heart STRAIN testing
The amount of exercise your body can take in a particular week without over-training or under-training depends on your fitness level. This level can be measured by looking at your average activity for the past four weeks.
Research, spanning decades has shown that the sweet spot for the load you take in a week is between 0.8 to 1.3 times the average load your body experienced in the last four weeks. A load of more than 1.3 increases your risk of injury and a load of under 0.8 increases your propensity to de-condition.
Most wearable devices, and even fitness coaches prescribe training based on pace or heart rate or some other measure of external load. For example, the external load in resistance training is the load lifted, while in running or swimming, it is the distance covered or speed/time profile. However, the measures of external load are specific to each exercise, and they do not allow you to compute the total load on your body across a week packed with different exercises.
Frontier X2 accurately measures internal load using breathing rate as an indicator of effort. This is an objective internal measure that is independent of exercise type, allowing the computation of weekly loads spanning different activities from running to cycling, swimming, and cross-fitness.
Why would you do this test? A race should be run at a pace that is sustainable for a long duration. But pacing can be tricky. On a cool, dry day after a good night’s sleep, you could go much faster than your usual, but if you’re recovering from an illness or the day is unusually hot, for example, this will feel much harder.
This is because your brain perceives the effort your body is exerting and not your actual pace. Numerous studies have shown that breathing rate (BR) is linearly related to the rate of perceived effort (RPE) and is a great way to objectively and accurately measure internal effort. This is because both BR and RPE are determined by the same central command signals sent out by the brain to the muscles when you engage in hard exercise, unlike heart rate, which is influenced by various external factors.
Who is this test recommended for? Heart strain testing is recommended for every type of athlete regardless of age and the sport in which the compete.
How often should you repeat this test? Heart strain testing should be tested every 6-12 months. Testing should be more frequent when recovering from a injury or you have taken a long break from training.
Which body parts are or can be tested? The heart
What are the results of this test? By looking at the average breathing rate during your workout session, you can tell how intense the session was. You can even look at what parts of the session you spent in different breathing zones; this is particularly useful if your session had multiple pace changes, especially in interval training.
What does this help to improve? Research, spanning decades has shown that the sweet spot for the load you take in a week is between 0.8 to 1.3 times the average load your body experienced in the last four weeks. A load of more than 1.3 increases your risk of injury and a load of under 0.8 increases your propensity to de-condition.