitor is next to her, it could cause this, but it would be rare. I would do two things if I were going to use the stepper. One, take her pulse directly. And two, try her on actual stairs. Both with no one else exercising around her. If the heart rate was still over 160 on these, I would definitely get her cleared by her doctor.
Hi Great question. Remember machines are not 100% perfect, especially commercial gym machines, which are not medical machines. What I’d recommend is before any exercise take the client pulse and see what type of heart rate you are getting.
If you decide to put him on the machine again, see what the readings are saying. Once the HR gets up there, have the client come off and manual take his pulse or HR with a stethoscope (you could also use a pulse ox reader). Those methods will be much more accurate. At 72, a HR of 160 is very high. So I think those machines are giving you false readings.
Lastly, remember clients who are on beta blockers or have a history of heart issues and or high blood pressure you should not use target HR training with them. Blood pressure meds tend to slow pulse down.
Lastly, it’s maybe just me but I’d not put a 72 year old clients on a Stair-climber. Granted I don’t know your client. But I have several clients who are into their 70s, some very active but it’s not something I’d personally do with them.
Personal Trainer & Registered Nurse
Owner of Repke Fitness located in Severna Park/Millersville