Difference in maximum heart rate

21. May 2023

Why does an athlete's maximum heart rate differ depending on the sport?

The more muscles used during any given sport, the higher the heart rate when maximum effort is exerted. However, body position (swimming = lying, cycling = sitting) and factors such as air temperature and form on the day also affect the maximum heart rate. Sports such as cross-country skiing and rowing actively engage almost every muscle, whereby the heart rate peaks as top speeds are reached.

This is similarly the case for running, where acceleration is required with each step and, unlike cross-country skiing, rowing or cycling, the muscles must be constantly engaged in order to propel the body forward since there is no gliding or rolling motion.

Conclusion: To work out training zones based on a sport’s maximum heart rate, you must first determine the maximum heart rate zone for the sport in question.

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