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Peloton Strive Score: How to set (more accurate) heart rate zones

The Peloton Strive Score is a newest personal metric to help evaluate your effort during each class. The Strive Score is based entirely on how long you spend in each heart rate zone. Since your heart rate zones are based on your max heart rate (MHR), it’s in your best interest to have the most accurate estimation of your MHR in your profile settings. While Peloton gives you an estimated max heart rate based on your age, it can be very inaccurate. So here are a few methods that you can use to get a more accurate MHR to set more accurate heart rate zones.

Peloton uses the old and outdated “220 minus your age” formula to determine your maximum heart rate. If you think this more than 50-year-old formula has deep scientific backing or reasoning, you would be wrong. Although groups like the CDC, American Heart Association, and Mayo Clinic continue to promote it, no legitimate scientific data was used to create or support it.

So if you want more accurate heart rate zones for your Peloton Strive Score, the easiest method is just to use a more updated and accurate formula. So instead of taking the “220 minus your age” formula that Peloton uses, you could try using either the Tanaka or the Fairburn equation instead.

Tanaka Formula
208 – (0.7 x age)

Fairburn Forumula
Women: 201 – (0.63 x age)
Men: 208 – (0.8 x age)

Keep in mind that these formulas are just estimations, and can still be inaccurate since max heart rate can vary substantially from person to person. In fact, for 5-10% of the population, these formulas can be off by as much as 24 beats per minute.

Some Great Heart Rate Monitors for Peloton:

The best method is to actually find your personal MHR with a test. There are a few ways to go about doing this, but I’m going to share with you what I find to be most effective. You should always consult with your doctor before doing a max heart rate test, especially if you have any history of heart issues.

First, you need to decide whether to test your max heart rate on the Peloton bike or while running. Generally your max heart on the bike is going to be bit less. This is for a variety of reasons but mostly because on the bike you use less muscle and have less heart displacement. So if you tend to do more running, strength, and boot camp Peloton Classes, then you should try to test your MHR on a run. But if you spend more time on the bike, then you should test your max heart rate on the bike, as that will ultimately give you a more accurate Peloton Strive Score.

After a good 10- to 15-minute warm-up (try taking a Power Zone FTP warm up if you are testing on a Peloton Bike), you should be ready to go. The max heart rate test will include multiple sets of 2 minutes of work with 30 seconds rest between each.

Some good options for a warm-up

During the first 2 minutes, with a fairly fast cadence (~90), start with a pace you can hold for around 20 minutes. If you know your power zones, then try holding an upper zone 4 pace. Then after a 30-second recovery, add a little bit more resistance so that your power output goes up at least 10-15%. Then after another 30-second recovery, increase the resistance again. Continue this until you can’t hold the pace anymore or your heart rate stops going up.

For running, it’s pretty much the same idea, but I suggest you find a steep hill to do this on as it’ll make it a bit easier to find your true max heart rate. Then during your recoveries you can walk back down the hill.

If you want to be even more accurate, you can do this same test multiple times over a period of several weeks or several months, as your max heart rate can change day to day based on a variety of factors like your current stress levels, sleep, and previous exercise.

Once you have your new, more accurate MHR, you can then go into your profile settings in your Peloton to update it in your personal settings. At which point, all of your heart rate zones will automatically be adjusted, and your future Peloton Strive Scores will now be a lot more accurate.

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