Finding my heart max inside SYSTM?


Is there a specific piece of all the workouts that is best for finding out my heart max. I guess the heart rate must be close to the top when it’s time to drop the hammer. Hit me with some sections inside any killer workouts.

/Magnus Stockholm

Nine hammers in the MAP workout section should give you a good idea if you give it the beans!


Half Monty, and if you pace it well Full Frontal, should result in max HR


The last AC effort in the Wretched still has my all time 5sec HR.
I’d had a bad day, cranked the targets up a few percent, and hit the same high that I’d recorded in a lab test

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FWIW, I’ve only been able to hit my max HR in actual competitive situations. On solo rides or indoors, I always fall 3-5 bpm short.

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I have always been the same. It must have been a bad day to help me hit this!

I hit my highest indoor heart rate on Team Scream and Half Monty, but around 10-15 less bpm than outdoors.
Outdoors I can get over 210bpm!!!


Close enough to the real thing. I’m totally afraid to find out what my max is now with all the medications.

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I never hit max in SYSTM, even doing FF. That whole indoor outdoor power analogy definitely works for HR for me too. Indoors my max seems to be around the 178 mark. Outdoors I’ll flirt with 190.

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For me I hit my highest inside - usually on HM rather than FF. Not that long ago it climbed steadily to 197 (at age 54 I checked to ensure it was a steady rise - on my apple watch too - and not something going haywire!). Usually I’m around 186 to 190 but I know it will vary from the mid 180s to mid 190s so provided it’s in the ballpark I don’t go changing my max HR figures in apps such as Strava/ Hammerhead etc. LTHR (admittedly calculated in app) I hold in higher regard.

Full Frontal won’t get you to maxHR. The 5 min test from fresh starts with the HR at a low base line and doesn’t have a high enough maximal power.

As for the ramp test, there’s a thread on the trainerroad forums where users consistently report being 3-5bpm under max on the ramp test.

To hit max HR you need a maximum sprint from a very elevated baseline.


I’ve just finished listening to another superb podcast that talks about just this Heart Rate And Exercise: Why HR Variability May Be The New Frontier | The Real Science of Sport Podcast on Acast

The main example given is for runners: do a 5km run where the first 4kms are at a cracking pace and then for the 5th km you “pin your ears back” and empty the tank i.e. sprint (as best you can) that last km. Other examples are given too but as per @AndyP it’s an all out effort from a significantly elevated baseline. They also stress again that max HR is different for different sports e.g. running max HR will be higher than cycling because of greater muscle engagement.


I don’t have any evidence to back it up, but I suspect this applies to seated vs standing in cycling too with standing having a higher maxHR.

Also worth noting that there’s probably only a window of ~1week at the beginning of each training block where you can realistically hit maxHR. Later into a training block HR may well be suppressed and/or legs may be too fatigued to go hard enough for long enough.

And finally, i’d say maxHR isn’t actually a particularly useful metric. When training with HR it’s more common to use LTHR which is much more repeatable and easy to measure


Yeah. That’s what I was trying to express when I said I could only hit it in actual competitive situations. Not necessarily actual races, but also in fast group ride impromptu contests, like town-line sprints, KOMs, etc…


Finding your maximum heart rate is fine for you young guys. Getting older it may not be a good thing to even try to push to find it. If it’s to work out HR zones a better idea is to find a true FTHR and work out zones from that.
Also if you regularly exercise and have a high fitness level you may not even reach your maximum HR. Trying to push in higher power zones is time limited by fatigue and a fit athlete may not see true maximum HR. IMHO

Good point. I’m only 69, but I don’t go about trying to hit it. It’s just a result of my activities, though of late I haven’t been doing the types of rides where I’d be hitting my max.


I was told by a good friend of mine to find you max heart rate on a bike you need to go indoors. To give it two efforts after a warm up. About 5 minutes each effort, ramp it up, and give about 2-4 minute rest in between. You won’t reach max if you go full gas off the bat because your muscles will fatigue before your heart rate climbs sufficiently. Instead steadily increase the resistance and cadence until your body won’t move. If you do it right you’ll peg your max heart rate in the second effort.

He was 54 and didn’t see anything wrong with going that hard himself. He was also the NUE Masters Champ so there’s that too.

I dont know of a systm workout that’ll do this because it’s pretty individual led (ie it may take you 5 minutes to max, it may take 2 minutes to max). I did it with my wife controlling the resistance manually and I’d instruct her to increase resistance as needed until i couldn’t take it anymore. You could do this by having your element control your kickr.

I never experienced a higher max hr running or riding outdoors when I did this test.

Half Monty and Full Frontal should elicit HRmax as they are maximal efforts. Nine Hammers is a common one to have a similar effect!


Not true for me. Only repeated hard efforts (attacks) after sustained hard effort in a competitive environment has ever worked for me. HM def does not last long enough or maintain max effort long enough to allow for cardiac drift. Even FF doesn’t do it for me.