Heart-rate recommendations: transfer between running and cycling exercise?

Int J Sports Med. 2003 Apr;24(3):173-8. doi: 10.1055/s-2003-39087.


With the expanding use of portable heart rate (HR) monitors in endurance sports, HR is increasingly used as a marker for exercise intensity. Hereby, HR at the so-called individual anaerobic threshold (IAT) is one possible reference point. However, once determined, it is often attempted to apply HR recommendations from one type of ergometry to different kinds of exercises. We examined whether HR at IAT and at 4 mmol x l -1 blood lactate is predictable from cycling to running and vice versa. Data of 371 subjects (304 male, 67 female) were analyzed. All subjects underwent an incremental test on a treadmill (TR, starting speed 6 or 8 km x h -1, increments 2 km x h -1 every 3 min) and on a bicycle ergometer (BE, start at 50 Watt, increments 25 or 50 Watt every 3 min). IAT was determined at a net increase of lactate concentration of 1 - 5 mmol x l -1 above lactate concentration at lactate threshold for running (as in: Med Sci Sports Exerc 1998, 30 (10); 1552 - 1557) and 1.0 mmol x l -1 for cycling. A maximum time span of three weeks was allowed between the tests. We found that heart rate at IAT or at 4 mmol x l -1 blood lactate did not correlate between cycling and running. A sports specific test seems to be a prerequisite for reliable heart rate recommendations.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anaerobic Threshold / physiology
  • Bicycling / physiology*
  • Ergometry / methods
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Male
  • Running / physiology*
  • Sex Factors


  • Lactic Acid