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Polar Heart Rate Sensors Used in Study on Swimmers

The Department of Physical Performance at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences has published a study on maximal heart rate for swimmers. Twelve elite swimmers swam three different maximal heart rate (HR) protocols using a 50 m, 100 m and 200 m step-test protocol followed by a maximal HR test in running. The Polar H10 heart rate sensor with the Polar Pro strap was worn around the chest and the Polar OH1 optical heart rate sensor was placed at the temple underneath the swim cap. In addition, heart rate from H10 and OH1 were live transmitted throughout the protocols via Bluetooth to a tablet in order to continuously monitor the effort of the participants using the Polar Team app.

Based on the results, the authors suggest that all reported step-test protocols are suitable for achieving maximal HR during front crawl swimming and that no separate maximal HR protocol is needed for swimmers specialized in sprint or middle-distance. Further, due to the large individual differences in maximal HR in swimming compared to running, they suggest conducting sport-specific maximal HR tests for different sports that are targeted to improve the aerobic capacity among elite swimmers.


Olstad B. H., Bjørlykke V., Schäfer Olstad D. Maximal Heart Rate for Swimmers. Sports (Basel). doi: 10.3390/SPORTS7110235

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