So I’m sure by now you have heard that fitness training the smart way is by training within your heart rate zones. If you want to increase aerobic, anaerobic, lactate threshold and or VO2max fitness you need to train at different heart rates. It is without saying then that you need a heart rate monitor capable of detecting your heart rate during training. Depending on your style of training you will want a heart rate monitor with a chest strap or one without. How do you make this decision and what are the differences you may ask, I want to help.
Chest strap Heart Rate Monitor Reviews
Heart rate monitors with chest straps are capable of continuously and seamlessly detecting your heart rate during training. The monitor consists of a chest strap and watch – without the chest strap the watch cannot detect heart rate.
The chest strap is engineered with an electrode fitted inside. When you put the strap around your chest with the electrode at the breastbone it senses your hearts electrical signal (heart beats) and transmits to the watch.
If you are a cyclist and want to train the heart rate way you will need a monitor with a chest strap because your hands are not free (you need both hands free for 10 seconds or more with strapless monitor). If you are a runner, sprinter, weightlifter, swimmer or any other athlete where your hands are available you have the choice: chest strap or strapless.
Strapless Heart Rate Monitor Reviews
Heart rate monitors without chest straps use a patented technology to sense heart rate with just a watch. How it works is the sensing technology is built into the watch with a sensor on the back of the watch and sensor at the top of the watch. However, they only work when you use the hand without the watch to touch and hold the sensor on the topside. When you do this you are essentially closing the electrical loop allowing the technology in the watch to detect your heartbeats.
How To Make The Decision?
The watch best suited to you is within your price range and training method. It really comes down to if you want continuous real time monitoring of your heart or if checking you heart rate at different instances will suffice. The strapless monitors are usually less expensive than the chest strap ones. The chest strap is sometimes uncomfortable and annoying but obviously allows for continuous monitoring.
The most affordable heart rate monitor watches are in the sidebar to the right. They are the ones I use everyday and are both less than $50.