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.
Kim, heart rate monitors, RPE and talk test can all be used successfully as tools to monitor exercise intensity, to teach about how the body feels at a certain intensity and/or to motivate. Choose the best tool for the situation.
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.